Am I just insane for considering this

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I've always wanted to be a parent. Single, no intentions to get a partner, and adoption has always been on my mind.

I've been a nanny for many years, nurseries before that. Worked with large groups, large families. Proxy parented, looked after children with severe and complex needs, from birth to 16 years. I'm in my mid 30s which i think is an ok age to consider this. They are my plus points.

My negative points are bad though. Single, as I said. And I'm disabled. I have arthritis which means pain in my joints and mobility problems. I have to take life slower, and struggle with manipulation with my hands so struggle to write and grip tiny things. And recently I was on anti depressants which if I'm being honest was due to my health.

Right now I'm on benefits so another negative. I'm planning to move close to my family so will have support from my parents and sister and her husband. I'm hoping to get a 2 bedroom flat, which where I'm moving to will cost 1/4 what I pay for my studio here!

Does anyone have experience applying to adopt while disabled and on benefits? I really don't want to waste people's time if I'm going to be turned down. This is a huge thing, not entered lightly, always wanted children of my own but I understand if it's unwise for me to hope.

Any advice or experiences welcomed, thanks.

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no not insane, no more than any other single adopter anyway, and I am one!

But you do have to be realistic and only you really know how your personal circumstances impact on your ability to parent.

Being a single adoptive parent is hard. I have been quite poorly over the last month. Bronchits and chest infection, followed by D&v bug. Whilst still quite poorly I had to drag myself out on 3 consecutive days to attend meetings at school and therapy. On friday, just after I was sick for the third time I got a call from school to collect my son from school because he was throwing up! No choice to go because there is no one else. These things will pass, but its been very hard. I cant imagine having to cope permanently with a health condition. But then I dont have to so am not used to that situation. Also my son is 12, can stick a ready meal in the oven, get his own breakfast and himself out for school, feed the cat and go to the shop. So we manage as all single parents do.

You say you are on benefits now, Does this mean your health conditions currently prevent you from working? If its the case that you cant work caring for children because of your health, can you realistically care for a child as a parent? Or do you see your current situation as temporary and you will be back at work soon.

Being on benefits is a difficult one. I know of a number of single adopters who started out as working parents and have ended up on benefits because of the needs of their children. I work part time but half my income comes from benefits related to my son, adoption allowance, DLA, tax credits. Being a single parent on benefits isnt much fun. Kids are expensive to run. Personslly I dont like being in a situation where my income could disappear at the whim of the latest govt policy. I have a little panic every year when my adoption allowance is reviewed in case its stopped. So I work to guarantee some income and fortunately as a civil servant I would be able to go back full time if I lost benefits. But this is how I feel about it.

Stress is another huge factor when you are an adoptive parent, even more so as a singly. Will stress aggravate your health conditions?

Being single in itself would not prevent you adopting, nor would disability. A lot may depend on the age of the child you would like to adopt. At the moment there are many prospective adopters wanting pre school age children than there are available whilst many older children struggle to find families.

It sounds like you are planning to move some distance. Social workers will want you to be settled in your community, to have established support networks etc. So it would be worth waiting a while after you move to settle down before making enquiries. If you are only in your mid 30s you have plenty of time. I was 42 when I applied.

I'm just posing questions for you to think about. Good luck

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Many thanks for taking the time to write this. You raise a lot of things that also worry me, but I think I just kind of hit a life stage where my desire to be a parent is becoming more important to me so I'm reaching out more even with the issues that have put me off looking for information before.

I am currently on disability. I get ESA and from that housing benefit. I'm still in the flat I rented before I got ill- I had RA, but it got worse. My last job ended as the mum gave up work, not because of my illness, but after I took some time off for myself after a long-term position I found my health was too bad to look for the same kind of work. Full time nanny for 4 children, very demanding employers. Constantly on the move, constant pressure. I loved the job but me as a nanny is different to me as a parent. That job was 14 hours a day with no breaks, then travel home and back. Constant school runs, after school activities, homework, cooking specific meals and shopping in specific places. Although similar I know that's not how I'd be as a parent, no private schooling with hour long school runs in London traffic, constantly dropping at after school activities and playdates.

Hard to explain but although it was looking after the children it was a job so different to parenting.

I'm moving back to where I'm from so while I'd need to settle and everything, this is the area I grew up in. My parents are there, my sister and her husband. If I had a child they'd go to my old schools, I know where the Dr's is and all the other local information. I'm only in London for work, been here about 6 years. But yes maybe giving more time before strongly considering starting the process is a better idea.

I think I may take more time to consider. I know I could provide a good home for a child, or children, however I'd want to be the best I could be. I started being on benefits in Jan this year, since then my health hasn't worsened but hasn't improved. Mobility is my main issue, grasping and holding small items in particular.

I am on some new medications, have been for a couple of months and they take around 4 months to really know if they work so I have some hope.

As I say I don't want to waste anyone's time applying for a sure lose but I don't want to be sitting here at 50 thinking if only I'd looked into it more.... I have flats lined up to look at, my parents offering support and encouragement. I know they need references when applying so I'm hoping the family I've worked for count as well as my parents. Otherwise I'm not sure who else, I'm not a hugely social butterfly.

I did read on one site they only consider people with a spare room, is this true? I've seen a few places at very similar price to one bedroom places where I'm hoping to move to so shouldn't be an issue, hopefully.

Lots to consider, definitely not even close to actually starting any process but still a strong desire to try at some point!

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but being a parent is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With very few breaks.

Of course being a nanny to 4 children is very different to being a parent to one. But you will replace your demanding employer with a very demanding child. My son has ASD, he is high functioning. I have to cook specific meals on specific days of the week. I try not to take him shopping at all because quite frankly its too much hassle, unless its the local corner shop. After school activities, he does a fair bit, mostly sports because activity helps to keep him regulated. You still have to do school runs and homework.

If you havent already done so, you should start reserching the issues that commonly impact on adopted children. These are not easy children, very different to parenting ,or even nannying, secure birth children. A quick trawl through the adopters page will show you how under pressure many adoptive parents are.

Yes you would need a spare room.

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I knew as I was writing it, that it would look different to what I meant. It's hard to explain. Parenting is different to nannying, it's so hard to explain. As a nanny I am constantly told what to do, constantly working to someone elses time schedule and requirements. For example I may get a text saying the parent had arranged a playdate an hours drive away for one child, which means I'm running around changing the plans for the other children, liaising with their tutor and in one job I had the driver and other nanny too. For some families it's more of a PA type thing, the mum decides to take the day off so takes the eldest 2 out so I have to change the plans for the others and explain to them why it's changed with no notice. I know this sounds dumb, as I know a child can get ill and suddenly change plans but it's just an odd position. Fitting in with the needs and demands of a family with very different views to my own on parenting, etc. So hard to explain but really the difference between caring as a job rather than a parent who can make choices.

The break thing again hard to explain. As a parent, and in the jobs where I have more options and choice on the care I provide, if a child is under the weather I can chose to snuggle with them on the sofa, maybe cancel a planned trip out. That's my break, a little downtime. Maybe if all children at home are sleeping or having quiet time I can make a cup of tea and sit for a moment. As a nanny that isn't possible, I'd be told off if caught sitting down. It's just different I don't know.

I've started looking a little at issues that can be faced by adoptive children, not a huge amount yet as I didn't want to get too into it all then find out there is no way at all I could apply. I do have plenty of SEN and health experience, one of my jobs was live in for a baby born 25 weeks with severe needs, and her older sister. I used to work in a large nursery attached to a hotel with a holiday club, and an afterschool club. So regular nursery children with Early Years Curriculum being used and also children in for a evening while parents ate, or for two weeks of holiday activities, all on the same site. I've experience with autism, a wide range of children on the spectrum including non-verbal children needing one on one care while parents have a break. Children with mild to life-threatening allergies, in wheelchairs and using other equipment. Some on the families would come a couple of weeks several times a year (it was associated with a scheme of some sort, not sure on details). I know my experience isn't the same as being a parent, or providing longer term care. Just that I've seen the needs, spoken extensively with the parents regarding needs. We also had a local foster family who used our services though obviously quite guarded in what they could reveal but meant I saw a little of that side of care.

again hard to explain but the difference between your own child and a nanny'd child. I know when a job ends I never see the kids again- I have tried in the past but although you helped raise their children for years, maybe even heard their first words and other milestones, 12-14 hours a day with them.... the parents see you as an employee, nothing more. Which is a huge shame, I'd love to be in touch. As long as it isn't confusing for the children with the change of carer but most of my families the children simply got too old for a full time nanny.

It's just so different for your own child and I'd love that. Knowing I can make my own choices regarding schooling, food, everything. Not loving them for a job but from choice. I have all this experience of the nitty gritty of caring, from safeguarding to feeding to immunisations to car seats, but being a parent myself is something so different.

I'm talking myself more and more into this but I need to be more detached! I know given my health and everything it'd be a battle to get anywhere with this so I need a clear head and never assume. But being a parent has been a dream for so long.

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I think you have a tremendous amount of valuable experience to offer - and I get what you mean about being a parent yourself being different to working with children - I worked with children too had lots of experience of a variety of needs and had birth children - however my children - particularly my daughter - are very complex and she is in fact the hardest child I have ever had to work with. I am not a single parent either and had my mother in law and older daughters with us (as well as my husband) when we adopted. I think your best plan is to move back to your home area and settle in there. Build up your support network and work on your health. Meanwhile research as much as possible - about modern day adoption and the sorts of issues that people have to deal with - find out about facilities in your area and also contact a few agencies and ask them the sorts of questions you have asked here. You will then have a much clearer idea and will be able to move forward in whatever way is right for you

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Thanks safia, that's spot on I think- move first, health, then look more into it. I want to be in the best position possible not only for the application process but for myself too.

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To answer one of your earlier questions, you will definately need a 2 bed room place, sw usually require each child placed for adoption to have their own bedroom. There are good reasons for this. We had to pay to convert our attic.

Best wishes, oh and please do come back and keep us posted as things progress ! !!

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