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Hi, we are in the process of adopting a little boy we have been fostering for 2 years. He has complex health needs, including a heart condition that will need several more open heart operations throughout his life.

His mother originally lived with us as a mother & baby placement so unfortunately now knows where we live and where our birth daughter goes to school. His birth Mother is not happy with us adopting him and has made plans to abduct him. Police and social services are aware of this.

We now don't feel safe and are considering moving house. In order to move house we will incur legal costs and estate agents fees of approx £15,000. We will also have to take a drop in salary as currently my husband has a good job. He can't move within his job without taking a cut in salary. So considering a lifestyle change.

I can't work to supplement his salary cut, as I need to be home for our little boy due to his health needs.

We will not be entitled to adoption allowance as it will be based on his current salary.

We feel we are making a lot of sacrifices for this little boy whom we love very much and want to be apart of our family.

My question is, do any of you adopters receive a finance package for your adopted children with additional needs? If so how do we go about getting it?

Many Thanks

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You are right that adoption allowances are usually means tested nowadays, but that should be on your husband's current income. Our kids qualified for an allowance, but my husbands income was too high so we got nothing - until he was made redundant and then we received AA, until he started a new job, when it stopped again.

Adoption allowances are discretionary and I have heard of former foster carers getting them as part of the Adoption Order in recognition of the fostering income they were losing. I have also heard of families getting extra when the chid had additional needs. I think neither of these were means tested. I have also heard of LAs covering specific one off costs which may cover your house move.

Sadly money is tight at the moment for most LAs so discretionary payments tend to be hardest hit as there is some flexibility with them.

In terms of other benefits - I presume you are already getting DLA for him to cover the extra associated with his medial needs?

One final thought - why are you adopting him rather than continuing to foster? Will it make any difference to your care for him? I know LAs encourage adoption as its by far the cheaper option for them, but its not necessarily the best option for the carers/child....

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Hi T (please change your user name to something anonymous)

Has the little one been to permanence panel for a best interest decision which is adoptions? If so was it also identified that he has significant needs and it would be challenging to find adopters for him? My son was identified as harder to place due to health uncertainty following cancer treatment and permanence panel agreed that he should have an associated adoption allowance - we were also fostering him. His SW was refreshingly upfront with us cos she knew we were saving the LA a lot of hassle in finding adopters for him (he was also just under 2).

As foster carers you should get transitional adoption allowance equal to your fostering allowances, less any child related benefits you would qualify for for up to 2 years post adoption (in actual fact most LAs change it from point of passing adoption panel rather than formal adoption).

We still get AA now, he is 12. Our income is higher and our outgoings lower as all our BC are grown up - at the time we adopted we had one child in independent school and I was a SAHM, since adoption I've done a degree and work 0.8 FTE. Having said that we've just sent out reassessment forms in so they may try to pull the AA but we would fight it as although our son is physically fit and well he has been diagnosed with a social communication disorder, is dyspraxic, has some sensory integration issues and we opted to send him to a very small independent school which is good with 'quirky' kids. He is not the jolly, smiley easy going small child he was; as with most adopted kids he became more complex with age, probably from around age 7. Our local high school is excellent but he would've been a fish out of water and would have struggled socially and would probably have become a behavioral problem within a year or so; I think his current school will keep close tabs and we'll get early warning if things go awry.

Re the moving. My son's family know exactly where he is and have been here too. No they haven't threatened abduction but lots of BPs do and 99% of them haven't got the wherewithal to do it. I personally would not move. I'd ride it out, is this mum a competent, savvy person, or has she got learning difficulties, has problems managing her own life etc. If so she's unlikely to ever manage anything in a meaningful way. She will need a stern talk from social care backed up by the police if necessary and the threat that if she causes your family any difficulties she will forfeit her right to letterbox and that you will move and she will not be told where. Once that filters through and if her family members are given the same info, it's likely to be bluff and bluster with little substance.

Good luck.

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We have just adopted our fc who has v complex needs like your little one.

We have been able to get a non means tested adop allowance which is a set amount written into the adoption order. It is to be paid weekly until he turns 18.

Our child had a v good sw who put together a business plan to show how much would be saved over his childhood by us taking a cut in money and factoring in the cost of a sw, lac reviews, iro etc.

So it can be done . Speak to the sw first and see whether they are willing to argue your case because children with complex needs do come with extra financial needs and as you say you cannot go out to work to suplement your household income.

Cant help re removal costs though as no experience there.

Good luck and congratulations. We had our celebration last week and are so happy to know he is ours and going nowhere. He is special to us in every way !

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P.s if using your real name would be wise to go by a suitably silly false name

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Thank you, the advice is very helpful. We are currently looking at the Adoption Statutory Guidance 2013, with regards to financial support for foster carers.

We are due to go to panel on Thursday 9th February for approval to become adoptive parents. We are then going to matching panel in May. We delayed matching panel due to us having a holiday in April which originally he was booked to come with us but now is unable due to his health and needing heart surgery imminently.

He is now going to respite whilst we take our daughter on a once in a life time holiday, it was a very hard decision to make. After cancelling two holidays last year we decided to make this our last holiday for the time being due to little mans health.

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Hi again,

We were approved and matched at the same panel as it was a child specific approval.

A good book is 'Adoption Law for Adopters by Mary Lane. I'm not sure if it's been updated since the previous Adoption Act revision. Adoption UK may have it to loan.

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We were also approved and matched at one panel as our approval was for specific children (we were their respite foster carers)...

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Hi I adopted eldest son when he was 3. He had very complex special needs which have increased greatly in last couple of years. Get the Adoption allowance written in blood and stone. You will be saving them an absolute fortune! I am trying to make contact with the adoptive parent who was on breakfast tv last week discussing her disabled son's allowance stopping at 18 and that it should continue. I now have son (who i love very much and wouldn't be without) but unable to go out to work and the allowance is stopping. So am expected to live on benefits for the rest of my life (56). He is unable to go into residential care due to the complexity of his needs.

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