A health condition has always discouraged us from applying to adopt a child...

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I'm in good health and am the primary carer to my birth children but my wife has significant health problems. Although she works full time, she has a substantially reduced life expectancy and day to day can suffer fatigue and pain. She also has regular emergency hospital admissions (although her last admission was 3 years ago now).

Has anyone successfully become an adoptive parent where one partner has health problems? Thanks for reading.

11 users have supported this.

Hi Tag20

I have no experience but I would suggest you make contact with a local authority or agency and discuss it with them. If your partner is managing to work full time and you can show how you manage with your birth children on a day to day basis and what you do when she's unwell then that would be seen as positive. Her life expectancy may be more of an issue, these children have experienced so much loss already. It's also worth thinking about the types of children available for adoption. They often have additional needs and it can be hard if all the responsibility falls on one person. However, there are many single adopters out there doing a wonderful job so it can be done.

Good luck,

Blueberry x x

16 users have supported this.

Yes, people with health conditions for adopt, everyone will be considered on their individual merits. If you haven't done so already you should research the challenges adoptive children can bring, and whether your wife's health is really compatible with being an adoptive parent.

I would imagine that social workers would have concerns about the statement that she has substantially reduced life expectancy and what that really means. Yes you could argue that no one knows what the future holds and people can and do become ill after adopting, but social workers will be looking to minimise risk. All adopted children will have suffered significant loss in their lives, and SWs probably won't want to expose them to increased risk of losing another parent. All adopters have to have medicals to ensure they are medically fit to adopt.

You also mention birth children, are they at home or grown up, adding an adoptive child into the mix can be difficult.

You can but ask, try a few agencies, explain your situation and see what they say.

19 users have supported this.

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply. I certainly don't want to add to any child's suffering, which is why I've done nothing at the moment. I been around children a lot over the last 10 years, initially as a Dad and then a support work and then a teaching assistant. In this context, I've spent a lot of time with children with disabilities particularly children diagnosed with autism. My wife is from Africa and my children, who will be 12 and 14 this year, are of black and white heritage. They're quite positive about the possibility of having another sibling, particularly a sister but I'm aware that the reality is likely to be somewhat different.

From what I can see there are many children with disabilities available for adoption. I certainly wouldn't rule out opening my homing to such a child but I'm not sure this would be my preference. In fact, my eldest son has a disability and although he is doing really well and is at mainstream school, I'm acutely aware that there is a good chance he'll always need support and won't be fully independent. I'm not sure adding another child with disabilities to our family would be sensible. Having said that, it would be completely dependent on the child and their needs.

A child of African, Caribbean or mixed black and white background would fit well in my family. From what I can see homes are often being sort for children from ethnic minorities as well.

There's so many things to think about! I'm definitely concerned about the effect a rejection may have on my wife. And also how could I explain a rejection to my kids? They're obviously aware that their Mum gets ill but they're certainly not aware of the full ramifications.

I will contact agencies as suggested and continue to think about it. Thanks for your help.

12 users have supported this.

If I may be so bold, if things don't go well when you talk to agencies, have you considered fostering? I would absolutely be the first person to say that fostering and adoption are not the same, but it seems you both have a lot of love and experience to give, and maybe there's more than one way for you to give that. Some children need long term fostering rather than adoption, because they can't cope with being in a family (even though they effectively are when they are fostered long term - long term can be pretty permanent). I hope this doesn't sound mercenary, but what it would also give you and your wife is access to respite, which sounds like it could be helpful. While there appears to be more potential adoptive parents than children in the system at the moment, there always, always seems to be not enough foster carers.

I'm really sorry if this is an entirely inappropriate suggestion, but I just thought it might be something worth considering if things don't work out.

I have my fingers crossed that everything goes as you wish though!

Haven x

24 users have supported this.

Don't be sorry it's an entirely appropriate suggestion. In fact, we've been thinking about this again recently because we live in Kent and there are a large number of children that need foster parents. Like many others we've been really moved by the plight of refugees. In many ways fostering would be a better option both for us and would-be fostered/adopted children. However, I need to work and actually I need to work more, so that we're not left destitute when my wife stops working. I think fostering is (rightly) regarded as a full time job and that really rules it out for us.

13 users have supported this.