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Overseas adoption

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We are considering adopting from overseas and was just wondering if people could give us their pros and cons with regards to adopting from abroad. Thanks


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Cons:

- expensive

- institutionalised children

- often very damaged children, often abandonment

- fas, mental health, learning disabilities, addictions in birth parents as in the uk

- often yearly updates than nothing, depending on country, maybe that's a pro

- have to pick up the child from far, adoption in itself very traumatising, going with strangers who do not speak your language etc.

- very little information about the children, I got one A4.

- children are often 'trained' to do well in test, know shapes, colours, songs etc, so unreliable test results.

- often attachment problems because of many carers

- in baby adoption, corruption, illegal adoptions, etc


Pros:

- to be honest I'm not sure, I adopted from EE because it was the closest I was allowed to adopt from. If I could have adopted from the country I lived in than I would have done that. I pressume you live in the uk, than in my opinion take an uk child. You are not going to get 'a better child' because you travel 8000 miles.


Anyway just my opinion, why travel half the world if children in the uk are waiting for a loving family? If foreign adoption is your only option than give a home to a child what otherwhise would have none.


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Cons:

Many countries now closed for adoption.


May take a long time to go through process as you have to complete the process both here and in other country and often paperwork goes missing etc.


When I looked into this 4 years ago there were no adoption agencies that did intercountry adoption and we would have to work with an American agency. May have changed since then though.


Breakdowns in communication between other country and here


Corrupt practices e g officials asking for designer handbags and whisky!! Babies sold on black market etc.


You have to go over twice to the country usually and one of the times it's for about a month so you would need to be able to take this time off work.


I calculated it would cost between £13,000 and £20,000.


Be prepared to be met with lots of questions by your social worker over here as social services are quite against intercountry adoption and will try to persuade you to adopt from here.


Not much information about the child's background, health etc.


This might seem like a pro but actually it's a con: No contact with birth family and little information. It's so important to have as much information as possible and very hard for someone growing up unsure of their background and identity.


Cultural issues e.g. different food, language. If you adopt a child who is a different race to you, everyone will know they've been adopted. Sometimes it's nice to just go out and be seen as any other family without anyone knowing about their adoption or asking awkward questions in front of your child.


Pros:

You would be helping some of the neediest children of all, taking them out of an institution and giving them a family. In Russia, the children are sent out of orphanages etc when they reach 18 with no support. Only 1 in 10 will go on to have a normal life, while the others either resort to alcoholism, prostitution or suicide. So you really would be pulling a child out of the very worst situation, giving them the hope and future they would never otherwise have.


I have two cousins adopted from abroad who are so loved by us all. They were adopted about ten years ago and the country they are from is now closed for adoption.


We seriously looked into intercountry adoption but couldn't find an agency to work with in UK and met too many obstacles. In the end we did concurrent planning (which has its own hurdles and uncertainties) and were matched with a four month old baby who we finally adopted at 2 years old


Wishing you all the best in your research and decisions.


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Apologies I am bumping this topic, but we are seriously now thinking about adoption, and my impression is that, given recent court rulings in the UK, it would be difficult to adopt here. We went to an adoption meeting with the council in 2016 and had this impression (far too many couples wanting to adopt and councils need to use all options to place the child with a family member). We were thinking about using IAC and adopting from Kazakhstan. Any recommendations or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much


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Hi AF, You might want to contact your LA/VA again, as the tide is turning from what I have heard.


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Thank you. I am apprehensive for two reasons and worried that it would be a waste of time. One is that I haven’t heard about any case law to the contrary and Munby is still the chief judge in these matters. Two is that our LA was featuring heavily on the news a few months ago as they told an English couple who had some Indian ancestry that they will not even put them on the books and that they should go to India to adopt. In the end, that couple went to IAC I believe and are trying to adopt from the US. My husband is English, but I am not, and I can imagine that the LA will only agree to match us with children that will match our ancestry and I don’t think they will ever find any such abandoned children in the borough.


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You won’t find abandoned children of any ancestry anywhere in the uk. Adoption isn’t like that and hasn’t been for many years. I remember reading about a couple similar to the one you talk about ... as I recall it wasn’t as straightforward as the couple made it appear


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the case you are referring to was massively mis represented in the press. The couple did not have 'some' Indian ancestry. If I remember correctly they are Sikh. Yes the preference is that children will be matched with families of a similar ethnicity, but trans racial adoption does happen, I have a son with a different ethnicity to me. Being part of a dual heritage couple gives you more options.

The couple concerned had the option, as you do, of applying to another LA or a voluntary agency and looking nationally for a child. You are not restricted to your own borough.


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Thank you. I apologise that I am using incorrect terms. I do remember reading earlier about families not being able to adopt in the UK because, for example, the husband is Dutch and the wife is English, so local authorities have to find a child who (i) is available, (ii) is 1/2 Dutch and 1/2 English, (iii) following Munby, does not have any family members willing to take him or her. The likelihood of that happening in the entire UK is quite low.


I guess we were just so disheartened by the 2016 meeting, I thought - well, that's an unrealistic road. But I wonder - how does it work with LAs from other regions if we don't live there? For an assessment, the social worker would have to travel where we live, several times, how will it be organised? Is it all happening post-Munby, given that the number of potential adopters in every region, I would have thought, by far exceeds the number of potential children?


Too many questions! Thank you very much in advance


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As above, I do get the impression that the imbalance in adopter numbers VS children waiting is levelling off a bit. So worth contacting your L.A. again and also going to information evenings for other LAs/ VAAs. SWs won't travel miles but if e.g. you live near the border of your L.A. it could work out. Many give guidance on their websites of how far they are willing to travel.


Check out agency finder on first4adoption website


And isn't international adoption hugely expensive?.


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It depends how you look at it, some people buy a new car for 18000 and nobody thinks anything of it.


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Well, I suppose, it’s a question of paying or remaining childless for the rest of our lives. OK, one option is that if we and the Manders live close to the border of the LA jurisdiction, we could go to another LA. We and them (I suspect) could potentially go to Buckinghamshire, but will the situation differ drastically there, compared to the relatively large area that Adopt Berkshire covers? Will Buckinghamshire be able to find Sikh children for them or a child that matches our ancestry for us? It might be that this is easier for couples who are 100% English. My husband is 1/4 Welsh even, so will it mean that they will need to find a child who is 1/2 my nationality, 3/8 English and 1/8 Welsh... Difficult. And the other option that the Manders (and us) could do is a VA, but from researching this forum I understand that they help in the adoption of children who LA were unable to find homes for - I presume seriously disabled children. And if VA follow the same rules re ancestry, then it is equally difficult. So my impression was for now - go abroad or you’ll be childless...


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I cannot imagine any agency would be trying to match to that level of ethnicity. It really dosent work like that. I have welsh, scots, irish and english, ie I'm white European. No one ever discussed which bits of white europe. I have a white British/African son. I can't imagine them grilling birth families to find that level of detail either.


You need to understand that the majority of adopted children will have some level of additional need. LAs routinely place children via VAs for many reasons, age, sex of child, sibling groups, ethnicity. I was approved by a VA, my son has his challenges but he is not seriously disabled. He came from a very 'white' county, with no adopters who matched his ethnicity.


I'm not sure where you have been doing your research but I suggest you set aside the Manders and everything written around that case. It really was grossly mis represented in the press.


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I think you might be confusing two aspects of adoption - assessment and placement. Yes, local authorities tend to assess families who could match children they have in their area coming up for adoption. But it's not that straight forward, as the process takes time and they can't predict exactly how many children are going to need adoption. We adopted twice and both times neither child was even born (or conceived) when we started the process.


So it often happens that once assessed, an agency may not have suitable children for a family. You / they can then look elsewhere for a child - agencies pay each other to place children with each other's adopters. Of course they prefer not to, but it does happen. Our second child came from another LA which had few adopters of her ethnicity (she is white British like us!)


You could also try a voluntary agency - they don't have children to place but liaise with local authorities to place their children who are usually considered "hard to place".


The best thing to do is contact as many agencies as you can and see how they respond and which is willing to take you on.


BTW I know several families where one or more partners is not white British who were placed with children NOT of their ethnic origin. In one case the ethnicity of the child was thought to be reasonably similar to that of the parents but was found after placement not to be - child stayed in family. Another couple were placed with a non British child as they were non British - but not from the same country of origin. Also I thought racial matching had become more relaxed in recent years.


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I think there were two sides to the Mander story but, as is often the case, we only get to hear one side of that story.


To give some balance, this is a blog post that was also around at the time. Gives an alternative viewpoint.


https://idgeofreason.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/sandeep-and-reena-mander/


I’m not making any judgement on what happened, just presenting an alternative.


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Thank you, it was very informative. It seems like it was written by somebody with some insight in that specific case.


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We are White European and were turned down for a link, because the children were White Irish and they were looking for an "ethnically closer match". However, in the end we adopted transracially. It really depends on the individual sw, the children and what you bring to the table apart from ethnicity.


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Thank you, it's interesting. I am a White European too and my husband is 3/4 English and 1/4 Welsh (or 7/8 English and 1/8 Welsh - need to doublecheck this). Might I ask you if you were applying in Northern Ireland? Might I ask you further details at all? Did you have to change the local authority, or is it that the same authority who rejected you for White Irish children allowed you to adopt a child of a different race? We can probably bring love and support to the table, apart from ethnicity, but I am not sure what else we can bring...


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I'm sorry that because you were putting yourself alongside the Manders I assumed you were Asian. If you and your husband are both white european I really don't think you are going to have any more problem than any one else.


Stop trying yourself into knots about the fractions of your ethnic heritages, I really don't think its relevant. Apply to some agencies.


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Hi AF. I think you are a little confused. I would not base your opinion on UK Adop tion from media reports. It is often distorted for many reasons including that LAs will not comment or defend actions because of child's security or legal proceedings. Go talk to some VAs and LAs. See what they can offer. At the same time speak to some international adoption agencies. The process is the same in the UK in that you have to pass a UK home study process And adoption panel. The wait will be longer. When I investigated international adoption the home study process would take 9 to 12 months. Cost for HS was £12k. Then in top of that was legal and agency costs it was well in excess of £25k without travel costs. If you are considering USA costs will be £40k to £60k but US adoption now much harder unless one partner has US passport or family in US.

LAs do not match children and prospective adopters the way you think. They will ask are you White British, White European, etc. They don't ask Welsh etc. What languages you speak. Out of the 6 people in my training course 4 years ago 50% were matched with children not in there very specific white British ethnicity. This was never an issue for the SWs and never mentioned at panel. We even had a mixed race couple of Hindu religion matched with part Sikh child.

Very, very few children are abandoned in UK adoption.

Personally I chose UK adoption after lots of investigations. It was not based on money. I have never regretted my decision. Our family was truly blessed with the most gorgeous baby. Assesment was easy, panel was simple, matching process very quick and easy. Not to say it's not been a challenging 4 years, it has.

And don't think that ethnicity is all that you have to give, it's your stable home, finances, strength and commitment of you as a couple, financial stability, child care experience, knowledge of traumatised children, life experiences etc.

Good luck in your journey

G


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Thank you. I did read a forum post somewhere some time ago about a couple having to adopt abroad because one of them was Dutch and they were rejected by local authorities because the authorities required that the child be 1/2 Dutch and the likelihood of matching them with a 1/2 Dutch child was small. I cannot find a link right now. Also Chestnuttree's report is troubling. Gilbertus, might I wonder if you started the adoption process pre-Munby or post-Munby?


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I’d also add that sometimes the reasons given for turning down a prospective adopter aren’t always the real reasons but a sw has to give a reason. Sometimes it’s just about another couple being able to offer more/different or just a gut feeling. But in the same way that adopters have the ability to turn down a match or a link (we did before we had our second child) then a placing sw also has to be able to do that.


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Another couple being able to offer more/different... There will probably always be another couple who would be able to offer more/different, as we are not perfect... Scary!


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no one is perfect. But we all have different things to offer. Thats what the matching process is about.


If it helps I was turned down for several children for daft reasons, when the real reason was probably that I was a single adopter. But they don't like to say that.


I really do feel you are over thinking this. If you want to go overseas then do that, but there is really nothing in your posts to suggest that you will have any more difficulty than anyone else.


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Serrakunda (and others) are so right. Nobody’s perfect and also go and ask several LAs/VAs – don’t base your views to what you read on media. If it helps I am also white other but I tried to use this to ‘sell’ myself and what I could offer (eg. in cases of children with other than British in their mix – there were several of these children, although none that matched my own background). I think UK is in some ways so much more tolerant in terms of diversity and different ethnicities/cultures than a lot of other EU countries (at least before Brexit ….. lol!). My advice to you is (what others have said to ask for yourself) but also to use your European background to your advantage. All the best whatever you decide.


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Just to add to what pluto said above (in many ways more damaged children & less info in overseas adoption) I'm living and adopted in South Africa. In general, the children available for overseas adoption are those who are older (over 2) or have disabilities or significant medical conditions. One Province - KZN - has in practice (though not legally) stopped adoptions altogether as it is seen politically as 'child trafficking'.


The same I believe with adoption from China.


Overseas adoption is supposed to only happen where there is no possibility of domestic adoption - so a child has been available (often in less than adequate care) for a significant period of time) and/or is seen as not being a potential asset to that country.


You then potentially have the added issues of trans-racial / trans-cultural adoption and family dynamics, which we deal with. It's not the end of the world, but it is a whole other area of potential trauma. My daughter changed home language at 5, and has done very well, but has various language issues that may also be to do with FASD and early trauma, but the change of language didn't help.


In the UK in specific cases a child might be best with a specific cultural/racial match - if an older child already speaks Dutch and has that as part of their identity, and a couple offers an English/Dutch match that might tip the scales in their direction. But be careful of taking the headlines at face value with decisions around placement, as well as about the reasons children are removed from birth families...


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Just to add, cross-racial / cultural adoption is far more common in the USA where children and adoption are treated much more as commodities. So many of the resources are from the USA - but I can point to some if you are seriously considering overseas adoption. Plus various considerations about choosing an ethical agency. There's any number of cases where an 'orphan' or 'abandoned' child has turned out not to be an orphan or abandoned...


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Thank you. In terms of overseas, Kazakhstan seems the most realistic option...


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Assuming you’re not:


“persons of non- traditional sexual orientation;


single males;”


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No, we are a heterosexual married couple.


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AF. Started process in 2013. Baby came home 1 year later. It doesn't matter if it was pre or post Munby. Your concerns are incorrect. If you fear you will not get approved for UK adoption then you will also not get approved for international adoption. In the UK you still have to pass the same prospective adopter home study process if you are adopting domestically or internationally. The matching process is not how you describe and that's from recent SW discussions. They are not keen on interracial adoption (for example Asian child with white European couple) but white british couple adopting child with eastern European birth parents wouldnt even be an issue.

I looked at Kazakhstan. Very corrupt system. Very high risk of FAS/FASD. But it's about personal choice.

G


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Understood, thank you. We had a couple of 2012-2014 adopters at our 2016 Adopt Berkshire information session. I understood that it is a massive difference now compared to pre-2014...


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Dear parents, I would be grateful if you could point us to things that we could do to get the requisite experience with children. My husband is researching this plus we will ask his former colleague who adopted. We do not have our own children and do not have relevant experience.


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Host 2 children from the chernobyl's children's project, those you have a couple of weeks over the summer holiday, it's 24/7 so a real experience. If you like it you can continue after the child is placed, instand friends, lol. The idea is to give those kids a break and fresh air, many from. poor backgrounds, sometimes medical problems etc.
http://www.chernobyl-children.org.uk/

I did it several years and it was an good experience.


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Thank you. It seems like they do not have a group here, so we may need to organise our own group. I wonder if anyone adopted in Berkshire/Buckinghamshire/Surrey/London and could share what they did to have children-related experiences.


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https://do-it.org


Contact centres

Rainbows

Scouts

Cubs

Reading to children in school


Depends really what age and ability/disability you’re looking for.


Do though consider carefully what Gilbertus has said. From what I read it seems entirely probable that any child placed from Kazakhstan runs the risk of being quite complex. Are you prepared for that?


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Thank you. One option that I have started to look into is adoption via foreign surrogacy, so Kazakhstan is not necessarily the first choice. But well, it is possible that any child can be quite complex, UK, Kazakhstan or South Africa. From the success stories I read, Kazakhstan does not seem that bad.


If any parents from the South East read this forum, I would be grateful for their suggestions, in particular, in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.


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I looked at overseas adoption and felt uncomfortable. Too many examples where it turns out to be an industry rather than a real need, doubts whether it is really better to remove a child from the environment rather than support it in-situ, and no real link to any of the potential countries.

We are a European/British white couple and our children are British half siblings, one mixed race. Our LA took a pragmatic approach and accepted that they were unlikely to find a couple that matched both children ethnically and who would also accept their other issues, and realised that we had more diversity to offer than BM.


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AF I think you are correct to consider surrogacy. I excluded international adoption for the reason given in post above. But I narrowed it down to domestic adoption or surrogacy. In our case we took legal advice and considered surrogacy from USA. Surrogacy cost with an IVF cycle and egg donation would of been £70k but the real kick is the legal costs in the UK for the non DNA parent (to do surrogacy abroad and bring baby back to UK one parent must be the biological parent so either your eggs or partners sperm must be used) to adopt the child in a legal sense. That can be £10 to £20k.

I really do not regret my decision. All the nonsense written in the press and scare stories about rejection are not true. But please don't get me wrong, it's tough, it really is. But we are truly blessed.

G


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Thank you. We are not that rich to do the US, looks like it will be the Ukraine.


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Just wanted to add something.


I would cast your LA net wider. I live in West London and my assessing SW was also assessing a couple based in Maidenhead (this was 2016). No reason why not to approach west London based LAs. And to also add the currently many boroughs are actually now adopter-light and in need of homes for children in their care.


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Thank you. Dear members, do you know by any chance what this "link" thing is? Are you registered with one LA and other LAs can access your profile? Is it expensive?


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Do you mean linkmaker? Once you are approved to adopt (verified by social worker) you can join and view profiles of children waiting to be adopted, and contact their SW to make an enquiry. SWs can limit who can view a child's profile by location, as they mostly will not be willing to travel from one end of the country to the other, but they may be willing to look quite far and wide for the right family. If you are approved by an L.A. they might expect you to wait 3 months to see if there are any children within the L.A. before allowing you to join link maker.


https://www.linkmaker.co.uk


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Thank you


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Haven't read all the posts but have skimmed through - don't forget they will be looking for the best match for the CHILD - and that will include a lot more than ethnic matching - where the child is Asian for example they will often match with parents from a different country of origin or religion - it really depends what options are available at the time - and how important it is for the child. For example if a child spoke a certain language - or if the BPs had specified a certain religious upbringing (I think it is one of the few thing they can insist on?) - they would prioritise this. We are a mixed Asian and white couple - our children's BF came from a different country of origin but same religion (though here again it is not clear cut as there are different levels of religious affiliation or practicing) - it really did not matter and the LAs were looking at a broad ethnic match but at much more than that. As far as something like Welsh is concerned it would only be a matching criteria if the child was Welsh speaking (perhaps) and you were too - it is about the CHILD. So try not to worry about it too much - it is relevant when you start looking for children rather than your own assessment which will be looking at what you have to offer more broadly and by the time you are looking at matching you will be much clearer and more confident about this


My children's BM was born in the same city I grew up in - and lived in a country where my DH has relatives - but that was not a matching criteria just a happy coincidence - just as the fact that my daughter's first name is an anagram of our surname - just made it feel right (after the event)


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Thank you. I am inspired by these comments to at least try and give Adopt Berkshire and maybe Bucks and West London agencies a call. Perhaps things have changed since mid-2016.


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