Education & Family

Adoption: 'The best thing I have ever done'

Family walking through trees

Prime Minister David Cameron is setting out proposals to speed up the adoption process in England, ahead of the launch of the government's "Adoption Action Plan" next week.

Local authorities will be told not to delay adoptions "in a search for the perfect match".

The latest government figures suggest there are 6,770 children who have been identified for adoption but have not been adopted.

BBC News website readers have shared their experiences of the adoption process. Here is what some of them had to say.

Rebecca, Huddersfield

Image caption Rebecca with her husband Suky and their adopted daughter Ruby

We adopted one daughter, Ruby - who is now six-and-a-half-years-old. We are waiting on a second.

The first time round it took us 18 months to be approved. The second time it took us three years to go from call to approval - we're still waiting for a match and a placement.

It wasn't particularly pleasant the first time round, but the second time it was a lot worse.

We went through three different social workers the second time round.

They're very disorganised, but social workers are under a lot of pressure.

I have no understanding as to why it took so long the second time - although they did lose the first report which didn't help.

It was a very difficult process and there was a lot of red tape.

We had our CRB checks done and our medicals done - but they lost the medical and we had to do it again. This process took so long that we had to do our CRB check again.

Every deadline seemed to be missed.

Jayne, Morpeth

Image caption Jayne and her adopted sons Dylan and Jamie

We adopted our two boys three years ago, they had waited two years to be adopted.

Initially social services had tried to find adoptive parents for them along with two older siblings but after that failed they were split up.

My boys could have been adopted much earlier if this had have happened sooner.

The process from finding out about them to getting them home took nine months, and then another 12 months for the legal proceedings, making them five and six-years-old before they had any stability in their lives.

The process was highly frustrating at times but we had a wonderful social worker and it is the best thing I have ever done!

I have gone from having two mixed up, confused and unruly little boys to two complete little bundles of joy of whom I am immensely proud!

Andrew Robbins, Bristol

I'm adopted and my ethnicity is mixed race.

Social services sought to place me with a black / mixed race family. They felt that this was of vital importance.

While social services were waiting for an "ideal family" to adopt me, I was fostered by a white family, who cared for me from birth.

They raised me and instilled in me many core values. I was effectively their son.

When they indicated that they wished to adopt me, social services were reluctant to allow this, based purely on the apparent "imbalance" between our ethnicities.

In the end, after a long fight, I was adopted by my foster parents. The colour of my skin never affected their ability to love me or raise me in a safe and stable environment.

As far as I am concerned that is what counts. Had social services found a suitable black family for adoption; I would have experienced problems adjusting to a new family.

After five years with one family, irrespective of their colour, to live with another would mean tremendous upheaval for any child. I am glad I've never had to go through that.

My parents never looked at my colour or my background, they looked at a baby whose needs they felt they could provide for.

They succeeded and I've had the same love - if not more - as every other child.

Graham Andrews, Southampton

Image caption Graham Andrews and his adopted children

Myself and my wife are white adoptive parents. Both of our children have mixed heritage.

Whilst it was a serious consideration and a potential stumbling block when preparing to adopt both children it has proved, in practice, much easier to promote the multicultural nature of our family.

In such a diverse society it is surely only the most die-hard of conservatives who would bat an eyelid at our family make up.

As long as the children are loved and cared for and are encouraged to have a positive sense of self identity and the mixed culture family unit is promoted as being a positive thing then there should be no barriers to prevent white couples adopting children from a different ethnic background.

There are plenty of adopters out there who are desperate to provide a loving home for a child but are prevented from doing so and as a result the child remains in care.

Robinia, Ipswich

My husband and I adopted a baby boy in 2001.

The approval process to adopt is the most stressful thing I have ever done.

Your personality and relationship with your partner go under tremendous scrutiny for many months.

I believe it is accurate to say that many people would not be approved to adopt their own children.

I was told my standards were too high, I had a successful career and we had a nice house.

We were fortunate that the social services team leader weighed up the risks and benefits for the baby boy who is now our son, and came down in our favour.

I gave up that career to raise my adopted son - because I couldn't keep the career and deliver the high standards of care that we wanted for him. I don't apologise for those standards!

Rebecca Bell, Tunbridge Wells

Image caption Rebecca Bell and her husband Craig

My husband and I attempted to adopt last year and were met with nothing but animosity.

The social worker that came round to our house simply gave us a list of our "faults".

This included that the garden was un-finished, we had pets and that our 10-year-old daughter's bedroom was a little bit untidy.

Just starting the adoption process is very daunting and to be met with social workers that have nothing but negativity doesn't help at all.

It is because of this reason that we gave up and are now looking at other options to expand our family.

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