Adoption: how one Lancashire family's life changed overnight
Finding the right adoptive parents for babies and young children is key.
A couple say they “couldn’t stop smiling” after being given the chance to care for and then adopt one of Lancashire’s most vulnerable young citizens.
The couple had been involved in Lancashire County Council’s different type of adoption process called early permanence placements, which aims to help children settle into their new surroundings as quickly as possible.
It also gives prospective adoptive parents an invaluable chance to look after a child during the early weeks and months of their lives.
And while there may be no guarantee that the child will go on to stay with them permanently – which means it might not suit everyone – the process has brought a range of benefits for children and prospective parents.
Lancashire couple Simon and Louise* adopted a baby girl following an early permanence placement. “We loved the fact that we would get to welcome a tiny baby into our home and experience the joy of raising a child from the very beginning of life,” they said.
“We looked forward to meeting the birth parents and learning all we could about them so that we could talk about them together as a family in years to come.”
The couple had to go through an assessment process, before reaching the approval stage, where they were approved as early permanence carers.
The process takes up to six months, during which time adopters are supported by their own social worker who guides them through each stage of the process.
“We were trained and assessed as both adopters and foster carers, so that we could care for a child from birth to two years old, while the court decides whether they can return to their birth relatives,” the couple explained.
“We were prepared to live with the uncertainty about the child’s future to enable us to give them the security and stability they needed to have the best start in life.”
For Simon and Louise, the toughest part was after they had been approved as early permanence carers and were patiently waiting for their first placement.
“It was just four months, but it felt like forever,” they recall. “Chloe came to live with us when she was four days old. Within the shortest space of time our world was turned upside down and yet we couldn't stop smiling!
“Chloe lived with us for about six months until the decision was made that we could adopt her.
“We handled the uncertainty of whether Chloe could remain with us, but now have the benefit of having cared for her from the start and we have had the opportunity to bond with each other.”
According to Lancashire County Council, early permanence placement brings “huge benefits” for both the adopters and the children.
“There are uncertainties with this type of adoption, therefore early permanence is not for everyone,” said a spokesperson. “However, for those who are willing to take the risks involved there are huge benefits for both the adopters and children.”
Lancashire County Council has organised a series of adoption evenings for anyone interested in finding out more about adopting a child through early permanence. The next event is on Tuesday 16 April at County Hall, Preston.
It has also produced a video – ‘Taking the first step’ - which offers a starting point for anyone considering adoption.
“All kinds of people adopt, you can be in a relationship or single, what's important is your ability to care for a child throughout their childhood and beyond,” added a spokesperson.
Interested in finding out more? Visit lancashire.gov.uk/adoption or call 0300 123 6723 for a chat with an adoption expert. Lancashire County Council has children of all ages and from difference backgrounds who need to find a permanent family home.
*Names changed to protect identities. Image posed by models