A few weeks ago I posted on Twitter that Missy had been designing my wedding dress for one day when Daddy and I get married. I had some amusing replies about us not being married but I also got two from people who genuinely were surprised that we weren't and thought that couples had to be married before they could adopt.
There are still many misconceptions about becoming an adopter which I'm sure is putting people off. Despite many of the adoption information websites explaining who can adopt, it seems for some the message is, sadly, not getting through.
Almost anyone can adopt. You can be in a straight relationship, a same-sex relationship or you can be a single adopter. If you're in a relationship, straight or same-sex, it does not matter if you aren't married or entered into a civil partnership. It may be true that some SWs will frown on you getting married during the approval process - I've heard of a few cases within my LA - which of course is quite ridiculous in my opinion as it surely shows commitment to each other, and quite frankly who should tell me when I can get married. Nevertheless some SWs feels it changes things and prefer you to hold on til you have a child. But the bottom line is you DO NOT have to be married to adopt.
Indeed you don't even have to be in a relationship. I know of a few single adopters who are doing a mighty fine job. One of my favourite blogs is written by a single adopter which you can find at Adopt and Keep Calm. I often find similarities between Missy's behaviour and her son, called Boyo on the blog, and I take comfort from knowing that another adopter is feeling the same as I do. I take my hat off to them because I don't know if I could have adopted without the support of Daddy. As a single adopter you will need to show a good support network because adoption can be isolating at the best of times, but if you have good support then there is no reason why you couldn't seek approval.
Age is another area where people think there is a barrier. Not true. Technically you have to be over 21 but there is no upper age limit. Most of the adopters I know were first time adopters in their late 30s to mid 50s. and I do know a wonderful couple who are early 30s. I was nearly 44 when Missy came home and Daddy was 49.
Already have birth children? Doesn't matter. There may be a required age gap between birth child and adopted child and generally they won't place an adoptee who is older than the birth child, but if you can provide a stable loving home then you can certainly look into adoption.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender? Your sexual orientation is NOT a barrier to adoption. Another of my favourite blogs is written by Nick King at Nick Kings World, writing about himself, his partner J and their two adopted children, whilst Adopting Mummy is writing about her journey to adoption with her partner.
What if you've had a history of depression or trauma in your own life? That's OK too. Certainly the adoption agency will talk at length about how you felt but if you can demonstrate how you were supported and how you coped then that is fine. An understanding of how you felt, your emotions and feelings could indeed help you empathise with your adopted child. I have suffered from depression several times in my life and, in fact, at the time of our first home study meeting with our SW, Daddy had been written off work for a month with stress and anxiety.
The qualities you do require to be able to adopt are the ability to provide a loving, stable home life, provide safety and security for a child, have bundles of patience and understanding to help them with their challenges as they grow.
If you've ever thought about adoption and thought you couldn't because of a misconception about who can adoption, then do think again.