We received word yesterday that we have passed Stage 1 of the approval process. This means that our adoption agency processed the replacement reference in under 2 weeks, which, from what I’ve seen from other people’s delays and frustrations, is astonishingly fast.
Let me summarise our process so far.
Early March – Attended LGBT Adoption Week event after seeing it advertised on New Family Social‘s facebook page. Here we expressed our interest with our local authority about adopting through them. Within 2 days we had received and information pack and an invitation to an Information Event. We had been under the impression that we either needed to use a voluntary adoption agency such as Bernardo’s or the local authority that you live in. This isn’t true, you can use any local authority (LA), but be mindful that you will need to attend events in their area, and they will need to visit you, so don’t pick one too far away or they may not accept you!
Mid March – Attended Information Event. Here they detailed the 2 stage process, took some basic personal details about us (relationship status, home status etc), and gave us an application form to be filled in within 6 months.
June – We sent off the application form, this required 3 references, 1 family, 2 non-family – A tip here: Family means related to you even remotely, based on our experience I’d say that even a girl/boyfriend of a relative counts as a family member, so be careful who you pick or you might need to provide another reference.
Within 5 working days of that – Received formal acceptance into our local authority’s adoption approval process. With this we received a workbook which needed filling in by the end of July, a medical form, and a few dates for our diaries.
Early July – Presented our Identification Documents (Passport, Birth Certificate, Driving Licence) to the LA for them to trigger a full DBS Check (formerly CRB Check). This took about 4 weeks to come back (we’ve only lived in a single area so this was about as simple as it gets, so this is probably the least time a DBS check will take).
Mid July – Attended a workshop which was meant to help fill in the workbook. We booked a “health and safety check” in here, which was a home visit by an agency worker.
Late July – Attended a training day which was a more in-depth look at the process and answered any questions we had. Shortly after that we had a home visit to check out the house to make sure it wasn’t too unsafe, and to recommend the odd change if required (latches on wide opening windows for example). During the visit they also checked our finances to make sure we had the capacity to support a child/children. This did involve proving income and outgoings, so you need to have wage slips, bank statements, mortgage statements, loan details available. We got a credit report from experian which has all your outstanding debts on it including monthly payments, and means you don’t have to go rifling through your filing to find letters from 3 years ago to prove you pay £50 a month towards a sofa you got on 0% interest finance deal. We also handed in our workbook at the same time.
Mid-Late August – We discovered that the agency couldn’t use one of our references, so had to provide another, we received a letter stating we would miss the 2 month deadline for Stage 1 because we hadn’t provided adequate personal references, so it had been extended by 2 months taking us to the end of October.
Late August – Our new reference turned the form around in a lightning quick way, putting the ball firmly back in the agency’s court. A week and a bit later (yesterday) we received a phone call saying we had passed Stage 1.
The next step is for us to go on a 3 day training course. The agency said they like people to have done this course before they start Stage 2, with the next available one being in October. This suits us just fine as we’re planning to start Stage 2 in January next year.