We have been waiting for a decision recently about whether we were to have a 6 year old child placed with us for adoption.
I mentioned in an earlier post about the difficulties we've had in adopting within this country. What is our big problem? We don't drink to excess, we haven't abused our birth-child in any way, we don't smoke, we aren't hugely overweight :-) ! We have a nice house (3-4 bedrooms), a big garden. We love each other, and get on well together, and are respectful towards those of different belief-systems to ours. We have a stable family life, and a good sense of humour. We've been waiting for six years now, having been approved by three social services panels.
So, what could it be? Well, the first serious problem is that we are Catholic, yes, really Catholic, that is, we actually go to Mass, and sometimes more than once a week. We also accept what the Catholic Church teaches on faith and morals.
But this is where the real irony lies. More than the Catholic bit, the social workers can't get their narrow minds around the fact that we homeschool....we actually like children enough to want to spend whole days and nights in their company! We are NOT normal. We wanted to bond with our children by being close to them, showing them that though they have been rejected, or abandoned once by adults, it isn't going to happen again. We wanted them to not feel abnormal in school because they are the only ones who are adopted. We even said that if the child insisted that they wanted to go to school, we'd let them go!
A month or so ago, we were close to being matched with a little baby. Our social worker thought we'd be a good match, the family finder social worker thought we'd be a good match, and was keen to arrange a visit. Then it all fell through, why? because the child's social worker (who is supposed to be guided to some extent by the family finder) looked at our form, read the bit about homeschooling, and didn't want to have anything to do with us!! (And they are short of couples ready to adopt in that Local Authority). Then, even more irony, whilst all this was going on, another social worker in the same department overheard about us being homeschoolers. She thought, "I know of a child who is experiencing difficulty in school, she would benefit from being home educated. Let us look at this family". Thus, we began to look at the possibilities of taking on a much older child than we had ever considered. We thought and prayed long and hard about it, and as they were keen on meeting us, we agreed to a visit from two social workers, and the child psychologist who had been dealing with the child. They visited with us for over an hour, and the discussion was thorough - we had to find out what problems we would be bringing into our home with this child, as well as the good things. The meeting was very positive, but after they'd left, my husband and I remained undecided as to whether it would be right for us to take on an older child with no experience of the Catholic faith. Although they were very impressed with us, and had no problems with the homeschooling, ultimately, they chose another family, who they believed met the child's needs. This could have been because they were not religious, and I think in this case, that may have been better for the child, and maybe for us.
Only God knows why we have been down this adoption path, and failed to adopt.
We know of at least two other Catholic homeschooling families in the UK who have managed to adopt. It is not impossible. But my advice to families who have children who are pre-school age, and want to adopt again, is "don't mention ze homeschooling!" the social workers really don't need to know. I do hope, and pray, that one day, social workers will look more favourably on home-education, and the positive effects it has on adopted children.
As for us, we are about to formally resign from the adoption agency we are with. Our social worker has tried hard on our behalf, and we are grateful to him for that, but he himself sees how near impossible the situation seems to be in our case.
I just pray for all those children in the past 6 years, who have been placed with homosexual couples, when they could have been given a home with a "normal" couple like us, who, let's face it, could have met their needs far better, given that every child comes from a mummy and a daddy.