I met a woman the other week. She approached a stall I was working on; we were trying to recruit foster carers.
We talked briefly and I shared a little of my personal experience of fostering and adoption.
She and her partner had been through the whole shooting match of heartbreak that surrounds childlessness. At the end, she said they had no emotional energy left to adopt. It would all take too long and they just couldn’t face it.
What a great shame. Someone who really wanted children. Lots of children in need of families. But no happy ending.
Myths that spoil the happy ending…
There are thousands of children in the UK in need of families. And there are thousands of people who could adopt. So why is the recruitment of foster carers and adopters such a challenge?
Because people tend to fear what they don’t understand. We all do. We err on the side of caution. It’s safer that way.
Here are some of the off-putting things that people think about adoption and fostering:
- It takes a long time – it takes a while, but is quicker than most would think. Pregnancy takes a minimum of 9 months (not counting all the “trying” before that!). So it’s not much different.
- The process is intrusive – well… It’s thorough. But isn’t that how it should be? This is a child we’re talking about, not a pet. The details matter. But it’s all worth it when you are properly matched with a child.
- I’m single – so they won’t let you adopt? Wrong. That’s it.
- I’m too old – your age might influence the age of the children you’re matched with, but it doesn’t disqualify you per se. I recently met an 82 year old foster carer – enough said!
- I’m gay – And? See “I’m single” above. It won’t disqualify you.
I’m sure there are other myths that deflect people from adopting or fostering. The bottom line is that most of them are exactly that – myths.
The truth is that the assessment process is designed to protect, inform and prepare people for the challenges and delights of looking after children.
Do you want to look after kids? Then give it a go! Ring your local authority children’s social services department, ask for the adoption & fostering team and get started.
You can always bale out later…
What do you think?
- Have you believed or come across other myths?
- What can be done to improve the take up for fostering and adoption?
Please let me know your thoughts… Join in the conversation – Leave a comment below or click here.
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© Jonny Matthew 2014