Adopting through early permanence - Lucy's story

Wednesday 4 May 2022

How do you deal with the uncertainty? Do you really have to meet the birth family? Why didn’t you wait for the final decision?

These are just some of the questions that we were asked, on multiple occasions when we tried to explain foster-to-adopt to those around us. There is no avoiding the reality of early permanence as a route to welcoming your child or children home, it is tough, there are uncertainties, and it is absolutely not for everyone.

We entered into the adoption process not considering foster to adopt as an option, it was only through further research and the situation our potential children found themselves in that lead us down this path. However, now we have been there, we are passionate about the possibility of children being placed with their forever families at the earliest opportunity!

What does foster to adopt mean to us?

Well, it gave us our beautiful, sibling group of three around three to six months earlier, than if we had followed the traditional route into adoption (essentially being matched with the children, after their placement orders have been granted). The benefit to welcoming them home sooner for us, meant we were able to prevent an additional move for them and begin to build our attachment with them at an earlier date.

Adoption is a wonderful process that creates families, foster to adopt is just one way to creating that family sooner. As with the traditional route, the positives far outweigh the negatives. If we return to the questions original posed…

The uncertainty of not knowing if a judge will decide a plan of adoption is the best outcome for the child/ren that have been placed with you is real. It will not go away, but as you get swept up in everyday life, it becomes less of a concern as you get to know the new member (or members) of your family. No matter the outcome, you are still an important part of the child/ren’s life. You are providing stability, love and in our case, keeping siblings together. Yes, there is uncertainty, but we didn’t think about it every day, for us, it didn’t overshadow our experience.

Meeting the birth parents was the most terrifying and rewarding thing we have done since we started our journey. In our foster to adopt placement we were expected to maintain weekly contact with the birth parents, this was supported by social workers and was assessed to be safe and low risk. It is a special experience to be able to have direct contact with birth parents even for a limited time. We are now able to speak to our children about their birth parents as real people, we can identify who they may resemble as they grow and talk to them about what they were like. That is a priceless gift that we can give our children and all it took was a little of our time.

Of course, if you travel through the traditional adoption route, you will not necessarily maintain direct contact with birth family or feel the uncertainty of whether the child/ren will be staying with you forever. The placement order which states the child’s plan is for adoption is already granted and you are entering into the match, knowing the risk of the child/ren being reunified is almost nil. However, what we gained by forgoing those certainties, is valuable. Being able to welcome them home months earlier, start building bonds and offering stability to three young children, has been a special experience.

An experience that we passionately believe more people should consider!

Could you consider adopting through early permanence? We'd love the hear from you, request a callback below.