Adopters with a disability
Could you adopt Kai?
We are looking for a new family for Kai. Could you be his new family? Why not find out more?
Being disabled should not automatically exclude anyone from becoming an adopter. Often disabled people can provide a very loving home for a child that will meet their needs just as well as any able bodied adopters.
We often receive phone calls from disabled people who are very anxious about applying to become an adopter. Our advice is that you should contact us or your local social services department to get as much written information on adoption as you can. You should also try to attend any introductory sessions on adoption that are being held in your area. The fact that a person is disabled is only one of the issues that needs to be considered by the adoption agency, if and when you decide to apply to adopt and should not be considered by them as an issue before t hat time.
If such an approach is taken you will be able to gather lots of information upon which to base your decision to apply. One of the factors you will need time to consider is how your disability might affect your ability to provide for a child both now and in the future.
Many social services departments are seeking to improve their assessment techniques in relation to adoption applications from disabled people but it will always prove helpful if you have spent time considering what, if any impact your disability might have upon you performing the task of caring for a young person.
Even if you believe that you might need some additional assistance to adopt a young person the onus should be upon the social services department to show that this assistance is not practical for them to perform and not necessarily upon you to demonstrate how you can work around these difficulties.
Individual social workers do not deal with many applications from disabled people and you may find that both of you have quite a bit to learn during the assessment and adoption training process.
Many social workers working with children will not have a very good knowledge of disability which makes clarity essential. For example, if you have a disabling illness that is progressive you will know much more about the likely progress and impact of the illness. Try to make sure that you pass this knowledge on to the social worker. This will help to avoid them making assumptions about your progressive condition that may be incorrect.
Despite these problems you should always consider, as with all would be adopters, that what you have to offer is special and would be suitable for certain children.
Clearly there are some levels of disability which would make it very difficult for you to be considered as an applicant to adopt. This decision should be made on an individual basis and against a background of a thorough knowledge of your disability and the impact it has or will have in the future upon you and your ability to care for a young person.
The Adoption Information Line wishes to promote the adoption of children. We believe that the disabled and the able bodied all have a contribution to make. If you are disabled and experience difficulties, or feel that you are being unfairly treated in relation to an application to adopt please let us know. With your help we can work towards changing attitudes and improving the way in which applications from disabled people are treated.