In the first of our four-part series, find out how offering a temporary home to a child through Concurrent Planning worked for Christine and Ian and their little boy Adam
Part One – Concurrent Planning – why it worked for us
Adoption had always been a part of the plan for our family. Despite having our own child, Adam, we knew that we wanted to offer a loving home to a child, or children needing a family.
Once Adam was ready for school, we decided to start looking into this more thoroughly, and a friend of ours recommended Adoption Agencies Caritas Care and Adoption Matters due to the fantastic work they do, and ongoing support they offer.
We went to a local event to start making enquiries, and that’s when we heard about Concurrent Planning. At first, we had the natural reaction of ‘well that sounds a bit risky’, but we agreed to go along to an information evening to find out more. We wanted to make sure we were making the right decision.
During the course of that evening, we realised that Concurrent Planning was the right option for us. Whilst the team explained the risks of this choice, we felt that these faded away, compared to the benefits for a child placed in this way. We loved the fact that a child would be given the chance of consistency in care; that for a child who wouldn’t return home, they wouldn’t have the experience of at least three families in their early years (birth parents, foster parents, adoptive parents). We were also drawn by the fact that the birth parents would have the space and support to turn things around and possibly bring about a return home for their child.
Obviously there would be a risk that we would absolutely fall in love with a child in our care, and be devastated if they were to return home, but this didn’t really phase us. We are a Christian family, who thoroughly believe God has a plan and purpose for each one of us. If the child was to return home, we had the privilege of playing a part in that child’s life, and also the birth parents’ lives.
It may seem odd, but we also felt that concurrent planning worked best for us as an existing family. We explained everything to our son, Adam; covering that there might be a baby who needs to stay with us for a while, since their mummy and daddy can’t look after them right now; that this might not be permanent, but that we would love this child and look after them for however long they were with us. Adam loved the idea. He totally understood that this wouldn’t be a brother or sister, at least not initially. We involved Adam from day one of the process. When we considered standard adoption, we struggled with the idea of leaving Adam whilst we made gradual introductions with another child. We felt that this might push him out a little, or make him feel like he wasn’t a part of this. The sudden ‘there’s a baby coming in four hours’ felt like it would work better – for our family.
The whole application process was so useful for us as a family. There’s nothing to fear about this stage at all, if you’re ready to be completely open and honest with your social worker. Our social worker, Karyn, was so easy to chat with and we knew that all the questions and ‘grillings’ were just a small step in this journey. We actually discovered a lot about our marriage and family unit during this stage, something which has been a huge help once a placement was made. It also helped us to build a really great relationship with Karyn, creating a firm foundation for working together during any placement.
Another huge help during this stage came from the group training and support sessions. It’s so good to speak to people at the different stages of the process. We learned so much during the lunch and coffee breaks – so make the most of those opportunities.
Read more – next time we’ll find out how Christine and Ian got on in the application process…
Listen to Christine reading Part 1 of her story here