You are required to complete a preparation course as part of the assessment procedure in accordance with the guidelines set down under the Standardised Framework for Inter-country Adoption, 2000.
The preparation course consists of 6 sessions which are generally run on a fortnightly basis over a three month period. The sessions will be held during the day and you will be given the dates well in advance so that you can arrange to take time off work. Letters are provided on request for your employer as there is an exemption for these days which are not included as part of your annual leave entitlement.
The Framework sets out the five Standards which you must meet in order to be recommended as an adoptive parent. These standards will be discussed with you in detail as part of the preparation course. They are as follows:
The capacity to safeguard the child throughout his or her childhood
The capacity to provide the child with family life that will promote his or her development and well being and have due regard to the physical, emotional, social, health, educational, cultural, spiritual and other dimensions. The resources that families can draw on will vary from family to family and may change over time. Whatever circumstances the family find themselves in, the applicant/s will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the importance of maintaining an on-going and meaningful relationship with their child.
The capacity to provide an environment where the child’s original nationality, race, culture, language and religion will be valued and appropriately promoted throughout childhood. This will include the capacity of the parents to recognise the differences between themselves and their child within these areas and to recognise and try to combat racism and other institutional and personal oppressive forces within society.
The capacity to recognise and understand the impact of being an adopted child from an overseas country on the development of the child’s identity throughout their childhood and beyond.
The capacity to recognise the need for and to arrange for appropriate support and intervention from health, social services, educational and other services throughout childhood.
This preparation course is an opportunity for you to learn more about adoption and explore the issues which make parenting an adopted child different to parenting a birth child. We endeavour to adapt these courses so they are relevant to the changing profiles and needs of children who are now likely to be put forward for adoption. For example, it is now older children over 2 years who are likely to be placed for adoption and you will need to be aware of the parenting challenges that these children could present.
During the preparation course you will be given information about the process of attachment and how you could help your child form a strong attachment with you. We will explain to you how our unique identities are formed and how your child’s identity will be influenced by their racial origin and adoptive status. It is important to be aware of the impact that the child’s race and background will have on them and that they may encounter bullying as a result of this. The course will be a mixture of exercises, discussions, talks by invited speakers and DVDs and videos.
You are encouraged to finish the course even if there is a change in your circumstances and you decide not to continue at this time. If you reactivate your application you will not be required to complete the course again.
If you are applying to adopt a second time, you will be required to attend a one day course. This will update you about any changes in current adoption practices. It will also be an opportunity for you to consider how you would introduce another adopted child into your family who may well come from a different country from the child you have already adopted.
Once you have completed the course, and decided that adoption is right for you, you will be assigned to a Social Worker who will complete an assessment/home study report which is required to establish your suitability to adopt.