* Author Topic: Would my medical condition/disability prevent me being approved for adoption?  (Read 1917 times)

0 Members

Offline Jepa

  • Sr. Member
  • ****

My dh and I have been ttc for 6.5 years.  We have always looked at adoption as a potential future option if we are unable to conceive naturally.  Actually we both love the idea of adoption and would have gone down the route already by now but we are more than a little daunted by the procedures involved and the big ?'s over whether or not we would be approved.

There is also a particularly large looming concern for me that I am worried may categorically rule me out of being approved for adoption.  At the moment it is stopping me from allowing myself to think about adoption much because I don't want to start getting my hopes into something that has 'pipe-dream' written all over it.

I have a connective tissue disorder (Ehlers Danlos Synderome hypermobility type) which causes me a great deal of chronic pain, effecting most of the joints in my body but predominantly my neck, shoulders, arms/wrists and lower back.  Whilst I still manage to work (full time, but with a support worker provided by Access To Work), I do have a significant degree of disability due to my condition.  There are many normal, day-to-day things I am unable to do without assistance or a great deal of pain, and I have mobility issues too.  The pain and accommodating my physical limitations impacts on every aspect of my existence and is a central part of my life.

Obviously this is something dh and I have had to give a lot of thought to before we started planning a family.  I've spent a lot of time looking after children and babies - I had much younger siblings and lots of cousins as a child, plus in the past I have worked a lot as a nanny and a childminder - so I'm very familiar with the physical demands of caring for little ones.  I've also always dearly wished to be a parent, but needed to be sure I would be capable of full-filling a child's needs before we started ttc - proceeding otherwise would be irresponsible.

So dh and I have plans in place, including him working from home a couple of days per week and on other days me having someone come in to assist intermittently to help take some of the physical load off.  The toll on me as a mother physically will be significant, however I will have this plan in place, the benefit of a lot of support from my dh and wider support network, plus the benefit of the existing coping strategies I have developed and honed over the years.  It won't be a walk in the park, but I am 100% sure dh and I will be able to be a mummy and daddy who can give our child all the love and care they need and more!

But I am frightened that it won't be seen like this by the people evaluating us for adoption.  I know that a medical examination is part of the process and I am worried I will fail this and eliminate us from consideration.  The information I have read says "Everyone has to have a medical examination and health issues will need to be explored".  It also says "Disabled people are not excluded and sometimes experience of disability will be positively welcomed".  Of course no specifics are given, but I worry that either I will be ruled out completely, or would only be considered for a much older child who doesn't need picking up, nappy changes, holding while bathing, etc.

I know nobody can tell me what would be the likely outcome, but I wonder if anyone who knows more about the process (and/or has been through it themselves!!!) may be able to provide some insight into how founded my fears are and how this kind of thing is approached.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I wish you all well with your own particular journeys to and/or through parenthood!  :)


  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline flickJ

    • Gold Member
    • *****
    Hi Jepa,

    I have a medical condition called "Cerebella Ataxia", and are part way through Stage 2 (Home Study) and hoping to go to panel in February  :)

    My medical condition prevents me from working and I also have mobility problems. Obviously, our SW had concerns about the extent of my condition, and when it came to the medical assessment, I was referred to the agency medical advisor who knew a lot more.

    I also pre-empted any queries by providing a written reference from my specialist, who provided her opinion of what I could and could not do as regards parenting a child.

    During HS, our SW has asked us to think about what plans we have in place as a contingency, and also how we deal with my "limitations". She also warned us that we may be asked at panel about this  :-[

    It sounds as though you have thought long and hard about adoption, and have plans in place.

    The things we have learnt through this process have helped us understand the ideal age group, and what we can and can't cope with.

    I hope you find an agency to work with you and that you manage to become the family you so clearly want to be  ^hugme^ ^hugme^ ^hugme^ ^hugme^ ^hugme^ ^hugme^ ^hugme^ ^hugme^

    Offline Wyxie

    • Gold Member
    • *****
    Hi Jepa,

    I think it's fair to say that any LA would want you to have a medical done early on, so that the LA medical adviser could consider it.  They may recommend a certain age group or certain limitations on what children they felt you were suitable to adopt.  It's unlikely that your current condition would rule you out of adopting if you had planned for contingencies and they would I'm sure want to discuss that with you.  They may want to discuss how your condition may develop in the future and how that may effect you parenting a child through to adulthood.  Young children post placement may require a lot of physical contact and there may be concerns that if another person was doing a lot of the actual care, this could effect how the child may attach to you.  They may also want to know how you would deal with additional difficulties adopted children may have, which may cause very physical behaviour.

    I would just make the phone call and speak to some LAs and see what they have to say.  I'm sure they would be willing to come and meet with you and discuss things and  give you an idea of what their view is on your chances of approval, and what your chances of having the sort of child you were looking for, placed.

    All the best,

    Wyxie xx

    Offline Daddyboo (Paul)

    • Gold Member
    • *****
    • Our LO came home on 21st Jan '14
    Disability is certainly no barrier to adopting.

    I suffer predominantly from arthritis of the spine (thoracic and lumbar) which greatly affects my life.  Although I too am working it can be a struggle some days.  I'm currently using morphine patches (eqv to 90mg day), naproxen, paracetamol and the occasional tramadol, but it still doesn't take away the pain.

    I also suffer from hypermobility, which affects my hands, arms, legs and spine and Klinefelter's Syndrome (which causes ME type symptoms).

    I was very worried about adopting but the VA we went with made me feel a lot more comfortable about it, I had an early medical and my GP and their medical advisor couldn't see a problem with me.

    It may have helped that I won't be the main carer, but when I am left alone to care for her having a good support network is vital, as FlickJ has said it's a good idea to start thinking about contingency plans. 

    We also decided not to go for a child under 2 and my disability was part of the reason for that.

    Paul x

    Offline skyblu

    • Gold Member
    • *****
    I have stage 4 endometriosis with a frozen pelvic and endometriosis in my left kidney.
    Basically my lower organs are all stuck together in one lump. I suffer badly from pelvic and back pain and I am in pain 24-7 and I am on very strong medication, Fentanyl 200mcg patches, Oramorph, sometimes tramadol and antidepressants.
    I truly believed this would all go against us as a couple.
    But I am happy to say that I now have 2yr asleep in her bed.
    I can care for her just as well as anybody else, I could change nappies when she first came 8.5 months ago, I can push her in her pushchair, I can play with her, the only thing I struggle with is picking her up, I do sometimes pick her up ie, if she has fallen or she is really upset about anything, but she now knows that mummy can't always pick her up and if she just wants affection we sit down on the sofa and have cuddles there rather than carrying her about.
    Support plan is also very important, for me I was asked if I was having a really bad day what would I do, to which I replied that I would turn to my mother or my friend and neighbour ,failing that I will just have to cope. And I have had a few days where I have been in agony, luckily my dh was off work the first time it happened and the second time was a weekend  so dh was off work the third time my mum had her for a few hrs a day for that week(it was a bad week and I felt like a bad mummy) but the forth time it happened I just had to cope, I don't like putting children in front off the t.v all day but this particular day I was very great full for cbbees!!!!
    I don't believe for a minute that my condition is any where near as painful as yours but if this is what you want, then phone the LA and VA and just see what they have to say.
    I went with my LA and it took a lot of nerve and guts to make that phone call, so I know what you are feeling.
    Oh and we were approved for a child between 0-2yrs, when I look at things now and how much our lives have changed (for the better) I am glad we had a 2yr old because I really wanted a really young baby but I am so so glad we went with our little 2yr old princess.
    Good luck hun.

    Offline Jepa

    • Sr. Member
    • ****
    Thanks so much FlickJ, Wyxie, Pauliboo and Skyblu for these generous, thoughtful, and very helpful replies to my message.

    It does make such a difference to have heard of others' situations and experiences, instead of just wondering into an abyss of question marks (and internet research!) and trying to reason out the answers without any such hooks.  Isn't FF great!?!  Your considerate posts have given me and my dh a lot of encouragement.  Thank you! 

    I'm sorry to hear Skyblu, Pauliboo and FlickJ, that you each suffer with different chronic conditions, and wish you on-going strength and gentleness as you continue to face the impact of your long-term conditions on your life  ^hugme^ .  Flick, I have a childhood friend who developed Cerebella Ataxia, which I understand is an extremely rare condition, and the time of onset was a very confusing few years for her and her family.  I wish you all the best on your road to your own family  ^hugme^

    It's particularly encouraging to read from each of you in different ways that the LA are likely to be particularly interested not just in my condition, but in how we've planned to work around it.  I do often think that we've thought so much more about becoming parents than the average person who learns and adjusts 'as it happens'.  It sounds like this will likely also be taken into account in the process too, which I was worried it may not be.   It would be great for us if it is, as I do wholly believe we are more than capable of working around my condition and, if they are interested in this, then I think there is every chance they will potentially also see it this way.  I guess I was worried that the system may be more rigid than that.

    Wyxie, what you mentioned about extra 'physical behaviour' shown by some adopted kids is something to really think about I agree.  This is something dh and I will need to spend some time and consideration on...  In terms of the other hands-on caregiving you mentioned, I don't feel like I would end up doing any less of this in terms of physical contact, it would be more about being selective about when to ask for help, and being smart about using physical aids and the strategic input of others to extend my own abilities.  This strategic input of others can also realistically include the child themselves learning that mummy has a different way of doing things, as Skyblue described so well in terms of sitting on the sofa having cuddles instead of carrying her about.

    I think you've all hit the nail on the head in that the next step will be making that difficult first phone call and taking it from there, for which your words will be a great encouragement when it comes to doing.  Before that, though, is a bit more of a 'settling in' period, as we are a) just finished a round of fertility treatment so will in any case have to have a buffer between that and any action towards adoption and b) currently renovating our house (which will be a perfect family home when done, but now is not quite habitable!), but your posts have helped me adjust the way I can allow myself to 'frame' thinking about adoption as an option we may be able to go down, which in itself is very helpful.  As I mentioned in my initial post, this concern with how my condition may be viewed has somewhat clouded my thinking around adoption, but after this initial discussion here I already feel more able to 'go there' with it.

    Skyblu and Wyxie, congratulations on making it through the hoops you've faced and through the other end to parenthood (with all the doubtless ongoing, but nonetheless wonderful, series of different hoops and other shaped joys and conundrums that entails!).  Pauliboo and Flick congratulations on making it this far.  It sounds like you too are both very near to also realising your dream of a family  ^hugme^ :) :) :)  All the very best to all of you, and thanks again!!!  ^rainbow^

    Offline AoC

    • Gold Member
    • *****
    Yes, you'll never know unless you call round, and don't be put off if the first call to the first LA or VA is negative - you have choices!  :)

    Best of luck.  (((((hugs)))))