We received our application pack three weeks after attending an information evening on stepparent adoption. To complete our application for stepparent adoption, we needed:
Utility Bills for the last twelve months
Our marriage certificate and all three birth certificates. All originals, which they still have. Our marriage certificate needed to be signed by a commissioner of oaths
Medical forms for both applicants, to be filled out by our family doctor
Local Police Checks
Local Child Protection Checks
Financial Statement, detailing all of our savings, income and weekly/monthly bills.
A letter from our current employer, who also had to be informed of our application
Foreign Police Clearance and Child Protection Checks. Both myself and my husband were born outside the Republic and returned when we were toddlers. Regardless, we had to obtain clearance certificates from countries that we left when we were babies.
A mountain of application forms.
(There are more aspects to the application which luckily didn’t apply to us)
It tooks three weeks of appointments, phone calls and searching to complete all aspects of the application.During my medical, my GP looked at me with confusion while I explained the situation to her. She asked where our child was living. I replied that he was at home with myself and my husband since he birth. She then asked, “Well, what happens if you “fail” to meet the standards in any of these areas, financially or medically?”. The answer is, nothing. As I am the sole guardian of my child, he stays with us.
Every piece of information about our lives was contained in that application. We are being evaluated as if we are adopting a child that is not already living with us since birth. Given how much we have sacrificed to bring our son into the world and care for him, I was livid at having to do a medical to ensure that I was fit enough for the job of being his mother.
When I expressed this anger to close supports, the common reaction was that although frustrating, it was just a blanket policy in place, so that step parents that may not be suitable for adoption are revealed. “Try not to take it personally”. But therein lies the true farce of this process. Huge amounts of time and resources ensuring everyone gets through this exhaustive preliminary stage, and once the paper work is done, only then are they actually looking at the individual situation of the child. Despite what they claim, this is clearly not in the best interest of our son.
We are trying to adopt a child that is already ours. If for some reason the process fails, he is still our child. The stress and energy going into this is utterly pointless.