Adoption Resources

Adoption Day August 9th, 2011, Chris, the social worker, the guardian and the children outside the Royal Courts of Justice in LondonWhen we started out on our adoption journey, I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could. It really did help, but it was so difficult to get what I needed, so I wanted to share.

If you haven’t visited my other blog, A Sister’s Legacy, to get our back story, our adoption was an international (UK to USA) kinship (our children were our nephew and niece from my husband’s side) adoption. We officially started this process in February 2010 and our adoption finalized in August 2011 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. We lived in the UK between January and August 2011, and were considered kinship foster carers while we were there. Both the UK and the USA are signatories to The Hague Convention on Adoption, so that added another level of complexity.

Most of these books, games and equipment we got from Amazon, and I finally got smart towards the end and stared buying the books used (doh!). I also spent a lot of time listening to podcasts and researching online. I think my family despaired of me at times!

I’ve added a list of the service providers we used, with a small review of each one. Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this in more detail.

Books, Games and equipment

These are the books we found especially useful for us as parents:

These we found less useful, but still some good ideas:

These were particularly difficult to get into, so only worth reading if you are a social work professional or therapist maybe?

These were useful to share with the children:

We got these games to help integrate the children into our family and they have been received with mix success I have to admit:

We also got these items because we had been told that one of our children was likely to need them.

Turned out to be less of a problem, but the waterproof mattress pad is great.


We waited 2 hours in immigration at LAX, after a 10 hour flight and an 8 hour time difference - but we were home!I can’t stress how important these podcasts were for me. While I was doing all this research I was running my landscaping business so I would listen to them at every moment I had: driving to client appointments or driving to visit a job site. When we were first back home and things were pretty tough, I would listen to them again just to get some grounding and remind myself of some of the reasons why our children were behaving the way they did.
  • Dawn Davenport is an awesome woman who runs a website and podcast called Creating a Family. The really cool thing is that she interviews these adoption experts on her show, and it turns out that they are the same ones who wrote all the important books I listed. It’s like going to a whole set of great seminars for free. She also posts regularly to her blog, her Facebook page and her Twitter feed.
  • The Foster Parenting Podcast is a very cool resource for those looking to become foster or adoptive parents. I loved that I could download all the episodes and listen along as Tim and Wendy travelled from newly registered/qualified foster parents to adoptive parents of two wonderful little girls.
  • The National CASA podcast is another great resource for potential adoptive parents. In case you are not familiar, CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. They are a volunteer organization and their role is to “Advocate for abused and neglected children to ensure that their needs do not go unheard”. The CASA podcasts are useful for children who are coming from a foster care situation as they can help you get an insight into the legal process.


Christmas in August - we had been expecting to have the children with us for Christmas 2010, but we didnt get home until August 2011

  • I initially spent a lot of time trying to figure out how The Hague Convention on Adoption worked, and how (and if) it would affect us. I got a lot of great information from The State Department’s Adoption website. They have a special section on The Hague, and they also show country specific requirements and statistics – here is the one for the UK
  • I also found the website for the local authority in the UK who acted as the adoption agency there. In our case this was Kent County Council, but obviously that is dependent on where your child is geographically located.

Service Providers

  • We initially contacted a local immigration lawyer with the hopes that he could help us. He probably could have, but he seemed so negative, he wanted what seemed like such a lot of money ($12-14K), and he told us it would take at least two years. At that time we were just not interested in hearing that, so we didn’t use him.
  • For our home study report we used Across The World Adoptions. They are (were – it’s a regular renewal process) Hague Accredited, which was important to us, and they are based in California. They initially told us they would work with us for the whole process, since they already had another family adopting in a similar situation, but once our home study was complete, they told us they couldn’t help, and referred us on. Perhaps we were just too high maintenance, but maybe they just knew it would be very complex and were being honest.
  • We then worked with Steffas and Associates (Irene Steffas) in Georgia. Her office was very good in the main, with prompt communication and usually good advice. It did seem like the rules changed under their feet, and so the advice they gave us was sometimes at odds with the advice we were given by The State Department.
  • Steffas could only give us legal advice for the US side of the process, so we ended up retaining Osbornes Solicitors in London. Their partner who specializes in international adoption, Bridget Thompson, was good, but perhaps its just the nature of family law, we found we were always scrabbling around at the last-minute trying to respond to a court document. The child protective legal process was really long and drawn out, and while I understand that the child’s needs must be investigated, there seemed a great deal of mis-steps which slowed things unnecessarily.

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Diane Downey is a full-time mom to four children, two by birth and two by adoption. You can read more about her earlier life as a landscaper or her family’s international kinship adoption story, or just stay tuned for more family fun.

dianeDiane Downey is mom to four children, two by birth and two by adoption. You can read more about her life as a landscaper or her family’s international kinship adoption story, or just stay tuned for more family fun.