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Guest Post – Adoption & Drug Users

Firstly, thank you very much to Scottish Mum for letting me guest post on her blog.

I wanted to write something relevant to her readers and I wasn’t sure which route to go down. However, I was listening to a debate on a radio show the other day about adoption and the lengthy process it has become and how this in itself is causing more potential trauma to children in care and I thought this seemed a good topic.

According the BAAF statistics, from April 2010 to March 2011, there were 3660 children under the age of 1 in care. Yet, only 60 babies under 1 were adopted in the same period. The average age of a child at adoption is 3 years and 10 months. To me, this seems rather old to have such a massive change of circumstance. They will have started at nursery and be not far off starting school by that age. If children were placed earlier in their lives, surely there would be less risk of them being scarred mentally by the whole process.


Whilst the adoption process is long for prospective adoptive parents, it needs to be, to ensure that the right number of checks have been carried out, and steps taken to prepare those wanting to adopt. However, the court process to get a child into an adoptive family is what seems to hold the process up. The reason for this is that the court puts the mothers needs above that of the baby. Whilst this is reasonable (they might be able to look after their children once they have dealt with issues), what kind of impact is it having on the child? What, I thought, about the babies born to drug users who are unable to look after their baby? Well, it appears that the interest of the mother comes first in these cases too. The courts will keep the baby with the mother (or in foster care) whilst the mother sees if she can ‘get clean’.

Now I may be cynical but, having worked with drug users (and previously covered the topic on my blog here), I have never once met someone addicted to drugs who didn’t put the next hit before everything else in their lives (however much they insist otherwise). So should the interests of these babies not be taken into account? They have potentially already had a rough start in life, like many babies born to drug users, they might have already had to withdraw from the drugs passed to them in the womb by their mother. How many times does a baby or toddler need to be taken into care whilst the mother ‘gets clean’ and is then returned to the mother only to be taken back into care when she falls foul to addiction again?

Research by Drugscope back in 2003 suggested that there were between 250,000 and 350,000 children born to drug misusing parents. With the numbers of drug users rising year on year, the number of children affected is increasing. The only way to stop this, is to offer effective, realistic treatment to the parents.

Whilst I appreciate that there are drug users out there who desperately want to stop taking drugs and will do anything in their means to make sure this happens, they really are the minority. Unless the mother moves away from her current situation, contacts and friends, she will find it all too easy to slip back into the old habits. It is possible to beat addiction and fight for your children, as the article here shows. 

I am absolutely not advocating snatching babies from drug users as soon as they are born, but maybe the balance needs to sway towards what is best for the baby. The first three years of their lives are so valuable in how they are shaped as individuals and how they judge the world in the future.



Written By
@helpfulmum from You”re Not From Round Here





8 thoughts on “Guest Post – Adoption & Drug Users

  1. Thanks for this post

  2. A distant family member of mine has two adopted sons whose birth mother is a drug user. It made me a little sad that they kind of claimed ownership of the second boy before he was even born when they found out his mother was pregnant again and still using drugs. It was already decided and pretty much signed for before he was born that he would be adopted…
    I guess the main thing is the two boys are loved and have a great family, they’re both minute which is put down to their birth mother’s addictions but aside from that they are perfectly healthy, which in itself is another blessing 🙂
    Great post.

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