How can we best support them?(15 Posts)
My sister and bil were approved for adopting at the end of last year. It has taken then approx 16 months to get to that stage.
Bit of background...dh and I found out I was pregnant (also after trying for a long time and having our own loss) at the same time that they found out they would never be able to have a biological child. We were devastated for them and they were brilliant and really supportive towards us and are great with our ds.
Fast forward to now and they have just received word of a profile they have been offered to consider. I know it's an exciting time for them but also scarey. We are so happy for them but also know they have a long way to go still and whilst we are happy for them this isn't about us or anyone else, it's about them.
How can dh and I best offer our support to them? What did someone do for you at this stage and beyond that really helped you through the process? Any advice would be great.
I have been in your shoes. It is great that you want to help. Right now though there is not much you can do.
Your sister WILL need help once matched. It can go really quickly and their is not much time to get sorted after matching panel, during intros, to get practically sorted.
They will need age appripriate toys and clothes, bedding, a cot or bed etc. Be there to fetch and carry or to cook and clean while they do other stuff. Whatever they want really
Once they have confirmation I do plan to cook and do any mundane things they need...my mum done all that for me when my ds was born and it was fantastic. I don't know how I could have managed without her in that respect, she just let me get on eith being a new mum and she was in the background keeping our house reasonably tidy and feeding us.
I don't suppose one they have the child living with them that it would be much different from how I felt, trying to keep on top of things so I could do all that.
Just now I'm trying to be an ear but also trying not to keep asking how they are getting on...I know how overbearing wellmeaning people can be.
Thanks for your reply, it was helpful and your right, I doubt they will have much time to organise the basics like cots and carseats so we can help with that if they want us to.
The thing I found most difficult was goingagainst my natural instict to want to visit the new family. Because the child was not a tiny baby and has already been moved around a lot it is important to let the family bond and make sure the child feels secure.
If that means cooking a lasagne and leaving it on the doorstep rather than going in then that is what you need to do.
Oh and good luck. Gaining an adoptive chuld into the wider family is awesome.
I definitely agree with them needing time to bond. The agency they are with recommend at least a month alone before introducing family/friends. I think that's a great idea and we will wait until they are ready. The baby is about 5 months old so she won't be that interested in knowing who we are for a while yet anyway. My ds wasn't that interested in anyone other than dh and I for quite a while...he soon got bored with them. Babies and children have a great way of telling you to leave them alone
That is true. But bear in mind (it may be different with baby babies) but the time from seeing profile to panel to intros and everything the baby will be significantly older than 5 months by the time it has all gone through. Even tinies pick up on a lot!
Yes that's a good point. I'm just learning how this all works and my sister tells me a lot but where timescales are concerned I don't think they even know. I think they were surprised it happened so quickly from what they hear too.
I suppose every child is different and their needs will be different too. We all get on well so I'm sure they will quickly tell us if what we do is helpful or not.
I'm surprised at how emotional I feel for them, and it's not about me at all, I'm just so happy for them with everything they have had to go through to even get to this stage. They were expecting a child of around the 2 years age group and were surprised themselves, I'm so pleased that they will at least get to do a bit of the baby stage for themselves. Being involved with my ds is different from actually being able to do it themselves.
I know exactly how you feel.
I read threads on here where chikdren who aren't blood are treated like they are second rate. But when you come from where we do blood means nothing. Your ds is special because he is wanted and hard fought for. An adoptive chikd is wanted and hard fought for. It is different but the end results arw the same. Some very wanted, very loved and very special children.
Exactly! An adpotive child is in a lot of cases harder fought for!
I see their future adoptive child as my future niece or nephew in the same way I would their biological child.
Recently I have came up against very ignorant view points, basically as you say, people who can't envisage treating an adoptive child equally within the family. I see no point in adopting if you are not going to do it wholeheartedly and I really don't understand people who think in this way.
I've certainly learned throughout life that it isn't always blood relations who are there for you, or support you in tough times. Although, having said that, my family are very good to me but I have seen it happen to people close to me with their families.
You sound like a fantastic sister and very understanding. I would second what others have said. My sister was amazing - she didn't push to come and visit (as the in-laws family did), but waited until we thought it the right time her her to meet DD. She celebrated with us, and was overjoyed at being an auntie at last. She offered advice and support when it was needed.
All I really wanted was an ear to listen to my worries and some peace to bond with our baby.
One practical thing -don't ask them about their baby's background. It's confidential and they are not allowed to tell anyone. It's often hard for new parenst when others ask-they don't want to offend and often when they say " it's confidential" , Others act all hurt and suggest they should trust them.
If you hear other family or friends speculating or gossiping about the circumstances surrounding the adoption, please discourage them from doing so.
The reason is that the information belongs to the child. If he or she wishes to share it with his or her extended family when he/she is older, that's his/her choice . The child has very few rights in this situation, please don't try to take it away from them.
I've seen a great deal of hurt caused in families where this has not been respected.
I didn't realise about the information being confidential.
I haven't asked too much anyway as I feel they need to have their own time and thoughts plus I didn't want to pry...people often give opinions asked for or not and it can make you sway from your own original thinking.
They have told us some things, I'm sure they haven't told us about lots which is fine too, they will tell what they feel is appropriate and people don't need to know all the details anyway. I will be happy if they are. Glad you told me that though.
Not to ask too many questions is good advice. It is the child's story, not up for gossip or speculation or shock or horror (not that I think you would react like that but some people do.) When I adopted I found it awkward when people talked disparagingly about the birth mother without knowing or understanding the background and, while they were well-meaning, it didn't help me or my child.
I suppose the same can be said about people/life in general...being critical is usually the quickest and easiest option.
People shouldn't need to know anyway, now that it's pointed out I can really see that point. Opinions aren't often helpful even when you have a biological child, in these circumstances they would be even more unhelpful.
I actually never noticed just how judgemental people can be until I had my own baby and like everything it can be frustrating as others don't live your life so can't possibly understand every aspect of your decision making.
We will be there in whatever capacity they need us...I was blessed to have them and my Mum to do things for me that often get forgotten
like cleaning! Thanks so much everyone for all your comments and advice, it really was helpful.
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