Overseas v home adoption

(22 Posts)
unusednickname Sun 24-Feb-13 16:14:29

Sorry for all these very newbie questions but I'm finding it really difficult to find information on t'internet sad I think the government doesn't want me to know about overseas adoption and those who do want me to 'join' (i.e. give them money) before they tell me anything. And I know that mumsnet can answer anything so...

Anyway - in a nutshell the question is what are the pros and cons of overseas adoption versus uk adoption?

And, given that we're a white family and realistically we would want a child to be as young as possible as we already have a dd - and as healthy as possible for the same reason, would overseas or home adoption be a better bet? I really hate talking about a child like this - as if we have a shopping list - but at present I can't see us realistically changing that sad

I know a lot of people have said that babies are like hen's teeth but does the same go for a young toddler? Is that unrealistic?

Any help gratefully received.

Domjolly Sun 24-Feb-13 17:04:57

It deoends on what yu can offer if yur a young couple and i mean in your early 30s and your a SHAM in terms of local adoption yu will most likey have the edge over other white cople who are olderr and need to return to work after adoption leave is up

Sw reallly do like it when one parent is at home full time

And you can look across tye whole of the uk on the other hand i believe yu have will have to pay for your home study when going international and will then have to meet the countrys requirments also i have been told intenatioal adopters will be the bottom of LAs list as they will always deal with loacl adoptors first which means you will wait along time for checks ,homestudys , prep group ect

Also even though the child may be the same colour as you the LA here will still want to know you can meet the chikds cultural needs

unusednickname Sun 24-Feb-13 17:22:59

Thanks. I'm 40 dh is 36. So not young but not old either smile

And we'd take our responsibilities for cultural identity very seriously so that shouldn't be a stumbling block...

So difficult to juggle all these things - IVF v keep trying v adoption v overseas adoption... Thanks goodness for MN to get proper opinions - everyone I know is a bit too pregnant to speak to about this iyswim?

Lilka Sun 24-Feb-13 18:07:13

The youngest children will be in the USA and UK - for the UK if you aren't willing to do concurrent planning (you foster a baby where the case is likely to end in adoption, which will be by you if reunion attempts fail) then babies would be 5 months old upwards. 5 and 6 month olds are rare but you do see it. More commonly you'd be looking at 10 months-24 months and this is actually pretty common. If you did do concurrency, the children can be young infants, aged 0-4 months sometimes. Other pros to UK adoption is the process being defined with you knowing exactly what to expect at each stage and so less uncertainty. It's also free with minimal costs involved

In international adoption, it all depends on the country. They all have their own restrictions on a) which parents they accept and b) which children are available for adoption

Adoptions from the US happen, and this is adopting a newborn baby where the expecting mother selects you based on a profile of your family which is shown to her. The babies are all races but often African American, as some AA mothers percieve Europe and Canada as having less racism and therefore a good palce for their child to be. The cons of the US is that it will probably be a very expensive option and the time you wait is unpredictable as you are picked by the birthmother herself so you wait until one comes along who likes you, AND is OK with her child living on a different continent to her. unlike other countries which have more defined timelines. You could wait a couple of months or several years.

In other countries than the US, don't expect a child younger than 1 year, but I believe a couple of countries have children aged 12 months and older. There is usually a legal period a child must be available to domestic adopters before they become avaialble for international adoption

In terms of health, obviously there is unpredictability in adopting a young child, you just do not know how they will develop. For the UK and USA, a background of drug exposure in the womb is pretty common, other countries it depends strongly on the culture, alcohol exposure is pretty prevalent in EE countries. Learning disabilities are also a common background factor. Really, whilst you can know about physical disabilities the child has, and there are plenty of children without or with only mild physical issues, things in the UK/US and some other countries will depend strongly on your attitude to things like drug exposure, learning difficulties and mental health problems in the childs background.

Other things to consider when choosing a country is how much information on the childs background do you ideally want, what about contact with the birth family post adoption, what's your budget limit for IA, what about race of the child etc

We have several international adoptive parents here, nearly all adopted from EE countries (Kazakhstan and Russia) I think

unusednickname Sun 24-Feb-13 20:42:41

Lilka this is really useful information - I had no idea about US babies for example.

I would love to do concurrent planning but I think it would be potentially heartbreaking or at least incredibly disruptive for our daughter sad

And yes of course children don't come with a manufacturer's guarantee and children in care will have had a rocky road to where they are. My concerns are about dd potentially having to look after a sibling with a serious condition when we are gone. Otherwise I think we would be able to seriously consider older children, children with serious health issues and sibling groups...

Lilka Sun 24-Feb-13 22:54:24

Yes, health problem and issues the child may have are serious things to think about when you have existing children (I mean they are anyway, but already having children adds a big extra layer to it)

Obviously when determining what ages to go for, your daughters own age is a major factor, but in terms of health issues, older children are not more likely to have serious physical issues than young ones are. If anything when it comes to physical and developmental issues, it is more certain with older children as you can see how they've developed thus far. I guess the concern over older children is with regards to emotional/attachment/behaviour issues which may come up (unless your daugher is still young)? IMHO, age is a much less important factor than individual personality and the childs experiences when it comes to problems in these areas. Older children have usually experienced trauma over a longer period than little ones so there's more potential for this to have impacted them. However, quite a lot of older children do very well in adoption. Something to think about when it comes to older children is whether you definitely want to experience some of their babyhood/toddler years or whether you could consider slightly older ones without serious issues

unuednickname, we have a bio son and a dd adopted from Russia. We live in Ireland though, so it may be different procedures from the UK. ur dd was 141/2 months when she came home. Domestic adoption wasn't an option for us because there are no children available to adopt here - this may change with the Children's Referendum that was passed here last year.

If there's anything you want to know about our experience with Russia, let me know. It was a very positive experience and I know a lot of other (Irish) couples who have also successfully adopted from Russia. Our dd is a little treasure.

I felt exactly the same as you about the need to have a healthy child fo ds's sake, that we wouldn't be putting a 'burden' on him if anythig was to happen to us. Then when we met dd, got her medical and that scared the pants off us. But by the time we met her, we had fallen for her and had decided that only the only thing that would stop us would be if she had something terminal because we thought ds was just too young to put him through that.

As it turns out, she's perfect. We know there may be issues in the future because as you said, thesechildren have a rocky road before they get to us, but once that child is yours, you know you can cope with anythng. Got to run, will check back later.

unusednickname Tue 26-Feb-13 08:05:43

Thanks Lilka and Happy. It's both the attachment and the behavioural which would worry us - the behavioural wrt dd (who isn't yet 3). And yes - the idea of (through what's basically a desire of ours to grow our family that we might burden her in the years to come) Thanks for your very knowledgeable posts on this thread. It's really helpful.

Happy - your story is very good to hear. I had no idea there were no children for adoption in Ireland sad

maindoors Tue 26-Feb-13 17:22:40

Hi,

Just chipping in here briefly as we have adopted twice from China and now have a gorgeous 6.5year old girl (adopted at 15 months) and a wonderful 2.5 year old boy whose adoption was listed as Special Needs (adopted at 2 with cleft lip and palate). Couldn't be happier that we adopted as we did and they are the most wonderful children ever! I think there are a few things to be aware of...

- there is very very very little ICA from the UK,(think something like 150 per year from the entire world) and overall the numbers at the moment are going down. Overseas adoption is broadly becoming "special needs" adoption though what constitutes "special needs" is very different from UK definitions in China. And it costs...

- it's a lottery...the biggest of your lives and just like giving birth there aint no guarantees. Sorry obvious thing to say but worth remembering as you try and pick your way through this.

- attachment is one of the biggest hurdles to deal with in adoption and younger doesn't necessarily mean that it won't be an issue...we have had more problems with our fostered daughter adopted at 15 months than our son who spent 2 years in an orphanage...like I said it's a lottery for them and you

- your LA attitude or that of a VAA that you approach is key. Adopting domestically does not involve a sequential list...what I mean is you don't stand in a long line and wait your turn...all depends how the agency and SWs view you and what you have to offer. Others can always jump in in front...your "demands" will feed into this too.

Right, I said briefly didn't I...sorry got to go...hope that helps...

unusednickname Tue 26-Feb-13 18:53:51

It does thanks - one question I'd have is that when you say 'attachment issues' are they severe? What sorts of behaviours? And can they be resolved by adulthood? That's three questions...

unusednickname Tue 26-Feb-13 18:55:14

That thanks is supposed to be a smile

maindoors Tue 26-Feb-13 19:28:23

I haven't got the hang of using these emoticon thingies either!! So just overuse exclamation marks instead!!!

If you are considering adoption of any variety then you should read up on attachment and trauma - lots of stuff on the internet/youtube - key authors are Dan Siegal, Bruce Perry, Deborah Gray, Karyn Purvis. The spectrum is wide. Only 65% I think of the "non-clinical" population, so that's all of us, are said to have secure attachment anyway. And yes in theory you can do lots to improve and help it but any child adopted will have had a disrupted attachment pattern. Some cope well with that, others don't and it's not always apparent at the outset how it will pan out. Personality - yours and theirs -will also play into it and just how much time you have to work on this but it's why adoption parenting is considered "parenting plus". What I suppose I am trying to get across is that while you try to work out what is best for you and your family, you would have to be prepared for a fair bit extra. Our attachment issues have not been "severe" in my opinion but have caused me a fair amount of grief and sadness and mean that my daughter has had an extra life burden too. But that's adoption...very much a bittersweet experience.

And just rereading this back...realise that this could come across as negative. I am not negative about adoption at all...it's the best decision I ever made in my life...besides marrying my husband...but like a lot of worthwhile things in life it aint easy...

Lilka Tue 26-Feb-13 19:36:40

Hope you don't mind me answering

Attachment is a spectrum. Attachment issues therefore (think of it a bit like the autistic spectrum) run the gamut from being 'mild' (something which doesn't hugely impact daily life, but still needs supporting and does have some impact) problems with trust and feeling insecure, to being very severe. However severe problem with great impact are usually referred to as 'attachment disorder' rather than attachment issues. AD is a psyhciatric disorder which can be extremely serious. Attachment issues can be resolved by adulthood with the right support, but it's very much about the individual child and who they are. Your natural temperament affects the way you form relationships as does all your experiences and relationships from birth into adulthood and beyond. You could have two children with some attachment issues and parent them exactly the same, and one child might 'heal' whilst the other does not. However just because a child has some attachment issues, does not mean you can't have a relatively normal and certainly a happy family life. It would probably affect some of your parenting though.

About 40% of the adult population apparently have insecure attachments/attachment issues. Obviously 40% of the population are not completely dysfunctional or having major problems. However it's common to hear people say that they have problems getting close to new people, that they naturally distrust partners, or tend to get clingy, they might have some social problem with friends. For some of those people, this is a problem with having an insecure attachment style.

Behaviours vary - depends on how severe the problem actually is, and on what the childs 'attachment style' is. Attachment style basically means their style of relating to people and forming relationships. There are 4 styles - secure, avoidant (insecure), ambivalent (insecure) and disorganised (insecure). Two children with a differnt style may behave quite a lot differently from each other even though they both have attachment issues

I'm sorry if I have not explained well, I hope that makes sense

Lilka Tue 26-Feb-13 20:05:39

Maybe it would help if i used my own kids as examples

DS - has some 'mild' issues with feeling insecure, which does not hugely impact our life. However he needs support and extra help and understanding. He is a happy little boy generally and a joy to parent

- He clung to me at first, and continued to have abnormally intense seperation anxiety for years. This is much better now, indeed years of a secure home have resolved or lessened the impact of many of his issues
- On starting school, had and had for a long while, a fear in the back of his mind (a very real fear) that I might abandon him and not come pick him up again. This had a negative impact on his school work for a while
- He tended (and still does to some extent) to be quite compliant and never wanting to get into trouble, often crying and getting disproportionately upset at being told off for a very minor infraction. Again, this is rooted in his fear of me sending him away

Years of reassuring him of my being there forever and after school to pick him up has helped, as does giving him something of mine to keep with him in school to help him feel that I care and will come back. Just an example of dealing with it

DD1 - Asssessed as having attachment issues which were moderate IMO, she has an avoidant style. As an adult she still has some issues, as a ~10-13 year old she had serious issues, but very good therapy went a long way to helping her heal somewhat

- Very independent and reluctant to allow anyone to care for her, does not like the idea of other people having power over her
- Controlling, although not so much nowadays. However when she moved in, she very much needed a sense of having control. She therefore tried many behaviours to make her feel like she was in charge, and could manipulate the way I reacted and felt
- Would not seek comfort from me, not at all tactile. This remain true to a certain extent, although by nature she is not a tactile person anyway. She finds it hard to share her feelings, and trust others.

DD2 - Assessed as having an ambivalent style of attachment, also having quite a few other problems though so her behaviours are not solely resulting from attachment issues

- Attention seeking, needing to feel the centre of attention, feeling threatened by being ignored. Negative attention is all fine and good, it's still attention
- Controlling, same as DD1, although she tries it on in different ways
- Very clingy, goes along with being attention seeking
- However, will also push me away, refuse affection or explode/tantrum/be aggressive sometimes
- Can be overly upset when being parted from me for any significant period

unusednickname Tue 26-Feb-13 21:55:55

Thanks so much guys thanks

I really appreciate these stories. I know I'm coming across as 'know nothing' and I do feel I am a bit in this but actually I've worked with vulnerable teens for years and as parents we're attachment parents (if you wanted to pop us in a little box smile) so I do know a bit.

What I don't know is to what extent you can ameliorate damaged attachment when you catch it fairly young and parent as well as you can with that in mind. And there isn't an answer to that but your stories go some way to giving me some idea and for that I'm very grateful smile.

Your children are obviously very lucky to have found you.

EverythingsBeachy Tue 05-Mar-13 22:59:12

unused I've found you're "I know nothing posts" very useful, as I'm trying to weigh up adoption versus surrogacy, so keep them coming!

EverythingsBeachy Tue 05-Mar-13 23:00:56

Lilian, how old we're your dc's when you adopted them?

EverythingsBeachy Tue 05-Mar-13 23:01:40

Sorry auto correct, lilka!

Lilka Tue 05-Mar-13 23:53:11

My DD1 was 10 and a half
My DD2 was just turned 8
My DS was 23 months (sibling placement, DD2's biological half brother)

I chose to adopt older children, and whilst it obviously has it's own challenges, I wouldn't change it smile

Lilka Tue 05-Mar-13 23:57:52

They are now 27, very nearly 17, and 8

Kewcumber Wed 06-Mar-13 14:33:33

my ds is very like lilkas and has at certain points suffered with separation anxiety beyond what most parents would think normal but certainly nothing that we struggle to cope with. he is 7 now (adopted at 1) and I would say that his anxious attachment has improved steadily since he came home and quite dramatically over the past six months. But he still has an underlying anxiety about me and where I am.

In my experience it is often down to the personality of the child though I do suspect that Ds's situation of benign neglect has resulted in less damage than an abusive carer.

Domjolly Wed 06-Mar-13 15:44:25

Op in terms of attachemnet its so hard to say it really depends on so much

For example

How they were removed eg were the police called front door kicked off or was it a planef move or did mum drop them off to ss or

How long the child has suffred the abuse/neglect for

What work the foster carers have done with the child before hand just like adopters some foster carers are better than others

How much/little conatct they have had with birth parents during there time in care

Also the quailty of conatct some children have huge amounts of conatct which is to often very often poor quailty

Also can dwpend on the adopters themsleves just like with all parents people have diffrent skills and you dont know if you can be a good parent until they arrive

Hope i havent confused you more but it depnds on so many diffrent things if some had one soild answer they would be very rich indeed

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