Adoption chatters

(40 Posts)
Lilka Mon 08-Jul-13 19:19:28

Fancy another chat thread anyone? All welcome, chat about absolutely anything smile

I'm enjoying some 'me' time after we all had an early tea

We're doing okay. I've continued my blog and I think it's going well. I've also got a couple of other 'me' activities on the go.

Doe anyone remember when I posted about DD2 re-enacting her past, or creating neglect/adoption etc on her Sims 2 game? She's back at that recently (I still am clueless about what to think about this whole issue). She created a her Sim and a birth mum Sim, and made them be friends, then made them fall out (and slap and attack each other). Yesterday I was (subtly) watching her while on my own laptop, and it looks like she's making them try and make up with each other and be more friendly again. Is this a sign she is thinking of finally responding to her mum's messages and talking again? confused They haven't spoken since DD was hospitalised, birth mum stopped trying to contact after DD blocked her on FB and changed her phone number. I really hope DD isn't thinking of contacting her sad

In other news, DD2 got herself bitten by a frustrated Gerbil she handled too roughly. Poor Gerbil, but honestly I feel very sorry for DD2 as well, she really does try to be kind to them.

Anyway...how is everyone? smile

Meita Mon 08-Jul-13 20:17:59

Hiya Lilka,
I'm always happy for a chat. Though adoption is in some ways still very theoretical for me, in other ways it's very real because I spend so much time thinking and reading about it.

Actually I've been looking for adoption blogs, any hints to help me find yours?

That's really intriguing about the Sims role playing your DD2 is doing. A bit like playing with dolls but for older kids and in the 21st century! Perhaps playing through what might happen if they did meet again will help her realising that she doesn't really want to? Or perhaps it is a sign that she is absolutely sure she doesn't want to and only because of this certainty she has the mental space to play it out virtually? Just trying to see possible positives here ;)

The new technologies around do affect how we grow up (and parent) in so many ways. My birth DS can't draw straight lines yet but he can type his name on the keyboard smile

Anybody else out there for a chat?

Hi Lilka as I am not yet an adopter I am sure my thoughts are not as focussed and feel free to ignore.

How are you keeping in yourself?

Regarding your DD2, to me it does sound like she is considering contacting birth mum again. Whether or not she does may depend on how she plays out the scenario herself.

Has she got any new therapy in place? I am guessing that none has been offered. Delighted if proved wrong. It seems crazy she had this bad incident recently and has not been offered any.

I wonder if her relationship or lack of it, with birth mum, would be a thing you, DD2 and her therapist could work on, how to have or not have a relationship with birth mum? It may be that it is all wrapped up in how she feels about herself and she will continue to bash herself against that relationship while trying to work out who she or her birth mum is in all this.

This is, of course, no reflection at all on your parenting, you are a stable constant and a source of peace in her life (I expect very much so), her birth mum is not, but she is part of who DD2 is/was/ in some way.

DD2 really should have a safe way to work this out and it seems she has chosen Sims. That is OK as far as it goes but Sims can't really help her think outside of her own experiences. How would it be for her to put boundaries in place, to experience a friendship with birth mum that is more like an auntie or old family friend than the one she attempted before which was more like a long lost mum/big sister/best friend etc.

Does that make any sense?

A skilled therapist could help her (maybe) to see how she can have a relationship, virtual, long-distance or other with her birth mum without it turning into a combustible fireball.

Maybe she can't have a safe relationship with her in real life; maybe a therapist would help her see that. Is there any way she can get the help she needs?

I am sure you are doing such a fab job.

Are you looking after yourself?

Lilka Mon 08-Jul-13 21:39:20

Meita My blog is linked up to MN so I think I can just give the address straight out now

My blog is at lastmother.wordpress.com

If you want to find other blogs, I recommend the website The Adoption Social which hosts a weekly blog link up. Click on the Weekly Adoption Shout Out bit of the website, you'll find links to loads and loads of fantastic blogs there smile

Italian and Meita We have no proper therapeutic input now, no. I was quite astounded when DD first starting acting real life things out on Sims, but then I thought exactly what you just said, that maybe it's just like acting out abuse with dolls, only a 21st century version. I do worry that Sims, being full picture and sound and 'in your face' rather than 'all in your head' (if that makes sense), is more immersive than dolls and so might have a different effect. But last time I posted about this, a foster parent told me she has had foster kids use Sims like this and it has been helpful. So there we go, a new type of way to explore neglect and birth families for the modern world!!

I don't know whether I'm reading too much into this but just seeing her play out a 'lets try and make up' worries me. Meita you may be right this may end up being helpful, I don't know. I'm confused confused

Italian yes I am trying my best to look after myself smile

Lilka Mon 08-Jul-13 21:40:29

Sorry blog link is here - Last Mother

Lilka can social services not provide any theraputic help?

Meita Tue 09-Jul-13 01:34:23

Thanks Lilka I've already had a good read smile

I was thinking about how special it must be having young grandchildren in your life, when your own children only came to you when they were already much older. Special on so many levels.

But best get myself away to bed now!

Moomoomie Tue 09-Jul-13 12:11:54

Hello all. Enjoying the good weather?
Dd3 who is just 6 had a friend over for tea yesterday from school (no big deal! I hear mothers all over the world shouting) but for her it was, it went really well and they did play fairly well together, although friend is very bossy and kept telling dd what to do! I expect dd has to contend with a lot of that at school.
Also I have a meeting with the school SENCO on Thursday, so good vibes for that please. I have a very long list of things I want to discuss.

Meita Tue 09-Jul-13 14:38:14

Hi Moomoomie, wishing you best of luck on Thursday! Lists are good. Just don't do what I tend to do and only really check your list after the meeting is over...
You can wish me luck on Thursday too, we have an initial meeting with SW. <nervous>

Devora Tue 09-Jul-13 22:24:31

Hi all, well I've been ill forever and am now waiting for the results of the latest x ray. Hugely dull.

dd2 is starting school nursery this September and we had hoped to keep her on with her current childminder for a few hours a week. There's been issues building with her cm for quite awhile - I think cm is getting very bored of her job and resents every minute when dd is with her and not either asleep or watching TV. But dd is fond of her and as she really, really struggles with the transition to new caregivers, we thought it best not to change her nursery and cm at the same time.

BUT last week I bumped into cm who started going on about how dd is by far the most challenging of her charges, that she really hits her buttons, that she would have called quits on her long ago but she has a principle never to give up on any child. I was shock. I asked her what on earth was going on - as this was the first I had heard of problems - and she said, "She's just so clingy and needy, it drives me mad". I reminded her of the conversations we'd had right at the start about dd's attachment issues and how they manifest, and she said, "Oh I know. And I know she loves me. She just really gets on my nerves sometimes". And went on to say that it's difficult because she only has dd in the afternoons and by then she, the cm, is tired and the last thing she wants is to be playing hide and seek.

I felt like crying. dd has had no such problems with pre-school - perhaps because they accept they are there to actively engage with the children, rather than seeing it as a nuisance getting in the way of their lives. I feel terribly guilty that I've basically been sending dd to someone who finds her a pain in the arse. I don't think I've got any choice, have I: I'm going to have to stop the cm and find some way of caring for her ourselves when she's not at pre-school. At least for the first term.

Lilka Tue 09-Jul-13 22:48:33

Moomoomie I hope the meeting goes well, and Meita I hope your goes well too smile

It was strange but wonderful suddenly having a tiny baby around yes. I don't regret adopting older children (although DS was only 23 months which is still very little). I wish I had had MY children as babies, but not any other children as babies, I hope that makes sense! I've become much more a baby person as I've got older funnily enough, I would never have wanted to adopt a little baby when I first applied to adopt, but now I just love having a little baby about the place (soon to be 2 babies!).

Devora Your poor DD2 sad I agree stopping the CM is probably the best option, but how horrid for you all. So sorry to hear you've been ill as well, I hope the results are not bad.

Meita Tue 09-Jul-13 23:07:17

Oh dear Devora. I'm sure your DD could do without what sounds essentially like rejection from someone she is fond of. sad

Lilka on the Adoption UK forum there is someone who was asking about how to deal with jealousy between new grandchild and teenage AC. Maybe you could help? It's in the section for adopting with BC. Sorry I don't mean to impose, please feel free to ignore.

I just received my copy of 'When Daisy met Tommy'. (The story of a little girl and her adopted brother.) Anyone know it? Mmh can't wait to get tucked in smile

Moomoomie Wed 10-Jul-13 08:09:25

Oh Devora. Sorry to hear you've been ill. It is so difficult as parents to be unwell and have to keep going.
Sounds really sad about the CM, she sounds very jaded and needs to find another job. If there is any way to remove dd from her without to much stress, it will be for the best. It just shows that however much we inform the care givers they really do not understand the complexities of adoption.
Hope your meeting is positive tomorrowmeita

Lilka Fri 12-Jul-13 13:17:18

Meita and Moomoomie how did your meetings go? smile

Meita Fri 12-Jul-13 16:53:00

Hi Lilka,
well ours was actually only today - I had the days confused! Luckily realised before we set off ;)

It was good and insightful. Basically it was like an 'information evening' thing but with just us and the speaker. So lots of opportunity to ask specific questions!
We are interested in concurrent planning (though by no means sure that is what we want). One thing that has come up, whenever we have talked to an agency/LA, was that they wouldn't take us on until our DS was older (he is nearly 3 now). Due to the age difference mainly. Though with concurrent planning, even if we started the process right away, had it finished in a record 6 months, and then had an immediate placement - all of which i find quite unlikely - we'd have an age difference of about 3 years. So I am glad that this LA at least does not exclude us immediately for this age-difference reason. Another point that has been raised at several VA/LAs is that they would only accept us when DS is at school, so as that he would not be too troubled/disrupted by the new AC, and so that we would have more time to spend one-on-one with AC. However this person we met today saw it differently, saying that in her opinion it was the other way round - DS settling at school, then AC arriving and totally unsettling him again. So she thinks it's actually better for BC if BC and AC have some time together before BC starting school. That was an interesting thought and encouraging! And with DS in nursery school there would still be some one-on-one time with AC.

The other thing that has definitely given me pause is what she said about FAS. She said that the vast majority of children placed for adoption (she said something like 95%) had FAS. Our 'homework' is to read up on FAS to see if we would be ok with that. Now from what I know about FAS I somehow cannot imagine that this is correct. Maybe I am projecting from myself, but somehow I don't think that most adopters would be happy to knowingly adopt a child who has FAS. I know that in most cases you can't exclude the possibility, and we have discussed this and are ok with it. But we have also decided that we wouldn't want to knowingly adopt a child who would never be able to live independently. And from what I know to date, that would exclude known FAS children, and hence, if she was right, 95% of children waiting for adoption?! So well, I guess I'm going to have to do more research and more reading! And thinking!

Lilka Fri 12-Jul-13 17:09:13

Glad it went well smile

She said that the vast majority of children placed for adoption (she said something like 95%) had FAS

That's definitely not true

It IS true that a large proportion of the birth mothers of waiting children, use alcohol as a coping mechanism and it IS true that a large proportion of waiting children will have been exposed to alcohol in utero

However, that alcohol exposure may not have been extensive enough to cause any issues (or may not have been consumed in the time period which would have caused issues in that particular child). FAS is quite a serious condition which doesn't just cause emotional/behavioural issues but also often physical problems - not just the classic facial symtpoms, but things like hearing and vision problems etc. There is no way that 95% of waiting children have full blown FAS. It's also true that there are few adoptive parents willing to adopt a child with FAS

If you want my opinion, I think a significant proprtion of waiting children may have some issues caused by drug or alcohol exposure - BUT those issues are the whole range from very mild to very serious, and in quite a few children the fact that alcohol is the causing factor of their issues might never even be picked up on, because lets face it, unless the birth mother is an alcoholic, ss might never document drinking in pregnancy. Emotional/behavioural symptoms of FASD are also shared with other conditions as well.

My DD2 has many issues and everyone thinks alcohol is the cause of some of them, she has FAE. She does not have FAS though, she doesn't have any facial features or physical problem associated with FAS. On the other hand, my DD1 and DS have no known exposure to alcohol (with DS I'm pretty sure exposure was nil because DD2 and DS birth mother was an alcoholic and I've never heard of an alcoholic quitting then suddenly being able to secretly consume a couple of glasses a week in secret without falling off the wagon), DD1 there's no way of knowing and in the mid 80's awareness of alcohol causing damage was not like it is today so I expect she was exposed to a bit of alcohol but not enough to cause problems).

Meita Fri 12-Jul-13 21:25:19

Lilka thanks, that makes more sense with what I had thought. I think she generally just wanted to make very clear that adopting a child is never 'easy'. That all - well in practical terms anyway - children who are adopted will have specific problems and difficulties. I guess some prospective adopters go into the process thinking 'but mine will be ok' or 'sure, I can deal with some minor issues and then it's just a case of loving them and all will be well' and it is probably best to disavow people of such notions. <not excluding myself here - I catch myself thinking like this at times too> I guess it's better to go into it with eyes wide open.

Still, now I find myself thinking. Lots of confused thoughts actually. Gah, it's hard this malarkey!

Lilka Fri 12-Jul-13 22:04:28

I think it's very hard for SW's (and I know it's very hard for me too when I'm asked by prospective adopters), to get a balance between realism and, well, the not realistic, while being conscious of our personal bias and being aware that it's all so so subjective - if you ask 100 adopters for a realistic view of the overall wellbeing of adopted children, you are NOT going to get similar answers from all of them, there will be a very wide range of responses. It's the same with SW's too - all of us view 'realistic' differently based on our own experiences and our adopter friends experiences and any other contacts we have, statistics and studies we've read, children a social worker has worked with...mostly if our own personal experience is similar to most of the adoptive parents we know, we assume that we are representative of the whole adoptive parent population. The problem is, we tend to naturally seek out people who are having similar experiences to us!! So I understand that as a prospective parent, you are probably very keen to get the realistic view of how most people are getting on, but it's confusing if and when you get told multiple different things etc

But saying 95% of waiting children have full blown FAS is not realistic full stop.

I try not to use the terms negative and positive either, even though those are frequently used eg. How many adoptive parents do you know who've had a positive experience? Because 'negative' and 'positive' are EXTREMELY subjective terms. When adoptive parents say their experience has been really positive etc they are basing many different things. For instance, there are people who choose to adopt children with FAS and have wonderful lives together and that's sooo positive for them, on the other hand there are adoptive parents who did not want to adopt a child with FASD issues but end up with a child who DOES have these issues, and sometimes they can feel like their experience of parenthood has not been a positive one. Also words like 'successful' are subject to serious personal bias!

I'll tell anyone straight out that all of my kids have dealt with challenges, two of them significant ones, that I currently have a very challenging teen, that we have needed serious therapy and support etc etc, and that I do NOT regret this, consider my family a success story and a positive example of how adoption can change a childs life forever. Oh and how I would adopt an older child with challenges again.

But if I tell this to 10 different prospective parents, what will they think? I bet you several of them will not even understand why I think my story is so positive if my adopted daughter is recently out of a psychiatric ward. Subjective interpretation as well as subjective stories!

Lilka Fri 12-Jul-13 22:10:11

Um, reading that post back I think I kind of started rambling and that's probably a bit confusing and unhelpful

I think I was trying to say that you should take opinions with a pinch of salt

Possible even mine wink shock grin

Devora Fri 12-Jul-13 22:14:58

Before I had any children, I remember thinking how very tangible the downsides of parenting were - you give so much, you give up so much. And how very intangible the positives.

I suppose it's like any relationship: on paper, it's all a lot of work and sacrifice. But still, because you're in love, all that giving and effort is worth it.

Most adoptive families I know love their kids passionately and cope effectively with a range of mild-to-moderate issues. I'm very aware that some have more significant issues to deal with, but the idea that 95% of adopted children have full blown FAS is completely ridiculous.

Moomoomie Sat 13-Jul-13 16:06:20

Well, as a mother of 3, with 2 of them diagnosed with FASD I dispute the SW.
TBH I think the sw's are jumping on the band wagon, I know the professionals near us are!
I had been campaigning for many years th have dd2 dx with FASD, it was only when all involved had been to a conference on it, did they start listening to me.
I think there are a lot of children who are suffering with the damage that their BM alcohol consumption has done, although not as high as 95%
It is worth reading up on it though, there is a lot of information on American web sites.

Moomoomie Sat 13-Jul-13 16:07:48

P.S my meeting with the SENCO was normal. She promised this, that and the other, not a lot of it will actually happen!

Meita Sat 13-Jul-13 16:42:23

Ladies, I really appreciate all your input! I think what I will be trying to find out most about now is what it means in real terms to parent a child with FAS or FASD. I realised that yes on paper it all sounds terribly, terribly demanding, life long giving, with never a hope for improvement. And though I like to think of myself as fairly altruistic in motivation and looking from the point of view of the child, of course they need a loving family too - if anything, they need it more than most! - but I felt it was just being hammered in how bad it would be and how utterly hopeless. More than I could take. Or even if I could take it, more than I would be willing to subject DS to.
But the realities of it have to be more along the lines of if you are able to accept a child for who they are, and find joy and satisfaction in the little things, it's got to be possible, no? I'm not going to go into anything blind, nor am I going to downplay how hard it might be, but I'm not going to let it panic me. Think about it carefully, yes. Run away screaming, no.

Moomoomie, will there be minutes or something of the meeting? I was just thinking, if not, maybe you could e-mail her, listing the promises - then they are on 'paper' and perhaps more real - and if you are sure that not all of it will happen, you could maybe point out which things you would actually most like to happen and should be prioritised? Hope you will get the help you need.

Anyway, how is everyone enjoying the hot weather? What I like most is that we mainly BBQ for cooked meals, drastically reducing the amount of washing up to do ;)

Meita Sat 13-Jul-13 16:52:56

Oh and Lilka I think I know what you are saying. My family, as in the one I grew up in, is the bestest ever smile And yet, my little sister died as a toddler, my older sister has a range of problems meaning she has been stumbling from stable phase to utter chaos for most of her life and until very recently has been living with our parents, which was the only feasible solution for her, and has now moved out at the ripe old age of 38 (still not financially independent), my mum has a condition which effectively disabled her mentally as well as physically for about 7 years (somehow her brain has recovered and although there are now scan-visible holes in her brain, she has recently completed an OU degree) - but yeah, we are good. A success, if you want. I guess that is one reason why I never doubt that you CAN be a good family despite there being massive problems and issues.

Lilka Sun 14-Jul-13 11:49:36

Meita yes that's exactly what I meant. You know that you can be a proper loving family even if you face many difficulties, and I think that's just totally outside the realms of experience for some prospective parents

How is everyone's weekend?

DD2 is glued to the computer. DS is glued to the Star Wars box set. I want to get us out of the house so I suggested a lovely bike ride and was met with the most incredulous expressions - I might as well have suggested a family bonding trip to the sewage works!!

But we are all going out to eat later, which I'm happy about. A few years ago eating out was really hard, we could never go at a really busy time because it was too intense for both of them, and it was just a bit too stressful to contemplate most of the time. Nowadays, DS is totally fine with restaurants and DD2 is also mostly fine, although her food issues rear their heads when faced with a humungous menu.

They can refuse bike rides all they want, but we're cleaning out the Gerbil tank after lunch and NO ONE is getting out of that... <stern mum face>

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