Are we considering adoption for right reasons?

(15 Posts)
oneandnomore Thu 15-Aug-13 16:34:28

We have one bd who is 8. She is a lonely only child, despite us making efforts to have her friends and cousins over to play, going to after school activities and us as a family enjoying our free time together.

I had been thinking about possibly adopting a child, and DH and I agreed to this when we were on hoilday recently. DD asks if she can have a baby sibling at least one a day! We don't want to have another baby, and DD would not really benefit from having a baby in terms of company for her.

Obviously both DH and I have reservations about how the process of adoption and, hopefully, the adopted child will impact on DD. She is very sensitive, and the last thing we want is for there to be long term effect on her from the process or the difficulties of adopted child.

Also, is the fact that we want to adopt to try and negate the way that DD feels about being an only a good enough reason to adopt? DH and I would love another child in the house, and are quite excited about this even though we have worries also.

sammisatt Thu 15-Aug-13 17:58:48

Sorry to sound harsh I don't think it's a good enough reason to adopt. You have to absolutely want an adopted child. You should be aware and prepared to deal with the baggage that comes with an adopted child. You should be certain that you'd be able to love them and make them a priority (at least until they are settled)

As an adoptee this is how I feel about it.

oneandnomore Thu 15-Aug-13 18:13:36

Thanks for your reply sammisatt. We absolutely are aware of all of the issues that come with adopting a child, and the importance of ensuring that the adopted child would be our priority.
Everything we do now, all the decisions we make etc are all done after ensuring that the decision will be right for our bd. She is absolutely our priority. As would an adopted child be.
I am a social worker, and did my placements in family safeguarding so am very aware of the needs of adopted children. DH and I are very commited to providing a stable loving home to a child.
Sorry if this didn't come across in my op.

sammisatt Thu 15-Aug-13 18:25:26

I didn't mean to sound harsh honestly! Its just that the way you worded it made it seem as if the sole reason for adopting was for your daughter.

BrianTheMole Thu 15-Aug-13 18:38:26

, is the fact that we want to adopt to try and negate the way that DD feels about being an only a good enough reason to adopt?

no. You should only adopt if its what you really want, that you really want another child. You don't do it for someone else. The path is fraught with problems anyway, your heart has to be 100 per cent behind it. And don't forget that adopted children may often bring issues with them that may be hard to work through and unsettling for the whole family. If you are adopting a child for your dd's sake, and it doesn't go smoothly, you may feel yourself feeling resentful to that child for upsetting the family dynamics. Its a big decision and one that should only be made for the right reasons.

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 15-Aug-13 18:50:05

I'd ask why you haven't had another child so far (and why your username is "Oneandnomore"...!) and whether if DD wasn't asking about a sibling you would still want to adopt.

One of the reasons we adopted was to provide a sibling for DS, who similarly was not cut out to be an only child. And neither DH or I are really "baby people". But we had always talked about adoption, way back before we were married.

There are lots of reasons to want to adopt, and IMHO there isn't one single "right" reason, rather there are lots of reasons that mean it might be the right thing for your family.

JammieMummy Thu 15-Aug-13 19:24:04

I don't think I am at all able to tell you if your motivation is a good one or not, as only you know if in your heart of hearts it will be strong enough to get you through the tough times (and believe me there are some TOUGH times!).

What I can tell you is that we have adopted twice, first with our daughter who I couldn't love more if I tried. Then her birth mother had another baby, DH and I always wanted two so we fought long and hard to have our DD's brother placed with us both for her sake (to be able to grow with a blood relation) and ours as he would complete our family. Despite wanting our DS more than anything it has been exceptionally hard. Much hard than adopting the first time round was. There have been times when I have resented the fact that he took my time away from my DD or she has been upset by him etc and I have genuinely wondered why I adopted again, everything was perfect! But now I wouldn't swap him for the world and he is as much my son as she is my daughter.

I suppose what I am trying to ineloquently say is that adopting a second child is so much harder than straight adopting for the first time and your whole hearth as to be in it as the new child will (by necessity) take all of your time from your current child. But if you want it enough and can hang on in there through the tough months/year then it is absolutely worth it. Also have you thought about age ranges/sex of child etc?

Bestof luck with your decision, if you want to ask a bit more about our (and friends) experiences then please feel free to pm me.

oneandnomore Thu 15-Aug-13 21:39:58

Brian, your post struck a chord, as our family is ok as we are.
As I was putting DD to bed, she was again asking about having a sibling. So I asked her how she would feel about having to share her time with her dad and I if her new brother or sister needed us, especially at bedtime which has always been a special part if the day for her and us. She said that she wouldn't mind as a baby can't do anything for itself.
So, rightly or wrongly, I said what about if the child wasn't a baby, but a child who needed a forever family like one of her friends at school.
Her reaction was very strong, she does not want this at all. She said what is the point of not growing up from the start with a new child.
She was a little upset, and it was very clear that this is not what she wants.
She settled to sleep ok. And I am surprised by how much her vetoing the idea has upset me. So although at the minute our wish to adopt may be on hold, this has shown me just how much I do want another child in our family.

Families, my user name is very old, I shall change it for something more fitting for this board! We haven't had more birth children as I miscarried about six years ago, and had a really tough time recovering. It wasn't something I wanted to risk happening again so we were content with DD being an only.

Thank you Jammie for such an honest post. Am so happy that things have settled so well for you and your family smile

oneandnomore Thu 15-Aug-13 21:46:05

Sorry Jammie, to answer re gender and age. I don't mind whether boy or girl. Was thinking of four/five year old so there would be a nice age gap between the children.
I think we will all sit down as a family at the weekend and talk some more. I feel I was wrong to speak about it with DD, but equally it is wrong to allow her to carry on thinking there is a possibility of a birth baby.

Another reason not to have more of our own is age also!

Lilka Thu 15-Aug-13 22:15:17

You both need to really want another child, regardless of your BD's desires. IMHO the first test for adoption should be "I really want another child - yes or no". So do you and your husband both really want child number 2?

I've adopted 3 times - and my DC' s one and two were very enthusiastic about a new sibling. Their enthusiasm was great, but ultimately they were really enthusiastic because they were only thinking about the potential good parts of having a younger sibling. They were naive. I knew that it was no given they would actually develop a close relationship with their new sister/brother, they might end up as adults who don't really like each other very much at all, tlthough obviously I hoped for much more than that! But because I wanted a child myself and wasn't adopting for my DC1/DC2 I could accept that. I was adopting firstly for myself. Not that I would have adopted again if my children did not want another sibling at all, but as the parent I needed to want it as much as they did and more.

Lilka Thu 15-Aug-13 22:20:04

Oops sorry x posted with you didn't see your last replies

I'm sorry your DD has had such a negative reaction. Talking together would be a good idea. It's important for every household member to be on board and wanting it, but your DD' s views may well change.

Best of luck to you all

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 16-Aug-13 07:33:36

I agree talking about it more would be a good idea. I'd also say that

- it's fine to change your mind about having more than one (I always wanted more; DH was vehemently opposed, but realised that DS would have been a v miserable only. Then an unexpected pg turned into a mc and we realised that actually another one was what we both wanted.)

- it depends on your family dynamics, but we have always taken the view that we will discuss things with the DC but they don't have a right of veto on many things.

- your DD has probably never thought about having a sibling other than a little baby, as presumably all her experience is her friends having baby brothers and sisters. I wouldn't couch it in terms of "someone like her friends", but a little boy or girl who is bigger than a baby but will still need lots of help and a really good big sister.

- I'd be open minded about ages (though willingness to consider an older child will make you more attractive to agencies). We had thought of a 4-5 year old to get a 2-3 year age gap with DS. Actually, DD was much younger when she came to us and there's 4.5 years between them, and it works brilliantly.

Happy to answer any Qs about our experience of adopting with a birth child, either here or on PM

KristinaM Fri 16-Aug-13 09:34:08

Any 4-5 year old who is available for adoption with have suffered many loses, many placements and probably abuse and neglect. They WILL have issues. These will impact on your DD , her school and your friends and family.

You need to be prepared for this, and to always put your DDs needs second to your adopted child. This is what your agency will expect. They may talk of balace but its impossible as any new child will be very needy.

If your DD really doesn't want a sibling who is not your bio child, you woudl be very unwise to preceded and you won't pass the assessment anyway

It's easy if you are a social worker to think that you know what it might be like to deal with the issues that abuse and neglect bring. However, having read about it, been to a lecture or even met a child with these problems once a week for an hour is not the same as living with it 24/7 and having to deal with the impact it has on others and yourself.

Most of all,you need To understand that once you become an adoptive paremt, everyone you deal with professionally will blame YOU for your child's problems.you will move from being seen as a profesional who is part of the solution to being a bad mother who has caused the problem. It's hard to understand the psychological impact of this.

This is very VERY hard for those who have dealt with children in care on a profesional basis and then go on to adopt. Ive seen it split up marriages and destroy careers.

You need to knwo that approx 50% of the adoptions of school aged children break down. How woudl that impact on your DD, your marriage, your wider family and your career?

I'm sorry to sound so negative. But this is a really REALLY hard thing you are thinking about doing, and you woudl need to be 100% sure you wanted it and were prepared for the costs as well as the benefits. As others have said, you can't do it for someone else.

I understand this is a sensitive subjec, but you mentioned that you had a hard time re covering from a miscarriage.if you mean that you had depression,you need to be aware that post adoption depression is sadly very common. Also it can be triggered by the stress of the assessment and by having a new child placed. adoption is not an " easier " way of having a child, without the risks of pregnancy and birth.itbrings much higher risks.

So any history of mental health problem will be explored as part of your assessment. Of course , if you didn't mean that you had depression, this isn't relevant.

If I were in your situationand wanted another child, I would consider another pregnancy . Unless by " age " you mean you are post menopausal. If you just mean you are in your 40s, that's not too old as you will see if you read the TTC boards here.

HTH

Hi neandnomore just wanted to pop and say hi. Having a second child was something I desperately wanted. DH was not so bothered about having a second but kindly went on the massive journey with me, which ended up including an early natural miscarriage and six and a half years of fertility treatment, followed by a year (so far) of the adoption journey. My DH has embraced the whole process and come a long way in the process to be fully happy with our adoption plans.

Although I wanted another child, one reason which was quite strong was the desire for my dd not to be an only child and my dd did really want a sibling. Maybe people have a birth child for a real combination of reasons. So there are quite a few reasons why people want to adopt but I feel really wanting a child/another child is a very good reason to adopt and you can't do it for another person.

I discussed with my birth daughter (now 8) about a new child in the family over many years and she was very keen to have a baby in the family. However, when it became obvious that the new baby from my tummy would not materialise (even with donor eggs) I began to talk about a new child adopted into the family with my daughter. I tried to stress they would not be a baby or a child of my DD's age, she or he would be a toddler (I said) as anyone who is a pre-schooler can kind of be described as a toddler! Maybe this is not totally accurate but when we started talking DD was about 5 or 6 and they may have bee a toddler, now they might be a pre-schooler, which would seem very young to my DD now anyway.

I guess what I am saying is that for us, although I knew I really wanted to adopt from a long way back my immediate family were not so keen and it took a long time of exploring as a family. If they had not felt happy about it of course we would not have proceeded but I guess we did not all need to be on the same page right at the start!

It sounds to me like you are quite unsure about what you really want. I think, personally, I would begin with that before worrying too much about what your daughter would like. I agree with Kristina if you are young enough to have a birth child yourself, and very much want that, then that could be something to consider. I was on the 40s fertility thread here on Mumsnet and quite a few people managed to have babies after 40, mostly with their own eggs through natural conception, and some by IVF or donor eggs. It is not something I would recommend to anyone on a whim! But if it is what you would like, to try for another baby, then I would think about that. Even if it is only to ensure you have considered it before deciding against it. If the miscarriage has made you feel fearful etc I would really recommend some counselling. I had counselling throughout my fertility treatment (not constantly of course! I mean about three separate times) and I found it very helpful.

Whatever you decide to do I would really recommend reading up on the kind of children in the adoption system and think about all the issues involved etc. Whether you decide to proceed now or not or in the future it would be good to base your thoughts on the real situation and what might happen/what life might be like etc.

In our area we have been told there are quite a lot of young children looking for adoptive families and yet there may be issues and problems, behaviour, attachment issues etc etc for these children so whatever age they are I do think reading up and being aware of the situation will help you.

All best wishes.

oneandnomore Mon 26-Aug-13 20:57:14

Hi again. Thank you for your advice.
After lots of talking and soul searching, we have, as a family decided not to have a second child.
We have made more of an effort to have DD's friends over to play, and her cousin is going to come and have a sleepover every other weekend. We are also hoping that same cousin will be able to come on holidays with us as this is when dd seems to feel it more.

Also, dd announced that if she couldn't have a sibling she would like a dog!!
She seems more settled now, and of course when she is back at school she will be busy with clubs and homework and sleeping!

I understand why the suggestion was that we ttc a second child, but we really don't want another baby. And we would have liked to add to our family whilst also giving a home to a child needing a forever family. However, we have made our decision and although all of this has madee think about how much I would have liked a second child, I accept that this won't happen. I know I need to be very grateful that we are a happy 3! As indeed I am.

Sorry this is long, and I hope I haven't been insensitive as I realise that people post on the adoption board out of a very real necessity.
But thank you for the advice, both positive and negative as it did help us arrive at a decision flowers

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