Confused after being approved at panel

(10 Posts)
Familyfinder Wed 02-Oct-13 20:55:17

Hi, DH and I were delighted to have been approved as adopters at panel a few months ago particularly as we were nervous as I have a history of some anxiety and depression and we managed to get through and all went well. At panel they suggested that a child with not too many issues and as straight forward as possible would be what they would recommend to avoid too much stress for me.

Since this time however we have been sent information about children who quite frankly are far from straightforward with learning difficulties, physical disabilities etc. When I spoke to the Adoption Manager she said that parents dont give up normal children for adoption and most had significant problems although they do have some children who have suffered abuse and neglect. We feel disheartened by this as although we know all children deserve a loving home I don't want to take on too difficult a challenge for it all to go wrong. I feel surely there are simpler children needing loving homes out there. Am I wrong?

roadwalker Wed 02-Oct-13 21:04:48

My AD has been with us for 6 years and in that time I have met lots of other adopters and chatted to them on-line too
My DD was 15 months old and was thought to be a straight forward child with no issues
She has been the challenge of my life!! I have never regretted adopting her and love her dearly but our lives are so far from what most would consider normal
I have met one couple who I would consider to have a child with few or no issues.
The thing is, it is totally unknown. Most adopted children are not growing in a healthy womb so they have problems from the start, then removal from the BM causes another trauma, time spent in the care system or with BF is not always great
Have a read about how the brain develops- i always recommend Bruce Perry, The boy who was raised as a dog
It is very readable and gives a good explanation on why brains develop as they do and why some children will be more affected by experiences than others
Life can be good and we have fun as a family but it is hard work

MissFenella Wed 02-Oct-13 21:06:17

That is cobblers from the adoption manager and I find it a bit shocking she would use language like that, are you paraphrasing?

Regardless, no parent should feel pressured to take children they do not feel they could support. IME you will be the right parents for someone who is waiting. Why not have a chat with your SW and see about widening your geographical circle in terms of the pool you are looking at.

Lilka Wed 02-Oct-13 21:34:51

The adoption manager said that??! That's crazy (and really offensive too). Nearly all the children waiting for adoption have been taken away, not given up. I find it hard to believe that ANY council deals with many relinquished children in any year. Surely nearly all of their children are being adopted without parental consent and not 'given up'?

I would also expect quite a lot (or nearly all, if we're talking older children) of their children to have suffered neglect and abuse.

And frankly, children who have suffered significant neglect or abuse (whether physical, sexual or emotional) are among the most likely to have difficulties going forward, even if they are physically totally healthy and don't have learning disabilities etc

What age range have you been approved for? Also, is your agency part of a consortium, so you have more potential links? Can you join the National Adoption Register?

Personally, I think it very much depends on what your definition of 'straightforward' is.

Is it possible to adopt a child who does not have a (known) learning disability or signifiant physical/medical issues - yes, definitely. I have seen plenty of children be adopted who are either physically healthy and developmentally on track, or are mostly on track but have minor issues like needing glasses or perhaps have delayed speech and language skills but no other developmental delays.

But a child who has no complicated background factors (either their own experiences or diagnosis, or their birth parents lives) at all? No, not IMHO. Children are not removed from their birth parents for no reason, there's going to be some issues to consider in there somehwere. So it's a question of which background factors do you feel able to accept? Both in terms of the childs needs and the birth parents issues

Devora Wed 02-Oct-13 22:25:09

Hi FF, congratulations on being approved. I'm not sure how to answer your post as it isn't clear to me where your expectations were pitched. Did you anticipate adopting a child who was pretty much guaranteed problem-free? Or are you prepared to accept a reasonable level of risk but your sw is only offering profiles of children with very significant additional needs?

Either way, it doesn't sound as if your sw has prepared you very carefully as you and she are not on the same page. FWIW, I was approved to adopt a child aged 0-2 so for me it was all about accepting a level of unknown risk, but my sw was very clear that I shouldn't expect a child with no issues/problems. However, she also supported our decision that we wouldn't be able to adopt a child with very high levels of known needs (though accepting that when you adopt a very young child there are a lot of unknowns).

As Lilka says, adopted children always come with risk factors: family history of mental illness, learning disabilities, exposure to drugs or alcohol in utero, neglect, abuse, or 'merely' the traumatic loss of their birth family. You need to accept the implications of this. On the other hand, you have every right to be clear about what you can take on - far better, as you say, to know this upfront than feel obligated to make a match that won't work out for your family.

Familyfinder congratulations on being approved and hang on in there.

I am shocked at the comments of the Adoption Manager!

I think in my own mind (we are newly approved) that I am expecting some problems and factors and some uncertainty! To honest to a hugely lesser degree I know that problems can also be the case with birth children, there are no guarantees with children that they will be happy/healthy/'normal' - whatever that is. I am not at all be-little-ing the very real difficulties and special circumstances that children who are in the 'adoption system' have - I am actually saying that to some degree all parents do not know how things will turn out. Birth parents do however know the genes and circumstances that are in their child's life. So I do feel knowledge is very helpful in terms of adoption of finding out all you can about the children you are being told about and also reading up on the factors that can contribute to these young lives.

I think that the more you know about what you can do, and if you read some stories of how adoptions have worked out well, as well as when things don't work out well etc, you will give yourself some background thinking to put your fears in context.

I am sure you have done this, so I am talking to myself as well!

So for example, yes, children with very troubled pasts can experience and so maybe 'cause' a lot of 'difficulty' when they are placed for adoption in families but then there are things that can help the situation, help you to cope etc etc. I just feel knowledge of real life situations and real life solutions to problems can help you to have a balanced approach to challenges.

I say this as someone who has suffered from anxiety and had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for it, and now does not suffer from anxiety but does remember how it was very difficult. My thinking was to some degree led by what is called 'fortune telling' where one imagines the worst case scenario all the time!

I am not saying this is the case for you at all, it was the case for me. But with therapy I got over it. I think now I just try and get the rounded picture of life so that I do not feel negative about things but realistic. And I totally agree with others that you should only 'take on' whatever you child you feel you can cope with. You do want it to succeed so must be realistic.

I hope that makes sense.

I do wish you all the very best.

I am not yet an adopter so if any of my advice contradicts Devora, Lilka, *Kew etc at all, please PLEASE ignore it and take their advice!

I think the others have given excellent advice so all I can add is congratulations on being approved and hang on in there.

Roadwalked Wow, juts read this www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Excerpt-from-The-Boy-Who-Was-Raised-as-a-Dog/1 Amazing!

Familyfinder Sat 19-Oct-13 22:00:42

Hi thank you for your replies and sorry about the gap in my reply. Yes, the Adoption Manager did say people don't just hand in normal children you know they are children with problems that they cannot deal with. I found it rather surprising at the time as well as what we had been talking about was the fact that panel had suggested a fairly straightfordward child but not one with significant disabilities. I also remember a Social Worker saying the same thing when we had our initial home visit as well.

Our Social Worker is now searching countrywide for us so fingers crossed. We went to an open afternoon in another county today but unfortunately none of the children we saw were as young as we hope to adopt. It was however a useful experience to hear from successful adopters and their tips on this rather emotionally tough journey.

AngelsWithSilverWings Mon 21-Oct-13 12:31:09

Hi Family finder , I have adopted two children as babies who have no additional needs.

Yes DD was born drug dependant but this has not ( as far as we are aware) caused any problems. She is in mainstream school and getting on fine.

DS was relinquished reluctantly ( BM realised she had to give up the fight to keep him and relinquished him so that they could both move on with their lives). He is a lovely bright boy and the only issue he has is a severe fear of change which we have to manage through a counselling service provided by his school.

I know four other couples who have adopted children and only one couple had a difficult experience that required post adoption support.

I hope the right match comes along soon. Good luck.

Familyfinder Tue 22-Oct-13 10:23:08

Thank you AngelswithSilverWings it is good to know that there are children out there with no additional needs.

Thepoodoctor Tue 22-Oct-13 14:52:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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