International adoption

(16 Posts)
henryhsmum Sat 12-Oct-13 16:31:22

My DH and I are considering adopting a child internationally, preferably as young a baby as possible. What are our main options in terms of countries we could adopt from? We are British, no religion and married.

allthingswillpass Sat 12-Oct-13 17:17:06

Hi Henry,
Have no idea about international adoption but just to let you know that there are many young babies (as young as 8 months old) available in the UK for adoption and if you go down the concurrent planning route, you may get a tiny baby.
Best of luck with your journey.

Lilka Sat 12-Oct-13 18:58:41

You could adopt a baby younger than a year old in the UK. I have seen people adopt children aged from 5 months up, although it's very dependent upon where in the country you live. Concurrent planning (where you foster a baby in the hope of adopting it) may get you a very young baby, but you need to be okay with the risk of concurrent planning and extra considerations like frequent contact with birth family at first etc

Most international countries don't have babies younger than about a year, but the exception is the USA

That's basically your best or maybe only option if you want to adopt a small baby, as in a newborn baby. The USA permits private adoption and pregnant women who are interested in having their baby adopted can use an adoption agency to find couples who are approved to adopt, and they can be 'matched' to each other, and in many cases the couple can take custody of the baby within days of birth.

But you need to research that very thoroughly - it's a very different process from any other country so you need to be comfortable with that.

Other international countries have children probably aged about a year up. Depending on country, you may need to be okay with a certain level of special needs or uncertain background issues, or okay with the consequences of living in an orphanage for months (children can have attachment difficulties, developmental delays etc)

There actually aren't many countries open at the moment, but you can contact the Intercountry Adoption Centre for advice about where you might be able to go, their website is here

drspouse Sat 12-Oct-13 19:10:12

We adopted internationally the first time and are now considering adopting from the UK, possibly via concurrency, because the system here has changed so much.

We called about 4 LAs in our area and they all said that they would take on adopters looking for a baby under 1 and some said they never stop taking on adopters looking for a child of any age - you just may wait longer for some age groups.

henryhsmum Sun 13-Oct-13 03:00:10

That's really interesting re the UK, we would definitely look at concurrent planning. My husband has 2 children who visit alternate weekends and I have a 7 year old son who lives with us. He has ADHD and autism. This may sound weird but the reason We want a young baby is because we are frightened of taking on anolder child who may have a lot of additional needs given the pressure of my son's disabilities. I also think he would accept a baby better. That said I know adoptive children have a lot of extra needs but I am hoping that is less the case in younger babies as they have not missed out on as many developmental stages as an older child . I thought most babies in the UK for adoption had severe issues such as Downs? Sorry if I am causing offence but we need to be realistic about what we can cope with and I guess it's about minimising risk and ensuring my son's interests are not compromised

KristinaM Sun 13-Oct-13 08:08:38

I'm sorry, but many of the babies placed from birth will be at higher risk of having special needs. Many of them have been removed from the birth parenst by the courts, because of drug or alcohol misuse problems , learning difficulties or mental health problems. There can be a genetic element in all of these. And of course, prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs is very risky .

Even if a child is placed at a few weeks and they go onto have a diagnosed SN, they can still have a lot of issues around attachment and loss.

So getting a young baby is no guarentee that they will be straightforward and not compromise your sons needs. Also, as you already have a son with SN and two step children, SS woudl have to be very sure that you have the time and energy to cope with another child who will need a lot of attention.

How woudl your son cope with many visits from SW, and also from the birth family? You do understand that some babies placed under concurrent planing go back to their birth family? Coudl you son cope with this?

I'm not unsympathetic to your situation, as some of our children have SN, but it sounds to me as if your expectations of a new baby are a little unrealistic and you have a lot on your plate already with 3.

Lilka Sun 13-Oct-13 11:29:24

In my experience, no, most babies don't have severe issues (although I would say that what people consider to be a severe issue varies wildly). Some babies do have physical issues, some babies will have developmental delays. Because nearly all waiting children have been removed from their birth parents by the courts (not willingly given up by a young mum), most babies available for adoption have background factors that need careful consideration. They might have been exposed to drugs/alcohol in utero (this might cause problems later), there might be a family history of mental illness, learning disabilities, drug misuse etc, and some babies may have been in an abusive/nelgectful environment in their first weeks of life before being removed

The likelihood of any adopted baby going on to develop SN or additional issues is higher than the likelihood of a child who hasn't been in care. IME how affected a child will be by their experiences, depends mostly upon a combination of how much trauma they have been through, and their own personality/genetics. The more trauma they have been through, the more likely they will have problems as a result of it, and now it is believed that a persons resilience has a large genetic component etc. Age is not as important as either of those two factors IMHO, although the older a child is, the more trauma they have probably been through, so the more likely they would be to have various issues.

Do you think your children would cope with concurrent planning? It might involve contact with birth parents up to 4/5 times a week, SW's coming and going, and there's a possibility, however small, that the birth parents might get it together and get their baby back. I would be wary of it if you have a child with SN.

I would say that the likelihood of a baby adopted internationally developing issues is exactly the same as for a UK baby, and in many countries you have exactly the same background issues - for instance, I believe in Russia alcohol abuse is a big problem and many many of the children in orphanages were exposed to alcohol in utero. In addition, if the baby has been in an orphanage, there are additional risk factors - lack of stimulation or adequate care might create issues, developmental delays are really common etc.

Of course not every adopted child will go on to develop SN, some escape unscathed by their experiences, but predicting which children will develop additional needs and which won't is very difficult if not impossible in many cases, so to adopt you do need to be okay with the uncertainty.

Kewcumber Sun 13-Oct-13 17:45:50

Please don't think for a second that adopting a young (ie under 2) child from another country reduces the risk of having additional needs. One of the few countries left that it is reasonably practical to adopt from these days is Russia and as Lilka says the incidence of foetal alcohol syndrome is very how in institutionalized children there is significant. And one of the other disadvantages to having a very young child is that its almost impossible to assess how severely (or even if) they have a particular condition. FAS/FAE is a broad spectrum and at 1 yr you often wouldn't be sure if they have it or where on teh spectrum they are.

DS (adopted from overseas) was born at 26 weeks and when I met him at 11 months he had a query CP assessed at about 20% chance, it was a big risk to take for me. There were at least three other children that had similar and significant queries over their health two physical (lung problems) ans one failure to thrive for unknown reasons.

henryhsmum Sun 13-Oct-13 19:20:29

Thanks for all the replies, I think I had underestimated the issues we could encounter. I am keen to do whatever is right for both the adopted child and my DS. My stepchildren are older and quite independent so are less of a concern. However concurrent planning may well be too disruptive for my son. Perhaps we will go to a local authority adoption Information evening and see what we can find out

Kewcumber Sun 13-Oct-13 19:54:50

Sorry my post was barely coherent in parts! I think open evening and plenty of research is a good idea.

Lilka Sun 13-Oct-13 20:32:30

I think going to an open evening and reading around online/books would be a good next step. Feel free to ask us any questions also smile

FWIW I have 3 children, all of whom have varying degrees of additional needs. The child who was still a baby when I adopted him (23 months old) is doing very well. His additional needs are there, and they sometimes require different parenting techniques and forward planning, but they can be worked with and they don't have a significant effect on our day to day lives. I know plenty of other adopted children who basically fall into the same category - some additional needs which require thinking about, maybe different parenting techniques or extra involvement with school etc, but they are happy families and don't find that their childrens needs have a severe impact on their everyday life. I know very few adopted children who have no issues whatsoever with anything, but that said the parents I end up making connections/friends with are parents dealing with similar issues to me, ie. additional needs of varying descriptions. Because my other 2 children have or have had significant needs, I know a lot of people whose adopted children have very significant needs.

All the best to you

henryhsmum an open evening is a really great place to start. We have a birth child too and have similar worries to you. It took me a long time to get my head around it all and it is still a learning curve!

This is a great place to learn more and I really wish you well on your journey.

You don't need to answer this at all, but one thing you may need to think about and also be ready at some point to discuss with social workers is why you chose adoption as a route for another child rather than having another baby. There may be glaringly obvious reasons, there were with us, 6 and a half years of failed fertility treatment! But for others there are other reasons and it is just good to think about all this because at some point it may come up.

all the very best.

henryhsmum Mon 14-Oct-13 08:22:14

Hi, our main reason for wanting to adopt is because I had a very dangerous post birth period after my son was born with 2 grand mal seizures that lasted over 20 minutes each. They were triggered by the birth. I have been told they could be life threatening next time and I am not willing to take that risk. We have also and are still considering host surrogacy . we would like to help a child less fortunate but have to balance that with the existing needs of my DS and what he and us can cope with. He has severe ADHD and autism and was in a special school until recently, I don't think I could cope with another child with that degree of extra need

Oh Henryhsmum so sorry to hear that. Whatever your reasons they are your own and are perfectly justified whatever they are. I just wanted to say the social workers will want to talk about it. Whatever you decide to do I hope it works out.

KristinaM Mon 14-Oct-13 23:23:00

Im sorry to hear about your health problems. my sister had the same thing after the birth of her son and They decided not to have any more bio children, Because of the risk to her health

It sounds like your sons needs are quite complex and also that you can't consider a child with many risk factors. If i were you, I would check out host surrogacy before going down the adoption route . As you probably know, you can't do both at the same time. Being a year or two older wont make any difference to your chances of adopting, but it might make all the difference to the surrogacy ( assuming you are using your own eggs ) .

Good luck whatever you decide

maindoors Wed 16-Oct-13 14:25:42

FWIW would second everything Lilka says about adoption, age and overseas. Have adopted twice from China and am very happy that I did so. However, several years down the line I can now see what a lottery the whole thing is...very much like life and having a biological child. Many parents do masses of research and thinking about what, where , how old, what SN etc. as they should. But at the end of the day, you get who you get, hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. There is no predicting...
Just in case you hear otherwise though...adoption from China is still very possible and does not involve a long wait if you are open to adopting a child with SN. Special Needs in China can mean anything from relatively minor to relatively major special needs. There seems to be less FASD. SN usually mean genetic birth defects which are massively on the rise in China - environmental pollution playing a big part in that. Emotional and behavioural special needs tends to be less documented and evaluated than e.g. if a child is missing part of a limb.

And to be honest I concurr with the idea that all adopted children have special needs and it would be unwise to think that you can avoid them. Good luck with wherever you go...

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