Are these the right motivations? Feeling so confused

(135 Posts)
MaryQueenOfSpots Tue 05-Nov-13 10:37:08

My DH and I have a lovely but eccentric 5 year old DS who we love beyond reason. While watching him grow and become independent of us is amazing, I find in my heart I want to re-experience it all again. Simultaneously, my head tells me to enjoy the freedom to mumsnet work and have some of my own time now DS is at school.

We have tried to conceive naturally for 3 years and now I have reached my 40s, I'm beginning to come to terms with being infertile. Everyone says to consider IVF and I did go to a clinic to find out more, but morally I just can't get past the thought that there are already children who really need a family and that genetics isn't everything.

If we didn't have a child already, we would have no hesitation in taking on the challenges that an adopted child may bring but we need to consider DS in the equation. I love him to pieces but I recognise that he may struggle more than other only children to accommodate a sibling. He prefers adult company or imaginary friends even when there are other children to play with. I definitely wouldn't see the adopted sibling as a playmate for him.

However, he is very nurturing and affectionate to visiting younger children and when alone, he often plays with a baby doll - changing its nappy, trying to make the baby laugh. In the longer term I think it would do him good to have to share me and DH. I would also hope that once both the children were adults, they would benefit from having each other.

I also worry about whether the additional needs of a traumatised child will be too much for DS. I'd hate to make him unhappy by my selfish desire for a bigger family. When I read the forums I really worry. But this is somewhat counterbalanced by the experience of a friend who adopted two children (aged 3 and 5 at adoption, now 6 and 8) who has had a few tricky issues (control over food and bedwetting) but on the whole it has been a great experience for them. I am pretty sure we could cope with similar.

I am so confused about whether my motivations to adopt are the right ones, or even if they are realistic. Was my friend exceptionally lucky with her children? It's helped to write all this out funnily enough, but I would be so grateful for the views of anyone involved in adoption.

taffleee Wed 06-Nov-13 22:07:00

Lilka I totally understand where your coming from, your an adoptive, loving parent who is giving advice to potential 'adoptees', i understand that -

But not every child under 'adoption' has come from a 'traumatic' home, you have to understand that also-

Also, not every child has been taken from an 'unloving' home - you are talking from your experiences - you have to understand that also?

MaryQueenOfSpots Wed 06-Nov-13 22:10:53

Tafflee, if I am lucky enough to adopt a child that has been voluntarily given up I will have nothing but admiration for the bravery and selflessness of that decision. I do recognise that some parents are dealt a really bad hand, through no fault of their own, and just can't cope.

At the moment I am taking time to really think about if adoption is the right decision for me and my family. We are having our house extended in March so that we have space for visitors as well as the new AC, and will not proceed to prep group until that is underway. The adoption agency we approached have said the process has all been speeded up and once you get on the prep group train, there is no stopping it. So I'm really taking my time to weigh it all up and plan to make a final decision in April. The worst that can happen is we end up with a house bigger than we need. Techno, thank you for your thoughtful post, i will look at IVF again as whatever we do, we need to have no regrets.

Devora and Lilka's descriptions of their experiences have boosted my confidence that we could cope if we go down the adoption route, and that while difficulties are common, full on nightmares are rarer.

roadwalker makes a really good point about how i would feel if AC hurt BC, and it is one I have been pondering. I am thinking that by the time this all happens DS will be close to 6, and if we state we could only manage a younger child then there would be 4 years between them. Hopefully this would mean that they wouldn't be competing for the same things. I guess some scrapping is common between siblings - but roadwalker did you mean something way beyond the norm?

Lots to think about, and I really appreciate the time and trouble taken by all the posters.

Lilka Wed 06-Nov-13 22:11:09

I'm sorry if I've caused any upset

But what's untrue about that? Some children, cannot be cared for safely by their birth parents, so SS and the courts place them for adoption. That's how it works nowadays

My DD2 and DS birth mother adores them. She really loves them so much. I tell my kids that

She just cannot parent them safely because of her difficulties in life.When they lived with her, they wound up hurt. They were not safe, period. My DD2 is permanently injured, and has long term emotional difficulties.

That is desperately sadly, the situation for most waiting children, that prospective parents will be prepared for.

My DD2 loves her birth mum (or 'mum' as we call her at home! On forums I use birth and adoptive as distinctions)

She adores her mum

She facebooks her and has visited her

She loves her in spite of everything that has ever happened to her whilst in her care, and I understand and support her with that

What about the childrens love? What can we do when a young child winds up with bruises, scars, is desperately delayed because of poor care, and wants to go home but their parents will never get it together enough to parent?

I respect my DD2's relationship with her mum..but I know 100% that she needed to be adopted

roadwalker Wed 06-Nov-13 22:14:29

Being removed from BM causes trauma and moves around the system cause trauma. A new born baby needs to make an attachment, that is what we are designed to do
The brain is not fully developed and will develop according to early care
The baby suffers a trauma just because it is removed from BM- and may have trauma whilst in the womb if BM is an alcohol/drug abuser

Lilka Wed 06-Nov-13 22:15:55

But not every child under 'adoption' has come from a 'traumatic' home, you have to understand that also

In 21st century Britain, most of them have either been removed from a truamatic home environment, or from parents who have such huge difficulties, the courts will not give them a chance to parent, because it is too big a risk

A small minority are relinquished, and perhaps come from a very safe and caring mum who nevertheless feels that adoption is the best choice for her and the baby

If you read my posts, I have said very very clearly that nearly all waiting children have birth parents who love them

I am not going to mislead any prospective adopters into thinking that they are likely to adopt a relinquished child, OR into thinking that they are likely to deal with zero issues related to trauma, because in my experience, it is just not true

taffleee Wed 06-Nov-13 22:26:54

Maryqueen I've just read your post fully, and if ever there was a child in need of a loving home, no mater what there background, you seem like the most fully prepared and loving mum they could hope for -

Loads of love to you, you seem wonderfull xx

taffleee Wed 06-Nov-13 22:40:26

lilka I hate to ask, but do you live in a nice area??

I live in a city, i'm lucky enough to live in a nice part, but could give you some horror stories about social services regarding children being taken away -

And these are the most cared for, loved children in the world, but parents who have been through the mill - think its about time we stopped removing children from 'easily targeted' areas, and helped the families in need -

I'm going foster, and need some advice, this thread has made my mind up so will start a new thread x

Lilka Wed 06-Nov-13 22:45:45

We have a major shortage of foster families, so all the very best with fostering smile

I don't live in a wealthy area, no. I'm a low income mum living in a relatively deprived area (it's not extremely deprived and doesn't have major social problems, nor could it be described as a 'middle class' area by any stretch). I do live near very deprived areas with massive social issues. But then, I also live near a 'nice' middle class area! Where I live there's very little distance seperating very deprived areas from very wealthy ones

Lilka Wed 06-Nov-13 22:49:36

It is certainly true that sometimes SS get it wrong and treat people very badly indeed

However I have never seen a child up for adoption, who I felt 'goodness, did they really need to remove this child from it's parents?'. When I read the in detail reports of potential 'matches', I only ever felt that that child definitely needed an adoptive home. I'm not saying it has never happened of course, but in my experience nearly all children waiting for adoption, do need to be adopted and have not been removed for no reason, or for a flimsy reason

taffleee Wed 06-Nov-13 23:08:42

lilka yes, but your talking from your experience, and I have seen the other side -

You said alot of kids don't get put up 'willingly' from parents who cant cope, I agree with that also, even though I've had personal experiences of a very brave mum who did so.

You may not have read a detailed report about a child who you didn't feel like was in need for adoption, but maybe there are reports that should be read as 'how can we help this family stay together' and 'is this a family in need'??

I just think sometimes, its an easier option to separate a family, where some just need a little support?? x

roadwalker Wed 06-Nov-13 23:17:10

OP- the violence my DD has demonstrated is way beyond what you would expect in normal circumstances
I have never regretted adopting though, she is my daughter and I love her
I just want adopters to be aware of what may happen and be prepared to stick by the child however tough it is- unless it is more beneficial for the child to be in a different setting
Our children have had enough rejection and deserve some stability
Good luck OP- it is good that you are considering all this

Lilka Wed 06-Nov-13 23:17:48

Mmm, but that's at a much earlier stage

And whilst I do believe that some families who could be kept together with more support, are seperated, I do not believe in those conspiracy theories that SS are out to steal kids deliberately to make money.

By the time it's adoption stage, the reports we get are to help us make the big decision whether or not this child is our own child or not. It's well past 'should the family be kept together', the courts have already said 'no'. We don't have access to any of the myriads of paperwork before this stage, so obviously we don't know all that was going on behind the scenes, although we know the major background factors.

Devora Wed 06-Nov-13 23:18:38

taffleee, go back and reread the thread. You have been jumping to a lot of assumptions about what Lilka is saying, but if you are serious about fostering you honestly need to learn from what she has told you. Nowhere has she judged birth parents, or said that it isn't a good idea to provide support to families in need. She is stating that adopted children have all experienced trauma - and I agree completely with that - but you are reading that as her saying that all birth mothers have deliberately traumatised their children.

Basically, courts approve adoption where birth parents cannot or will not give children what they need. These parents usually love their children. You are right that they have often been through the mill - often these are people who have suffered hugely, and been themselves let down as children. People will make their own choices as to how much individual culpability they assign to a woman who has herself had no experience of loving, stable family life, but the point is that the courts don't care whether the birth parents are 'to blame' or themselves victims. They care about the facts: is this child safe, healthy, developing well? If not, is there any prospect their birth parents can improve the situation?

We can all think of examples of parents who love their children and would love to care well for them, but cannot. Maybe because they're doing a long stretch in prison, or in the grip of serious mental health problems or addictions that they can't manage to get on top of. It's not about judging those parents, it's about clear-sightedly appraising whether they are going to be able to give the child what it needs, within the crucial timeframe of the first few years. If it is possible to provide sufficient support to help them do this, of course it's better to do so - not least because adoption IS traumatic for children, and best avoided unless the alternative really is worse. But believe me, the bar is set pretty high: nobody loses their kids because they're a bit low, or struggling a little.

As adoptive parents we have to find ways of talking with our children about their birth parents, that are honest about what has happened, that allow our children to express their feelings safely, that contain any anger we may feel towards them (and often they have very actively hurt our children). It's not easy to get right all the time but I know we take that responsibility very seriously. I never read bitching or judgemental comments about birth parents in this corner (I read loads in other parts of Mumsnet!) so please don't assume that's what she's doing. I'm sure you have a lot to offer as a foster carer; you will have even more if you listen and learn. I have no idea if Lilka lives in a nice area, but if you are imagining that adoptive mothers are all fragrant pearl-clutchers who combine adoption with a little light flower-arranging at the church, think again - most of us are tough old birds who've seen a bit of life smile

taffleee Wed 06-Nov-13 23:23:47

roadwalker just deal with every child with love and respect, regardless of their background!!!

Children don't remember the bad stuff if you show them to good!!! Don't treat them any differently regardless of what they've been through - treat them with 'kid gloves' and they'll remember why!!!

Devora Wed 06-Nov-13 23:24:56

Separating a family is never an easy option! Though inevitably social services get it wrong sometimes. And I'm sure we can all agree that troubled families need more, better and earlier support.

Like Lilka, I have never seen a child up for adoption where I've thought that social services were making a mountain out of molehill. I have, though, read adoption paperwork where I've thought, " Jeez, this poor woman never had a chance" and been bitterly angry at how deprivation and inadequate parenting gets handed down the generations with pathetically inadequate support or intervention.

roadwalker Wed 06-Nov-13 23:28:10

Thanks for the advice tafleee but I was actually responding to OP's question
Children may not have actual memories but the brain develops differently
I suggest you do some reading if you are serious about becoming a FC
I haven't posted anything about how I parent my DD so you are making an assumption that I am using 'kid gloves'

Devora Wed 06-Nov-13 23:28:43

Well, I'm sorry, I have to disagree with your approach.

Children who have been adopted usually do remember the bad stuff, and they often need very particular kinds of parenting.

Look, you obviously don't think you've got much to learn from us, but why don't you read some of the information on the adoptionuk website? Because if you're going to foster traumatised children it will NOT be enough to just pretend that they're just like any other child.

roadwalker Wed 06-Nov-13 23:29:05

My aim of posting has been to answer OP questions
I suggest you start a new thread as answers to OP are getting lost in your agenda

Lilka Wed 06-Nov-13 23:38:03

Children don't remember the bad stuff if you show them to good

Um, yes they do

Children can have very early memories of chaos and abuse

My girls have nightmares and flashbacks that never go away, despite the fact they were removed aged 6 and 4 respectively. Their experiences are with them for life. They have clear memories from being aged 3 at the very least

I do not treat them with kid gloves either. Giving a child who has major control issues whatever they want whenever is a good recipe for disaster. I try to parent 'therapeutically' - therapeutic parenting being a model developed to help the parents and carers of traumatised children for whom standard behaviour modifcation techniques do not work, or even make their behaviour worse

Children who are hurt aged say 0-2 may not have conscious memory, but they are often left with physical reactions. A well known phrase is 'the body keeps score'. It's difficult to explain but a good example was given by an adoptive mum who was involved in a car accident and whilst she was mentally fine and not suffering any worries or flashbacks. But then when she went out to drive her limbs were shaking, her body reacted badly. My kids have very physical reactions to some things, even though they don't know why, because they don't have conscious memories or it. My sons deep rooted fear of abandonnement is not coming off of a conscious memory, beause he can't remember his move to me or anything that happened when he was a baby. Kids are and can be very affected by things which happened before they can actively remember it, because experiences affect the brain and its connections anyway

If you want to foster it's important to know that kids will remember the bad stuff and it might stay with them long term

taffleee Wed 06-Nov-13 23:44:08

Devora Okay, your talking as an adoptive mum, and I appreciate that -

I'm talking about my personal experiences within the care system, and according to your so called 'watch-net', maybe i should be looked at -seeing as though i come from a 'traumatic background'. (I've also suffered from depression??)

I'm a mum, I have two beautiful boys who are cared for and loved deeply, and I've been 'through the mill' in my past, people should stop judging, and start helping -

thats all

taffleee Wed 06-Nov-13 23:47:41

Lilka I'm not going to go over my past, but i was in the 'care' system -

I had an horrific time, and all I choose to remember was the good -

Kids do that, if you treat them differently, thats what they'll remember

Lilka Wed 06-Nov-13 23:52:32

I'm really glad you have been able to do that

My kids do know and remember all the good things we've done and the care they've had with me

But they also remember all the bad things, and I can't make that go away

My daughters do not choose to have flashbacks or nightmares. They have no choice in the matter at all. They would never choose to suffer like that. They do not choose to remember the bad things. PTSD is not a choice.

Devora Wed 06-Nov-13 23:56:34

Eh? Where did I say that people with troubled backgrounds aren't good enough parents? I said that many people who aren't good enough parents have troubled backgrounds, but that's very different!

I honestly don't understand your line of logic. You seem to be saying that most birth parents love their children but just can't cope because they have difficult lives. Then when someone else (me) agrees that these parents often have difficult lives, you accuse me of saying that everyone having a tough life should have their kid taken off them!

Nobody here is judging you as a parent. Until your last post, I didn't even know that you are a parent. I don't know why you think we don't understand that people have tough lives: FWIW I've suffered from depression too, and have in my background poverty, domestic abuse, alcoholism etc. They're not rare experiences, yet most people who go through them manage to do a good enough job of raising their kids. Some, sadly, do not.

taffleee Thu 07-Nov-13 00:08:18

Devora er, should be a discussion topic not a row??

And, no, I said that if certain people have certain difficulties maybe they should be offered support until the 'worst' happens. That's all x

Kewcumber Thu 07-Nov-13 00:48:38

Tafflee - you are entitled to use your own experiences in informing you on how you raise your children and as an adult you can look back and think "I'm fine I just chose to be positive and it all worked out ok" but you may come across as being a bit naive when being assessed as a foster carer and might want to think about what people have had to say on this thread before talking to a social worker. Or not, as you choose.

My ds is about as low risk as you find in contemporary adoption - relinquished at birth no abuse or serious neglect and yet when he came to me aged 1 at an age when most babies have been learning to trust their primary carer and begun to lay down pathways in the brain that forms the template for future relationships, what he had learnt was "Everyone leaves" and it has had a lasting impact on him and has influenced the way I parent him.

Now you can chose to believe that I'm being precious about my little boy and that really all he needs is a hug and to be parented in exactly the same way as every other child.

You can choose to believe that, but that doesn't make it true.

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