Single adopters - come and talk to me please.

(13 Posts)
Thebluedog Wed 23-Apr-14 10:32:14

I'm in a very odd situation at the moment. I have a birth child and I'm just in the process of adopting a younger child.
The child is already placed with 'us' but for reasons I won't go into on here my relationship with my DH has broken down and he's left the family home. We hadn't petitioned court yet, but we are now passed the 10 week stage in the placement.

I've spoken to ss and they've told me they will support my application to singularly adopt my dd.

I know that's DH will still have contact with our birth child, but he's said that unless he can adopt dd (which he can't if we are not together) then he wouldn't want contact with her (very sad hmm ). I know this will impact both children and I'm working with ss on this.

But from a single persons perspective, how do you deal with knowing, and coping with the fact your bc doesn't have a dad? Any issues or pot holes I may need to address.

Thebluedog Wed 23-Apr-14 10:44:22

Not bc, but AC in the last paragraph

Kewcumber Wed 23-Apr-14 10:56:24

I'm very sorry to hear of your position Blue, it must be a very stressful time for you.

A few comments.

Are you sure that you can't adopt jointly even if he's not living with you? You may not want that because anyone who could walk away at this stage may not be a father worth having. I mean, has he thought through what your birth child will think of him for ignoring what will become their sibling? hmm

Anyway that wasn't what you asked.

Not having a Dad has been an issue at times - I won't deny it. At times a bigger deal than at others. It does make them different to their peers in just one more way. But I'm not sure there is really a way of "coping" you just get on with it. Talk lots, discuss how its like people who's Dads died when they were born. Talk about who they do have in their life as much as possible. Also point out that they did have a birth father and that every child starts with a mother and a father - that they aren't any different in that way to anyone else, but that some people find it very hard to be in a family/look after a baby.

I find acknowledging the loss/absence and being as pragmatic about it as possible is the way to go but it probably depends on your child.

Someone will come on shortly and tell you all about finding male role models but IMO that all a pile of hogwash! male role models just don;t cut it - if you don;t have a Dad then you don;t and any number of freindly "uncles" whilst pleasant don;t in anyway have the relationship with you that a father has. In my experience as soon as the shit hits the fan (either their shit or yours!) they drop out (either temporarily or permanently) which is, to put it mildly, just not helpful.

The only possible decent male role model is if there is a very involved grandfather who actually does have much more of a Parent/child type relationship.

Not sure how helpful any of that is...

Thebluedog Wed 23-Apr-14 11:04:52

Thank you Kew that's very useful.

Ss have told us that unless we are a couple they won't support a joint application. There is always the option of petitioning court via a solicitor jointly but that will be expensive, lengthy and I'm sure will piss ss off even more. But that's an option we are looking at. My DH does want to adopt her, but if we do it jointly it will have to be without ss and I'm not sure how that works at the moment.

With regards to role models I am of the same opinion as yourself. I have a really strong relationship with my family, but nothing really substitutes a father regardless of the living arrangements.

Polkadotpatty Wed 23-Apr-14 11:09:32

I'm sorry to hear about what's happening with your DH. I hope you've got people to talk to about the impact on you, as well as all the thinking you're doing about protecting both your children. thanks

I'm almost a single adopter so have been thinking a lot about this too. I agree that the role models thing is likely to be building houses on sand - I suspect children see straight through that and know precisely who is "theirs" and who isn't really.

However, lots of open conversations about what a family can look like, including a wider family, can only be good. I am expecting lots of uncomfortable direct questions (from the child) so will probably also be taking advice from Kew about how to answer them, but basically being as gentle, honest and consistent as possible. As the single parent, you'll be the one providing all the consistency and reassurance and safety for the AC (and BC), so if you are comfortable talking about it, and sometimes acknowledging the sadness or hurt involved, then they will become more comfortable with what their family looks like. There are quite a few shapes and sizes of family units within my wider family, which I'm hoping will be useful and will make having a single-parent feel like a bit less of an issue. I'll let you know how that works out once the rose-coloured glasses de-mist a bit!

Kewcumber Wed 23-Apr-14 11:09:38

The other option to present to your DH is for you to file singly then when that is through and provided he continues to have a relationship with her and its in her best interests apply for him to adopt her too.

That would be unusual more akin to a step parent adoption but as far as I know not impossible.

Your birth child is probably not really attached at the moment but in a years time they will most certainly feel like siblings - how could you respect your father who walks away from your sibling because they don;t have a piece of paper giving them legal rights over them? Has your DH thought about how his attitude might affect his relationship with your birth child?

Kewcumber Wed 23-Apr-14 12:19:34

or how about applying for parental responsibility for him?

Thebluedog Wed 23-Apr-14 14:39:15

I didn't know that was possible Kew ", I guess I need to look into this in lots more detail.

Our bc has attached very well to our AC, and vice versa, they are pretty much inseparable, which is lovely to see, so if he does decide to treat them differently I know this will lead to lots of difficult questions.

Kewcumber Wed 23-Apr-14 15:18:42

I'm not totally sure its possible either but am sure that step parents can apply and I think a similar legal situation must apply - ie legally married to mother (assuming thats the case) but no legal relationship with child.

https://www.gov.uk/parental-rights-responsibilities/apply-for-parental-responsibility

adoptmama Wed 23-Apr-14 16:41:33

Can't help on the legal aspects but....

Am single parent to two adopted daughters and adopted as a single.

Yes the kids can be sad they don't have a dad, but they do have uncles and we talk about how all families are different. As DD1 has got older she has begun to appreciate how true that is - friends have divorced families etc. so she doesn't feel so 'odd-one-out' now. DD2 has begun to talk about the lack of a daddy (she's 4) but I expect/hope it will go the same way in acceptance & understanding as DD1 has.

I find the hardest part of it is not having someone to share the joy with over their little accomplishments. I'm sad I have no-one who wants to talk about how fabulous they are in the way a partner would. But I also like many aspects of single parenting too so do not regret chosing to be a single parent.

I hope you can work out something practical with your partner so that he does have contact - you've come this far together it seems cruel to add yet another rejection to your AD. Plus it will be very confusing to your elder child if her dad makes a difference between her and her sister because I'm sure you've both spent time explaining to her that her adopted sibling is her 'real' sister and now her dad is showing that is not the case. For both kids, even if he doesn't formally adopt her for the legal technicalities, it would surely be emotionally better if he has contact.

Good luck with everything.

KristinaM Wed 23-Apr-14 19:02:14

I think SS are right that you can't adopt as a couple if you are not together. And you can't petition the court to adopt without the support of SS until the child has been with you for a Long time ( I think 2 years )

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but your STBX obviously has no emotional connection with AC, otherwise he would be keen to still have contact regardless of the legal situation. So why would you want him to have a legal connection to the child? Legal rights but with no responsibilities is always a bad move IMHO .

I'd wait and see how he does on keeping contact with his bio child first. I suspect that the reasons he is leaving will impact on this.

From the children's point of view, it's not that unusual for children In a family to have different dads, or for one to have a dad and the other not ( by which I mean they have no contact with their dad ) . They will just grow up dealing with it, as many other families do . By the time they are in primary they will one of several in their class.

My main concern right now is for you. You are having to deal with the breakup of you marriage -the practical and emotional issues -and also bond with a new child. It's very VERY difficult to Grieve one relationship and form another at the same time. I would STRONGLY advise you to get some counselling or therapy type support for yourself.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Wed 23-Apr-14 20:00:09

It sounds like you're going through an unbelievably stressful time.

I'm not a single adopter, but as a same-sex couple, our DD doesn't have a Dad.

I do agree with the posters who've said that male role models aren't the same as having a dad, but that's not really the point of them. I see my DD's Uncles and Grandfathers as providing positive examples of loving, caring men, so she doesn't just grow up knowing about and feeling comfortable with women. I'm not looking for them to parent my child, just to be themselves in their own manly ways.

Really hope it all works out for you. When it comes to the crunch, do you really think your husband will stick to the no contact thing just because of the legal situation? Or is this a lashing out thing?

Thebluedog Thu 24-Apr-14 07:52:07

Thanks for all the messages, it's really useful to get an unbiased opinion.

I'm getting lots of support from my family, ss and talking it all through with a councillor.

My DH really took to our AC, better than me in fact, so I think the no contact thing is just hot air with the situation at the moment, but he's done a lot of things out if character these past few months so who knows hmm

I'm trying to see it as a single adoption at the moment but in the hope that he'll contribute to see our AC in the same vein as our bc.

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