Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.

Friends

(25 Posts)
Rainatnight Fri 11-Mar-16 22:30:01

I've been thinking of putting this on the newbies thread but I'd like some wider reactions, so what the hey...

I've been wondering if anyone's friends had a funny or less than positive reaction to you adopting?

DP and I are in Stage 2. One friend (very close) has been really quite negative. The big thing she keeps raising is the potential behavioural difficulties of any child we might adopt, and in particular saying things like, 'well, other children and families just don't want to be around those children, so it really is going to affect your life and your chances of having any kind of normal social life'.

Her DS has been on the receiving end of some pretty dreadful behaviour at school from a little girl who's looked-after, and I think this is colouring her views. But I'm kind of thinking, 'crikey, we don't even have a child yet, and you're already deciding not to invite us over!'

She's also started to ask if I really want children and whether DP and I wouldn't just be happy with the life we've got now (lots of free time, good jobs, comfortable for money etc).

Well, I really bloody do want children, it's incredibly important to me, and it's taken me a lot to get here!

And slightly more generally, I just am feeling from her and one or two others as though people aren't that supportive or even that pleased for me. Friends were trying to arrange lunch by email the other day, and I said sorry, won't be able to leave work as we've moved on to adoption assessment and I'm leaving early every second Friday for home visits and I slightly thought that someone would mail back about it, but radio silence...

(Even as I write this I think it sounds a bit princessy, so I'm sorry - it's just that I've been very there for friends and their journeys with birth children so it feels a bit as though this is being treated as second best).

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Sat 12-Mar-16 00:08:04

It doesn't sound princessy. Don't worry about that.

People say stupid shit about things they know nothing about. Some of them turn out to be great friends after placement and some of them just don't get it at all. I hope your friends turn out to be the former. They undoubtedly have very little idea of the stresses strains and worries of assessment, matching and placement. That's probably where other adopters might be more use?

Maybe WAF or AUK?

CrazyCatLaydee123 Sat 12-Mar-16 10:20:23

These sound like fairly crap friends. It takes things like this to see people's true colours sometimes. But it may just be that they don't get it and sometimes you may have help them to get it!

Not all doom and gloom though - if any of these people are bothered about you, they will pull through and remain good friends, better friends, than before. Also, you will meet people who understand it all through the course of your adoption journey, who will go on to become new friends.

Things change, your life will change, your friends will change if necessary. C'est la vie.

My best friend surprised me the other day - she has been fully supportive and one of my references and everything, but she started talking about the stages and things as if she knew all about it. Turned out she'd been researching the adoption process in an effort to understand what I was going through. I don't get to see her very often but next time I do I'm going to hug her to bits!

ChocolateJam Sat 12-Mar-16 12:35:15

People are scared and concerned over what they don't know. Stories in the media featuring adoption tend to be negative and sensationalist - nobody reports on the adoptive kids who are happy and well adjusted. Having said that, true friends will be supportive and try to understand your journey. Some friends cannot handle your changed circumstances and fall by the wayside, that's life unfortunately. When you have children you meet new people and some of them will hopefully become good friends too.

thefamilyvonstrop Sat 12-Mar-16 15:13:22

While going through the process, a close family member told me all about a boy who murdered his adoptive family. I'm still perplexed as to what his point was...that we would be in mortal danger? That if we aren't murdered, we've done well? That he is a knob with no tact?

MintyLizzy9 Sat 12-Mar-16 19:17:56

one of the many things I learnt during my adoption journey is that I know a fair number of pillocks! I also found that some people just didn't know what to say so felt silence was better than asking a question!

Let it wash over you and in the worst cases cut them out, this is far too stressful a process to have to put up with knobheads being downright rude....but to be fair I feel like this about most things grin

Good luck X

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Sat 12-Mar-16 19:54:51

I had this weird situation where FIL went off on one describing a family who had adopted a child where one of the children became hugely obese as an adult. He talked for twenty minutes about this and then at the end said that it had been the birth child, not the adopted child, he had been talking about. The moral? 'Some people put on weight'? confused

tldr Sat 12-Mar-16 20:08:52

I only told my very best friends (like two of them) until there was actual children.

People are idiots, mostly well-meaning idiots, but idiots all the same.

(If you've come to adoption via infertility, you'll doubtless already know this.)

Tigerfish06 Sat 12-Mar-16 21:12:38

I am a long time lurker but don't ever post but this is a really interesting subject for me and my family, we adopted 3 sibs and were very lucky to have a very good support network behind us BUT the one person I thought that would be behind us no matter what......walked away!

My best friend of 15 years after being our reference decided she didn't want to be part of our lives, I have never had a explanation, a phone call, a text..... Nothing :-( I was very angry for a while, then sad then I looked at it in a totally different way, my children had been home for about 6 months when I finally realised how lucky they were, the people I never in a million years thought would be on our journey with us were totally behind us and absolutely besotted with our children and our children with them.

I think when you first bring your child/ren home you need a totally different type of support/friendship that your friends will not really have the knowledge or preparation to give, but some try but some don't even get to this point BUT the ones you that send you a text to see how YOU are feeling, if you need a coffee date and are happy to wait until the children are ready for a playdate are the people you want to still be there because they want to be part of your family.

My children have the most amazing people in their lives who WANT to be there, to me this is the most important thing :-D

This may surprise you but I am pleased my best friend walked away before we became a family as I wouldn't have wanted them to meet her and her then walk away, they would not deal with another loss.

Hopefully that all makes sense.......We are very much "Everything happens for a reason family"

Gook Luck in your journey! :-D

Italiangreyhound Sun 13-Mar-16 00:05:18

Good luck Rainatnight.

I mus say we never had anyone be horrible or inappropriate with us.

I think we have been lucky.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there and sometimes it is right to challenge these ideas and other times just ignore. Your choice. When it is your actual children and they are there, then you do defend them and you do avoid anyone who you feel is inappropriate in their attitude.

Goingthroughnamechanges Sun 13-Mar-16 00:28:19

Sounds like a delightful friend right there! When we were trying to decide if we wanted to pursue a match of a disabled child a colleague said 'oh no, I could never do that. Why would you want a disabled child?'
She's since learned she's pregnant again and when I asked if she's looking forward to pink or blue this time she said 'as long as it's healthy it doesn't matter.' I can't help but think that wasn't an innocent phrase! Water off a ducks back, no point arguing with stupid

thefamilyvonstrop Sun 13-Mar-16 07:58:38

The moral? 'Some people put on weight'?

grin

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Sun 13-Mar-16 09:41:59

Oooh 'so long as it's health totally makes my teeth itch' smile

researchbookworm Sun 13-Mar-16 22:16:21

We were lucky with friends but had some negative reactions from family. In their case it all stemmed from concern for us and was well meant, although it didn't always come across that way. There is so much negativity about adoption in the press that a lot of people genuinely haven't seen positive examples of it and can only see the downsides. Don't write people off too early if they seem negative. I would try and educate them a little and explain how things are done. We were so impressed at the lengths SWs go to to support looked after children, and the care they take in matching etc. It can only be a good thing if this is talked about more widely and more people gain a true understanding of the adoptive process, rather than the skewed version they are likely to read in the press.

happypenguin7 Mon 14-Mar-16 11:03:29

I had a comment from a member of my husband's family (twice, I might add!) while we were going through the process of adopting our son. It became apparant that he had some health issues and she said"what a shame you waited so long for a child and you get one with something wrong with it"
I'm pretty sure you can imagine my reaction.

Kewcumber Tue 15-Mar-16 14:35:00

I had a friend who never spoke to me again once I'd told her I was adopting. Seriously just never spoke/called/emailed/arranged to see me after I sent her a Xmas card with the fact that I was approved and was likely to be matched within a year.

And this was a friend who I had openly discussed my intention to adopt over a number of months after failed fertility treatment so it wasn't like it was news to her or that she's ever expressed any opinion on it strongly one way or another.

A mutual friend once asked her why she'd never contacted me again (not even a Christmas card) and she said "I didn't know what to say".

I had another friend who was openly sceptical about me being a single parent but appeared to reconcile herself to it but really dropped me once DS was home (I suspect not only because I was s single parent but because he was {the horror} a differnt race) - this the woman I was very supportive of her and her young DS when her DH walked out leaving her as ... yup a single parent.

Most bizarre.

I came to learn that if you adopt a child from overseas you are a selfish middle class child snatcher who only wanted a tiny baby with no problems whereas if you were a domestic adopter you were a saint who was saving a child who would probably be an axe murder and your life would never be worth living again but you would have the glow of your saintliness to console you.

You find out who your friends really are - I have been surprised both pleasantly and unpleasantly.

I got much tougher about saying "I'm not really interested in what you think"

Kewcumber Tue 15-Mar-16 14:38:09

Oh and my father didn't reply when I sent him my news about my panel approval. In fact didn;t acknowledge DS existed until he was 2 and didn;t meet him until DS was 7. Though to be fair to my dear father thats because he's generally an arse rather than adoption related. Ironically he's the only grandchild he's in touch with now.

NigelLikesSalad Tue 15-Mar-16 15:45:32

I think we were lucky with our group of friends, everyone quite sensible and genuinely excited for us. There were a couple of comments about age range as we always said we anticipate a slightly older child but still pre - school and that was met with a couple of 'oh no, it would be such a shame if you miss all the lovely baby stage'. Comments like that sometimes made me just want to adopt a 10 year old to hit home that we were adopt a child that was a perfect match for our family, not just waiting for a baby to replace a birth child as that is often how people see it. As it happens we were matched with a very young baby who all our friends and family are completely besotted with. I do sometimes wonder whether that network would have dropped away had we adopted an old child. Impossible to know but it's surprising how things change once your little person is hom!

meandyouplustwo Tue 15-Mar-16 17:13:49

Hi just wanted to add my experience. in the beginning some people were curious about why we would want to adopt , then sceptical that if we were successful the child we got would be alright / acceptable ? a family member said that we hadnt considered what we were doing carefully enough , stating " you know it will be like a bomb going off, have you thought about your other child"?.
well we are now a year in since getting our lovely little pudding, our other daughter (our birth daughter if it matters!) is in love with her sibling as are we.
Couldnt agree more with the poster who said you may lose old friends ( you dont have as much freedom as you once did to do what they want when they want) but you gain new friends.
And part of being a parent , a family is making it work for you , hopefully your little person will bring such joy you wont give a flying fig what others think , what matters is what is right for you.
interestingly when people met our pudding they realised she didnt have green horns or a pointed tongue but just a beautiful little girl who needed something that all children need but unfortunately she didnt have , a family, they couldnt resist her and she is her sisters pride , they are devoted to each other. dont let others spoil your experience of being a family

OneMoreForExtra Wed 16-Mar-16 00:35:26

I think that adoption seems alien and worrying to people if they haven't got much information about it (most people then), and that this comes out in people either expressing their concerns to warn you off, or testing whether they're true, in various clumsy or downright hurtful ways. Also, if you're not motivated yourself by the need to become a parent, the risks do seem rather high - we've all had to weigh up whether we're prepared to take them on / how we'll deal with them, because for many of us this is the best or only way to complete our families, but others haven't necessarily done that. I understand it, but it makes it all harder - my normally fantastically supportive DM, when I told her the backgrounds of most children who need adoption these days, reacted with 'oh no, are you sure you want to do this'; and just a couple of days ago my closest friend asked how matching was going and barely waited for me to reply before launching into a muse about whether it would really be a good thing for DS after all this time. Time to dust off that thick skin...

Devora Thu 17-Mar-16 22:38:40

My grandfather flew halfway across the world to try to talk me out of adopting - AFTER we'd been matched! And a close friend would only ever say, "You're so brave" while looking horrified, whenever I mentioned adoption. Generally, I'd say I got way less support than when I was pregnant.

It's sad but it toughens you up - sadly you just have to let some people go.

Kewcumber Fri 18-Mar-16 21:43:20

sadly you just have to let some people go - from a great height if at all possible.

Devora Fri 18-Mar-16 23:09:54

And what Kew is pointing to, quite rightly, is the importance of getting angry. I truly think a vein of rage is vital to adoptive parenting. Not so much it eats you up; just enough to put the fire in your belly to fight for your child, feel for your child, and walk away without a backward glance from people whose presence will harm your child.

Rainatnight Sat 19-Mar-16 15:03:02

Thanks so much, everyone, for sharing your own experiences. Some of them are very sad - I'm shock at the obesity and the murdering! - but it's been helpful to see that it does happen and we may need to be prepared for some things to change with some people.

I was a bit grumpy and emotional about it when I wrote that post because this had just been happening with two of what I'd consider to be my VBFs, but I should also say that we've got some friends who are being behind terrific and supportive. So, will focus on the positives!

Rainatnight Sat 19-Mar-16 15:03:44

Sorry, that was supposed to say beyond terrific...

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