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Adopting our 3rd child

(18 Posts)
Butterflymum79 Sat 16-Apr-16 23:32:58

My husband and I are considering adopting our third child. We have 2 biological children aged 4 and 2 who are wonderful,and we love very much. We really enjoy being parents and thought we could provide a loving home to a child who really needs it. However, are we being naive? What is looking after a child with developmental delay/attachment issues/behavioural issues like in that context? I would love to hear the thoughts of people who have experience of adopting. We would only be able to be matched with quite a young baby given our youngest child's age.

Kewcumber Sun 17-Apr-16 09:22:40

Yes slightly naive.

For a start you really wouldn't be providing a loving home to a child that needs it. There is an abundance of adoptive parents waiting for children at the moment due to the slow down in adoptions so you'll just be taking up a seat on the bench I'm afraid.

Different story if you could take on an older child, a sibling group or a high needs child but as you point out that's unlikely to be a possibility in your situation.

Of course adoptions might well speed up again.

The only really good reason to adopt time is that you desperately want a child and for some reason adoption is the best way forward - please don't do it in order to "provide a loving home", no child deserves to be a charity project. I do realise that you might well have just phrased that badly.

On the off chance I haven't put you off yet...

What problems you might except are totally impossibly to generalise because they depend so much on variables like prior history, ante-natal care, genetics, circumstance and luck.

As an example my DS was adopted aged 1 (pretty much as young as you will practically get - unless you go through concurrent planning/foster to adopt) with no history of abuse or neglect and had minimal attachment issues but at 10 has significant executive processing problems which require extra support in school. Most commonly babies in care will have experienced prenatal alcohol or drugs, or have a birth parent with mental health problems. DS was developmentally delayed until he was about 4 and has caught up.

My rule of unscientific thumb is that about 30% of children adopted have no noticable issues, 50% have some degree of behavioral/attachment issues and 20% have significant issues.

That's just based on children I know. In fact I don't know any adopted children personally who don;t have some issue or other which is likely to be linked to their adoption in some way but I'm assured by others that they exist!

bunting1000 Sun 17-Apr-16 12:30:34

We have adopted 2 boys and for us, adoption was a first choice (no known fertility issues), we just decided that this was the way we wanted to create our family. Yes, we wanted children, but we also did this to give them a home and a future they wouldn't have had otherwise. It's a different situation because we took a hard to place sibling group with additional emotional needs, but I do take a little bit of offence at Kewcumber's 'charity project' reference- we have provided our children with a loving home and that is why we did it, but they are certainly not a charity case or something to make us feel good about ourselves. At times it's been the hardest thing ever, but we keep going because our boys deserve the best life they can and are everything. I'm not sure what the issue is kewcumber with saying you want to give a child a home and a family?

meandyouplustwo Sun 17-Apr-16 13:47:09

Hi butterfly mum,
we have 1 bc and a young ac aged 2 , been with us one year . i met my partner later in life and was only able to concieve once so another child would not have been possible biologically
I kind of get what kewcumber is saying , first motivation should be really wanting another child. But i dont agree with the charity comment. I dont think anyone would get through assessment with that as their only motivation.

We did adopt to give a child a chance , but the chance was to be in our family and have the same opportunities as our bc, nothing wrong with that imho.

I would look into the issues that kewcumber raises , even if there is no apparent disability there will be an awareness at some stage that they are not with their birth parents and the reason for that . hard to know at any age.

My other job besides being mum is working theraputically in child mental health and I see more children from birth families with "problems" than I do children who have been looked after.

I would say Read read read and read , be as informed as you can be on issues for children who are adoption.

I would also say when you have your own bc you cant guarantee that they will be well , or wthout disability . there may be more risk with adoption but careful and informed parenting will hopefully smooth the challenges that ac face in their life.

Dont be put off , in my opinion if you would love another child start the assessment and see where it takes you

all the best x

Butterflymum79 Sun 17-Apr-16 14:15:33

Thanks guys. Some really thoughtful comments there. I understand Kewcumbers concern about not seeing an ac as a charity case- but our choice is between having a 3rd biological child or adopting. We do want to add to our family. Being experienced parents, we wouldn't dream of taking on another child unless we really wanted them.

I have been doing reading around in particular foetal alcohol syndrome and developmental delay and I guess that is what partly prompted my post.

I was wondering meandyouplustwo, how did your bc respond to your ac? We're there any issues particularly related to adoption (rather than say, just the normal new sibling issues) that you experienced?

I asked the social worker at the initial meeting about that thing of realistically being limited to a single, young child given that they really need people who can take siblings/older kids etc. She said they always want as many adopters as possible so they can find the right match for each child. There isn't much we could do about our adopting limitations, but should our limitations put us off?

One of the things I'm considering is how much uncertainty it might bring to the long term- perhaps an adult that struggles to live independently say. But as meplysyouplustwo says, all new children bring with them uncertainty and potential issues.

Bunting1000, how have your 2 changed since being with you? What issues have come up for you?

meandyouplustwo Sun 17-Apr-16 14:38:08

Hi , glad my response was helpful.
our bc is 8 so there is a 6 year age gap , she was very much part of the assessment and wanting a brother or sister. She found the wait ( 1 year) very hard but on the first introduction she refused to leave the foster carers and created a huge fuss , not like her at all, saying " she's my sister i have waited a long time for her and im not leaving" we had to carry her out ! so you could say the bond was there from day 1.

We have a lot of local friends who kept things very stable for our bc with play dates but i can honestly say they adore each other and when i mentioned our plans for a family day out recently she said "I'll only go if s is coming". It has been amazing to see the love between them and they miss each other when they arn't together.

As for the future , who knows ? again with bc things can change , i have also worked in disability and know children who have become disabled through road traffic accidents . All i can say is that once that bond is there , you will do anything to support your children adopted or not , thats what a loving parent is able to do when the attachment is in place.

We did a lot of questioning our sw about the reasons for our ac being removed , the bm looked after herself in pregnancy and had a condition that meant if she didnt she would have been in very poor health , in hospital which she wasnt . so we knew there was no risk of fas . But i do think we were very fortunate.

You have your two children so you know what busy is , initially i said that should our ac birth mother have another child i would find it hard to say no, but now seeing how well things are i wouldn't want to change things by introducing a third child. They have each other and they have us.

hope this helps
x

Kewcumber Sun 17-Apr-16 18:23:20

I'm not accusing anyone here of treating adoption like a charitable impulse but I'm amazed that none of you have seen it in real life - hopefully these days it is weeded out during the assessment though not necessarily, I've certainly seen dreadful adoptive parents and they manged to get through the home study so I'm not so convinced as others that it weeds out unsuitable parents. I'm sorry if the charity comment was offensive, I don't know Butterfly and I can't tell from her OP how much she wants a child through adoption and how much she liked the idea of adoption as being a general good thing to do. Believe me I've seen plenty of the latter on this board over the years.

My point was really that don't adopt because you think you are saving a child from a worse life without you. The truth at the moment is that you are just saving them from the chance of living with a different adoptive family. Nothing wrong with that as meandyou says. But it really isn't the case just now that for a young low apparent needs child you will be providing them with any more loving a home than anyone else who will be waiting for a child at the same time.

And whilst it is certainly true that any child comes with a risk, you are in denial if you don't accept that the risks of issues with an adopted child are significantly higher than with a birth child. And yes as meandyou says once you're bonded whatever problems they face you really don't feel any differently to how you would feel with a birth child but often problems occur before you are bonded and sometimes they involve putting your birth child (to whom you have bonded) through significant stress. This can be very hard but would be minimised with a very young child.

I don't think I'm pointing anything out that even a half way decent social worker wouldn't ask and a lot more.

thefamilyvonstrop Sun 17-Apr-16 20:30:29

I have most definitely seen and heard the comments about giving a child a home and I agree it can definitely be viewed negatively by social workers and can be a red flag.
I think it's just worth being aware that for some, that comment can be read as being a "saviour" to a child. As an extreme example, there was a post on the wider boards recently about fostering - a poster had been rejected as a foster carer because she was discussing private schooling and she felt she had been penalised for being middle class (she queried what happened to all the middle class, wealthy children who need foster care and where was the provision for them). Her view was that she could offer a wonderful home to a child and she should have been snapped up. She couldn't adapt her position to see that her attitude and home would need to change to suit the child.
I'm not saying this is your view OP - just that the "wanting to give a child a home" can be heard as not necessarily being realistic about what the child nay genuinely need.

MypocketsarelikeNarnia Sun 17-Apr-16 20:35:02

*I've certainly seen dreadful adoptive parents and they manged to get through the home study so I'm not so convinced as others that it weeds out unsuitable parents*

Amen to that.

I get what kew is saying. Particularly from people with a 'higher mission'. hmm

Kr1stina Sun 17-Apr-16 21:24:23

The children in care who really need a loving home are children of school age with special needs and sibling groups and younger children with significant special needs .

You couldnt be considered for them now, so I suggest that you apply to adopt when your youngest child is about 7 .unless you can parent a child with complex needs , in which case you might apply when your youngest is about 4 , with a view to them being at school when you adopted child is placed .

As others have said, if you apply to adopt a child under two without significant need , all you are doing is taking such a child away from another adoptive family, many of whom may be childless . There is no " need" for such adopters, there's too much demand and not enough supply .

meandyouplustwo Sun 17-Apr-16 22:01:48

hi , just want to add that the child you are matched with is often down to the decision of social services .
Despite 20 plus years of working with disability we were not approved for a child with apparent significant needs , this was not our decision. but made for us because we already had a child and they didn't want to upset her place in the family by adding a child with additional needs. cant say I agreed fully but that was a decision made for us.

And to the comment that you are taking a child away from another family who may be childless , while not wanting to diminish the pain of childlessness ,that comment is unnecessarily cruel and extremely offensive to us who have adopted when already having a bc.
we did the pre adoption training with many couples who had fertility issues and often felt that we were viewed as a couple who shouldn't be considering adoption as we already had a bc , however that is something to be challenged. we should not be cast aside if we are considered to be the right match for a child waiting for a family just because we are in the very fortunate position of already having a child.
there is NOT a one child policy and nor should there be. The love we feel too and from our beautiful dd confirms to us that we are a happy family and she loves her "big sister" if she had gone to a couple with no children she wouldn't have had that experience.
yes life can be unfair but you shouldn't put your own desire to increase your family through adoption aside for risk of feeling you are "taking" someone else's child.

best wishes

Butterflymum79 Sun 17-Apr-16 22:05:24

Thanks guys. I appreciate the honesty. When I realised we would not be able to take an older or more complex child it made me stop and think. I also hear the comments about needing to be able to adapt to the child. With 2 still quite demanding little kids, perhaps that is something we need to consider more closely.

Do I see myself as a "saviour"? I hope not. I didn't have the best childhood myself, and seeing my kids thriving in the secure stable home they have brings home to me how important good parenting and secure emotional bonds are for a child. I work in healthcare and have seen a fair amount of life in all it's forms. I see that you get your inheritance at birth- in all sorts of ways. I feel I have the emotional space and desire for a third child. But I don't feel that that child needs to be biologically mine. I have adoption in my extended family. I feel I could be a committed and thoughtful parent to a child with additional needs. I guess all these things add up to us thinking about adoption. Clearly, having 2 biological children does mean we are coming from a different place to many adoptive parents.

Lots to think about. Kr1stina- perhaps waiting is something to consider. It gives us more possibilities in who we could take and allows us to give our attention to our bc's whilst they are still little.

As I said, thanks for all your comments.

WeLoveLego Mon 18-Apr-16 00:43:03

Hi Butterflymum!
I'm not naive or a charity case worker, and don't really know how to respond to any of the views above ( with a thick skin I think, as that's handy when you adopt!) We adopted our AC when my 2 BC were 4 and 2 years old. As you've already realised, you're coming at adoption from a slightly different position and perspective than many of the mainstay posters on this board, but that's certainly not to say you're naive, no.
We came to adoption because we thought we'd make good adopters- eek! There, I've said it. All of the reasons you talk about were my reasons too. Now I'm here, I'm not actually sure if I'm a good adopter or not (as my children are too young to comment), but like you, I enjoy being a parent, hugely.
something being a parent (prior to adoption) taught me was the importance of being a good ambassador and advocate for your child.Adopted children need this support and ability to fight their corner even more so. I like to see that I'm practising out on my BC,and by the time I get to my AC I'll be well versed. As an example, BC needed some extra support at school, I was in their chasing it up like a shot. I even joked with the teacher that you better get ready for my AC at school as I've got their backs even closer.
Advice we were once given ( by non adopter medical advisor prior to placement) was 'don't compare ' ( your children). Actually we're finding that comparing can be useful as we can identify better what's typical behaviour, and what's maybe not, and if our suspicions come true, we'll have identified these issues really very early ( and found intervention early too). Like you say, you're experienced- there is so much to be said for this.
'Prospective adopter guilt' is what I termed the way I felt during parts of training etc, as yes, I found the guilt of being able to have children biologically and yet adopting really difficult at times, but my LA insisted that they wouldnt have taken us on if they didn't think we would be the right family for one of their children. We were matched straightaway and we have now adopted ACs sibling too.
Have a think about exactly how many children you might want and whether you'd be prepared for a phone call about a sibling. Also think about what relationship your AC might have with their existing biological siblings ( if any), as these are relationships that your BC will be excluded from ( or likely not party to). Also know that birth families are always 'there' in some capacity, and again, there's issues around what you can share with older BC as its AC's story, so really AC should be first to know details as age appropriate.

I feel that it's maybe easier coming to adoption with 2bc ( than 1bc) in some respects, in that you know and accept as a parent that your children are different to each other, as you live that reality. Also, the Sw can see literally not hypothetically how you parent, how you discipline, how you cope with sibling rivalry, how you overcame hard times as a parent so far. For example, With our BC, one needed structure and routine to feel safe and in control, the other hated routine but needed more one-to-one at various points of the day to almost check in and release feelings. We knew from experience that we would have to work out what worked with AC, and that we'd parent all of our children differently. There's no one size fits all (and I enjoy that), and also as you'll know as a parent already, children change as they get older and what worked yesterday won't work today. I really enjoy rising to that crazy challenge.
Initially Sw liked the fact we had a big established network of friends ( lots of parents of our existing children, some happened to be adopters). This has proved really helpful, lots of support, but it has made our adoption very 'public' compared to others maybe, in that at school for example, the whole playground saw when my buggy gained a new face. I only had one parent ask me if I'd started child minding as word of mouth that we had adopted got round. i think there's been pros and cons of this for my children, but I guess that's a whole other can of worms for another day! ( please feel free to PM me butterflymum, happy to support you and share my experience)
I've lots more to say, especially about BC and adoption journey, reactions, emotions, (hormones-eek!,) hard times, good times. I haven't managed to find anything academic or otherwise that I can draw much comparison to myself in terms of reading, so I'm currently writing a book about our experience. It won't be a best seller or anything, but I really do feel that people with BC can bring so much to adoption too, please do Pm.
Hope this helps. X

Kr1stina Mon 18-Apr-16 01:32:43

FWIW I did not suggest that the OP shouldn't adopt as she has bio children. The are many adopters here who have bio kids as well as adopted or step kids .

The OP said that her motivation to adopt was to " provide a loving home to a child who really needs it " .

I and other posters have pointed out it would be hard for her to do this right now, because the children who really need adopting are older and/ or have SN and she would be unlikely to be approved for one of those as her children are 2 and 4.

She can't adopt an older child or sibling group because you can't adopt out of birth order.

She can't adopt a child with significant SN as she couldnt give that child enough time with two other young children at home .

And adopting a NT baby or toddler would not give her what she wants - a child who really needs a home .

thefamilyvonstrop Mon 18-Apr-16 06:55:58

I have absolutely no issue with anyone adopting because they have/can have birth children.
welovelego, coming at adoption because you think you will make a good adopter is different to "offering to provide a loving home to a child who needs it" - and for some sw, the second phrasing can be perceived negatively. In the current competitive climate, with sw being able to pick and choose who to take on, surely pointing out a badly turned phrase might would help the OP in how she approaches this.
In the current re-BS world, there are more adopters than children, and the children most needing a family have specific needs and already having birth children of a certain age will put limiting parameters around the children available for matching versus couples with no children and age limits.

Kewcumber Mon 18-Apr-16 10:19:03

I agree with Kristina and I'm not sure why me responding to a specifically phrased OP has been taken as an attack on every poster who already has birth children?! confused

Many posters have birth and adoptive children and I'm sure all of them who have interacted with me either online or in real life would confirm that it is a matter of supreme indifference to me!

We have also on this very board had many many conversations over the years about how much it irritates us when people assume we "rescued" our children for altruistic reasons. IME adoptions for altruistic reasons rarely end well either at the assessment stage or more sadly with the child's experience of having to feel grateful. No need to take my word for it - you can read the adult adoptee threads and find plenty of evidence.

As I said - I understood that OP might just have phrased it badly - would I have been better not to point out that its a phrase that rings a lot of warning bells?

And I should point out that many of the "mainstay adopters" even on this very thread have adoptive and birth children.

Kewcumber Mon 18-Apr-16 10:25:36

I would also like to add that I think adoption works best if you go into it with the same selfish intent as anyone having a child...

"I want this more than anything else in the world"

it matters not whether the "anything else" is a year off travelling around the world, having IVF or egg donation or having another birth child.

In my personal experience there are likely to be many bumps in the way, some people suffer more significant ones than others (many people are currently waiting what feels like a very long time for a child, how long would you be prepared wait for your third child?), but most people don't get through the bumps if they aren't desperate enough for the end result.

Butterflymum79 Tue 19-Apr-16 22:22:18

Thanks all for your comments. I certainly haven't taken any of them badly- it is good to be challenged. And I do appreciate hearing the views of those who are experienced in adoption. I have been reading some of the threads on this forum and that has helped identify areas we need to continue to reflect on. I admit I posted my original post quickly and without too much thought-my language has clearly irritated people. But in a way it has also raised some interesting comments which have been useful.

I like kewcumbers view that adoption should be selfish. It is actually quite liberating to see it that way. It means we don't have to worry about whether this is the "right" thing to do, just whether it is right for us as a family and the child.

I would be very interested to hear more about your experiences welovelego. I will PM you in the next day or two if that is ok?

Thanks again.

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