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Giving baby up for adoption and struggling for practical information

(277 Posts)
NM8448 Sun 22-May-16 08:38:23

Hi

I really hope this is the right place to get some information for my situation.

I am 25 weeks pregnant and will be giving up my baby boy for adoption voluntary at birth.

Basic background: I am in my 30s and fell pregnant shortly after separating from my husband, we already have 4 children, I work full time and can't emotionally cope with raising another child, no safeguarding issues in place and my family has never had any social services investigations or interactions before.
I made the choice based on loving this baby and wanting him to be raised in a loving family environment and although the baby's father and I are together and get on well we both acknowledge we can't provide this baby anyway near the stability and family network that an adoptive couple can..

Financially, emotionally and practically our lives are in complete limbo as we are both going through divorces and struggling to cope with huge life changes after 40 years of marriage between us.

I contacted SS after making the decision 2 months ago and they have carried out an assessment on my Children and family as the first step to this process, all was found to be well with my children and no concerns were raised so I assumed I would be passed to the adoption team by now but this hasn't happened, I got passed to an intermediate team and they don't have the answers I have been anxious to get about how this process works.

I have sought private counselling regarding the adoption and have that support but there are practical questions I am anxious to get the answers to and as the pregnancy progresses I find myself getting more and more anxious about how this works...

All the leaflets and info I have been given are heavily based on children taken away from their families for safeguarding issues or young mums etc, there is very little to help people who make the choice voluntarily...

I worry about how baby is going to feel when he is older about being given up for adoption and want him to know he was loved and cared for not abandoned..

I worry about how things are going to happen straight after the birth, I don't want baby to go into foster care while waiting for parents to be selected by SS.. I want him to be with us for 2 weeks then go to his adoptive parents..

I don't want contact with baby, I want him to bond with his adoptive parents but I would like a pic and a little letter from them once a year just letting me know he's ok and how he is doing.. Is that realistic? How would the adoptive parents cope with that request?

I know about the legal side of things, I understand how that process works.
I need help and advice from birth mums who have done this and adoptive parents who can give me some practical advice on what they would have liked to receive from the birth mum with baby..

For example.. Scan pictures, do I send them with baby to the new parents? Naming baby, do I get to give him a name?

Letters from his brothers and sisters and us, is it helpful to send those with him for the adoptive parents to pass on when he is older?

Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.

JustHappy3 Sun 22-May-16 09:02:45

I didn't want to read and run although I'm not sure I have the answers. You sound very caring and thoughtful. I suspect the SWs are waiting til much nearer the birth as you could change your mind.
Here are a few things that might be good for you to google: "foster to adopt" is where adopters foster the baby until they can apply for the court order to adopt.
Your baby would be in heavy demand - relinquished babies are so very rare. But they would still have issues to cope with later in life around adoption. As adoptive parents we are taught in training about how difficult this can be during the teenage years - however loving the adoptive parents. Google Primal scream.
Once the adoptive parents have legal parental control then no-one can make them write to you. So that photo and letter you would like may not come. Unlikely tbh but it's not guaranteed.
I badly want to urge you to reconsider. You sound so very caring but that would be crass as you are very much more aware of your personal circumstances than I am.
flowers

RandomMess Sun 22-May-16 09:08:09

Have you sent you a pm

RatherBeIndoors Sun 22-May-16 09:34:40

I too think they are giving you time. Nearer the birth, they will be there to see what your decision is. I think your midwife might be a good person to talk to about practicalities.

It is usual for there to be an agreement between the birth family and adoptive family, to exchange annual letters via the social services department. While the agreement isn't usually legally enforceable, most adopters do honour it. The exception comes if they feel for any reason it's not in the child's best interest (can be a temporary pause) or of course, once the child is old enough to decide for themselves.

Any pre-natal information, like scans etc, would be cherished later by the child - it's very rare to have that kind of thing. I know of quite a few foster-to-adopt placements that have successfully achieved continuity for the baby, so if you decide adoption is the right option, hopefully there would be ways to avoid moves/disruption.

I cannot imagine what you are going through. Whatever happens, I wish you great support flowers

NM8448 Sun 22-May-16 09:38:31

Thanks for the reply.

I am doing all I possibly can to reassure SS that I won't change my mind.. I have kids that I love very much and I am not blind to how extremely difficult emotionally this is going to be but I can't shrug off the feeling that I simply can't give this baby a good life compared to what the adoptive parents could provide..

My kids know about the baby going up for adoption and they interact with bump in a healthy way..
I have in no way hidden what my decision is from anyone, work, friends and family are all aware baby is going up for adoption despite having been judged negatively (as in why did I choose to put myself through this as opposed to abortion) at times most people have been supportive.

I work in healthcare not as a midwife but have delivered babies, I am not prepared to have a baby then put it in childcare for most of its life because I work 12 hours and random shifts, I have zero family support so while my kids have grown up with grandparents aunts and uncles, this baby will just have me and his dad who both work shifts etc.

I regularly walk myself mentally through what the handover of baby is going to be like and try my best to let myself cry when I need to and be practical when I need to in order to be as prepared as possible to go through this.. Don't know what else I can do to assure SS and the future adoptive parents that I won't change my mind and that I made this decision practically, emotionally and with nothing but love and care for the little one.

i don't know what else I can do at this point to make some viable progress with this adoption.. It seems like SS is determined to make it as hard as possible for me.. I just want to be under the adoption team so I can start working with them to get this moving forward!

RandomMess Sun 22-May-16 09:42:46

I think your baby will be such low priority to them. It's not going to come to harm, baby will be high on demand - services are stretched and so on.

I suspect they will be in touch around 35ish weeks. Have you tried getting in touch with your SW to ask specific questions and told them that the leaflets aren't relevant to you?

NM8448 Sun 22-May-16 09:47:18

To address baby's possible future development and emotional wellbeing I will do my best to let him know he was cared about, his brothers and sisters are all engaging with him, they stroke bump, they are helping choose his name, they talk about him, he's not hidden...

HIs father and I are making a diary of all the things we have done with him so far, like travel, concerts and pics of us cuddling him (while he is still a bump) in order to hopefully help him as he grows older and starts to have questions or feelings about being given up for adoption he could hopefully see that he was loved and not abandoned.

Is this the right thing to do?
Would it help him?

Sometimes I worry that I am trying to do the right thing but it's going to cause him upset or emotional harm in future

NM8448 Sun 22-May-16 10:06:27

Yes have an allocated child in need social worker who unfortunately has no idea about the adoption side of things.. She is involved to support my kids through it mainly and just because they don't really know what else to do with my file while waiting for the adoption team to take over.

Waiting for the adoption team to get all the answers.. Even asked if I could meet with them in the interim just to get some answers even if I am not under them yet. Waiting to get an answer on that as well.

I have literally exhausted all possible avenues with SS to get this mouving.

So thought this forum could help while I am waiting.

JustHappy3 Sun 22-May-16 10:25:28

I hate to be negative - but you know that your child could be adopted by parents with equally busy jobs; who, after adoption leave, do the 12 hour-a-day nursery thing. And there thousands of people out there who do this with their own children and they are not bad parents. I worry for you because you still have many things you want to control (how long he's with you etc) when the reality will be that after the court order you won't have any.
The social workers will welcome any and all paperwork to save for the future though. My baby has a treasurd box. What would be useful are 2 copies - so that one can be handled and one kept for best.
You will also choose a name and the adoptive parents are likely to keep this. But equally likely to move it to a second name and choose their own choice of first name.
But you know you won't get any real choice about the adopters or know anything more than "Here's John & Jane (no surname) - they're a nice couple aged x, with no birth children and a cat." There's very little the adoption team can do at the moment with you tbh.

bookwormish Sun 22-May-16 10:36:04

Hi NM I can't imagine what you are going through, it sounds like you have made some very tough decisions. There are procedures to follow for this type of adoption, and I expect there should have already been joint involvement from c&f social work and adoption team to talk you through the process - if not already completed, then I think that will happen soon. Because nearly 50% of mothers are known to change their mind, it's incredibly important to tread carefully, however that doesn't mean that there can't be any pre-birth planning underway. Definitely speak with your midwife to make sure that your plans are listened to. You should be able to request in your birth plan to either be separated from baby, or to care for him yourself. You'll be able to leave the baby in hospital when you are ready to leave and then the sw will usually ask for baby to be cared for by a pre-adoption foster carer....then you should be involved in discussions about who will be the best adoptive parents for him, unless you explicitly state otherwise. You will be able to withdraw from all of this right up until the point of the adoption order being applied for by the new parents. Wishing you all the best.

Hels20 Sun 22-May-16 11:23:10

OP - I am so sorry that you are in this situation but I echo what justhappy has said above. Your child is going to grow up knowing that you kept your other 4 children, but not him. The emotional fall out from this could be huge - could leave him with massive physiological issues all his life. He may well feel "why wasn't I good enough?" My Mum didn't love me enough. There is no guarantee that your son will go and have a stable/wonderful life - parenting an adopted child is hard work. There are so many more considerations. So many more issues. Relationships are tested and break down.

I know I am being harsh but a child remaining with birth parents - in absence of neglect/abuse etc - is almost always best. Even if you think there might be better parents out there, it doesn't mean he would be better with them, rather than you.

Please please think very carefully about this decision. I think there is a 6 week cooling off period after birth. You must be in turmoil. I wish you the best.

NM8448 Sun 22-May-16 11:43:17

Thank you all so much.. You have given me a lot to think about and I realised I was misled by the leaflets on certain things so thats helped them clear them up somewhat..

I accept relinquishing any control or choice after the 6 weeks when the paperwork is signed, no issue with name being changed, parents choosing not to send a yearly update etc.. I get that and accept it

I was misled by how much choice and "best match" choice I had in the choosing of the adoptive parents, had no idea it would be solely up to the adoption team.. I was given the impression it would be a negotiation of our needs and theirs and baby's.... Really sad to hear that's not the case.

While I never thought I would meet or get to know identifying details of the parents I assumed I would be told a little bit about their circumstances (for example .. Married 10 years, have extensive family network, work full time etc) I'm a little unnerved now that I got to relinquish any knowledge of what life a baby will have when I am doing this voluntarily.. It just does not seem quite right.

Adoption is still ultimately what's right in my circumstances but I will have to insist on a clear chat with the SS team about things I think.

Cleo1303 Sun 22-May-16 11:54:14

NM: I am weeping reading your posts. What comes across so clearly is that you love this little boy so much - that shines through so clearly.

It's also very obvious that this is causing you enormous grief and I think that is why you are so desperate for SS to get on with it. I think you believe that once you have handed him over you'll somehow be able to move on and get over it. You won't.

You feel you can't emotionally cope and I understand that, but you also say your lives are in limbo and that is not the time to be making such a huge life-changing decision.

Yes, it's tough at the moment but in two years' time (just as an example) you may well be settled and then I think you may bitterly regret giving up your baby.

Please, please reconsider. I know it will be an incredibly hard in the months ahead if you keep him but if you do give him up I'm sure you'll be thinking of him every day and on special days - Christmas and birthdays - there will always be someone missing.

Apart from this baby's issues as he grows up, do you really want your other children to grow up knowing you gave away their baby brother?

You LOVE him. Please explore ways to keep him. Sending you a big hug.

Hels20 Sun 22-May-16 11:59:40

The baby's needs are put first; the birth parents preferences are considered. Eg if you want adoptive parents with a particular religion, culture. But your views / hopes can be rejected. You may know something more about the adoptive parents. I think we told the BM how long we had been together.

Your child could be placed with a single adopter (who most certainly will return to work), gay adopters, atheists, Christians...you have no real say. Could be placed with "middle class" adopters, wealthy adopters, adopters on benefits.

You basically will have no control over what parents are chosen for your child. SS will work out what is best for the child.

You are still a number of weeks away from all of this. It might also be that your child doesn't go into a "foster to adopt" placement. He could be fostered first before placement order is granted.

RatherBeIndoors Sun 22-May-16 12:19:29

Wise thoughts from PPs here. Just re the info you might get about proposed adopters, we were asked to write a brief profile about our approx age, family, background, and interests. I think you would get that, but probably not until that adoptive family was almost certainly the one put forward - so there should be info but I doubt there would be choice, if you see what I mean?

NM8448 Sun 22-May-16 13:15:07

Cleo, thanks for your kind words but please don't feel upset by my posts, that was not my intention.

I know it will be the hardest thing I will ever have to do, I know how much I care for and love this baby but I accept fully I can't cope with raising him, I have 4 boys already that need me and I have done my best but that's because I have raised them with support from their father (soon to be my ex husband) who I have a really good amicable relationship with. They also have a good relationship with grandparents and extended family from my husbands side, they grew up surrounded by love and support...

This baby won't have that, I have no family my side and my partner is in the same position with elderly parents who live far away.. This baby would grow up watching his brothers and two sisters from his dad's side having an extended family network for support and care while he has two exhausted parents alone sharing his care from two different accommodations, struggling emotionally and financially to provide for him and his other siblings. He would inevitably feel like the odd one out and I have no doubt would suffer as a result.

My partner and I have only been together a very short time we fell pregnant almost immediately despite being cautious so although we have a lot of love and care for each other we are also realistic that this is all new, we had just got out of 40 years of marriage between us when we together so not only are we just about adjusting to the new way of life but also coming to terms with loosing our previously stable family and routine then dealing with the emotional fall out this has on our existing children and ex partners.

We inadvertently made a huge mess and I can't see why or how I should bring a baby up into this.. I feel he would be better off in a more stable environment..
I don't mind what religions, lifestyle choices or preferences the adoptive parents have all I care about it that they have the ability to provide baby with love, stability and support. His life and future is my main concern.

I am really struggling to get across how this situation isn't a pity thing.. And I understand why some people find it hard to understand how can we love the baby so much but still willing to give him up..

Me and the dad are happy together, he is torn up about what we decided to do and he is very emotionally attached to the baby too but we reached this decision together, which is another reason some find our decision hard to understand.

I'm not in denial over how horrific this is going to be nor am I shying away from it but the only thing that gets me through is if I can find a fair and reasonable way to make sure the little man will be ok.. Reading here and from the answers I got so far it appears that I might not have that option so all I can do now is process that and see if I can find a way to get some reassurance somehow that will make an already hard journey a bit less traumatic.

EdinLS Sun 22-May-16 13:29:19

Hi NM,

I won't reiterate what prior posters have said about the importance of thinking through your decision, we all know its a huge decision to make. I will try and offer some practical answers though.

It depends on your local authority, but I would be very surprised if you weren't offered the opportunity to meet with the adopters at some point in the process. I know of birth families who present significant risks where this has been achieved in a well managed way, so would be surprised if your social worker isn't able to facilitate this for you & the adoptive parents.

Foster to adopt placements are being championed at the moment in local authorities, and again I would be surprised if this wasn't the case for your baby. This would likely mean the foster to adopt parents collecting baby from the hospital when he is ready for discharge.

I imagine you would be discouraged from taking him home for two weeks, but if this is what you choose the social worker would have no grounds to stop you or seek a legal order to prevent this, as you have said there are no safeguarding concerns.

The baby would be being placed with foster carers/foster to adopt parents likely under a Section 20 voluntary agreement until a placement order is granted, which gives you a lot of power over these arrangements. Personally, I feel taking baby home for two weeks would make it much more difficult to then let him go, but that is for you to think about.

The local authority should have a 'pathway' to follow for 'relinquished' babies. This is likely to be unfamiliar to your social worker, as it is quite uncommon that babies are relinquished, and to be honest most that are present at a very late stage of pregnancy, rather than early on and in a planned manner, as is you situation.

If I was you I would ask to meet with the manager of the adoption team to talk about how they follow this process in reality and how you will be included in decision making. If your social worker is unable to facilitate this, ask for the contact details of their manager, or for their manager to contact you, who should then be able to liaise directly with the adoption team.

I hope this is of some help, and am thinking of you as you make these huge decisions.

Cleo1303 Sun 22-May-16 14:14:11

NM, please don't apologize. My heart goes out to you. You are in such a sad situation.

I'm going to throw in this idea. You have probably thought of it already but maybe not?

You say you have a good and amicable relationship with your ex and that he has a large and loving supportive family. Would they not be willing to accept your new little boy and include him, knowing that he is the half-brother of your other boys? Some families do manage this. If they are generous-hearted and kind they may be willing to help out.

Practically if you and your partner are living separately it's going to be hugely difficult at the moment but that will change.

I think you feel you need to have the baby adopted because you and your partner are in the early stages of this relationship and aren't really settled but that does happen to many people and they manage to make it work somehow. Sometimes those relationships work and the couple will stay together and live happily ever after, and sometimes of course they won't.

Unless I have missed it your partner doesn't have children of his own? You say he is torn up and emotionally attached to the baby? I would hate to see you blaming each other in a year's time for giving up the baby and then splitting up as a result. If this would be his only child it could be a decision he regrets too.

I think you are being very brave.

NM8448 Sun 22-May-16 14:14:55

Thanks Edin

So if I understand this right the foster to adopt placement would be with the adoptive parents not an interim accommodation with a third party?

The theory behind the two weeks thing is based on wanting to give baby the best start in life and breastfeed him so he gets the first lot of milk that includes the important vitamins and minerals he would get from the colostrum. While I know lots of babies do well regardless of being breastfed or not it's just something I would like to do for him if I can.

Other reasons are a bit more personal choice because while I know it's hard giving him up straight from hospital it's going to he extra horrific with all the hormonal changes the body goes through straight after birth that I don't think I can cope with both simultaneously (baby blues and baby going at the same time). I wanted some time for my body to adjust in a more natural way.

And finally I want to have some time with him in private with my partner to say goodbye. Our kids all want to meet and say goodbye to baby too and all of that would just be too much to handle at hospital with the short time span we would be there.

It might make things harder but I would have 2 weeks to gently adjust to things rather than the sudden emotional crash of handing him over at hospital.

I may well live to regret that and if it gets too much to handle I am prepared to rethink that option but for now it just keeps me calm and focuses on something other than the birth.

LocoMoco Sun 22-May-16 18:08:43

We did foster to adopt and our dd has never been in foster care.

I'd expect you'll be able to meet the adoptive parents probably after the placement.

Also not all adoptive parents have to go back to work full time etc, I'm sure ss will choose the best possible match they can for your child.
I know you said you'll breastfeed for the 1st few weeks then hand him over. You could express that milk for him (and beyond) and allow him to go straight home with his adoptive parents. Definitely harder on you but it means he never has to transition to a new home.

good luck

LocoMoco Sun 22-May-16 18:12:18

Apologies i hadn't read your part where you explained why personally those two weeks are important for your family. I didn't mean to come across as dismissive of your feelings

Alanfits Sun 22-May-16 20:26:15

I simply couldn't read and run. What a heartbreaking post. I really don't wish to tell you what is or isn't the right decision as that is not my place but I really do think you could make it work. Plenty of children do long days in childcare and manage just fine, in fact they thrive. If cost is an issue don't forget there should be the increased childcare hours by the time your little one would need it. We are an adoptive family and have no family close, both work shifts and money is very tight but our kids are happy enough. I can't help but feel your views on adoption are americanised, whereby the birth mother could choose the parents she feels are the best fit. With adoption in the UK you have very little control. It could well be that you never get to meet them. I don't believe the prospective adopters information is ever shared with birth parents, although your case is very unique so they may well allow it. If I were a social worker I'm not sure I would place your baby under the foster to adopt scheme as you have a good few weeks to change your mind and as statistically you'd be very likely to do so, the emotional risk to the adoptive family is huge. Are you sure that with 5 children you wouldn't be better off taking a few years out of work to care for your family? I'm sure it's not your first choice, and may be something you wouldn't even consider but it might be worth doing the maths. If you do choose to adopt there will be trauma for your baby. Your voice, smell, and the comfort of nursing will all but vanish. I imagine there'll be trauma for the siblings too, and a small seed of doubt about their permanency planted. Kids are by their very nature resilient though, so if you feel it's for the greater good there will be support available to you all.
Whatever you choose I hope it is one that you feel happiest with. Either way your baby will be dearly loved, I'm sure. I can't even imagine your turmoil. I'm not sure I could adopt a baby such as yours (and we'd dearly love another) as I'd feel like I'd taken it from a very loving mother who was equally, if not more, capable of parenting. It's heartbreaking enough when a birth mother simply isn't able to parent sad please don't take that the wrong way, it just breaks my heart that circumstance alone can split a family.
will keep you all in my thoughts.

Alanfits Sun 22-May-16 20:27:21

In fact that's probably all very patronising, I apologise. You know what is best for your baby. I wish you nothing but strength whichever you decide.

NM8448 Sun 22-May-16 20:59:20

Alanfits and locomum

Please don't apologise for expressing your opinions, I came here to get those and appreciate people taking the time and effort to reply and try to help.

I'll be as open as possible in order to get the help to navigate through this.

My kids are happy settled and loving, I got married at 19 and had my first child then, he's 15 now, my youngest is 8, I was a stay at home mum with them and dedicated all of me to making sure they grew up happy despite being a young mum, when the youngest started school I joined my dream career in emergency care. I don't know how to start again alone and go through raising another lovely baby as well as work the hours that I do and with simultaneously taking care of the 4 boys who are now a product of a fresh divorce.. Coping wise seems near impossible.

Things are amicable with my soon to be ex husband but he has made definite threats of that changing if I keep this baby.. He thinks I would ruin our children's lives if I didn't go through with this adoption. I don't want any of my children (baby included) to be raised in a war zone. My eldest regularly expresses his dad's views of wanting nothing to do with baby while the youngest two are always curious and inquisitive about the baby.

Family wise they are all fuming with me for not having an abortion (a personal choice that I would never judge others for doing but it just wasn't an option emotionally for me), they again drummed into me how selfish I would be if I forced this baby on them... My own mothers words are "I can't talk to you while you have that thing growing in your belly", it's absolutely distressing the thought of the animosity that already exists towards this innocent baby and I can't help but want to get him away from all this tension and grief.

The dad is in a similar position.. His soon to be ex wife is absolutely hateful towards this baby and has made many threads to cut off his time with his two girls if there are any baby stuff around the house and she is a self proclaimed church going Christian! He loves his girls more than anything and he is a brilliant dad to them and they really need him now that they are also coping with their parents divorce. He is bonded with baby but freely admits he can't cope with us raising him..

We are under an enormous amount of pressure on a daily basis and things haven't calmed down much in the 6 months we have been pregnant, it's relentless judgement, opinions and anger aimed at us from exes and their extended family.

I know this is really long, sorry I'm just trying to paint the daily picture here and one of the many reasons why we made the decision to put a baby we care about up for adoption. When it comes down to it we could make finances, schedules, childcare etc all work but we simply can't cope with it all with our family circumstances and exsisting children's needs as well.

The fallout of keeping the baby are scary enough and that's why I keep insisting I won't change my mind.. I really am determined to do what's best for the baby regardless of the emotional costs it will have on me.

sunnydayinmay Sun 22-May-16 21:19:00

Gosh, that all sounds very stressful, and pressured. Have you had an opportunity to have counselling? It sounds as if you are having to cope with everyone else's feelings and opinions, I just wondered if you'd had space to talk this through with someone on your side?

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