Lovely adoption types, come and say soothing words to me please

(50 Posts)
bran Tue 18-Nov-08 20:06:19

This is long, really long, but a short summary is as follows.

My DH and 4 yr old ds are very keen to adopt again. I'm wavering a little, not least because DH is a workaholic so I will be doing all the childcare. DH does loads when he's here, but he's not here much and he often simply fails to come home when he said he would if he gets busy. He doesn't drive and DS's potential new school is a drive away so he will only be able to do the school run by taxi or a longish journey on train and tube, although I think he only did and average of one drop-off and pick-up per term at DS's old school which was 10 mins from his office. I'm sure you've heard me whinging about him before.

We were recently short-listed for a little girl (thread here). Since then DS has had a lot of trouble at school and we have removed him (long thread here). We told our social worker about this thinking (hoping on my part) that the little girl's social workers would pull out of meeting us. We met them yesterday and were very upfront that he had been showing behaviour issues in school and would be moving to a new school. We also said that we could be sure that he would be ok in the new school and that we didn't think it would be a good time to adopt another baby if DS didn't settle and had to be taken out again.

I think you can guess the rest, as with any job interview that you don't think you have a hope in hell with and are not sure that you want anyway, they chose us.

I am really torn. She is adorable (from her written info and photos), and her background and personality are so like DS was at that age. She is exactly the child that we would want if everything else in our lives was peaceful and orderly. But on the other hand if DS isn't happy at the new school (which he will start on Monday if he's accepted following our interview this Friday) and DH doesn't move back to live at home as he has promised (he spends 4 days a week abroad) then I am signing myself up for a couple of miserable years.

nickerless Tue 18-Nov-08 20:21:34

But ... all that on one side, do YOU want her.

bran Tue 18-Nov-08 20:41:33

As I said, I'm really torn. If we had her I would love her with all my heart, the way I love DS. If she went to another family they would love her that way too. But just because I could love her it doesn't necessarily mean it's a good time for us to adopt her.

If DS was unhappy and/or not at school and being demanding then I would have the time for a happy, indulgent toddlerhood with her the way that I did with DS. Plus I like a little down-time, I used to treasure DS's nap times when he was that age. With DS having been off school for a few weeks now I'm finding that I get very frazzled and worn out and I don't think that I would want to do it long term with two of them.

maryz Tue 18-Nov-08 20:47:59

I agree with nickerless, but.....

If you were pregnant, would you be happy? Would you (even for a second) wish that the baby would never be born. If you turn down this opportunity and never get another one with you regret it for the rest of your life?

In my experience there is never a good time to have a new baby. It is rare that everything is running smoothly. I assume you drive so the new school run will be you and a 10-month old, which is very different to cope with that a new-born and an exhausted and sore mother!

Write down the pros and cons. There may be huge advantages to your ds not being the only child (my mum says it is better to have multiple children so you can divide the worry, and they can take turns giving you sleepless nights). If your dh wants to go ahead, get him to write down what changes he is willing to make.

If your ds wants a new baby, and the social workers have chosen you, then maybe that is fate.

frogs Tue 18-Nov-08 20:51:51

It's only a dilemma because you have (sort of) a choice. Our lives were all over the place when I got pg with dd1, and all over the place in a different way with ds. And then just when everything had calmed down, both dc were at school, and I'd settled for the idea of a 2-child family, dd2 happened along.

With each of my three bits of it were difficult. There's never a great time to have a baby, or a child for that matter, wrt working commitments, family circumstances, money or other kids' needs. I spent a year when dd1 was small commuting to Birmingham each week with a 2yo in tow (nearly killed me, that did). With ds I wasn't meant to get pg for another 6 months for medical reasons, plus I'd just been offered a new job, and managed to get pg inbetween being offered the job and starting the job. (Hmm, makes you look really competent and committed, that does blush, plus you don't qualify for proper mat leave). When I found I was pg with dd2, we'd just decided to move dd1 from her primary school to a private school (and had paid the deposit, which we lost when we had to pull out at the 11th hour because I knew my income would take too much of a hit). And she was the toddler from hell, which is never great when you've had two easy-going dc first time round.

But they are all so lovely (most of the time), and we so wouldn't be without any of them. If you really think you want another child and this is the child for you, then go for it. Yes, things might be difficult for a bit, but you'll find a way to adapt your lives to the circumstances one way or another. If you wait for everything to be calm and ideal, that is likely to be a long wait.

PortAndLemon Tue 18-Nov-08 20:53:52

The same thing could be true of a birth child, though. DD is seven months and DH is now going to be working abroad until next September. It's not ideal, and in retrospect this wasn't the best time to have a fairly young baby, but we'll manage. The social workers obviously think you are more than up to it.

[Disclaimer: am not specifically a "lovely adoption type", lovely though I am]

mabanana Tue 18-Nov-08 20:57:26

not an adoption type either! But can you get some help - eg a mothers help a couple of afternoons a week or something? Even us non-adoption types can find the 1-2 jump tricky and a bit of help really, well, helps. Also, could you learn to drive?

maryz Tue 18-Nov-08 21:11:26

By the way, we adopted ds1, then when he was 2 we applied for a second child. We were told probably a four year wait, so we had a shot at IVF. Six months later (and the day after we discovered our 2nd cycle hadn't worked), we were offered dd. I very nearly backed out. I was very upset and quite sick after the IVF, and I was worried my grief would affect my relationship with a new baby. She was only 7 weeks old.

We took her, and 10 months later I discovered I was pregnant! So I ended up with 3 under 4 and a bit, I was very sick and had a CS with ds2. Not ideal conditions, and if I had a choice I would not have had him.

I have never once wished it was different. If I had turned down dd, I would never have known what a wonderful child she is and how much she means to me.

Sometimes things happen for a reason.

But if you don't want to do it don't!

Kewcumber Tue 18-Nov-08 22:07:41

tricky bran somany things to take into account.

Settling into school isprobably not the ideal point to introduce a new child into the mix and particularly not when its adoption. And your DH being away isn't ideal. And I absolutely identify withteh nap/downtimething. And your impending move to Ireland...

On the other hand...

If you turn this referral down how likely are you to get another referral you are happy with wihtin a reasonable time frame?
Would this delay your move to Ireland which it sounds like you are looking forward to?
If you move to Ireland before any UK adoption is complted I susect that a second adoption would be off the cards knowing the wait in Ireland.

How important is it for you/DS to have the second child. I know its something I would feel very strongly about.

I think realistically you ned to rule out your DH suddenly changing his exisitng pattern and movinghis job back to UK and becoming much more involved (not syaing you shouldn;ttellhimhe has to but think you shoulddiscount it in your own mind).

You are to all intents and purposed going to be managing the situation on your own for the best part of the week.

It could be tough.

How much do you want the end reult?

Are you prepared to passthis childover knowing that it could be your best chance of the family you want? Would you look back in 10 years and think it was a terrible decision or would you perhaps look back and think "I'm so glad I didn't bite off more than I could chew"

Only you know the answer to that.

DDmay not get the leisurely frst year with you that your DS had but she will have a differnt first year with you anyway by virtue of being a second sibling.

I think you need to decide how much of yoru wobble is a genuine concern on your part that you won;t cope... in which case I'd say withdraw and howmuch of it is a crisis ofconfidence that we all get at this stage (didn't you do something similar with DS? - Oh god what on earth am I doing?)

I'm not sure any of that is helpful because it doesn't give you any answers - only more questions!

Littlefish Tue 18-Nov-08 22:16:07

Good post Kew.

With regard to your DS and his school - this is the only bit I feel even vaguely qualified to comment on!

I really think that this should be a minor consideration in the whole thing. I know that moving schools feels like a huge thing, but it could all be done and dusted in a matter of weeks. He may well settle beautifully with very few disruptions.

I completely agree with this phrase of Kew's "DDmay not get the leisurely frst year with you that your DS had but she will have a differnt first year with you anyway by virtue of being a second sibling."

From everything I've read on MN and all the friends I have with two children, this is absolutely true. The second child always has a different experience from the first.

bran Tue 18-Nov-08 22:19:11

I agree with everyone, and you are all being wonderfully realistic and soothing.

You're right Frogs, it's only a dilemma because there's a choice. If I were unexpectedly pregnant then we would just deal with it. But pregnancy is more cut and dried, with adoption there is a good possibility that this girl would go to another family and be just as happy or more happy with them. If DS doesn't settle at his new school then she won't get the attention that she deserves and I think that she would be better off somewhere else.

I wouldn't regret it (except at potty training time wink) if we took her because I would obviously love her and be unable to imagine life without her, in the same way as I love DS and can't imagine life without him. But equally I probably wouldn't regret it if I didn't take her, because I don't actually know her so I can't miss her.

I can have childcare for DS mabanana but until the final adoption hearing goes through I wouldn't be able to have any childcare for the girl unless that carer was assessed by social services, and anyway after moving home she would really need the stability of a limited number of carers for while. I can drive, DH can't. He has been promising to learn in the very near, but unspecified, future for at least the past 12 years, so I doubt he's going to.

bran Tue 18-Nov-08 22:20:04

Oops crossed with Kew. Will read it now (and be comforted I hope).

Kewcumber Tue 18-Nov-08 22:23:04

oh dear wouldnt describe my post as "comforting"!

Havinga problem with my space bar in case you hadn;tspotted it...

StephanieByng Tue 18-Nov-08 22:30:38

I bet the little girl's social workers chose you because you were so clearly being honest, realistic, and looking at the issues from the child/ren's point of view!!!! You sound absolutely ideal adopters, as obviously you already have been for your ds.

I can't add alot to the wise advice on here already I just wanted to say good on you for seriously considering this and really thinking about it in depth and the impact it will have on you, your DH, DS and the little girl who might come along.

Giving it this much thought, whatever your decision, it will be the right one. Good luck.

frogs Tue 18-Nov-08 22:36:32

Hope you find the right answer for you -- I don't really have a right to any kind of opinion on adoption, but just wanted to be vaguely comforting about how messy (but still fine in the great scheme of things) life can get when you start juggling more than one child.

Presumably the fact that you've been chosen for this child means they think you are the best family for her?

All the best, whatever you choose.

maryz Tue 18-Nov-08 22:46:15

It isn't really a decision anyone can make for you, is it? How long have they given you before you need to give an answer?

The childcare issue is a real problem - part of the reason I survied with three is that I had a wonderful woman who came into the house 2 mornings a week - she was a mother of teenagers, and she just looked after dd and ds2 while I sleptand ds1 was at preschool(sort of a substitute granny)! I was happier leaving ds2 with her than I would have been with either of the older two. I hadn't ever left them with anyone until the adoptions were finalised. Could you get similar help, i.e someone to help you, rather than somewhere for you to leave her iykwim?

I agree with kew about coming back to Ireland. You won't be able to adopt here - domestic adoptions are more or less closed, and at least 4 to 5 year wait for foreign adoption.

Good luck. Try not to panic too much! I am sure you will make the right decision for your family.

bran Tue 18-Nov-08 22:54:03

Kew, the move to Ireland is looking as though it will be delayed a little anyway as the economy there is so dire that there is no chance at all that DH will get work there. Although if he continues to work abroad while we're living in London in a way we might just as well be living in Dublin.
If we didn't adopt before we moved we definitely wouldn't be able to adopt there, there is a 3 year wait to be assessed. I don't know how long we would wait if we turned this girl down, we waited 2 years after approval for DS.

DS really, really wants a sibling. He started asking before we even applied to be assessed again. I would quite like to have two, and when we first expressed an interest in this girl in July I really wanted her. It's mostly the recent problems with DS that has made me uncertain.

In 10 years time I don't think I would regret taking her if we do. I don't know how I will feel in 10 years if we don't adopt another child, I'm not much for regrets generally but I may feel a bit sad that DS never had a sibling. I think considering the next year or two is more interesting. I think if we take her and DS is happy then I will be tired but more happy than miserable, but if DS continues to have problems I will be exhausted and more miserable than happy.

I think I will probably cope with a second child whatever happens with DS, but as I say it wouldn't be a happy time for me if I'm over-stretched. From that point of view she would be better off growing up with happy parents who have time to enjoy her.

Time to sleep on it I think. I've just spent 70 mins on the phone to DH without really reaching much of a resolution, although he did manage a complaint about how much it was costing him to receive a call on his mobile. hmm

mabanana Tue 18-Nov-08 22:54:16

Well in that case just have a very lovely cleaner two or three mornings a week. One who can make you a cup of tea and play with the baby for a bit while you have a shower and put on some lippy. I think ideally you need some realistic commitment from your dh too about spending more time at home. How old is the little girl and how long between her coming to live with you and the adoption becoming final?

mabanana Tue 18-Nov-08 22:56:14

DOes your ds know about this girl yet - his potential sister?

bran Tue 18-Nov-08 23:05:42

She will be 13 months when she moves to us in February, and I think the earliest the adoption can be finalised is about 12 weeks but usually it's much longer as you have to wait for an available court date.

DS knows that we are looking for a brother or sister but didn't know about this particular girl until this week. He still doesn't know her name or age or whether we will definitely get her, just that we are being considered for a sister for him. We were trying to keep it all low key so as not to get his hopes up, but he's quite astute and picks up a lot of things when you don't even realise he's listening.

Realistic commitment from DH is possible but not reliable. He will make the promise in all good faith but he prioritises on the basis of the most urgent/important thing in front of him not on previous promises. During the phone call I did make a list of things that he agreed to change and emailed it to him for his comments, but I don't think it's legally binding.

On an inappropriately shallow level, have you seen the new Mountain Buggy Swift? Could it be an omen that it's going to be released for sale in the UK in the month before she would be due to move in with us? (I have a buggy problem, I thought I'd conquered it but it turns out that it was just that DS had outgrown the buggies. blush)

mabanana Tue 18-Nov-08 23:09:29

YOu know, if you are thinking about makes of buggies, I think you want her grin
You can get some help at home, just don't call it childcare for the little girl. I think a less pressured environment will be wonderful for your little boy.
My big worry about saying no would be that your perceptive little chap might think that his 'naughtiness' was connected with his not having a baby sister. That's absolutely not said to get at you, but it is somkething I thought of and I could be totally wrong.
Good luck!

soapbox Tue 18-Nov-08 23:14:50

Bran, isn't this just a variation on the fairly normal collywobbles that any parent has when thinking about a new addition to the family?

That feeling of 'how can I make time for the new child, whilst retaining the amount of input to my existing child's life that they (and I) have become used to?' or 'how can I love another child as much as I love this one?'

The reality is, that you make the time, you deal with the issues and you love them as you love your other child.

Look at the SN board - there are many, many posters there who have younger siblings to children with severe SN. You, like they, WILL cope

KristinaM Wed 19-Nov-08 11:51:04

bran - you knwo i am not lovely comforting adoption type, oh just love them and it will be ok type hmm

if i were you:

i woudl go for it, coz it sounds like this is your last / only chance

i woudlnt tell DS any more until just befroe introductions

i woudl be bloody angry at Dh and his lack of support. i knwo this doesn't help but i woudl angry. sorry he went through the assessment as well, he knwos what comittents he made

i woudl get cleaner / housekeeper / other household help. not to watch kids, to do house so YOU can watch kids

sorry for typing, am Bf baby

since bloody useless DH is away anyway, woulndt you have more family support if you moved to Ireland after child is placed? ( dont tell SS now). woudl that help schools for DS? thsi woudl only work if prospective DD doesnt have face to face contact here

KristinaM Wed 19-Nov-08 12:46:50

I should add that i would also look at prospective DDs information for all possible SN risk factors. and work out a plan for what if she and/or Ds turn out to struggle in mainstream school. and how DH will have to change career / plans to accommodate children needs if that happens

I am seriously not impressed by husband who doesn't follow through on his promises but does what he wants. are you sure that he will stay with you if things get tough with the children? please don't answer that here.......just in your heart. sorry i have seen so many marriages blown apart by SN kids, i had to ask sad

is the worst that can happen that ds doesn't like the new school so you keep him at home until next summer? why would that be so bad? you would only have a 5yo and a one year old? sorry if I am missing soemthing???
its just you say that you woudl be signing yourself up for a couple of miserable years

KristinaM Wed 19-Nov-08 13:09:10

sorry for disjointed nature of comments. i am doing housework and cant get your situtaion out of my head

you said in your op that you hoped they [childs SW] would pull out. is that so you dont have to make a decision or because you are not sure you want to adopt another child?? Are you just doing this so Ds can have a sibling? Coz if thats why say no. you need to have another child because you and DH want another child. thats the only good reason

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