Do adoptive parents really realise what they're getting in to?

(143 Posts)
Zavi Fri 14-Sep-12 20:19:41

I know that many infertile couples, or established families, turn to adoption as a way of creating happy family units but I wonder how many realise that having an adopted child - especially if it's not newborn(ish) - realise what they're getting in to. Children that are available for adoption almost always come from horribly dysfunctional families and that the children, unfortunately, have inherent issues, some of which will never be overcome by love/best intention.
It's my view that if childless couples/singles think that they will be able to form ready-made happy families with the type of children who are up for adoption then they are going to have a rude awakening.

LocoParentis Fri 14-Sep-12 20:50:34

Wow, as a prospective adoptive parent I find your assumption that we don't know what we are getting into very patronising.
My dh and I are yes childless and yes infertile and would very much like a happy family unit. That does not mean that we are stupid enough to expect a model child who just needs a hug and a nice bedroom to make it all go away.
And even if we did have unrealistic expectations and zero understanding of the issues our future children may have, the prep course, sw, panel, childs sw are there to assess our understanding and ensure we have an idea what we are getting into.
I also strongly believe that even if we are rose tinted idiots and the sw trick us into accepting a child with far more problems than we anticipated we can and will cope.
A birth child could also suffer any number of unanticipated problems. With an adopted child at the matching stage we can and will make as informed a decision as we can. If we feel we are unable to cope with the issues a potential match may have we will make a decision to wait for a child who we feel we will best be able to care for.
80% of adoptions are successful.

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 14-Sep-12 20:53:57

Op what is the point of your post? Are you just trying to upset those hoping to adopt?

Lilka Fri 14-Sep-12 20:59:15

I have adopted three times, and I deal with my children's issues (some minor, some more major) daily, so I have many thoughts on the issues children come with, and which adoptive families might face, and on expectations and family life etc. But I'm not going to talk about that in this post

Can I ask what connection you have to adoption? Have you adopted, are you a social worker etc? I'm not very clear why you're asking

Reading your just seems like a simple statement not a real question, and I don't agree with it all. There are valid questions about good preparation and prospective parent's expectations and so on, but I didn't get the feeling that was what you are asking, especially considering your final paragraph. What is your personal experience with adoption to back up a blanket statement which apparently appplies to all modern adoptive parents?

So I want to say this - my children and I are a happy family. Maybe not the kind of happy family you see on adverts and christmas cards. We deal with many many extra issues and challenges that an average family would not. But that does not make us unhappy or a 'negative story' or anything like that

There are many adoptive families in this board who are very happy families also smile

I want to know what 'happy family' means anyway. I think I can tell simply from reading your post that our definitions must be very different

runamile Fri 14-Sep-12 21:02:58

It is not clear where your post comes from - have you had a bad experience yourself? The tone of your post is not very pleasant but I do have to agree with you and in a way, I wish more people realised that adoption is not like it was in the 1950s and 60s. I have had a traumatic experience of adoption with a marriage breakdown and two children who might end up in secure residential care for the safety of themselves and others.

Zavi Fri 14-Sep-12 22:10:53

I don't have any personal experience of adoption. I have some second-hand experience of adoption.
I do think this: that families/couples/singles who want to adopt really know what they're getting into.
I think that, if you're looking to adopt, then what you ought to be saying to yourself is "I'm the kind of person who is willing to take on a child - that almost certainly has got attachment issues - and I'm am willing to bear the brunt of that child's problems, and will that child disrupt my own situation"
I think it's great that people want to adopt deserving kids but I wonder if people - pre-adoption, know how damaged these kids are and what they're really getting into. I think some people think that if they adopt a kid and just love it everything will be fine. Kids that are up for adoption are mostly already very damaged. And love won't change that.

Devora Fri 14-Sep-12 22:43:21

Well, why don't you ask us instead of telling us, Zavi? Because, unlike you, there are many posters here who DO have first hand experience of adoption.
IME prospective adopters are clearly and continuously warned about the issues our children may have to deal with - not just by the social workers, but by bystanders like yourself who warn us constantly that one day we'll be burned in our beds by the damaged cuckoo we have taken into our nest.

For the record, my adopted child is a complete delight. Who knows what the future will bring, for any of us?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 14-Sep-12 22:48:41

Um, I know next to nothing about this subject. But I do know that social workers etc spend a lot of time preparing and placing adopters and adoptees. So maybe some people don't understand at the start of the process - there sure do before the end.

I'm curious why you posted this, OP? You don't have adopted children, You say your experience of adoption is second hand. So what prompted you to pop on over to the adoption section and create a new thread? Your post comes across as preachy and offensive.

Asmywhimsytakesme Fri 14-Sep-12 23:07:50

I don't understand the motivation for op posting, but I think some adoptive parents do later think they were naive, yes.

When we had fertility problems a close family friend who had 2 adopted children told us not on any account to adopt from this country.

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:20:02

Do adoptive parents really realise what they're getting in to? I would say almost certainly not, I've never met a parent who does.

Do people rush on to mumsnet to say "oh those darling orphans we must adopt one" when there is an earthquake in Haiti? Yup everytime.

Do those people get as far as adopting? IME they never even get as far as picking up the phone.

Do social services scare you witless on preparation courses about the potential problems your child might have? On mine they did.

Does that prepare you for the reality of any of those problems? Nope.

Do I think that people who want to lecture adoptive parents about how deluded we are going into it could read some of the threads already posted over the years about how love "isn't" enough and the real and serious issues some of us have coped with. Yup that probably would have been more productive.

"I think it's great that people want to adopt deserving kids" - so nice of you to approve but I didn't actually want to adopt deserving kids - I wanted a family.

"It's my view that if childless couples/singles think that they will be able to form ready-made happy families with the type of children who are up for adoption then they are going to have a rude awakening." why do you think everyone who adopts is childless? confused But apart from preaching about it to the choir here - I'm not sure what your point is?! You have come to tell us we are fools? Lucky? Misguided?

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:25:11

runamile - I'm sorry. My friends adopted a sibling group and the adoption of one disrupted before the final hearing but some years after being placed. It was painful to be involved with and I can't imagine how hard going through a marriage breakdown is on top.

Maryz Fri 14-Sep-12 23:26:10

Most of us simply know that we are willing to love a child. Any child. And face whatever problems and issues that child has in the same way that we would if we gave birth to them.

We don't think we are perfect parents: we don't expect our children to be perfect children. But together we become a "good enough" family.

I for one have no regrets.

hmc Fri 14-Sep-12 23:26:24

I wouldn't know but I expect they have had many hours of soul searching before deciding to adopt - and thank God people do come forward offering a stable loving family home to children previously denied this

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:28:06

Asmywhimsytakesme - anyone who thinks adopting from overseas is the easier option, hasn't done it! The problems are just different. Institutionalised children come with the kind of problems we have just forgotten about in this country.

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:30:23

Though come to think of it, you may be right OP - because adoption is rushed through soooo quickly in the UK that we really don't get any time to sit around just mulling over the endless possible problems the children we are matched with might have. hmm

Asmywhimsytakesme Fri 14-Sep-12 23:30:47

Kew I agree! I think she wanted to spare us the pain she went through (one child in prison, one with serious long term issues I won't go into here).

lljkk Fri 14-Sep-12 23:33:29

I reckon hardly any sort of parent truly knows what they're getting into by having kids. Can't see that adoptive parents are a special case.

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:34:19

Lilka " Maybe not the kind of happy family you see on adverts and christmas cards" - you know you can make your own on Moonpig? grin

"Christmas Chaos in the Lilka House" with photo shot of appropriate carnage shaded in tones of red and green and a light drizzle of snow?

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:35:45

"Can't see that adoptive parents are a special case." <pouts> Are too.

lljkk Fri 14-Sep-12 23:37:46

Not with regard to having naive beliefs about parenthood, I meant. smile
Adoptive parents are probably braver. Biological parents can more easily fool ourselves we knew what we were doing. HA!!

Zavi Fri 14-Sep-12 23:38:08

I posted this because I believe that people who might be considering adoption ought to think twice about what they might be getting in to.
Having a child through natural means and having a child through adoption are completely different things.
The difference being that with adopted children you can never know how badly their early experiences have effected them. Gigs simply not known and a lot can come out in the wash in later years.
That's why I would caution anyone that seeks to adopt in order to meet their (albeit perhaps unconscious)own needs.
It strikes me that adoption is about giving, giving, giving. It's my view that those seeking to adopt in order to fulfil their own needs, and not otherwise, are going to be very badly disappointed if they find that the love and stability they can offer is not enough or not appreciated.

KateSpade Fri 14-Sep-12 23:38:39

I'm adopted and would honestly like to know more about the issues you/people associate with adopted people.

I don't really have any apparent issues myself but would be interested?
Is it separation anxiety?
Self esteem?

lljkk Fri 14-Sep-12 23:41:10

Every word of that equally applies to people making their own biological children, Zavi.

Asmywhimsytakesme Fri 14-Sep-12 23:43:15

My friends were not told the full truth about how abusive the home environment was. That robbed them of the chance to make an informed decision and with hindsight they felt they were matched with an in appropriate sibling group.

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:47:17

Asmywhimsytakesme - when was this? It was very common at one time and although it does still happen, it much less common now.

StillSquiffy Fri 14-Sep-12 23:47:56

Oh FFS, your ignorance is outstanding.

Of course you know what you are getting into. DH and I walked away broken from the whole process when we realised we weren't good enough people to handle the issues that would come our way.

Your posts are the most offensive I have read in a long long while.

Maryz Fri 14-Sep-12 23:51:41

Parenting is about giving, giving, giving. And if you aren't prepared to give, it is probably better not to have children, adopted or not.

I have an (adopted) child with issues. A friend of mine has a child born to her with more serious issues. We both love our children, worry about them, parent them to the best of our abilities.

Of course, with hindsight, maybe I should say "I only wanted a perfect child, I was sold a dud. I should have been warned".

But could she not also say that - could parents look for more ante-natal testing, genetic research (God knows, if we all looked for possible genetic problems in our families - mh issues, autism, premature birth and the problems it brings, educational needs etc etc would any of us have children?)?

Asmywhimsy, I agree, much more information about background/abuse should be made available to adoptive parents, and I hope that is changing as research shows that love isn't enough. I also believe that adopted children deserve the same health and educational support as foster children would have (so that children don't get shifted from possible adoption to long term foster care because of additional needs).

But to say (as the op does) that all adoptive parents are going to have a rude awakening is not true. The vast majority of adoptions are happy, the vast majority of adopted children do well. The trouble is that the media aren't interested in those ones, they are only interested in the "horror stories".

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:52:16

Zavi - its not that I actively disagree with anything you have said. Its just a bit like being lectured by a very earnest first year sociology student.

Can I ask you a question?

What makes you think any prospective adopter is going to listen to someone who has zero experience of adoption (I'm assuming thats what "second hand" means) when there are older, wiser, more experienced heads on this forum some of whom has faced the problems you philosophise about, who can and do, give sound realistic advice?

Zavi Sat 15-Sep-12 00:04:41

At least with our own kids we know where we've gone wrong and we know how our behaviour effects our kids ( they're like sponges right,!) but with kids that have had to be adopted all you know is that their upbringing has been so rubbish that they have has to be removed from that environment.
Kids that are up for adoption are usually very damaged.
What I'm saying is that those who want to adopt should be people who are primarily interested in homing damaged children - not people who are looking to create or build on an existing family.
And child-free people who are looking to adopt ought not to think that gaining a child through adoption will simply fill the void.
Adoption, under any circumstances, has family/relationship breakdown at its core and every adopted kid will have to face those issues in relation to that breakdown. Natural kids may have other issues but they will never have to face the issues that adopted kids face.

HappySunflower Sat 15-Sep-12 00:05:05

I've read your original post three times, but I'm struggling to understand why you have posted really, Zavi!

You have posted in the Adoption topic, hence many of us have been there, done it and have the children (and grey hairs) to show for it.
Speaking for myself, after a 3 year process, dozens of assessment sessions, meeting and talking with with many people who had adopted already, and hours and hours of reading and research- yes I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting in to before I made the decision to become a parent through adoption.
It was not a decision that I, or any of us made without great consideration.

I find that most of your comments are applicable to any parents, really, not just adopters and your posts are actually coming across as rather patronising considering that you have no first hand experience of adoption.

I get the feeling that there is a back story to this that you are not sharing- might you care to explain your 'second hand experience' of adoption to us?

Flojo1979 Sat 15-Sep-12 00:05:52

I didn't have a clue what I was getting into. That's cos I didn't get interviewed and go on courses etc, that's cos I give birth to my kids. Not a clue.
Adoptive parents are much more informed than birth parents, why do u think these kids r in care in the first place? Cos birth parents ain't a f***ing clue.
Bit like u then.

'our own kids'? hmm

I think you'll find that adopted children are their parents' 'own kids' too.

Lilka Sat 15-Sep-12 00:16:22

Actually, people who adopt should be looking to build a family. Our children are not some kind of charity cases taken in to be healed by parents with some martyr rescuer complex

I was childless - I adopted to gain a family. And what have I got? A family!! I have no regrets, like Mary. And yes, we deal with plenty of adoption related issues

Kew - grin Should be a bestseller!!

KateSpades - Nearly all children adopted nowadays are taken away because of abuse, neglect, doemstic violence, drugs misuse etc. Then frequently have moves in foster care. They may face self esteem issues as you said, but we are talking more about the effects of abuse. Attachment issues, behavioural problems, foetal alcohol syndrome to give a few examples

Asmywhimsytakesme Sat 15-Sep-12 00:27:06

It was a while ago and I agree it is becoming rarer (friends recently adopted with full history which was a very bad start for the dc sadsad )

Lilka Sat 15-Sep-12 00:27:36

Edit to last post to Kate - self esteem issues are a pretty common in children in the care system, so scratch that. Actually, all of the things you listed are things you might expect to see in adopted children today. But I wouldn't necessarily expect to see them in adoptees from 30-40-50 years ago, because it was rare to be adopted as anything other than a baby then, and most were relinquished babies, not abused

Lilka Sat 15-Sep-12 00:35:27

Asmy - I think the trend is far more towards more disclosure. I have fought to get scraps of information relating to my older 2 children, who were adopted in the mid 90's and early 00's. However I there are still a few bad LA'a who do deliberately mislead sadly. Many places still do not allow adoptive parents to view their childs full files. Even if they are totally honest, the reality is that they won't know everything about the child, sometimes they will know surprisingly little. The birth parents may be unwilling to give them information about the childs early life. If there was no SS involvement in early life, there may be little records of the child save medical. Information is in many different places held by various people eg. police, SS, doctors, school and so on. That means that a full history is very unlikely, because it's rare for records to be organised together. Of course you may get a good picture, but even in the best most professional LA, I would say that a total full history is impossible. It's a leap of faith. But, one that results for the majority in a happy family!

Lovesoftplay Sat 15-Sep-12 08:46:24

I am genuinely shocked by your OP and subsequent posts. I don't even know what to say other than.....I can't believe that someone with "second hand" experience of adoption feels its appropriate to lecture a group of parents on a subject that they have years and years of experience in and live with every day.

I most certainly was looking for a family when we adopted, and I find your terminology of "homing damaged children" extremely offensive. They are not dogs, they are children who through no fault of their own have been royally fucked over by their birth parents.

Also, my adopted children are "my own".

KateSpade Sat 15-Sep-12 08:53:17

Thankyou for replying. I was never abused, and was given up as a baby, & never really felt anything negative about being adopted, so I just wondered if their was anything I could relate too.

Adoption is a wonderful thing, I wish more people wanted to do it.

OP your lack of understanding of the adoption process, the tests we go through as prospective adoptive parents, the training we undertake, and the follow ups when the child is initially placed in the family is astonishing. And laughable.

FWIW I have two children. One is a birth child and one is adopted. The birth child has cerebral palsy, epilepsy, & hydrocephalus. The adopted child has no health issues and is a loving & happy person, with lots of friends and doing well at school.

The adopted child came with a huge range of information regarding their background, and any potential issues. The birth child just arrived, and we learned how to look after them and to understand the diagnoses as we went along.

On a day to day basis OP, who do you think is the hardest to parent? The adopted child or the birth child?

And do you really believe the adopted child is not 'my own' or that I don't love them and value them as much as the birth child? Because I do, and I never forget how blessed I am to have them both

Adoption is hard. To get on the list to be trained as an adoptive parent is so difficult. The intrusion in your life whilst you are assessed is very hard to take. But I don't regret the adoption for one second, and I am so proud to have my adopted child in our home.

To prospective adopters, please don't let ill-informed views that are not based or personal experience or fact cloud your thinking.

Yorkpud Sat 15-Sep-12 09:13:51

Well, that is why the system is so thorough so that adoptive parents are aware what they are getting into and are ready to tackle the challenges as best they can.

4goingon14 Sat 15-Sep-12 09:33:37

I am not adopted nor have I adopted any children, however I do know a couple of people that have adopted. I think that people that go through the adoption process which seems to be long and incredibly intrusive, delving into corners of your life and relationship that would never normally be delved into, to bring a child into their home and nurture and love that child. To try and give that child everything that they never had before is simply amazing!

I wish I could be one of those amazing strong and incredible people that takes another human being into their home and heart and tries their utmost to give them the compassion, love and the time that they deserve. All human beings deserve this. All children deserve a chance at a life.

I think that it is incredibly sad OP that you have such a jaded view.

wannaBe Sat 15-Sep-12 09:49:32

I have never adopted, but I stumbled across this in active convos so I am going to opinionate on it anyway.

I think every parent is different. I think there are some who go into the idea of adoption with their eyes wide open to the challenges they are going to face, some who go into the idea of adoption with less of an idea and have their eyes opened during the process, and some who fail to take on the reality of what it's going to be like and then find themselves in unknown teratory when they finally get to adopt.

It will never be a one size fits all situation because every child is different, every set of parents is different, and every situation is unique.

What I do think however is that society's view of adoption is unrealistic. I have heard countless people say, when talking about putting off having a family that "well, if we can't have any children naturally we can always adopt." I have seen threads on mn when talking about infertility saying things to the effect of "I don't understand, if you can't have children naturally, why you don't just adopt, there are all these children out there in need of loving homes...." And of course when people decide to go down that route there is a harsher reality they must face if they haven't already done so, but I do think that there is still a bit of a romanticised view in the larger society, which possibly stems from a time when the children that were available for adoption were newborns being given up by parents who were simply unable to give them the best life, rather than the abused and neglected children of the disfunctional families of today.

jenny60 Sat 15-Sep-12 10:05:15

Guess what Zavi? Those of us who have adopted or are in the process of doing so, know a million more times about it than you do. You have NO idea about the processes we go through on the way to adoption. As mother to an adopted and a birth child, I can tell you that we were much, much better prepared for ad than bs.

Please stop telling us what is best. I don't have all the answers, but you really have no idea about what we actually MUST know and do learn as part our preparation.

Very good points Wannabe, particularly about adopting babies in the past. But these are exactly the issues discussed at great length over many weeks/months during adoption training courses. (Or at least that is my experience through the authority who took us on to train.) So the parents being assessed as potential adoptive parents are given the facts (as far as humanly possible) before even being approved to adopt. And these can include lots of pretty harrowing case studies.

Possibly the views of some sections of society are unrealistic regarding adoption. But I went into the process with my eyes open. And in fact - and I am sure we are extremely lucky, and very possibly in a minority, I cannot say - our experience (so far, 7 years in) is much less traumatic than we had been led to believe it would be.

NoMoreNotNever Sat 15-Sep-12 10:11:55

'deserving' kids! What about the undeserving, eh? Sod them? angry

And as for 'thinking twice', that's just laughable. The amount of investigation and intervention that happens before you get anywhere close to being matched with a child dispels any notion you seem to have of a couple going 'hey, let's get a kid! we're shopping on Saturday afternoon anyway, so could pick one up then.'. The chances of getting through that process and being approved without at least a thousand second thoughts and some understanding of the issues is zilch. Whether SS procedures disclose as much as they should in every case is another question.

You're making some awful assumptions here.

I know I sound a little outraged, but I'm adopted myself and would also have to adopt if I wanted a 'perfect' hmm family.

Chubfuddler Sat 15-Sep-12 10:13:03

I have no experience of adoption. But as a birth parent I have to say I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Not a clue.

motherinferior Sat 15-Sep-12 10:19:17

I have a birth child conceived five months after I met her father, the result of me thinking "oh I'll take a risk and I don't think I'm ovulating anyway". That's irresponsible. Believe me.

Kewcumber Sat 15-Sep-12 10:39:41

"What I'm saying is that those who want to adopt should be people who are primarily interested in homing damaged children" <snigger> sorry, but you do manage to make it sound a bit Battersea Dogs Home'esque!

Look, on the basis that you seem to be genuinely concerned about this for undisclosed reasons, to set your mind at rest:

a) the people who blithely say "Oh we'll just adopt" never do;
b) those of us who really had no idea what we were getting into were pretty clear by the time we'd finished our prep course which in my case had one day which became known as "the day of doom";
c) The 20% (I'm not sure how accurate that is) of adoptions which fail are because the children had more serious issues than anyone realised (including social services), the parents were unable to cope with the reality of those problems, or circumstances changed which made the parents unable to cope with the problems.
d) there are professionals whose job it is to make sure that parents know what they are getting into and to help find the best match possible for the children

If you are set on dabbling in the adoption world then you really need to sharpen up your adoption language pretty damn fast if you want anyone to engage you in any meaningful dialogue. Just so's you know - we are real parents who have real children who are our own - we aren't holographic babysitters. The fact that our children have two or three or four real parents doesn't make any one of them less real or less their own.

Kewcumber Sat 15-Sep-12 10:40:55

motherinferior - bet you knew what you were getting into though! And if your child turns out to have difficult problems you'll know where you've gone wrong.

motherinferior Sat 15-Sep-12 10:54:57

God, Kew, I had no idea. Very little. And I live in dread of the whole parenting lark going tits-up as my children enter adolescence. We all do. Adoptive or birth parents. Of course we do.

Narked Sat 15-Sep-12 11:05:19

I am going to post in the Chicken Keepers section. I have never kept chickens and don't have much direct experience of them but I think I need to warn people that those little feckers have feathers. And they don't produce eggs all neatly in 6 packs like in the supermarket.

Maryz Sat 15-Sep-12 11:13:56

What Kewcumber said (as usual).

And I get a bit sick of everyone assuming that all older children will be damaged, and all babies unscathed.

In my experience people adopted as babies can have issues about being voluntarily abandoned by their parents; people adopted as older children can have issues about the neglect/abuse they suffered before being adopted.

But children left with their birth families can also have issues relating to parenting - you only have to look on the Stately Homes threads and half of the relationships board to see this.

I get a bit sick of the continual quoting of the figures for adoption breakdown, and the continual stories of children who are unhappy with their adoptions, or of adoptive families that break down.

Because something like 80% of adoptions don't break down and more adopted children grow up to be happy functioning adults than don't.

Just like birth families - many are successful, a minority are disasters.

But we don't go around saying to people "don't have children, because some children have SN, some families break up, some children go off the rails, some have mh issues".

When we have children, by whatever method, we are taking a risk. For the vast majority, that risk turns out well, sadly for a small minority it is more difficult. But that doesn't make it a risk not worth taking hmm.

Kewcumber Sat 15-Sep-12 11:19:26

Also I'd say that it was only the motivation that I was desperate for a family that kept me going through the tougher times. If you limited adoption to only those who wanted to help out a needy child, I'm not sure many would get as far as actually adopting.

Kewcumber Sat 15-Sep-12 11:22:15

runamile - this thread runs the risk of sounding like we adoptive parents are dismissive of your experiences and really I hope you know we're not. If you would like to chat please do set up a new thread or feel free to pm me.

HappySunflower Sat 15-Sep-12 11:23:23

Many people seem to believe that people who adopt are on some kind of 'save the world' crusade.
Speaking for myself, I was single, knew I'd have issues conceiving, and wanted to be a parent, wanted to share life with a child, which- let's be honest, is why most people have children, isn't it?

Maryz Sat 15-Sep-12 11:26:44

Yes, it's the desperation to have children that makes us all go through the hoops we do before adoption. And it's the love we have for our own children that makes us happy to deal with any issues/problems they may have as they grow up. And in some ways that makes us better parents - not better as in better people, but better as in more prepared for what the future may bring.

I read some teenager threads on here where parents are ridiculously needy about their children, they expect their kids to be grateful for their existence almost. They are horrified at their children's attitude to them, they are totally unprepared that not all family life is fuzzy and warm and loving. Whereas I have a much more realistic view of being a parent, I know that the drive to parenthood is intrinsically selfish, that we have children to fulfil our own needs, not to give the children life, or a home, or anything like that.

And in that way, adoption is no different from having a child the so-called normal way.

Kayano Sat 15-Sep-12 11:33:17

This tread is so rude it is ridiculous. From
Someone who hasn't adopted!

Op have a biscuit and do one

motherinferior Sat 15-Sep-12 11:35:38

I know that the drive to parenthood is intrinsically selfish, that we have children to fulfil our own needs, not to give the children life, or a home, or anything like that.


Kayano Sat 15-Sep-12 11:39:11

I do NOT think society has an unrealistic view on adoption

I just think that those who have no desire or need to adopt and have not bothered to look Into have a different view.

And then come on here all shock when they realise it's not all a bed of roses. You're the only ones who thought that in the first place so to post here like an adoption authority is a bit of a piss take no?

I'd hate to think potential adopters are put off by you because ultimately - that's a child you are causing to suffer just because you didn't do your homework and have had a surprise hmm

Lilka Sat 15-Sep-12 11:44:12

I totally agree with Kew

You have to be very very determined to adopt. You won't 'think twice' you'll think hundreds of times. You'll get scared and wonder if you're doing the right thing, read books and more books on every adoption issue imaginable, sometimes you feel very confident you're on the right path, and then a few weeks later you'll think again for the two hundred and thirty third time

And as Kew said, I really think you have to want a family to get through it. Not sure any other motivation would be strong enough

Personally, most of the adoptive families I know are dealing with some extra adoption/abuse related issues. And nearly all are happy families with no regrets! I think there's too much of an image of a small number of adoptions which break down, then the vast majority where people have zero problems. I think a large percentage of adopters are dealing with problems, but are dealing with them as a (mostly happy) family unit or with some outside support, and do not regret their decisions. I do also get tired of mentionning issues, say therapy or PTSD or agression, and people thinking 'yikes, what a negative experience'.

You can be a very happy family dealing with some minor-moderate issues, and indeed, I think that is what the majority of adoptive parents will become

tabulahrasa Sat 15-Sep-12 11:47:29

Pfft I have no experience of adoption, but I think parents who do ate infinitely more prepared for what it involves than many parents.

All you need to do in preparation for giving birth is ovulate and have sex, that doesn't magically prepare you for parenthood nor does it stop your child having issues that you weren't expecting.

My DS has AS, in no way was I prepared for that, adoptive parents at least are able to inform themselves about likely issues beforehand never-mind whatever preparation work is done before adopting.

Lilka Sat 15-Sep-12 11:49:09

Totally and utterly agree with Mary

The decision to have a child (by birth or adoption) is a selfish one, and it should be as well.

There is an odd societal view (expressed on MN plenty of times) that adoption is selfless which I dislike very much, because it implies that the children are all awful or charity cases, and parents are martyrs. Actually, adoption is a selfish decision where the parent wants a family

tabulahrasa Sat 15-Sep-12 11:50:41

Hmm that reads a bit strangely, lol

Basically what I mean is that parents who become parents by other methods are IMO more prepared, precisely because they've used that method - they are the parents who had to think about it more and put in more effort, so are then better prepared.

funnychic Sat 15-Sep-12 14:38:11

The people on this forum never cease to amaze me in how thoughtful, eloquent and polite they are when replying to others, I however am not so polite and think you Zavi are a not as Kew has so kindly proffered think you are someone that is trying to "warn" propspective adopters I think you have come on here in order to get a reaction which clearly you have. How dare you come on here as someone with no first hand experience and preach to the people who do have. Your arrogance and sheer audacity has astonished me.
Do I seem pissed off? I most certainly am!

Thanks to everyone one else who as usual have offered insightful, thoughtful RELEVANT responses.

Greythorne Sat 15-Sep-12 14:58:48

OP - are you a bored teenager? I have never read such immature crap posturing as concern for the poor misguided parents who might adopt and - gasp - have a child with issues. Because it is just so different when you have a bio child, isn't it? No risk at all if unexpected problems. Oh, no.

MissFenella Sat 15-Sep-12 17:15:38

Agree with all the parents who have adopted on here.

What a banal opening post!

lljkk Sat 15-Sep-12 17:15:59

Can't be asked to reply to OP.

Does anyone have UK statistics about adopted children, the ages when they leave their bio parent, typically, and age when do they get adopted? I must admit I don't approve of UK system, in that the children spend so long in care typically before being adopted, even if the mother knows before birth that she wants to give up the child for adoption. In US system (much family experience), newborn can live with adoptive parents virtually from birth.

Lilka Sat 15-Sep-12 17:38:27

lljkk - The average age at adoption is 3 years 8/9 months or thereabouts. I believe that's the age when the adoption order is granted though. I'm not sure there are any reliable statistics on how old children are when they go to live with their adoptive parents. I know that the '60 under 1's adopted in 2010' means 60 finalised adoptions of under 1's. Given how many months it can take to finalise (could easily take 5-6 months) I suspect that double that number of under 1's could actually have moved in with their adoptive parents in that year

You can find out how many new care orders were applied for in any given year by SS, but I'm not sure if they keep statistics on the ages of children. Only a small proportion of children in care get adopted though, so not sure that would tell you anything about how old adopted children are when removed from BP's. However, i suspect the majority of adopted children were/are aged 2 or under when removed. Older child adoptions are not common

Very few children are relinquished in the UK. Nearly all are taken away and adopted without the consent of the birth parents. In America foster care adoptions (though much more concurrent planning) are by far the most common kind of adoptions, and the way things work varies enormously from state to state, so you can't generalise anything for the US as a whole. There's an American family on the US based forum I'm on, who have just finalised their son's adoption - 9 years after he moved in as a foster baby. It took that long for their county's foster system to do it. Newborn adoptions are an entirely seperate private system, and there are far far more relinquished babies population percentage wise than in the UK (although there are far less newborn adoptions than foster care adoptions anyway. About 14,000 private infant ones, 50,000 foster care ones at least, maybe more)

Lilka Sat 15-Sep-12 17:41:40

ps. If you want to find the available statistics, look on the ONS website. Search adoption or foster care, they are seperate statistics

auberginesarenottheonlyfruit Sat 15-Sep-12 18:07:08

The following was published in the Telegraph last year. I found similar statistics in the Guardian.

"It is not known exactly how many families in this country go through the agonising process of having to end an adoption. But the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), estimates that one in five adoptions fall apart before the adoption order is granted, which, if all goes well, happens a year after the child is placed.

Meanwhile the charity Adoption UK estimates that as many as one third of adoptions break down after the adoption order has been granted. Its director, Jonathan Pearce, says, 'Two thirds of adoptive families need significant support to overcome the history of abuse and neglect children bring into their family. Contemporary adoptions are becoming more and more complex; adoptions are at higher levels than they used to be 15 years ago.’ "

I know a couple who recently had a disrupted adoption. They had thought long and hard over many years about adopting, and had been thoroughly vetted. They are everything you would hope adoptive parents to be. But the mother told me, through her heart-rending tears, that they had not been told quite how badly traumatised their children were, or that one of them didn't want to be parented at all and had been assessed as being more suited to fostercare. Tragic all-round.

Lilka Sat 15-Sep-12 18:36:50

aubergine - I am so sorry that happened sad Sadly I am not surprised that the LA hid the assessment, but it makes me so angry when I hear these tales. I hope the couple can find some peace and move forward with their lives after that awful experience and grieving x

Kayano Sat 15-Sep-12 18:39:47

We need a focus on getting the children from neglectful abusive homes out of their quicker sad it makes me so sad that children suffer with all sorts of issues that could have been much less extreme if the children rather than the biological parents had been put first (obv just in some cases)

gringrin at Narked, make me splutter my tea over my laptop keyboard.

Kewcumber Sat 15-Sep-12 18:50:52

aubergine - I think it would be interesting to see the statistics broken down by by age becasue I stongly suspect that disruptions increase based on the age of the child on final removal from birth parents.

In one of the problematic adoptions I know of (not disrupted but one child in secure boarding school) its assessed that the damage occurred probably mainly as a result of the child being abused by birth parents, removed then returned (6 times over a 3 year period). But this was quite some years ago.

auberginesarenottheonlyfruit Sat 15-Sep-12 19:52:42

kewcumber these children were around 6 and 8 at the time of placement. Think they'd been in foster care for maybe 2 years?

Devora Sat 15-Sep-12 19:56:02

Kew - I've seen the stats (can't remember where) and disruptions definitely climb with the age of the child at adoption.

OP has been more markedly offensive with every post - it sounds like she read an article somewhere, and has taken it upon herself to pronounce from the summit, though I do wonder if there's more going on here than she's letting on. It's extraordinary that somebody with no experience would come on here and TELL experienced adopters about adoption rather than ASKING them. But hey ho, some people are like that.

It is, notwithstanding, an interesting issue. I suspect I'm not the only adopter who went through the system with a kind of twin track thinking going on - on the one hand, fully apprised of the risks, saying all the right things to the social workers about our preparedness and awareness. On the other hand, part of me had fingers stuck in my ears, humming loudly, and living in hope that MY child would have no problems and we would have a perfect family life where the sun always shines.

But I think that may be inevitable. Even functional. I don't want to be a FT unpaid therapeutic carer for a 'damaged' child. If I did I would do the appropriate training and at least get paid for it. No, I wanted a child to mother, I wanted to complete my family, I wanted a normal happy family life. And that's what motivated me through the process and got me to where I am now - having, for now at least, a normal happy family life.

The social workers must know this. They're full of doom and gloom and warnings, and at times it feels like you're being told that if you dare hope that life as an adoptive parent will be anything but misery and strife then you are an irresponsible romantic. But how many adopters would they get who are signing up for a life of strife?

All parents are romantic and misty-eyed when they take the huge leap of faith that is involved in choosing family life. Just as we don't fall in love with our partners while dwelling on the rows, compromises and tricky times that will inevitably come. Of course adoption carries extra and different complications to parenting birth children, but I really reject this dogma that adopted children are all CAMHS caseloads in waiting. Hey, that's my kid you're talking about. I love her just the way she is.

lljkk Sat 15-Sep-12 20:36:39

Thanks for info, Lilka, I feel a bit blush how ignorant I was about UK situation, but then, I do come from a very very different system. Why so few voluntary relinquished children in the UK, considering how many there are elsewhere? Are there better support mechanisms elsewhere for the bio mothers (USA)? Easier access to abortion here? Cultural reasons?

I have one aunt & one cousin who gave up newborns. Another relative gave up 18 month old twins, although that was into foster care (stayed with same carers until adulthood). I don't know if she would have give them up to adoption. Another cousin adopted a newborn almost 5 yrs ago (roller coaster!)

Ullena Sat 15-Sep-12 21:47:40

My DH and I want to adopt an older child, possibly a small sibling group. The average age for adopted children here is around eighteen months and up. We are thinking of asking if we can just be considered for children who are aged four and up, since to be honest the exterior of our home is not toddler friendly - lots of steps - and we have both worked with children aged four and up in the past, including children with severe SN and MH. So hopefully we could use our past experiences to help to better care for our child or children.

Lilka Sat 15-Sep-12 21:48:46

lljkk I don't really know - but although there are no national statistics on relinquished children, I doubt there could be more than 40-ish at most in a single year, maybe that's quite an overestimation and there are far less. But someone else please correct me if you know more, because that is a guess

I think we are very accepting of abortion generally, and compared to the US, we (and other western european countries which also have very low adoption rates of relinquished children) do have a lot of support systems (welfare, good access to cheap medical care or in the UK the NHS, quite lengthy paid maternity leave etc) for the mother so that she can keep her baby

Most parents who have their children taken away would never have relinquished them willingly. I'm glad we have the suppport systems we have, because I don't personally feel an infant should be relinquished unless the mother truely does not want to raise it, or has such major problems that the baby would be harmed if she kept it

Lilka Sat 15-Sep-12 21:56:21

Ullena - SS do not choose for you the age of the child. You should be in complete control of what ages of child you will consider. In fact, if by older child you mean aged 5+, you will probably find that agencies will be very welcoming and maybe prioritise the application. Older child adoptions are rare, and once a child reaches about 5, their chances of finding a family are low. Once they reach 8 ish, it's very very low, and many LA's at that age, don't even try to find adoptive parents, they default to permanent foster care.

I have adopted two older children (were 10 and 8 when they moved in), and I do feel that adopting an older child can be fantastic. They are more likely to face issues than a younger child (although that isn't a blanket thing, some older children do brilliantly and some babies are very 'damaged' even as babies) but I feel strongly that a child should never be denied an adoptive home through age alone, if they want to be adopted. There should be enough adoptive families for them all, but there are nowhere near enough. And again for sibling groups, nowhere near enough families

Ullena Sat 15-Sep-12 22:46:43

Lilka, thank you, yes we would prefer to adopt an older child or older sibling group. We are both in our thirties now, DH closer to forty, and so are certainly old enough, iyswim. We just feel that we would be better able to parent older children due to our own life experience so far. We are happy to apply to adopt children between the ages of four to twelve.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 17-Sep-12 07:33:13

Ullena, I suspect an agency would bite your hand off if you are really interested in an older sibling group - there just aren't enough people prepared to adopt these children.

OP, I still don't get the point of your post. Do you know of any adopters who got all the way through assessment and preparation and still thought that all they needed to do was really love their adopted child and hey presto, happy family?

cory Mon 17-Sep-12 11:06:23

Zavi Fri 14-Sep-12 23:38:08
"I posted this because I believe that people who might be considering adoption ought to think twice about what they might be getting in to.
Having a child through natural means and having a child through adoption are completely different things."

According to my mother, the job of parenting her adopted child threw up very similar issues to my job of parenting my biological child who was traumatised by disability issues over which we had no control- except that mum reckons my brother was far less damaged by his trauma, was far less hard work and has come through it far better.

"At least with our own kids we know where we've gone wrong and we know how our behaviour effects our kids ( they're like sponges right,!) but with kids that have had to be adopted all you know is that their upbringing has been so rubbish that they have has to be removed from that environment."

Oh yeah, because nothing can ever happen to our biological children apart from what they learn from us and where we go wrong. hmm Dd's mental health issues are caused by me, her chronic joint condition which leaves her in permanent pain is something I had control over, the years of misdiagnosis, damaging treatment and bullying by doctors and school staff is where I went wrong? hmm

Other people have pointed out that you don't know anything about adopting or adoptive parents. It doesn't seem as if you know a lot about parenting biological children either.

Bonsoir Mon 17-Sep-12 11:12:48

I have stepchildren as well as DD. They are all, thank goodness, healthy and have no special needs. They all require similar parenting, though obviously stepfamilies throw up issues of how parenting is shared out between two homes that are special to them.

The really big difference between DD and my DSSs is the one of personal space. DD grew in my womb, was fully breastfed and we shared a bed for many years, took baths together and generally live in one another's space very comfortably. I never shared that closeness with my DSSs and our ability to share personal space is not nearly as great as the ability that DD and I have to share personal space. I always wonder what it is like for families where a child or children are adopted and others are biological and whether they share their personal space in the same way.

cory Mon 17-Sep-12 11:16:52

In our family there has never been a difference, Bonsoir: if anything, my adopted db has been physically closer to his mum than some of his other siblings- but that is more a question of personality. But then he came to our family as a toddler so there wasn't quite the same issue of personal boundaries as there might have been with an older, more self-conscious child.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Mon 17-Sep-12 11:19:48

Zavi, there are myriad good reasons why it is so difficult to adopt - and one of them is because the agencies involved spend so much time trying to match children to the right families and making sure that those families are fully aware of any issues and that they will be able to deal with them.

I say that as the mother of a boy we adopted age 6. We had known him almost since birth and knew him inside out, but it still took us almost 5 years to make it legal.

Mind you, he's a much easier personality than either of our bio DDs! grin

Kewcumber Mon 17-Sep-12 11:25:49

"I always wonder what it is like for families where a child or children are adopted and others are biological and whether they share their personal space in the same way."

I would imagine it varies by family, Bonsoir.

DS and I are physically very close - we co-slept for some time after his adoption (out of necessity to start with and later out of comfort) and even now at nearly 7, when he is unsettled his default position is back in bed with me. His favorite position watching TV is cuddled up to me. Of course it wasn't like that immediately - cuddling up to a complete stranger would be more likely to show signs of attachment issues rather than a good thing!

The difference (I imagine) with step children is that they still have their birth parents around - that is their primary source of comfort and closeness. Of course some children are naturally cuddlers (DS isn't particularly) so will be physically affectionate with anyone close to them.

I'm sure the issues are different for children adopted when they are older but even then I would imagine that physical closeness probably comes with time and trust.

I'm not a step parent but I don't imagine in most situations that having step children is at all similar to having adopted children.

Bonsoir Mon 17-Sep-12 11:56:10

The issue I am talking of is not so much one of cuddling and physical affection, but ability to share space because one is so highly attuned to one another that you don't bump into each or get in one another's way. DD grew up from the start knowing how I use the space around me whereas the DSSs (particulary DSS1) has another concept of space entirely and doesn't know in an unconscious way when he has moved into my space and is in the way.

Kewcumber Mon 17-Sep-12 12:03:33

I'm not sure then Bonsoir - I've never really been consious of DS being in my space. If you adopt a very young child there can't really be their space and your space! And certainly its not compatible with changing nappies and catching sick in your hand, which I can't imagine doing for any child except DS. But I'm not really sure I understand what you mean, unless you are talking about separation ie you don't really feel the separation/separate identity of your own child in the same way you do with other children. They feel more like an extension of you rather than a separate being.

I'm sure that changes as they get older though.

Ultimately I have no idea if I feel differently about DS than anyone else does about their's, I only know how I feel and thats hard to explain. From observation, I haven't noticed any difference between adoptive and birth children in those families who have both (to the naked eye!).

cory Mon 17-Sep-12 12:11:17

Bonsoir Mon 17-Sep-12 11:56:10
"The issue I am talking of is not so much one of cuddling and physical affection, but ability to share space because one is so highly attuned to one another that you don't bump into each or get in one another's way."

I think there is a difference between adopting parents who bond with their children (ime) in a very similar way to biological parents, just at a later stage in their lives, and step-parents who however loving and close are always aware that they are interacting with somebody else's child.

Db3 grew up with us from the age of 2. By the time he went to secondary school he had spent 9 years getting used to family space: not really very different from his brothers who had spent 11 years. He had no other frames of reference: he made up the family and defined how we used space just as much as any other family member did.

TheReturnoftheSmartArse Mon 17-Sep-12 12:12:31

There's certainly no difference in our family. It is something DH and I have discussed both alone together and with the DDs and as DD2 put it: "He is just one of us."

Kew, I second your sentiment in your final paragraph. I know how I feel about all my DCs and am secure in my love for them but have no idea if others feel the same. Presumably not, as we're all different.

Bonsoir Mon 17-Sep-12 12:13:58

No, I am not talking about separateness, Kewcumber, which is another issue entirely. I do appreciate that you only have one DS so no comparison points. I wondered whether parents who are also stepparents and parents with both biological and adopted children felt that difference. I know that I am equally ambitious for all three children in our family and ensure they all get similar opportunities and they all get equal levels of attention when they are here - favourite foods in turn, ensuring they get one-on-one time etc. But I cannot (and nor can the DSSs) live physically in the same room for hours on end as DD and I can, and we have never been able to.

snowmummy Mon 17-Sep-12 12:26:13

Prospective adoptive parents go through rigourous training course where possible issues are hammered home so I'd say, yes, they do know what they're getting themselves into!

cory Mon 17-Sep-12 12:29:01

That's why I thought my experience might be useful Bonsoir: because my mother had that opportunity of comparison: she had children of both kind and no, she didn't feel it made a difference. When she went in for adoption she knew that this would mean that db would become her child, just as much as if he had passed through her vagina or been handed out through a caesarian section. She knew there would be a bonding process, just as there is with a newborn baby, only that this would come at a later stage and possibly take slightly longer. And once they were bonded, they were the same kind of mother-child unit as she and I were.

Kewcumber Mon 17-Sep-12 12:29:56

"But I cannot (and nor can the DSSs) live physically in the same room for hours on end as DD and I can, and we have never been able to."

But how would you parent a child (adoptive or birth) if you can't be in the same room as them for hours confused - parenting when you have a very small child is 24/7 they are virtually attached to you.

In the majority of cases that I have seen, step-parenting is very different. My ex has a step-father, he is the only father he has ever known (his mother was a single parent before she married), they have been step-parent and child for over 40 years but he still calls him and thinks of him as "step" father.

I would be amazed if any adoptive parent I know (with or without birth children) feels the way about their children that you describe. Unless I still don't understand what you mean.

Mind you, I don't think my mother could live with my sister in one room for a long time and hasn't been able to since my sister was probably 12! Birth child.

mindosa Mon 17-Sep-12 15:02:36

Bonsoir Do you think that might be down to the fact that they are teenage boys and your daughter is a younger girl.
I always think Mums and Daughters are (mostly) easy in each others company (maybe sons also are but I dont have any so I can't comment) but I don't think that pregnancy, childbirth and feeding are what makes the difference.
I think its the ease of the relationship between a child and its primary caregiver. Thats why I dont think adoption results in a diminished bond.
The age of the child can also make a difference, younger children love you without qualification, you dont irritate or annoy them whereas teenagers find their parents endlessly irritating.

On the original point there is no doubt that children from a difficult background find any relationship more challenging, however any adoptive parents I have met are more than well equipped to deal with this. None I knew adopted with a Hallmark card view, whereas I know many new mothers who gave birth thinking the baby stage would be a round of coffee and shopping.

I don't have stepchildren. But I imagine the dynamic is totally different to having adopted children, as one of the birth parents is living in the house, and remains the parent. So the two situations cannot be compared in any meaningful way.

I adore both my children. Because they are my children. Whether birth child or adopted child.

EverlongYouAreGoldAndOrange Mon 17-Sep-12 17:14:52

' at least with our own kids we know where we've gone wrong '

WRONG. Just because you have a biological child doesn't mean the problems are easily solved. They aren't.

OP I can't help but feel you are being antagonist.

Bonsoir Mon 17-Sep-12 18:42:17

mindosa- I think there is truth in what you say about little girls versus big boys, though in our case it is not the teens who find the parents irritating but rather the reverse!

Kewcumber Mon 17-Sep-12 20:42:09

"in our case it is not the teens who find the parents irritating but rather the reverse!" I would think thats pretty normal isn't it?

Devora Mon 17-Sep-12 21:19:14

Bonsoir, I have a birth child and an adopted child, and I don't recognise the difference you describe. My adopted daughter came to us at 11 months and has always been very physically close to me. I carried her in a sling at first, rocked her to sleep in my arms, obviously changed her nappies. She is a very loving and physically demonstrative little girl who is always throwing her arms round my neck, kissing me, telling me she loves me. Interestingly, considering she has never been breastfed, she sticks her little hands down my top for comfort - in fact she and her older sister (my birth child) have agreed a fair way of 'sharing mum's bosoms'.

Stepchildren kind of belong to someone else, don't they? Adopted children don't. I have that same sense of loving familiarity and ownership over her body. I take the same pleasure from touching her, tumbling her over my lap, patting her bottom, nuzzling into her hairline. Actually, if anything I'm physically closer to her than to my birth child, who was not a physically demonstrative child (though is getting more so).

Somebody quoted OP saying that parenting an adopted child is completely different from parenting a birth child. IT ISN'T. Or not for me, anyway. In SOME WAYS it is different. But in many ways it is exactly the same. I couldn't do twin track parenting, dealing with my girls in entirely different ways. Of course they are individuals, and there are differences in how I am with them, but it is really easy to overstate this.

Maryz Mon 17-Sep-12 21:22:00

There is a massive difference, though Bonsoir between adopted children and step children, because step children have other parents. So therefore, by definition, they have two homes, two families (even if they spend much more time with one than another).

I have birth and adopted children, and I don't see or feel any difference in the way I parent them, or in the way I feel about them or in how comfortable I am with them.

In fact, I probably feel most at home with dd (adopted) because she is calm by nature, whereas ds2 (home-made) drives me nuts because he is fidgety.

So I don't think the step/adopted comparison is valid at all. After all, if you had to save one child from a burning building, you would probably (naturally) choose your daughter. I genuinely wouldn't know - probably the closest, hoping to be able to chuck them out and grab another.

Maryz Mon 17-Sep-12 21:22:47

And ds1 is 18 now, and has been very challenging. But I can still walk in and see him sleeping and feel my heart melt.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 18-Sep-12 06:46:58

No difference for me in parenting my children (one birth, one adopted) either. Interesting post Devora, DD also sticks her hands down my top in a way I had only previously associated with breastfed babies.

Bonsoir, I wonder if the more valid comparison is between parenting step child where - for whatever reason - the other parent is not on the scene. Eg I know a couple of people whose father left at birth and they have never known anyone other than their step father as their dad.

OP - you seem a bit quiet....

Gunznroses Tue 18-Sep-12 07:32:34

I'll make a wild guess that OP is an adoptive child, going through a very rough patch with adoptive parents and therefore having a rant on here.

Devora Tue 18-Sep-12 10:05:22

Yes, I agree with you Gunznroses that there is probably something going on for the OP. Zavi, I hope all is ok with you. If you want to start another thread to talk about it, or to PM me, please do so smile

Claifairy Tue 18-Sep-12 13:48:42

I just wish OP you could meet my little boy. He amazes me each and every day with his resiliance and fantastic personality. He is such a glass half full little dude who just gets on with what life throws at him.

I don't think with my personality I could have coped with 7 moves in the first 30 months of my life but this little man has and is just adored by everyone who meets him.

I think it is you who is being naive in thinking that all adopted children react the same way.

Yes, I may have problems in the future but find me a teenager who doesn't. I know of people who have had the most fantastic upbringing but are still dependant on drugs and alcohol and had friends whose parents were dismissive of their children leading to self esteem and low confidence problems.

Adoptive parents will do more reading/research before starting the process (and during and after) than parents awaiting the arrival of their baby and are more like to look for help and support for their children as we understand the fact there will be more questions and probably not enough answers.

I forget my dude is adopted and I can't imagine how I could love anymore - it's just not possible!

He is my son.

Devora Tue 18-Sep-12 13:56:31

Claifairy, you've made me go all warm inside... smile

Claifairy, I wish there was a "like" button on Mumsnet for posts like yours.

Claifairy Tue 18-Sep-12 14:58:52

Don't make me cry!

Lilka Tue 18-Sep-12 15:15:36

What a wonderful post Claifairy smile

I don't think the OP is coming back though, so sadly won't get to read that

Claifairy Tue 18-Sep-12 15:31:55

I think they will still be reading!

2MumsAreBetterThan1 Tue 18-Sep-12 16:21:04

Shocked at this thread!

Of course adopters know what they are taking on, more so than birth parents in fact and usually a lot more prepared.

My birth son has severe special needs, I certainly was not prepared for that and found it very hard to come to terms with but I dealt with it because he was my child and you have no other option.

The exact same way an adopter would deal with any issues with THEIR child.

Just because the start is different does not mean the journey is.

localstateschool Tue 18-Sep-12 17:11:06

"Of course adopters know what they are taking on, more so than birth parents in fact and usually a lot more prepared."

Exactly, I can't imagine the shock of finding out my newborn had severe SN. If you adopt you're warned, prepared, likewise you're fully briefed on the child's background and SS are there to support you. OP, you're an ignoramus to think otherwise.

Kewcumber Tue 18-Sep-12 17:58:25

"you're fully briefed on the child's background and SS are there to support you" - this is true of the better local authorities but I don't think can be said to be true across the board.

My issue isn't that adoptive parents are unprepared for any issues that their children have but that they are just as well (in fact better) prepared than birth parents. And as well prepared and can realistically be achieved.

However I think the reality of what you face can be a great deal tougher than any of us except up front. The best we can hope for is that by the time we hit too many issues we have bonded well enough with our children for it to be no different to any parent coping with a child that has challenges more than the norm and/or that our LA's provide more help and support than is the norm for non-adoptive children.

I don't think OP is an adoptee (but really in the absence of any info we are all guessing). Her OP strikes me as being a whinge about people who say "oh we'll just adopt if our IVF fails". What she doesn't seem to understand is that these kind of "adopters" never get as far as actually adopting.

localstateschool Tue 18-Sep-12 18:06:22

True that my post only applies to better local authorities, Kewc

What you said much better than me is they're better prepared than birth parents usually are. All parents can expect shocks in some guise at some point.

monsterchild Tue 18-Sep-12 18:34:40

As someone who works with the kids you are discussing, OP, I am surprised you have such ignorance. Yes, many of these kids to have attachment issues, many come from bad situations, and many have more baggage than Heathrow Airport.
But I have seen some remarkable changes in these kids when a family takes them on. I had a group of 5 kids, I called them (very affectionately) my feral kids, because they had been treated like feral cats, really. the older two were terribly traumatized, one actually pulled out one of her permanent teeth because of anxiety. The other would pull out her hair. Of the younger kids, one was so parentified she wouldn’t let anyone pour cereal for her. The next had self-soothing issues. The youngest was just wild.
They had such trauma they couldn’t live together, they had always competed amongst each other for resources. They all were placed in adoptive homes. At their adoption, the oldest had a drawing for the judge; one side showed 5 flowers in a pot, with not enough water or sunshine. The flowers were sad. The other side was a drawing of five flowers each in it’s own pot with its own sun and own water. All of those flowers were happy. She told the judge this was how her family was now, all kids had their own pot and they were all happy. It made the judge cry, and he’s a pretty tough guy!
All the kids were adopted, they struggled, but they are all doing really, really well. I am glad those families were brave enough to take those kids, and stuck through the tough stuff, they were well rewarded!

Lilka Tue 18-Sep-12 19:13:45

monsterchild - The flower drawing made me well up <sniff> How wonderful they were all able to be adopted

My DD1 was seperated from all her siblings, and they are all adults now. Nearly all are doing well, including DD1. One remains a very troubled young adult (the one DD was 'inseperable' from in first FC placement) but given their background, it is remarkable what they have collectively achieved smile

monsterchild THANK YOU for sharing that, it is very moving.

runamile Tue 25-Sep-12 16:54:12

There are some lovely stories here but I must say that, despite the training I received as an adopter, I was extremely unprepared for the reality. I adopted my first child six years ago and never heard of 'attachment disorder' until I had to fill in that tick box needs form. My social worker said, 'Oh, you don't want a child with attachment disorder' so on her advice, I said I would not be prepared to take on a child with such needs. My daughter has since been diagnosed with severe attachment disorder and her hostile and aggressive behaviour makes her a danger to herself and others. She has turned everyone's lives upside down - her immediate and extended family's lives, the school's, friends', everyone who works with her. I don't blame her for this but I have been told that she should never have been placed with a family.

Lilka Tue 25-Sep-12 17:28:47

I do understand, runamile I was also very unprepared for DD1's needs. Attachment in general (plus attachment issues or disorder) was not ever mentionned to me (approval 1995, DD placed 96) nor was PTSD or anything like that. There was little at all, except to say that there might be some initial problems but after good loving care for months/couple of years at most, everything should be fine. Of course, we ended up going through years of trauma and therapy and were near disruption at one point etc

Training never will really prepare you for reality, but I feel that since then it has got better...most prospective adopters will be told to read up on attachment etc now and so on. At least some intellectual knowledge might help parents identify problems earlier on. I was stumbling in the dark

You highlight another big problem which I don't think is going to get any better, which is some LA's placing children who might benefit more from being in residential care than in a family. If a child with moderate-severe emotional disturbance is to be adopted at all, it must be with a very robust support package, but that's not happening in many cases. Disruption rates may average at ~20%, but i know some LA's have rather lower/higher rates than that. Clearly some LA's are placing some children for adoption who shouldn't be (and a few are dishonest and misleading about the childrens issues), and some are crap providers of support.

I do love hearing the childrens 'success-in-life' stories though smile

DiscretionGuaranteed Tue 25-Sep-12 17:32:41

I agree with WannaBe way up the thread that you hear the most terrible bollocks about "why don't you just adopt?" even on MN. I also hear people saying "oh the world is overpopulated so I'll adopt rather than breed myself" and am a bit hmm whether anyone actually does that (feel free to tell me I'm wrong if you did just that).

But anyone who knows anything at all about UK adoption knows that you'd have to be a truly world class self-delusionist to reach the end of the adoption process without that bubble being pricked.

DiscretionGuaranteed Tue 25-Sep-12 17:32:49

I agree with WannaBe way up the thread that you hear the most terrible bollocks about "why don't you just adopt?" even on MN. I also hear people saying "oh the world is overpopulated so I'll adopt rather than breed myself" and am a bit hmm whether anyone actually does that (feel free to tell me I'm wrong if you did just that).

But anyone who knows anything at all about UK adoption knows that you'd have to be a truly world class self-delusionist to reach the end of the adoption process without that bubble being pricked.

SpaceCorpsDirective34124 Tue 25-Sep-12 17:35:44

So what do you think should happen to children who are in care?

DameKewcumber Tue 25-Sep-12 20:54:48

runamile - I was probably a waiting parent at around the same time as you. DS adopted 6 years ago, roughly two/three years from application. It does make me realise how good my prep course was. We certainly covered attachment - both generally as a concept (ie the need to attach and a few pointers as to what might help) and attachment disorders as well as other common medical (being an overseas prep course) and behavioral issues with children adopted from institutions. We covered things like self soothing mechanisms which I doubt they cover on UK focused courses and some health issues that just aren;t an issue here as well as additional transition issues involving a move from one country to another - food issues particularly.

Of teh 3 day prep course, a whole day was set aside for discussion of serious issues adoptees from institutions has faced and I remember well the playing of a section of a documentary about the follow up of some teenagers who had been adopted from Romanian orphanages when they were babies which made your blood run cold. The social workers running the course did admit that conditions in those orphanages in teh 70's and 80's were probably some of the work anyone ever seen. But it was sobering to be faced with the potential problems.

So I believe I was as well prepared as its possible to be. Which of course is still not well prepared at all when the reality happens to you.

My friend adopted a sibling group and the adoption of one sibling disrupted. SS also accepted that he should probably not have been placed with his sibling (if indeed at all). A psychologust recommended a specific boarding school ( I wonder if its the one that was on TV a little while ago) or as a second best alternative trained therapeutic foster carers (if I have the terminology right) and certainly not with other children.

SS have ignored this and he has been placed in regular foster care which a birth child in the family. I suspect its a money issue.

Maryz Tue 25-Sep-12 21:16:01

<Congratulations on your elevation to the aristocracy Kew btw grin>

SpaceCorps, some children, even some with extra needs are suitable for adoption. Unfortunately some aren't. It would be better for some children to stay in foster care (with experienced and trained carers) and get directed, funded care as they get older, rather than being placed with adoptive parents who may have little or no experience with children, and probably none with children with SN.

Also, as things stand (though they are changing), once an adoption order is made, the child is no longer entitled to any of the care that a "looked-after child" might have - therapy and medical care falls on the new parents.

Certainly more thought should be given to decisions being made for particular children in particular situations, not a one-size fits all (and as Kew says, cheapest) solution.

Devora Tue 25-Sep-12 21:36:21

Whats this DameKew lark - a new job in panto? A gong from the queen? MN Christmas names?

DameKewcumber Tue 25-Sep-12 22:30:42

ah - forgot about that. My suggestion for a more grown up alternative to "girls" was "dames". My name change was part of th e campaign to have it recognised as an official term grin

Devora Tue 25-Sep-12 22:35:22

Oh yes, I like dames. Has a kind of high-kicking, rum-swilling don't-mess-with-me quality grin

Maryz Tue 25-Sep-12 22:40:17

Oh, I could be a dame ok <ponders>

Except I'm Irish. I don't think I can be one sad

DameKewcumber Tue 25-Sep-12 22:42:42

I think you can get dispensation Maryz - I'm sure their are non-british "Sirs"

I thought so too Devora

DameKewcumber Tue 25-Sep-12 22:46:55

Bob Geldof has an honorary knighthood though I think technically that means he shouldn't be called Sir Bob.

Maryz Tue 25-Sep-12 22:49:10

Oh, yes, I forgot about him. There was some sort of furore wasn't there <wracks brains>

I think Irish men can be knights, but can't be called sir.

So I suppose I can be a Dame.

<off to namechange again [sigh]>

LadyWidmerpool Tue 25-Sep-12 22:58:01

'Deserving kids'? shock

DameKewcumber Wed 26-Sep-12 00:00:06

They're a bit like the "deserving poor" LadyW... but younger.

chubbychipmonk Fri 28-Sep-12 19:22:41

My God! I am adopted and this post has angered me beyond belief!! You are making out that we are all damaged goods that should be avoided at all costs!! I had a wonderful childhood with my adoptive family, as did my adopted brother. No it wasnt without ups and downs or issues but then what family is?? Your ignorance on this subject astounds me. Until you have first hand experience of either being adopted or being a parent of an adoptee then keep your offensive opinions to yourself.

aamia Sun 07-Oct-12 18:42:37

As someone who knows a family who adopted two 'damaged' children, I can say that they knew they were taking on troubled children and were committed to providing everything those children needed. I still think they were very brave to take on children who'd spent most of their lives in foster care, where one of them has permanent, quite severe SN from drug/alcohol use in utero. Following the adoption, there was very little help available, and the parents struggled along as best they could on their own. They turned the SN child from one who kicked and bit and hit, was angry and withdrawn, into a lovely, kind, caring individual. The other went from a 'I don't care about anyone/thing' attitude, to a mature individual who tries her best, cares about others and is very happy and settled. After three long years, they have the family they dreamed of. Along the way, schools have been involved in helping them get the support they needed, and various people have criticised their parenting.

What matters to those children when you talk to them, is that SOMEONE chose to love them, regardless. Someone promised they'd always be there for them, gave them an extended family and a stable home. Whatever the arguments and the issues while they all learned to gel as a family unit, the stability and the love were there, and those children have turned into really lovely human beings, settled and content, who even now delight in being able to say 'my mum' or 'my dad'.

aamia what a lovely post.

Serenity70 Sat 20-Oct-12 14:58:23


I think kewcumbers post/answer from the 14th Sep (Friday) summed it up best - thank you for that!!
I have just recently become a mum to two through adoption.


JSMAP Wed 24-Oct-12 08:23:42

Ive just stumbled across Zavi's post and like the majority, im confused why you posted! Its very patronising and offensive to those of us who have adopted. Do you think we apply for a child and get one handed over without any preparation! Adoption isn't an easy road or a 'quick fix to a family' and whatever your reason, it is considered. Your post comes across as a lecture and sometimes opinions are best kept to yourself, we've just had the adoption of our little boy finalised and the amount of personal questions i get asked is amazing!

Autochthonous Thu 01-Nov-12 22:00:57

Hello. I have followed this thread with interest. This article echoes OP sentiment. Is it over-the-top misrepresentative?

Lilka Fri 02-Nov-12 11:37:47

I don't think it is misrepresentative, I think it raises important issues. There is still plenty of bad practice going on in certain LA's, misleading parents about the Childs issues, although I think this has improved, certainly I feel it has improved since I adopted DD1 16 years ago. I was certainly not told some things which were very important, but I was told very little overall. Now I see parents meeting the fc and a medical doctor before going to matching panel and things like that. That might not be happening everywhere of course, but it's a big improvement on what was there over a decade ago.

Think I said early on in this thread, that there are definite issues around this and some of the things the op said and the article brought up. Had op been anadoptive parent struggling with these things, there would gave been an entirely different response. But the op was very odd, considering op has no personal experience. Why is she lecturing us?

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