Ideal child form

(45 Posts)

We have been asked to fill in an ideal child form. As in part of a loss workshop, the child we did not have either because of infertility or loss.

Just reading through it brought tears to my eyes. Even though I had thought many things had been dealt with, and in many ways have. It reminded me of things I had forgotten.

Has anyone else filled in one and would be willing to share or to PM me, please?

It's kind of hard because it might depend which child they are asking about! The child that I miscarried very early on, or the child I hoped to adopt 6 years ago when we first thought about adoption, or the child I hoped to have had during the IUI treatment or during the IVF treatment, ? Etc etc. I am not sure they are the same child! The gender, the ethnicity and the age might all be different! So maybe I do not have an ideal child! From the point of view of adoption this might seem easier but I don't want the social workers to think I am avoiding the issues!

Any advice, please?

Thanks so much.

I've not had to do anything like this Italian but I'd say describe your ideal child as they would be now, i.e. if someone could hand you over a baby/child tonight what would they be?
Hopefully someone with a bit more knowledge will come along soon.

Good to see things moving on for you. Best of luck.

Thanks so much.

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 16:05:32

I suspect it's less about age etc, as obviously any child changes their age and most parenst don't care that much about gender. I think it's more about how you imagine the child will be throughout their childhood and into teenaged years and youg adulthood.

For example, people sometimes post on here saying stuff like "we are a wonderful loving family, we are so busy and active, we do sport, hike, play the guitar together, camp, -wouldn't we be the perfect family to adopt, we have so much to offer a child? " .

thing is, is, it's fairly unlikely that an adopted child will come from a birth family who do all this , nor are they likely to have done it in foster care. So there's a pretty good chance they will not enjoy doing all the stuff your wonderful family now does. And even if they belive they might like it, they might not be able to stop themselves sabotaging it. Camping might trigger frightening memories for them. They probably haven't learned the perseverance required to learn musical instrument. Their social worker might not let you take them camping anyway as its not been risk assessed.etc etc

And yes of course, I know that any birth child might not enjoy these things. But they are much much more likely to, because they have the genetic and personality similarity and they've been doing it from an early age. Plus they are much more likely just to go along with things than a child who has lived elsewhere and experinced other lifestyles

I know you have a child already and IIRC, one with a stong personality. What will you do if a new child doesn't want to join in the activities that you do together now? If they want a totally diffenet kind of diet? Want to watch different tv? Have different values and ambitions?

Many adoptive families have educational qualifications and good jobs. They want that for their adopted children. Odds are that the child comes from a background without these things. They may have learning difficulties. They might see no value in education. How will that be for you? How will you feel if your other child goes to university and your youger one leaves school at 16 and goes onto the dole? If your neighbours, friends and family belive you are treating them differently because they are "not your own".

What if a child rejects your political , religious or moral frame work?( This is a question often asked of paremst who practice a religion, but my experince is that in fact some of the most militant believers are agnostics or atheists, who insist that their children must not be taught anything of other belief systems ) .
Will you miss church every other week because the child doesn't want to go?

Teenaged years -mental health problems and addictions have a genetic link. Your adopted teen is more vulnerable to these things. You will get less help than bio parenst in the same situation. How will you cope?

Etc etc. etc

sorry if this sounds so negative but I'm afraid an exercise about loss will inevitably bring up difficult feelings

VerityPushpram Sat 05-Jan-13 16:32:47

Could I ask you to expand on something Kristina? When you said 'You will get less help than bio parenst in the same situation.' Why would an adoptive parent get less help?

Thanks Krsitina. I have filled it in and tried to be totally truthful and any thoughts that come up. I am sure they will ask me all those type of questions. It is kind of hard because it is setting up to say how you think your birth child (had you had another etc) woudl look and act etc and as I fill it in I want to also say that yes I know an adopted child won't look or act that way etc but it's kind of an exercise to go through. It's also hard because had our attempts to increase our family succeeded thus far the child could look or act quite differently whenever we had succeded! The activities (yes, it does ask about them) I put were fairly straight forward, walking, swimming, watching films etc, and any one of them could be scarificed or suspended if necessary. Hopefully we will use the form as a talking point and progress from there.

Thanks for your input.

Yes, I too am curious, why would an adoptive parent get less support?

AngelsWithSilverWings Sat 05-Jan-13 17:07:14

We did this in our workshop. It was on the same day that we had to describe a loss we had experienced.

It was quite an informal thing in our workshop and was kind of sprung on us. They asked us to write a physical description of the child or children we imagine having and also to think of a name.

I remember writing about a girl and a boy and giving them both the names that we had been thinking about calling the baby that I had miscarried.

At the end of the session we were told that we wouldn't be matched with a child that had one of those names as they didn't want us to see the child as a replacement child. I remember being really upset bout that at the time. I just imagined that this perfect child with a perfect name would come up and DH and I would be prevented from adopting them. Seems silly to me now looking back but at the time you worry and worry about every single thing!

funnychic Sat 05-Jan-13 17:11:17

Hi Italian hope it's all going well. I was asked to do the same, not on prep course but on my homestudy by my assessing sw. She wanted me to be 'idealistic' so I based it on exactly that, although I knew that the type of child I would end up matched with would most likely been far from my ideal notion. So for instance I said, a girl, aged 2yrs, blonde hair, blue eyes, girly type of girl enjoys pink and sparkly, likes swimming and parks......your get the drift... you can put anything your heart desires, the gist of the exercise is to show you that in reality you can love a child that doesn't fit your ideals. It will all make sense as you start doing the exercise.
Hope that helps. x

Lilka Sat 05-Jan-13 17:27:23

I guess it means imagine a child in your head, as they might have been had fertility treatments succeeded, because your form mentions you don't have this child because of infertility. But maybe it means imagining your 'perfect/ideal' adoptive child.

I think the majority of people certainly imagine their future children in their heads and have a certain image - maybe they have imagined their childs appearance or age or name or themselves doing family activities etc. Which I think is fine as long as you also realise that that image is very unlikely to come true and real life will never be the same as imaginary life, and as long as you are prepared to consider children who might be quite different to your mental image of a child (I think mental images only become a problem when they take over and if you become fixated with them).

I certainly had a mental image of my future child in my head by the end of homestudy. She was a brown haired little girl aged about 6 who was small for her age, with big blue eyes, and she and I read bedtime stories together and had magical family christmas's. Her name was Rose. The thing is, I knew full well this was my imagination taking off, that I would never be matched with a 6 year old girl called Rose, who looked like that and loved reading. She was just a motivational image conjured up by my brain. I was fully prepared to consider children all through my age range (3-12) of any appearance etc. And I brought home a blonde 10 year old who is not small for her age and whose name is definitely not Rose, and doesn't enjoy reading that much. That was 100% fine, because whilst I had loved dreaming of my imaginary child, I wasn't hung up on that image and was ready to welcome a very different child home.

But loss is very present in adoption, and it's important, if you need to, to grieve for the biological child you haven't been able to have, and maybe writing down details of this missing child will help process it all

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 17:31:11

Perhaps it woudl be easier to think not about you ideal bio child but your ideal adopted child.

IME adoptive parenst generally get less help and more blame for a number of reasosn

Some friends and family think that they brought it on themselves

soem professionals see possible abuse as the root of every problem and as a-parents are not bio parenst, they belive they are more likely to be abusers. In addition, many belive abuse or neglect that happened in the early years won't affect the child, so if the child is displaying signs later, it must be recent abuse.

Many psychosocial and behavioural problems of adoptive children are caused by attachment issues, and they often only manifest with the parents ( often the mother). As the kids are fine in school /brownies/dancing, it's assumed that the parents caused the problem

Some professional ( mainly Sw) believe that problems with adopted children are caused by the adopters " inability to come to terms with their own infertility" . Hence the massive emphasis on this in preparation groups /courses

A-parenst often live in areas where resources are scarce . Schools may have little experince of children with behavioural problems and low tolerance

They are often middle class and financially comfortable so are not seen as priorities or "deserving"

They often piss off profesionals by reading up on the Internet, joining support groups and campaigning for help for their child, rather than presenting as " grateful" for what they get .sometimes they ar brighter and more informed about the subject that the professionals they are dealing with, which pisses them off even more.

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 17:37:01

I have to say I think the whole" we won't match you with a child called rose" is plain silly.

Because names are closely related to class in this country. Very few adoptive parenst woudl choose the kid of names most adoptable children have.

Also because if a match was perfect in every way, why woudl it nt go ahead just because of a name??? Bloody stupid in I M not very HO

Though Ido knwo a family where the a -parenst were John and Mary, their bio son was also John and they adopted a boy called John. The SS reluctantly agreed to let them change his name LOL. [not their real names obv]

BTW I write LOL because it wasn't SS decision to make as they didn't have parental rights for the child

Thanks so much for all your help. I thin the reason I found it hard at first is because I really don't have an imaginary real child in mind, and when we tried to expand family we tried with my eggs with IUI, we looked into adoption overseas and we tried with donor eggs so the child could look quite like us or quite different from us and could be almost any age! Maybe in terms of adopting I do have an image of the kind of child I might like but it just seems cruel to be set up to fail... tell us what you like so we can tell you can't have it! I am aware enough to know that I love all kinds of kids, I love my nephews, my god children, my friends kids. I hope I will be able to love a child placed in our care regardless of what they look like etc! BUT I can see this is all part of the process, a kind of deconstruction of our dreams and a reconstruction of the reality of the life this child has come from and the totally new life they will create with us. I hope!

What if they are mad on trains and only want to eat burgers!! I will survive, and I hope I will thrive but I guess I am hoping the SWs will help me with all this adjustment. So far they have been very nice and nothing has been sprung on us, which is very good. I would have to say my limited experience so far is very good. The two doing are training so far included an adoptive mum who shared her story and was lovely.

Thanks ladies for your support. I am excited and raring to go, if I have to stop going for walks and start train spotting, I will be ready.

PS that sounds very me me me centred! Sorry, of course the one who we really hope will survive and thrive is the little one we get to parent, they will be the key one. As I get older ironically I am more open to change than I was, although perhaps more risk averse, no more bungee jumps!

Any other thoughts welcome, I want to learn and I want to be prepared.

THANK YOU thanks thanksthanksthanksthanksthanksthanks

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 20:00:52

It doesn't sounds me centered at all. This is about the losses you have experinced and will do , but it's important work for the future. It's easy to focus on what a child looks like, but this isn't a deal breaker for most people. I've never heard of an adoption breaking down because of it! It's usually because of the difficult behaviours that the child exhibits and their inability to attach to the adoptive parenst.

This is not a train spotting vs walking situation. It's about how you woudl cope if a child couldn't handle eg going to the shops or visiting your family or having other children over to your house. How woudl it affect your older child if they coudl never have friends over to the house because their younger sibling was insufferable.

It's not about the normal life's and dislikes or personality differences that face most families. It's about the special difficulties that are not run of the mill, and your have little chance of encountering unless you adopt, as they are unlikely to be issues for your family and friends, but they are often issues for adopted children.

How will you cope if an adopted child rejects you completely but is overly affectionate with everyone else ? While they all tell you what a lovely child she is and how lucky you are. And when you share your experinces and feelings you friends tell you that you are being too harsh or expecting too much . And your Dh tells you to lighten up and be more loving.

You say burgers all the time isn't a problem. Really? if your older child has to sit and eat her vegetables while youger sibling gets a burger? You can only go out for a meal if burgers are on the menu? You have to take a burger with your when you go to eat at your friends house? The doctor and dentist give you a row for your child's un healthy diet? You have to give up your job so that your child can coem home from school each day for lunch as the school don't serve burgers every day ? The school threaten to report you to SS?

I'm not sure you are thinking through the reality of these issues. I hope you will never have to face them. But considering some of this is part of the process.

shockers Sat 05-Jan-13 20:01:06

They often piss off profesionals by reading up on the Internet, joining support groups and campaigning for help for their child, rather than presenting as " grateful" for what they get .sometimes they ar brighter and more informed about the subject that the professionals they are dealing with, which pisses them off even more.

I just made the dog jump when I shouted an involuntary "HA!" at that.

How very (and unfortunately) right you are Kristina.

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 20:07:17

One last point then I will shut up -you say you hope the child will create a new life with you.

One of the major difficulties is that most children adopted as toddlers or older don't WANT to create a new life. While their past may not have been ideal or even acceptable, it's all they have known. Their subconscious need is to recreate the life they have known in the past with you. Often that involves a lot of chaos , drama, fights, moves, lack of routine,constant change of carer. Just the opposite of what you plan to give them. = problem

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 20:08:20

LOL at shockers poor dog

Thanks Kristina yes, you have pointed out quite rightly that I have not really engaged with the issues. I will try more. The train spotting and burgers comment was meant to be flippant. I guess the burger issue is a real one to some extent but my understanding is that kids do change diet in time and I guess I would do my best to work with them, giving them what they at the right time if able to (by this I mean my own DD has a sightly different diet to us because she wants it but ironically hers is super healthy as she loves vegetables!). I think we would hope eventually that somewhere we would be able to live a family life together. We have discussed (DH and I) what would happen if I had to give up work to educate a new child at home (as my friend did with her birth child when encountering problems at school).

*Anyone, just out of interest are these worst case scenarios or are they things all adoptive parents have to deal with? I only know three people in real life wh have adopted (aside from you guys I mean) and they did not seem to have to deal with such huge issues. I agree one needs to be ready, but I am not completely sure how I can be ready for something I don't know it will be, except going through all the scenarios.

It would be devistating to have a child who did not like me but liked everyone else, I guess I would seek some counselling and help to work it through.

As far as a creating a new life I guess we would have no choice but to do that. I could not (would not) want to reacreate a life of chaos and if we did that the child would probably be taken off us (we would not do that) and of course life would never be same as a family again. I have thought about this a bit, a fair bit, how will DD feel, will she resent the new child etc etc. Will my marriage suffer? How will we all support each other etc.

I will really try in the prep group to take all these things on board, anyone who can offer advice on how to solve the problem of trying to create that calm place for a child who has come from chaos and wants to go back to chaos, please do jump in and advise me. I really do want to be prepared, if my answers seem flippant, I am not unaware of the enormity of what we are undertaking.

Thank you again.

Frankee Sat 05-Jan-13 22:50:53

Don't want to scare you to death but Imop Kristina is bang on with all she says
😔Italian .

shockers Sat 05-Jan-13 22:53:02

I would never seek to discourage anyone from adopting, but it really does help to be as informed and prepared as possible and you sound like you are doing your utmost to be in that position. Although the theory won't always prepare you for your own feelings, it will help you to understand why your child does what he or she does and then it will be far less difficult to take it personally when he or she appears to want everyone but you... although that won't necessarily happen.

DD used to go to anyone but me and it really hurt, it also (wrongly) made me think that anyone else would do a better job of being her mum. Had it not been for the fact that we also had her brother and had bonded wonderfully with him, I would have questioned our ability to parent at all.

I'm pleased to say that 11 years on, we finally feel like we're getting somewhere! DD comes to me to talk about what excites her, or when she's upset. She no longer publicly rejects me in favour of just about anybody else when we're out. We have been to Clinical Psychology together and I've had counselling. It's been a long haul and I'm sure we're not completely out of the woods yet (what parent of a 14 year old is?), but we feel things becoming more relaxed all the time.

I know I haven't answered your original question, but in response to your last paragraph, we just remained clear, calm (as possible) and firm about our house rules. We removed DD from situations where she, and we were becoming stressed with her behaviour (we've left a lot of social gatherings and restaurants) and gave her quiet, specific praise when she got it right (she couldn't cope with people being pleased with her at first). We experimented with flavours and foods, as she was a McDonalds burger and chips child, and involved her in growing, shopping and preparation when she was calm. She looked forward to this and slowly, different food tasting became a treat, as did cooking.

DD has attachment disorder, DS doesn't. Both adopted, same birth family.

Best of luck on your journey!

Shockers thank you so much that is really good to hear. Well done for you and your DD and whole family. It is encouraging to know. The more I read and understand the more I feel prepared and also feel that there are reasons for things and that can help one to find the answers. Our own (birth) dd displayed a bit of diffiuclt behavious, also around eating out occasionally and we worked through stuff and it was helpful to be able to work out some of what goes on in their heads. I know it is different for birth and adopted children and I know I will need to work it all out in relation to both for as long as I live. I know one can't always provide an answer for the other either (I mean because one thing worked with birth child etc ect). Just talking to friends has helped a lot so I hope our prep group will become like our antenatal group! Or is that too much to hope for.

shockers Sat 05-Jan-13 23:08:10

We were the only ones from our adoption training group that carried on til the end! We still have friends from our Safebase training group though, and also a lovely lady with a boy of DD's age who we met on holiday about 6 years ago. There's an acceptance with other adoptive parents that is very calming, they don't put your child's behaviour down to you not loving them enough when you're trying your best not to show emotion at an huge meltdown, they just gently support you... and you do the same for them.

hippychick66 Sat 05-Jan-13 23:10:25

Hi Italian - i know you from another thread. grin nothing to add to this discussion except to say that I'm really happy to see you progressing with the adoption. I 'knew' you through many of your losses and i know how much you've been through to get to this point. You were always very knowledgable and full of wisdom on the other thread and i'm sure whatever you've put on the form will be fine. just keep taking it one step at a time. X

Thanks Hippy. Lovely to hear from you.

Thanks Shockers will look for those chances to build up a new network of friends.

Devora Sat 05-Jan-13 23:26:50

IGH, I have PMd you.

Thanks Devora.

KristinaM Sun 06-Jan-13 00:29:00

Italian -I DONT think you are flippant or not engaging with the issues. It's because I think you ARE trying really hard to engage that I'm pushing you to work them through a bit . Because as sockets said, it does really help when you are faced with these things with your own child . And this is when you have the time and energy to read, research, go on training courses, meet other adopters etc

I have to say that IME food issues , nightmares or PTSD, not being able to cope with family or other social gatherings , attachment issues and extreme jealousy of siblings are common problems and also not particularly extreme.likewise teens who drop out of education or have addictions problems and mental health problems. If you read the adoption boards here you will find recent examples of most of them from this relatively small group of adopters.

If I wanted to give you extreme examples I woudl have talked abut kids who sexually abuse other kids, soil and smear , make false allegations , run away or injure or kill family pets. Kids with 25+ moves in the care system. small children who have been excluded from half a dozen schools. couples whose marriages have broken down or whose other kids have left home or been taken away from them . parents who were forced to return their baby to his birth family only to get him back brain injured sad

Which is why I always do this hmm when someone on mumsnet ( NOT you Italian) accuses me of giving worst possible examples when I talk about something relatively mild.

KristinaM Sun 06-Jan-13 00:36:12

Shockers-please forgive my curiosity, but is your DD the younger or older child? I always wonder abut the protective factors, why one child seems to emerge relatively unscathed from the same family. Is it personality, genetics, circumstances?

I've also noticed that in large sibling groups the youngest children seem most likely to have serious problems whereas you would think it would be the older ones ( as they spent more time with the birth family ). Maybe being a carer is protective in some way? Maybe it's because progressive nature of addictions means that younger children are more affected in utero?

Thanks Kristina I appreciate all the comments and advice, examples, both extream and mild (although very sad and heart breaking) are all helpful for those of us learning more.

I watched a heart breaking programme about adoption from overseas a long time ago, where lots of things went very wrong. But also read some very moving stories of international adoption on the Internet. So I do try and understand all sides.

Thank you one and all for the support.

RollingThunder Sun 06-Jan-13 03:19:08

I don't know anything about adoption but wanted to add my (maybe helpful) experience as the parent of a child with autism and someone who knows lots of parents of children with autism.

All the things kristinam said apply to either my child and family or families and children I know!! They are all bio children from loving nurturing backgrounds, no drink or drugs involved in pregnancy, children very much loved and wanted.

These children explode into their families like IEDs! The impact can be devastating. Nearly every parent I know is on antidepressants. People's marriages do implode. Some people I know can never eat out with their children and only go to 'safe' places where everyone understands.

I personally worry a lot about the impact on his NT sibling of his brothers SN! I get dismissed by all and sundry (he is fine, he is lovely, why do you want to label him). Even when they do agree there is an issue, you can't get support because as a family we are not 'deprived' enough! And ds1 isn't 'bad' enough (NB this means distuptive! He is pulling out his own eyelashes, but this is not a 'visible' sign of distress)

Other people will say to you ALL the time, my child does that too! Either competitively or dismissively!

I think the point I am trying to make us that while its incredibly hards and I usually feel like I am failing, you survive because you have to and because your child depends on you. And all the mothers I know with SN children had NO idea it was coming, it just exploded their lives.

Our children are a huge joy too, I love my son dearly, but I would not have chosen this life. Now that I have it I just gave to do my best in it! I have no choice.

One of the things that people say about parents of sen kids is that special children are sent to special parents! Which IMO is patronising bollocks!

I did see somewhere, sen parents become special because we have to and I actually quite like that. I have certainly discovered depths of patience and perservearance I never knew I had.

I suppose what I am trying to say, at 3am, as I can't sleep while worrying about ds1, is these problems are really real and really hard, they dominate everything about family life, every aspect if it, the impact on siblings is profound. I spend all my time feeling like I am failing as a mother! So really, really think about the impact on you, your family, your child! Because SN of any kind, from any reason are incredibly hard and when they are 'hidden' its really fucking hard because no one makes any allowances at all!!

I hope you don't mind me crashing your adoption thread, specially as I have absolutely no experience of adoption at all, KristinaM's posts just really spoke to me and I wanted to highlight the pact that issues with a child can have on your life!

KristinaM Sun 06-Jan-13 09:31:31

What a moving and helpful post rolling.hope you got some sleep.

AngelsWithSilverWings Sun 06-Jan-13 09:58:00

I'm still very good friends with most of the couples from my prep workshop in 2005.

Out of 6 couples and one single adopter only one family have had serious problems settling the children in. These were children who had been through numerous foster placements and had had an adoption placement break down before SS decided to split the siblings and place the younger two with new adopters. The children were 5 and 2 when they were placed.

They were offered all sorts of post adoption support over the years but my friend, the adoptive mum has had a really hard time. 6 years on they doing fine but they have been through a really tough time that could have led to a disruption or even a marriage breakdown in another family. The DCs are now settled but the older one will always have attachment issues.

All the other the couples have had challenges but they were all resolved without further support from SS and are all very happy families.

We have had a very easy time with our two as they were still babies when we adopted them but our DS age 7 has just had to have some counselling to help him get through a change at school that he found difficult to cope with. This stems from a fear of change that he has had since he was moved from his foster home at 10 months old.

I've been very impressed with the help offered by my DS's school when he was going through his recent problems. They were very switched on about adoption and were very quick to arrange the support that DS needed.

I'm sure that far more challenging times are ahead of me as my DCs get older and start to question their adoption story. I'll be posting then begging for advice!

Sorry to waffle on but I just wanted to give you as much info as I can about my experience.

Lilka Sun 06-Jan-13 11:55:52

IME (I know quite a lot of adoptive parents in and around my area and the one I used to live in), the most common problems seem to be school/education. Unfortunately, this is a problem area where you are reliant on other people (teachers etc) to work with you to help issues, you can't try anything alone like with say, sleeping issues. Other professionals can be extremely supportive or extremely un-supportive.

Food and sleeping are other common problem areas, social interactions with other children, and feelings of insecurity full stop

The majority of adoptive parents I know have some issues and they are happy families working to deal with them. There are also a significant (large) minority with more severe problems, a few who seem to have no issues whatsoever, and another few with really severe problems like Kristina listed. Personally I'd list myself as being in the significant minority with lots of issues. I can't even post openly about a few issues I've experienced in the past.

I think you are very thoughtful, very much engaging with the isssues and I think by the prep course you will probably be one of, in not the most, read up and 'engaging with the issues' adopter on the whole course! Honestly, I mean that.

Oh Lilka what a truly lovely thing to say, you have brought a tear to my eye! Thank you.

AngelsWithSilverWings Thank you for your kind and reassuring comments, I am so much looking forward to our prep group or others we meet on the journey becoming friends to our whole family.

Rolling I am so sorry to hear your story and I am sure it is very frustrating when people imply you have been 'selected' to parent children with SEN because you are very skilled in dealing with problem! I don't think things like that happen, but I absolutely agree that sometimes when things happen some families can react and cope very well and draw on some inner strength, but that should not be underestimated. I am sure you are doing a brilliant job. Those who worry they are not doing a good job, often are (in my humble experience).

My friend has a child with Asperser’s and it has made a very big impact on their family life.

I think when people say that they too experience stuff there could be a whole bunch of reasons, yes, sometimes people seem to almost be competitive about problems! Also sometimes people want to say they too have been there. Sometimes that can be reassuring, at other times annoying. When we have encountered problems with our birth child it has usually been helpful when people have experienced similar problems and have genuinely given good advice, support or simply the knowledge that we are not alone. But yes it is very annoying when my friend, whose son is very bright, compares his spelling work with my daughter (who is most probably dyslexic and has struggled at school for years). Anyway, thank you for your words of wisdom and may you experience some rest and peace in your very valued role (there are many of us out there who do really value parents of all sorts who parent all kinds of kids with all kinds of challenges and it is only because you are willing to share your experiences that we behind to understand a little more).

Sorry - that we BEGIN to understand a little more).

KristinaM Sun 06-Jan-13 16:02:23

I completely agree with lilkas post and especially the last paragraph

Italian -many prospective adopters come on these boards and ask for the opinions of " real life adopters" . Then, when they don't like what they hear, they flounce off telling us we are taking rubbish. You are one of the few who seems to be really trying to get her head around the complexity and diversity of the issues.

It's also great that you have experince of dyslexia, as thsi affects many adopted kids. It's often not diagnosed, even in school aged children children in foster care. I remember meeting a friends newly placed 8yo daughter who, I was told, was not behind in school. She asked me what was written on a jug in the kitchen. It was the word " milk". Within a few days her mother had established that the child was memorising reading books at school and couldn't read at all. However it took a long time for her to get a formal dx. At first she and her Dh were told that it was their problem, they couldn't accept that they were bright people who had adopted a stupid child. angry. The mum now does learning support for kids with dyslexia.

Im sorry if i have appearedd to be suggesting that all adopted children will have serious problems. Because you were asking g about the real vs imaginary adopted child, I have focussed on some of the problems that might be involved. I wasn't trying to give a " balanced picture " of adoption

FWIW, my impresion is similar to lilkas. About 20% of families seem to have minor or no problems, 60% have moderate difficulties and 20% have severe difficulties. This is only my impression of the families where children stay long term and doesn't take account of disruptions ie children who leave the pavement before the adoption is finalised, usually in the first year. And obviously it's related to the age of the child on placement, their previous experinces and other risk factors.

Thank you Kristina that is very kind to say and I do really appreciate it. It is good, as I say, to get a realistic picture of what might happen and to know the worst case scenario thing - while also hoping for the best. By that I mean knowing that some kids will come through the whole adoption journey without problems or not too badly affected etc and all the shades in between.

My child also can look like she is reading a book and actually is not! We have been doing Toe by Toe and it is BRILLIANT (for us) and certainly worth trying if anyone is struggling with that early stage of reading. It starts out with single sounds and gives ticks' for each single sound so children feel very praised in a good way. I know adoptive children might find praise hard but I think most kids might like to see that tick on the page when the sound is said correctly and even my DD who doesn't like reading has actually asked once of twice to do the Toe by Toe book! we do it daily for about 5 minutes and in just two months it had made a difference!

shockers Mon 07-Jan-13 22:52:33

Kristina, DD is the eldest sibling and has FAS. DS came to us at birth when we were foster carers and has miraculously been unaffected by BM's lifestyle, other than being very 'busy' all the time. We have found sport most useful grin.

Your list of more serious behaviours has more than one of the issues she presented for many years, which just makes me all the more proud and astounded by how far she has travelled... although she still has a long journey ahead of her.

ItalianGH, I agree, Toe by Toe would be a fantastic system for a child that struggled with praise. You have to sit close together to do it, but it's at the child's pace and you can silently tick a sound that's correct, so there is visual praise that the child can absorb in their own way. I always put a dot on sounds that aren't quite there and make sure I explain fully beforehand that a dot means 'nearly'. I use this system for some pupils at school.

shockers Mon 07-Jan-13 22:53:51

The system was originally designed for children with Dyslexia.

KristinaM Tue 08-Jan-13 23:19:01

Thanks shockers. I had Incorrectly assumed that they were removed from the birth family at the same time . As you'll know, the received wisdom is that the babies are more likely to be alcohol affected as the mother gets older. But sounds like Ds has escaped the worst effects. Makes me wonder about the effects of binge drinkning vs steady daily use. It's so sad.

And of course he's only had one set of carers from birth , which will have helped him tremendously and mitigated some of his risks. And naturally you will have been on the lookout for problems from day 1.

I think a lot about these protective factors as well as the risk ones . I do believe that therapeutic parenting makes a difference for these kids. I feel sad that so many new adopters seem focussed on short term goals at the expense of the big issues. It must be due to poor traing and research, as well as untrained and inexperinced SW. You'll remmeber that nana nina who used to post here sometimes talks about her work in her early career with FAS kids. She must have been one of the few SWs of that generation who knew anything about it.

Your poor DD. sounds like you have all been through so much together.

Hi Kristina can you say a bit more about your thoughts on "I feel sad that so many new adopters seem focussed on short term goals at the expense of the big issues." What short term goals vrs which big issues.... please.... thanks.

KristinaM Thu 10-Jan-13 20:35:41

There's only one issues for me and its building attachment. Anything that interferes with that is secondary. Except urgent medical care I suppose.


Getting them in a routine
A proper healthy diet
Sorting out food issues
Getting a decent hairstyle
Sorting out their teeth ( unless they are in pain )
Sending them to school/ nursery
Letting all your freinds and family meet them
Throwing an adoption party
Indulging in all your fantasies about your child's dream bedroom
Throwing out all the tasteless clothes the FC bought them
severing all contcat with the FC becaus you don't like them
Washing all the clothes and bedding they brought from the FCs
Getting rid of their dirty and broken toys ( unless dangerous)
Establishing your house rules
Impressing the SW with how " settled" they are
Correcting their accents
Getting them off a dummy /thumb sucking /other comforting behaviour
Getting them off a bottle
Making them sleep on their own /in the dark
Leaving them with friends and family
Allowing your family to do caring tasks for the child ( feeding, nappies, bathing )

Please understand -there is nothing wrong with any of these things. They are the things that most bio parenst take for granted. They are just not the most imprtant thing and they can't be allowed to interfere with it .

Also I wonder how it feels for a child to arrive in your house, terrified and grieving for their last carers, only to find that you want to change everything about them and take away all the comforts they have never known

I shoudl point out this is an extremely controversial view ( i know, unusual for me wink ) and most SWs won't agree with it . So best not to tell them wink

shockers Thu 10-Jan-13 21:40:38

You are, in my opinion, completely right.

All some of these things will come in time. I wish you'd been around when DD came home. I took her dummy away because I thought it would damage her teeth... poor little girl had no idea how to self soothe. That was just one of the huge mistakes I made in the first couple of years.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but better training for prospective adopters would be a million times more wonderful.

I think we did lots of stuff right too... but a lot of it was by accident!

Now Kristina if you are going to tell me things that are not going to IMPRESS Social workers that is not going to help me!!!

Actually it is going to help me a lot! because I will know what to say and what to think secretly! I have got to get the hang of this attachment thing, it is bloody scary!

I can see what you mean and I agree. I know when we had DD most people seemed concerned with one thing! Do they sleep through the night! It might seem like a race getting them on to solids, getting them out of a cot etc etc. can any of these things (in your list) help with attachment?? I can see how many/some could hinder it. I think you need to recommend a good easy to read book (please). Am currently reading

Real parents Real Children

(as recommended by someone on here). Have an ancient copy not the below one but it's same book.....

Thanks * Kristina*.

Thanks too shockers.... any advice on what to do very well received. I can learn from your hindsight. (Please)

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