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Some views from adults who were adopted

(25 Posts)
Debs3013 Wed 10-Nov-10 20:01:06

My husband and I have been seriously considering adoption. Very briefly we are fertile (I hate that word!) but after a traumatic pregnancy we both feel that we have no desire to be pregnant but we do feel that we could make someone loving parents.

What I wondered is, if there are any people on this board who were adopted but now adult who would give me their views?

My reason for asking is this - I have just read an article in The Guardian written from an adoptive fathers perspective and whilst it was very interesting reading, what shook me to the core were the public comments.

I won't put the link on this site as I feel these comments could be very disturbing for parents to read but the hatred and bitterness from adults who were adopted has really shaken me.

The language is so strong, the insults even cut me deeply and I was only thinking about it. To be honest the idea that any child/children I adopted would grow up with those views about me and my husband makes me re-think it. It really gave the impression that these people see adopters as evil people ripping children from the breasts of loving mothers. Like I say, the strength of feeling has really shaken me (and my husband who's a burly copper!)

What concerned me as well is that there seemed to be no balance to the discussion. There is one Social Worker defending adoption but not one adoptee saying hey, my experience was not like that.

I guess what I'm asking is, can anybody reassure me that this isn't how everyone feels? I understand that adopted children have an incredibly hard start in life and will experience a sense of loss that I cannot appreciate but like I say, the bitterness was palbable in the comments and it makes me re-consider if what I want to do really is a good thing?

I can post the link if people want to read the article but I'm not sure I'd reccommend it - like I say it shook me to the core and I was only considering it.

I hope I haven't offended anyone by asking this question and I know it is not a simple black and white discussion, every child will react differently to any situation but the comments very genuinely really upset me.

countydurhamlass Wed 10-Nov-10 20:44:39

hi, i have no experience of adoption personally, ie i have not been adopted and i have not adopted children but i work in a solicitors office and alot of the work i am involved in is care proceedings (i am a secretary only), my boss has also just adopted two young children and i dont think it ever crossed their minds what the children will think of them when they grow up,they wanted children and couldnt have their own so wanted to give another child(ren) the best possible start they could in life.

i have studied adoption in a legal setting and as part of a childhood and youth studies degree and one thing i have learnt is that adoption today is very different to that of adoption twenty or so year ago. Now children are given a life book telling them about where they have come from/ the reason why they were placed for adoption (i dont know exactly what is in it) and most biological parents are able to write a letter once a year via social services postbox system. previously children and adoptive parents didnt know these sorts of things and so a lot of questions went and are unanswered for a lot of people.

what i am trying to say is that, and i hope i dont offend anyone, you must look at the picture as a whole and how the situation re adoption has changed, thus you cant really take what an adopted (now)adult says now to be the same as what that adopted child will say when they get to adulthood in the future. perhaps these adults in the article didnt "gel" with thier adoptive parents. finally, you need to consider the article was aiming to say, if it is trying to put adoption in a bad light then they will favour more with the sad/bad stories. there has been a lot of media attention re adoption lately and not all good,

personally, i think a child is better off with a loving family whomever they may be rather than rattling around in the care system.

i also think it also depends on how you personally treat the situation, ie dont tell the child about his/her background and then suddenly spring it on them,etc.

hope this helps but if not at least its bumped you up to get further comments

good luck and i wish you all the best if you decide to go through with it.

Debs3013 Thu 11-Nov-10 13:32:38

Thanks so much for your post, it's actually good to hear from another side (legal) that highlights how things have changed.

Basically the article was a guys blog about starting as an adoptive parent - they are at the stage of introductions etc. and it was very interesting to read something from the fathers perspective. After the article were then comments from the public, which all started out very positive and then suddenly turned to something I can only describe as completely hate filled.

What shocked me the most was each one started with 'my adopotive parents were nice enough people but....' and then launching into tirades about how awful adopters are. I really can't get over the strength of the language used.

But having now read some of the contributors own blogs, they were clearly adopted many years ago, also American so the system is completely different to ours and now having read some threads on here from adult adopters, I don't come away with the same impression.

We are obviously still at a very early stage of possibly walking this path and have both said that nothing will be done by either of us until the New Year, giving us both another couple of months to be more sure of our feelings.

maryz Thu 11-Nov-10 22:07:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lilka Fri 12-Nov-10 20:07:39

Hmm, an interesting one. Having done it myself, obviously I am biased towards adoption and yet it has brought a lot of loss and suffering to some people and that can't be ignored. It also seems to me that the media only ever highlight the happy adult adoptee who thinks adoption is great and is shocked that others don't think the same way. It is very unfair that others are never given their platform to explain. What then happens is that people with no adoption experience begin to assume that all people think like that and there are plenty of people who seem to consider it abhorrent that not all adoptees are kissing the adoption agencies feet for 'saving' them and giving hem a great life, blah blah blah.

I think though that you seem to feel that your children will hate you, but honestly even most adoptees who dislike adoption itself do love their a-parents - because they are the amazing parents who raised them etc. You can both hate the institution of adoption and love your a-parents, it isn't mutually exclusive. I truly believe that if you cherish your children and raise them well thn it is incredibly unlikely they would think badly of you.

However adoption does represent a great loss, and if you want to adopt it is essential to understand that some people (not all before I offend anyone) will feel this loss very keenly. It is nice to pretend that genetics do not matter at all, but for many people they really do matter. As maryz pointed out on the SDD abortion thread, there is a reason that many adopted girls get pregnant young because they long for the connection that can never exist in their adoptive families. To know about these issues, a good read is 'The Primal Wound'

Of course I would remember that as well as this great loss, a lot of these people on top this have had a horrible experience with adoption.
There are people who had abusive a-parents, where the parents had mental health issues that were not picked up on, or wher the parents said cruel things to them totally not understanding them at all. These people are generally the ones who think very badly of their parents, and with good reason.
Then there are mothers who were told in the hospital that their babies were dead and were given a coffin whch they buried... and then thirty years later they were contacted by their 'dead' child who was very much alive
and had been sold by a doctor on the ward (yes that has happened to several women). There are children stolen and trafficked from poor countries to rich ones when they still have parents... ones who were tricked into signing papers in a foreign language, and were told that there child was simply being given a year or two of a better education before returning. There are agencies who ttrick and coerce women into giving uo their much wanted babies to a couple who are 'more deserving' because theyu are richer and middle class and of course, married. There are agncies where the adoption of a newborn white baby girl will cost you 45K, and the adoption of a newborn black baby girl will cost you only 25-30K. That truly sickens me, just racism. Why can't the agencies just charge the same fee for all the children? But no, they don't. So many states lock away the birth certificates af adoptees forever and there is no way sgort of going all th way to the supreme court to get them, and then only with a damn good reason. That also angers me, it's everyones right to get their OBC for God's sake.
And of course there are those who weren't abused in those ways, but feel the loss of adoption and are angry and who feel abandonned etc. There are truly those who are so pained they wish they were aborted because it would have been painless and easy and they would not suffer as they do now if only they hadn't been abandonned to adoption that doesn't stop them from loving thir parents though, as I stated before it is perfectly possible to hate adoption and adore your a-parents

And so they argue that adoption is something which should be done away with and for abused children, there should be spacial guardianship, long term fostering etc only.
Now, whilst I completely do not agree with this, it is still a valid arguement. I feel that adoption can bring something to abused children that guardianship can not, and it still plays a vital role for these kids. Please don't give up on adoption. Just be mindfull that it isn't all pretty fluffy clouds and rainbows, especially nowadays with more abused older children needing adoption than relinquished newborns needing it. My girls are my life And they love me and I cherish them.. it is still enormously sad that they needed to be adopted and in the perfect world there would be no need for adoption at all but we do not live in utopia sadly.

Just want to say again do not give up, and it is highly unlikely you yoursleves would be hated.. my oldest DD used to make me feel like that sometimes but that isn't becasue she hated me, it is because it is easier when you are hurting terribly to take it out on the people you are closest to.

Lilka Fri 12-Nov-10 20:23:27

God, what an essay that was !!!!!!! Sorry probably could have cut that down somewhat

And by the way, yes, my children did (and do) have mothers who did and still do love them very much. But they couldn't care for them and in fact were abusing and aiding horrible abuse of DD's. I always said to oldest DD, yes your old mum loves you very much, but you can love someone and not care for them at all. I cherish my DD's and their first mothers did not. In my mind cherishing someone means not only loving them but also protecting them, making good decisions for them, giving them security etc. So of course some first parents do inded cherish their kids (especially in relinquished baby cases) just not in DDs' cases.

And indeed, I am told by people that I saved my DD's by adoption. No, I did not. The saviors were those who removed them from abuse. I took them from amazing foster parents who cherished DD's very much indeed. I had sleepless nights over moving them gain, causing more trauma. But at the end of the day, foster homes are temporary, and i could offer permanency. Still hurt thenm being moved.

And now older DD is 24, married to an amzing man ho is frankly amazing, and has overcome so much I could just die of shock (in a good way). Never did I dream she would have such a great life when she came home oh so damaged at 10. She has never done very well in school, will never be rich, doesn't have very many friends (but those who have stuck by era re golden!) and she needs much more support than any other 24 y old I know. But, when she came I thought if I could keep her away from prostitution and crime and in supported housing then it would be an amazing success. Necver did I dream of this!!

But she is happy to be adopted. Very happy however sad she is that she needed to be adopted (very very sad indeed). But she loves me very much indeed

piscesmoon Fri 12-Nov-10 20:39:40

I think that you have to bear in mind that the ones who responded to the article were angry, those that were happy simply wouldn't bother.
It is rather like MIL stories on here-they are all dire and it seems impossible to have a good relationship which would worry me greatly if I didn't have a good one myself and know that most of my friends get on really well with their MIL.
My cousin was adopted and has never tried to find her birth parents for two reasons, 1 she had a very happy childhood and 2 she felt it was a rejection and doesn't want to risk it a second time. (I suppose that she still has issues over the rejection but she doesn't blame the adoptive parents for that).

TheRedQueen Fri 12-Nov-10 21:09:00

I am one four children - the elder two adopted, the younger two (of which I am one) "natural" children.

Right from the start, my parents were very open with us all about the adoptions, which perhaps isn't unusual today, but was in the 1960s when we were all young.

My brothers are very different in their attitudes to their adoptions.

The eldest one is highly resentful of his birth mother and, despite knowing nothing about the circumstances of his birth, has spent the whole of his life feeling that she rejected him and/or wasn't prepared to fight for him. He says that he therefore grew up feeling worthless and that, much as he loved our parents, he often resented them for supposedly being his "parents" yet not being able to soothe that very basic hurt. He says that, in an entirely illogical way, this made him want to hurt them back and in particular, to "test" them and see if they would reject him too. There was a lot of bad behaviour in his youth (some quite serious) and he says that this was part of the testing, but, trying to be fair, I think there was also a clash of personalities between him and, in particular, mum (who could never let lie) which didn't help. It is hard to know what was borne of what though.

My other adopted brother is the opposite. He has never shown any interest in his adoption whatsoever and says that it's just not an issue for him. I thought that when he became a dad himself he might start to wonder, but he has never even made any sort of oblique reference. I think I could fairly say that he was much closer to our parents (who are now both dead) than any of the rest of us.

Ironically, I spent quite a bit of my youth being jealous of both my adopted brothers precisely because they had been adopted. I somehow felt that they were special because they had been "chosen" but with me my parents had had no choice but to take what came out!

Greenwing Fri 12-Nov-10 21:26:34

You just cannot tell what you are letting yourself in for with parenthood, whether pregnancy and birth or adoption.
My closest friend is adopted and it has taken years for him to come to terms with it and reconcile himself to his adoptive parents whom, he felt, 'took' him from his birth mother. He spent his younger years fantasising about what his birth mother was like and imagining her coming to get him. His adoptive father was so understanding, saying that they knew that the best was not available, ie for him to be with his birth mother/parents, so they tried to be the very best second best they could be.
I think that is a very good description of adoptive parenting.

MissBeehiving Fri 12-Nov-10 21:39:15

My DH was adopted as a baby. His adoptive parents (my MIL and FIL) divorced when he was 13 and he boarded at school from 11 onwards. He saw his adoptive parents relatively little from then onwards - they had a fairly absent approach to parenting. However although the relationships are not very close he loves his adoptive mum and dad and believes that they gave him opportunities that he would not have had otherwise, and feels grateful to them for that. MIL and FIL also have a birth son and his (birth son's) relationship with them is pretty similiar to DH's.

Until 18 months ago he had not thought to find his birth parents but just before DS2 was born he read his social services file. We know that his birth mother is still alive and where she lives but he doesn't want contact at the moment. Mainly because he is unsure about how his birth mother will react.

maryz Fri 12-Nov-10 21:40:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Heifer Fri 12-Nov-10 22:31:14

Well I certainly have a positive tale..

I was at birth.. The people that adopted me (my parents) couldn't have loved me any more then they did.... I don't believe that I could have had a better childhood than I have. I can't believe I could have loved my parents any more if they were my birth parents.

The way they made me feel about being adopted. I was chosen....

Feel very lucky and special to this day.... even now they have both passed away...

I hope I can make my DD feel half as special and loved as I always felt.

Italiangreyhound Sat 13-Nov-10 02:01:36

Lilka just wanted to say thanks for sharing your amazing story. Your love and concern really shine through.

It is so sad that so often it is the bad/sad/unfortunate stories that get told and the angry/unrepresentative people who make comments on websites but there is some amazing, kind, loving living that goes on in many families and does not get mentioned.

God Bless you for your amazing parenting.

Lilka Sat 13-Nov-10 08:27:02

Italiangreyhound - thank you I wound up sharing a bit more of it on a thread on perceptions of kids in care on AIBU. And I honestly don't think I have amazing parenting. I ain't superwoman! And I think it's my girls who are the amazing ones They are the ones who did the healing. They couldn't have done it without school either or without their therapy. Honestly although at times in the past I thought at one point with DD1, 'This is hell right now'. But if it was hel for me, then what could it have been like for her??

Debs3013 Sat 13-Nov-10 17:11:28

Thank you all so much for your stories, it really has helped me. Like I said before, the comments shook me to the core but having had a couple of days to get over that initial shock, I think I am beginning to understand where it was coming from and actually hasn't put me off at all.

I am sure I did have a bit of a 'fluffy bunny' image in my head but in fairness I think all parents initially do, whether birth or adoptive.

We are still standing by our decision that nothing will be progressed until at least the new year. We have to be sure and I also have to be sure that I'm doing this for the right reasons and it's not just part of the grief process (I lost a child 5 months ago) but if I'm honest I have always thought of adoption.

It's lovely that I can come and talk to you guys and get a truly honest picture, warts and all!

Lilka Sat 13-Nov-10 19:15:38

Oh definitely it is so natural, I would think perhaps even more so when you have lost a child (I'm sorry ) to dream of a time when you have kids and are happy and of course you have the happy family image in your head of tucking into bed, playing in the park etc etc, all those things.

It certainly isn't wrong to have that image, you just have to be willing and able to adjust your expectations. And it is perfectly possible that you will still have many of thes things, however the one thing with adoption is that a lot of the time, your child will not be able to do some of the things that others do. For instance, not be able to lose a game of anything without a tantrum (a massive one), or at a more extreme end of the spectrum not be able to go outside into public becasue they meltdown completely.

Hopefully any decent prep course will show you both the ups (massive) and the downs (equally as massive) though. Honestly for me (although not so for some others) after the initial year or so after the kids moved in (with both DD's), the hardest part was not their behaviors, but the isolation and ignorance of others. Support is just the vital bit. People do not get it, and make stupid comments, which is easier to ignore when it is a random stranger, and more difficult to not be devastated when it's close faily or even worse if possible, school and otehr proffessionals who should be helping you. DD2 mainstream school were awful. Just wouldn't believe she was hurt and therefore a bit (okay, a lot) different than the others until it was far too late.

Italiangreyhound Mon 15-Nov-10 01:39:30

Lilka I'm sure your DDs were amazing but you also sound amazing. Maybe you all managed to bring out the best in each other although I am sure there were some tough times along the way. It is very interesting and informative for me (someone who has considered adoption and may do so again - just waiting for some fertility treatment now) to just hear some of the ups and downs and to be aware. Who knows when my DD (aged 5) may make friends with a child who is adopted or I may end up being friends with a mum or dad who has an adopted child. So I do find it very helpful to read about your experiences. I think ignorance is not bliss but is really unhelpful and I am grateful to join the thread just to learn more.

God Bless and all the best Lilka and to you Debs3013 as you explore this subject.

Kewcumber Mon 15-Nov-10 11:38:31

"a child who is adopted" = a child who was adopted... and so I continue with my mission to get the general public to treat an adoption as an event in the past which happened, not an ongoing descriptor of a child! grin

Caveat: obviously the effects of an adoption may be something which is very much being dealt with in the present but to a person not involved in helping deal with those issues, a child should be described as "*was* adopted" in the same way as other children are described as "*was* born".

ONly my own very personal gripe though! grin As you were.

Italiangreyhound Mon 15-Nov-10 16:22:42

Kew what I meant was that if I am better informed about adoption and what it means then I may be better equipped to act appropriately.

These threats have contained many references to where some things are less appropriate, or perhaps not even not at all appropriate, for children who were adopted (such as pictures of children at birth or class work on child evacuees). In these cirumstances having been adopted would make a difference in the way an adult (e.g. teacher or parent) might behave differently. In other general things I would not want to make any difference in how I reacted but as someone who has not adopted or been adopted I don't yet know what this circumstanes are!

But I'll take your point and try and remember my grammar. grin

justabit Mon 15-Nov-10 16:37:20

Heifer's post is my post!!!!

Heifer Fri 19-Nov-10 16:50:19

No it's not, it's my post grin

KristinaM Sat 20-Nov-10 11:47:20

debs, i am sorry for your loss sad

just a practical point - it may be hard to find an agency who are willing to assess you for adoption if you have no infertility problems and have lost a baby as recently as you have done

one reason is that once they discover how long, difficult , stressful and risky adoption is, most couples in your situation decide on the much lower risk option of TTC again.

another reason is that adoption starts from a point of loss for everyone concerned ( the child, the birth family and the adoptive family) so you both need to have done some work on your own grief / loss issues first.

sorry, i'm sure that not what you want to hear

MoralDefective Sat 20-Nov-10 12:01:12

Heifer's post is also much like my post.
I was adopted at six weeks and my DB was adopted three years earlier at three weeks.
We could not have been luckier.

My Mum was/is fabulous and now loves her DGs as much if not more than lots of GPs that i know and indeed read about on here.

I know times have changed since i was adopted but i really believe that the younger a child is found a permanent,loving home the better.

I have no interest in 'finding' my 'real' parents as i consider the ones i have to be my real parents.

MoralDefective Sat 20-Nov-10 12:15:29

About a month ago on aibu.(10th October)

'to think you aren't obliged to form a relationship with a chid you've given up for adoption'.
It covers a range of opinions and feelings.

Debs3013 Mon 22-Nov-10 11:49:32

Thanks for the advise Kristina, I guessed they wouldn't look at us yet which is why we're not even going to discuss it properly until the New Year. Basically I've raised the subject with hubby, he's said he's not opposed to it and we've agreed no more discussion until the New Year to give us a couple of months to go through our feelings ourselves. Then in the New Year we will then talk properly and see how we both feel from there. I like to give him time to consider any major desicion without me giving my two penneth, then I can feel fairly comfortable that whatever he comes up with he's doing because it's what he wants and not just trying to please me.
So basically, we won't even approach agencies for another 3 maybe 4 months.
In the meantime, my doctor is organising counselling for me (but I'm not holding my breath - huge waiting list!) so at least if we go that way, I can show I've been taking action over my grief.
To be honest we both feel at the moment that we won't ttc again and I am probably 99% sure I wont. The loss was extremely traumatic for both of us, as well as causing me physical problems and I have no desire to go through it again. Hard to explain really but I have every desire to be a mother and no desire to be pregnant but I know that may change, so won't rush anything.
Again thank you to everyone that's posted, it really is helping me hugely and I really appreciate all of you taking time to talk to me.

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