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Adoption Tearoom - open for business

(484 Posts)
MediumPretty Fri 10-Jun-11 12:58:18

or maybe a place for me to talk to myself smile. Not as glamorous as the One Child Families tearoom, just somewhere to have a cyber cuppa and chat.

I went to pick DD (adopted from China) up from school yesterday. Whilst waiting in the playground I got chatting to the grandma of one of her classmates. I find playground chitchat hard work sometimes and I made a lighthearted remark about life since we adopted DD. The perfectly nice Grandma said "it's hard bringing up a child who isn't your own". She said that 30 odd years ago she had fostered two boys for what should have been a few weeks but they stayed with her until adulthood - one was still living at home.

I told her that we think of DD as "our own".

Silence followed then (as the bloody school bell still hadn't gone), I said something inane about enjoying having a daughter and Grandma said "I feel closer to my daughter, than my two sons who are not mine".

She didn't mean any harm with her remarks but it was an insight into how some people view adopted children as somehow less than a birth child and I felt a bit deflated

Just wanted to offload - will nip to M&S for some scones in case any one pops into the tearoom.

<name-changed in case the above outs me in RL>

hester Fri 10-Jun-11 13:09:12

Oh lordy, that must have been difficult. I would have wanted to pump her for further information, but also to stop the conversation as quickly as possible.

There was a big article in the Guardian a while back, about whether parents can feel the same about adopted childrren as birth children. They talked to a number of parents who had both adopted and birth children, and there was no consensus. Some felt that you always have a special feeling for children that come from your own body, while others said they loved them all just the same.

I have one of each, and I'm not remotely worried that I'll have a favourite. Now, that isn't to say that I love them equally right now: i've had one for nearly six years and one for just 10 months, so inevitably there is a difference in the intensity of the relationship. But the gap is narrowing all the time, and if I think back to how I felt about the oldest when she was 10 months old, it's remarkably similar to how I feel about my new baby 10 months in.

It may also help that I never had that overwhelming instant bonding thing with my birth child. I felt I learned to love her, and the process took some time. I suspect that if you had that huge hormonal/biological/whatever massive rush of love as soon as your child was born, it must feel quite alarming to not have it when you adopt.

I love both my girls so much, and I can't believe I'll end up saying what that Grandma said to you. (Mind, even if I thought it, I wouldn't say it - especially not to a near-stranger.) Makes you wonder how her boys are doing sad

MediumPretty Fri 10-Jun-11 13:47:35

Hello Hester - have a scone smile

I think that even in a family with, say, 4 birth children the parents can love each of the kids in a different way - my parents did.

The Grandma's remark made me wonder what the families of DD's classmates say about her to their kids - not that I think they don't have anything more exciting to talk about but obviously children will ask questions as DD looks different from them and me. We've had some of the girls (including a close friend) tell her that I'm not her "real" mummy; did they get this from questioning their parents or is it just 6 year old girls being, well, 6 year old girls.

I'm not getting paranoid about it (honest!), just musing. It all seems so easy when going through the homestudy process (nightmare that that is!) to have all the answers. Reality is harder - but worth it for the glorious little girl who is my DD.

hester Fri 10-Jun-11 13:51:02

[thickly layers on jam and cream]. I agree with everything you say. [stuffs face] My grandmother had about a million children (ok, 11) and a zillion grandchildren (have lost count) and there is no doubt she has favourites. She is completely open about it. That woman may have been projecting a lot of other stuff onto the very different relationships women often have with their sons and daughters.

People think all sorts of strange things about adoption, don't they. And I'm sure that many of the parents we mix with are giving their children messages about adoption (talk of 'real' mummies etc) without even realising it. And our kids pay the price in the playground.

NanaNina Fri 10-Jun-11 20:28:28

Hi MP - I think you are not comparing like with like here. Obviously your little girl is yours and there will always be people who will make insensitive comments. However the grandma didn't set out to adopt these boys. As she says it was a temporary arrangment and she may well have been pressed by the social workers to keep the boys and she did so because a permanent home couldn't be found for them. I can understand why she doesn't see the boys as her own in these circumstances.

Happy for your and your glorious little girl - what a lovely description of a child.

thefirstMrsDeVere Fri 10-Jun-11 20:43:29

But Nana I didnt set out to adopt my DS. He was a temporary foster. We thought 6 mths max.

He is here 8 years later and is now adopted.

I can put my hand on my heart and swear to God that I do not love him any less or even any differently than my birth children.

He is my boy and I love him.

Kewcumber Fri 10-Jun-11 21:15:19

I'm bravely venturing back into the adoption forum!

I do genuinely think that some people belive that you can't feel the same about childrne who were adopted to those who were born to you. I know this because although they won't say it to your face, they will (and have) said it online on MN. I don;t think they have the imagination to understand. I think it's probably a bit similar to having one child and not being able to imagine how you could possibly love a second child as much. It's the intensity of emotion (at times) that people who haven't experienced it any other way put down to blood/genes/pregnancy becasue they don;t feel the same way about another living person even their DH sometimes.

Thats a bit incoherent - does it make sense.

Anyway it doesn't and never has bothered me. I don't know if I would feel any differently about a birth child because I don't (and won't) have one. All I know is how I feel about him and thast good enough for me. And hopefully for him.

thefirstMrsDeVere Fri 10-Jun-11 21:22:31

Hello Kew!

DS asked if he could see his b.mum last week.

(just thought I would chuck that in as a welcome back)

hester Fri 10-Jun-11 22:02:39

Welcome back Kew smile

MrsDV - oh wow. What did you say? What are you going to do?

And on the other issue: I think there are a lot of people for whom biological/genetic attraction is absolutely fundamental to parental love. Plenty of people have said to me that they just couldn't parent a child that was not 'their own'. Others of us just know we can.

thefirstMrsDeVere Fri 10-Jun-11 22:28:52

Hi Hester.

He had just spent 10 minutes running through - did b.mum cry when he left her?, did I remember what it was like when we buried DD?, his confusion about my grandparents - his g.gps, how he would like a baby sister because his sister was dead, then he asked if he could see b.mum and did she have any other children?

I was a bit erm drained by the end of this conversation and tried to explain that it wasnt possible for him to see her atm but perhaps one day. And yes he did have a sister who lived with her (I had told him this before but he forgot).

He then trotted off to play leaving me a bit opened mouthed at the top of the stairs!

Its in B.mums court really. She is allowed letterbox if she modifies her language etc. She knows that face to face isnt possible until letterbox has been reestablished but she refuses to change the things she writes. I suspect she is self sabotaging IYSWIM.

hester Fri 10-Jun-11 22:36:11

Yes, it sounds like it. Is she still in contact with anyone in your extended family who you are also in contact with? Does it cause tensions at family get-togethers? Do family members say things to your ds?

Sorry if I'm seeming nosey; it is such a difficult situation you are in.

Had lunch with a new colleague today who was telling me of a friend who adopted two children, and then got tracked down by the very angry birth family who turned up at their door... [shudders]

MediumPretty Fri 10-Jun-11 22:44:55

Hello Nina, MrsDV and Kew - I'm afraid I've scoffed the scones but might be able to rustle up a packet of Garibaldis (please humour me as I am determined to make this a ruddy tearoom so that unwanted guests can be asked to leave wink).

I agree that many (most?) people see adoption as inferior to blood lines. I've been on a few threads with Kew and MrsDV arguing with people who felt this way. And I've had people tell me they couldn't raise a child who wasn't their own - tha! hey don't know what they're missing smile.

MediumPretty Fri 10-Jun-11 22:49:52

blush that last sentence was supposed to read "ha! they don't know what they're missing.

MrsDV - can imagine how emotional it must be for you discussing b.mother with DS. Our DD doesn't show much interest at the moment but, when she does, we won't have any answers.

Maryz Fri 10-Jun-11 23:14:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hester Fri 10-Jun-11 23:28:58

Agh, I'm sorry ladies, I seem to have slipped into feeding the beast on another thread. Hope he won't follow the crumb trail into the tearoom...

Maryz Fri 10-Jun-11 23:34:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hester Fri 10-Jun-11 23:43:50

Night Mary smile

zebbedee Sat 11-Jun-11 00:37:57

My adopted dd is cherished as much as my own birth children. Her adult big brothers dote on her. She is spoiled rotten - and loving life!

Let's face it people who have not adopted do not know what they are talking about. They have not had the experience.

In the same way they cannot understand why adopted children have attachment, emotional and behavioural difficulties. This is why this board is an invaluable source of support to parents who have adopted.

I notice a certain MP has popped back up with his mindless rantings on another thread. Let's hope he stays away from this one.

MediumPretty Sat 11-Jun-11 07:24:17

<puts Cath Kidston pinny on for morning shift>

Hello Mary - when we brought DD home from China I took her to visit my brother and sister and was really upset that neither of them had bought her a "welcome" present - they wouldn't have dreamt of not doing so for a newborn in the family. However, my brother has really stepped up to the mark since then and his two kids dote on their cousin - just wish they lived closer. My sister on t'other hand has been a total bitch and made it clear, both in word and deed, that she has no interest in her beautiful niece (I suspect it's partly because DD is forrin). As a result our sometimes close, often volatile relationship has completely broken down. Oh well, her loss.

MediumPretty Sat 11-Jun-11 07:37:40

Hester and Zebbedee - fear not, the tearoom has a small creche for trolls. They will be given orange squash and jammy dodgers and colouring books and crayons whilst the grown-ups have a natter and ignore them. Anyone caught engaging with trolls will be put on washing up duty.

Right. What is everyone doing with their children today? DD has dance class this morning (aka 2 hours childcare for £6 wink) and will get the results of her first "exam"; as it cost £17.50 for her to do a quick twirl in front of a visiting examiner she'd better come out with a gold trophy!

Then we're going to Funky Pots so she can make a "surprise" gift for Father's Day. She has, though, somewhat removed the surprise element by asking DH if he wants a mug or an ornament grin.

Lilka Sat 11-Jun-11 09:13:48

Me today? Taking DD2 and DS to paint some pottery at a cafe..then going to ride bikes out around the lake

I'm feeling good at the moment - DD2's behavior is on a high, she hasn't tried to sabotage anything nice at all recently, so I'm very hopeful about today, but I might have to pick all your brains later because I see a problem ahead...

Honestly, all that can be said on the subject of people who don't get it has been said - if they don't get it, they don't, nada you can do about it except know what they're missing out on

Troll creche - what an excellent idea, as long as I can't physically see the trolls from where I'm sitting. Don't want to be put off my scones (with jam and favourite) grin

thefirstMrsDeVere Sat 11-Jun-11 10:24:04

Good morning all.

I am doing nuffink with the kids today. I will be blitzing the house.
I have plans to redecorate the boys's room and need the house to be tidy before I can get my head round it. Its not as simple as it seems as it will involve much tardis painting and I need to work out how to make it Dr Who using nice bright colours (Dr Who being predominatly navy blue - yuk)

Hester b.mum and her immediate family have isolated themselves from the rest of the (huge) family. They have done it through their behaviour. OH's family are very tolerant in many ways - family is family whatever they get up to. But b.mum and her sister have just gone too far on so many occassions. Most of the cousins steer clear. There is a bit of off/on friendship but it always goes sour.
We dont go to many family dos now. The ones we do go to dont include b.mum because she isnt usually invited. Its not worth the trouble.

Last family event we saw her was MIL's funeral. She came to the service but was barred from the wake. Her and her sister turned up with DS's sister in a buggy. B.mum got into a fight outside and used the buggy (with baby in it) as a weapon. She was pushing it into whoever was in her way.

DS was unaware of it all. I reported the incident but SS couldnt be less interested.
Last I heard the little girl was 'a bit drunk' (she is five) at a party but I take that with a pinch of salt. Its easy to believe the worst about b.mum but I want to see it with my own eyes before I belive it.

I have never understood why people tip toe around b.mum. Everyone seems scared of her. In realitiy she is a marginalized, powerless young woman with nothing going for her (I dont mean that in an insulting way, I mean she has nothing - no job, no home of her own, no qualifications, no real friends and now hardly any family).

My family didnt bat an eyelid when DS arrived on the scene. I know my mum would have been worried about me due to the circumstances but she never showed it.
He has always been treated as a grandson, nephew. Never left out. I am very proud of my family for that. I know its what they should have done but I also know that not all families step up to the mark.

Can I have an eclair please?

NanaNina Sat 11-Jun-11 14:42:41

ThefirstMrsdevere - you say that you didn't set out to adopt your DS who was placed as a foster child on a supposedly temporary basis. Very glad for you that it has all worked out well and the child is now adopted by you. However I don't think it's fair to say "well this is what happened to me" - the inference being that others should feel the same way. Building a bond with a child is something that happens (or not) over time and I know from experience that the most successful adoptions or permanent fostering placements are those where the bond has been built and the parents are absolutely certain that they want to keep a child for life. However the issue of building a strong bond (or a secure attachment with a child) is by no means certain and depends on many factors.

I have known foster parents who have cared for a child far longer than they had anticipated, and a secure attachment between the child and carer has never come about. I would not criticise these carers; if anything they are to be applauded because they have kept the child rather than have him passed from foster home to foster home.

I have not adopted a child but been involved as a sw and tmg in a LA fostering & adoption team for 30 years (now retired). I have sometimes known adoptors who cannot bond with a child and again I would never criticise them. On some occasions the child has had to be removed (usually middle years aged children) and I have seen families left in pieces, full of guilt, suffering depression, and marriages been broken up following the disruption of the placement. This usually happens when one parent has bonded with the child and not the other, and I have seen this happen on many occasions over the years.

I am of course happy for all the children who have what they deserve, an adoptive home with loving parent(s) and I sympathise with you that there are some people who will always think that you can't really love a child you didn't give birth to.........I can imagine how hurtful it is. My best friend adopted a child in between 2 "home grown" ones and her MIL has never really acknowledged the adopted child as her grandchild. Fortunately my friend had no liking for her MIL (who was very self centred) and live miles away from each other. Apparently the adopted child has not been named in her Will. My friend is hurt but tends to disassociate herself from her MIL. Her DH doesn't like his mother either!

Not quite sure how this post fits with the thread but there you go.

thefirstMrsDeVere Sat 11-Jun-11 18:48:04

Nana. This is a tea room, a light hearted thread for us to talk about our children.

Its really not the place for your post.

We get quite enough of that sort of thing on the rest of the site.

I love my son. He is my son. Hester and Kew and Maryz and Medium all love their children 'as if they were their own'.

We really dont need an adoption professional coming and explaining how that isnt the case for everyone.

I really do not wish to be rude, your experience and insight is valuable in its place but not here. I am very very aware of your length of service but as you say - you have not adopted a child.

I am really fed up of my family dynamic being picked over tbh.

MediumPretty Sat 11-Jun-11 20:09:44

<gives MrsDeVere an eclair>

DD and I are watching "So You Think You Can Dance". I really couldn't care less who wins but I love the fact that DD cares. DH (who knows as much as I do about dancing) was picking apart one of the contemporary pieces and DD said to him "just enjoy the dance". I hope she lives by that ethos.

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