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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.

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?

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?

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!

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.


Italiangreyhound Sun 07-Oct-12 22:03:17

aamia what a lovely post.

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'.

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.

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

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

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

'Deserving kids'? shock

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]>

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.

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

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

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

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 21:36:21

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

Italiangreyhound Wed 19-Sep-12 00:50:10

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

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

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