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Do you think adoptive parents appreciate their children more?

(40 Posts)
JazzAnnNonMouse Mon 01-Oct-12 09:17:35

because of the long process you have to go through and how hard it is do you think adoptive parents in general appreciate it more?
It can't be a accident, Surprise etc so lots of time to prepare and want - does this make for better parents? (not saying that birth parents (probably using wrong terms) don't always prepare and want either!)

Just for context I have a dd (birth)

scubastevie Mon 01-Oct-12 09:51:51

Don't think you can generalise at all. Just because you have wanted something for longer or have lots of children doesn't automatically mean you will be good parents or better parents than those who had a surprise.

SonnySpain Mon 01-Oct-12 09:53:35

Not on my experience but then, I don't know that my experience is typical...

Devora Mon 01-Oct-12 09:55:05

It's a nice theory, but I don't know. Maybe appreciate in a general sense - I am certainly hugely aware of how lucky I am; I look at my children and am overcome with relief that I've got them, and how close I came to not having them.

But I don't think that appreciation translates into a different way of interacting with them. I can see that not being bothered about children, not planning for them, not thinking it all carefully through in advance, may increase your risk of being a crap parent (though there are many brilliant parents who drifted unthinkingly into it). But I don't think that desperately wanting children, and waiting years to have them, leads to doing a better job of parenting once they actually arrive.

You sometimes hear this said of parents who have had IVF, or of lesbian/gay parents. Also it is sometimes suggested that they may be less good parents, because over anxious and protective.

I'm a lesbian mother of both a birth child and an adopted child. It took me years to get pregnant, and then years to adopt - ten years in all. But I think I'm pretty middle-ranking as a parent. I love my children with a passion, but I'm often tired/bored/overwhelmed. I park them in front of the TV. I let them eat too many sweets. Reality took over from the desired fantasy a long time ago!

Maryz Mon 01-Oct-12 10:40:15

I don't think so.

I think you might for the first year or so, because of the long wait to have children - in the same way as you might appreciate an IVF pregnancy and baby.

But I think after a while, you don't feel any different (and I have both adopted and home-made children). Once the adoption order is finalised, they are just your children in the same way as if you had given birth to them.

I do, however, believe it is much harder to complain about difficulties you have with them, because it seems in some way disloyal. When my son went off the rails, many people thought that i would blame his adoption, and wish I hadn't adopted him, so it was possibly more difficult to admit our problems and ask for help.

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 11:22:13

It makes me more appreciative of being a parent, because of the wait and the real possibility at times of not having children. More patient with the mundane-ness at times of parenting and the lack (as a single parent) of a social life but then that could also be because I'm an older parent so have sowed enough wild oats and have run out of oats.

But I am short tempered with DS when I'm in a bad mood [guilty emoticon] and in love with him when he is wonderful. I doubt its different to the majority of birth parents.

I think initially it may feel a bit different and as Maryz says its harder to moan when things are tough.

Overall I don't think it works out much different except in the sense that every family is different for a million different reasons - adoption is just one of those many reasons why my family is different from everyone elses.

JazzAnnNonMouse Tue 02-Oct-12 04:21:57

I guess it could be harder to moan.
If I adopted I think I would find it hard not to spoil them especially if they'd had a shit time up till then.

mnistooaddictive Tue 02-Oct-12 05:45:17

My cousins were adopted and not especially well parented. The long wait and fear of never having children translated into over indulgent parenting where they never wanted to say no.

Ilovedaintynuts Tue 02-Oct-12 06:46:40

In my experience those children who are more 'hard won' may be more appreciated. Whether that is by adoption or fertility treatment, a long time TTC or whatever, I don't think it matters.

I has my DS at 23 after a contraceptive failure. I was continually bemused by parents who talked about their children as if they were so very precious and although I loved my DS dearly, I kind of knew what they meant. If you have to climb huge hurdles or wait an extraordinary amount of time how can you not appreciate something more (at least initially)?

Fast forward 15 years and I have 2 DDs after many years TTC and fertility treatment. And I do appreciate them more than I did my DS.
I don't love them more than him, I just stare at them in disbelief that I was lucky enough to have them...they are 4 and 2 and that hasn't remotely worn off.

Aren't most things in life more appreciated if you've had to work harder to get them?

Ilovedaintynuts Tue 02-Oct-12 06:47:44

Sorry, just realised this is in adoptions, saw it was in active convos and replied. Sorry if my reply was not helpful blush

JazzAnnNonMouse Tue 02-Oct-12 07:45:50

Your reply was of course helpful! I was myself wondering whether I appreciate dd (birth) a much as my friend appreciates her ds (adopted)

Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 08:21:04

I'd also point out that (for me anyway) the feeling of appreciation wears off after a bit, even if it is there at the start.

Mine annoy me, drive me up the walls just like any other children. And, to be honest, I forget they are adopted most of the time until someone says something that reminds me (commenting on them not looking alike for example).

Which of course is as it should be.

JazzAnnNonMouse Tue 02-Oct-12 08:34:06

Maryz it's so nice to hear that you forget they're adopted and I hope my friend can get to that point, it's all relatively new to them and the adoption seems to be the topic of choice

Maryz Tue 02-Oct-12 08:40:43

It's funny - I specifically remember a day when my mum was going through family photograph albums with my older two (adopted), my younger son and their cousins.

My mum was pointing out various relatives and commenting on how like they were to various children, when she pointed to one and said to dd "you are the image of X, you have her eyes".

dd looked at her grinning and said "Granny, I'm adopted, you do remember don't you" and my mum just burst out laughing. She had genuinely forgotten.

It is new to your friends - they will talk about the adoption for a bit, just as parents of first-time newborns are obsessed with poos and nappies and feeds and the story of their birth. It wears off grin

DameKewcumber Tue 02-Oct-12 10:27:16

yes it will be the topic of choice if its relatively recent. When I think of the number of birth stories I've had to sit through for a year or two after the birth, I'm sure that you won't mind adoption dominating her discussion for a while.

a) it will wear off the same as the birth comparisons do
b) Your friend will learn to confine her adoption related comments to other adopters

Adoption is still a big part of our life but in a more practical way on the whole - so yesterday I was trying to explain genetics (because DS asked not because I was home ed'ing!) and its not easy to explain to a 6 year old at the best of times, but when you can't do the "well you have my eyes because I gave you some genes when you were in my tummy" its extremely tricky and inevitably leads onto a deeper conversation about birth parents.

Also when you first adopt and have bonded, the wonder of actually loving child that isn't genetically yours and you didn't give birth to and have worried for years about getting a child you might not even like let alone love is quite strong.

Lilka Tue 02-Oct-12 10:28:05

I am (and will always be) in awe at how it all worked out, and how it is that they came to be mine, the timing etc. And yes, I used to talk a lot about it, with my friends. Over time, I stopped and just talked about daily life. I am quite likely to be found having a conversation about my kids special needs/learning diffs etc, with a friend, but not adoption so much unless it comes up in relation to that. But online (especially on here) I do talk alot about adoption, and I think I'll continiue to do so. And I do think about adoption quite a lot as well.

I have never forgotten my children are adopted in the sense that Mary's mum did - thinking/assuming they are biologically mine. But, I don't look at them and think 'adopted' either. I just don't think about it, if that makes sense, until it comes up somehow. In my head, they are just my children, not 'my adopted children'. Although it wasn't like that in the first months of placement - there was a definite transition in my head from thinking the latter to thinking the former, as I came to love them and we became a proper family

I'm not sure about appreciation. I don't have any biological children, so it's not like I have anything to compare with really. I think after going through the heartache of being childless and wanting children, a long and emotional process to get them, and after struggling and thinking about disrupting one adoption, I don't take parenthood for granted, IYSWIM. I do appreciate my parenthood very much in that sense. I also moan a lot about my kids (their behaviour specifically). As Kew said, i felt it wrong to say 'this is hard' at first, but not now! However, I've never done what my neighbour does, which is say when they have difficult behaviour "oh god, why don't I just put them up for adoption?" That makes me uncomfortable. Although that might be because she knows nothing about adoption

Lilka Tue 02-Oct-12 10:30:09

And yes, i agree with Kew, adoption does still play a big part in our lives, as we talk quite a lot about it. I just don't talk about it with non-adopter friends very much, i talk about it with other adopters or on the adoption boards here etc

DameKewcumber Tue 02-Oct-12 10:32:17

"oh god, why don't I just put them up for adoption?" That makes me uncomfortable.

Yes me too even though I know I'd just a glib comment.

I had one very good friend who used to say to her DD when they were pre-school age "If you don't start behaving I'm going to give you away" (if front of me and DS). She really hadn't thought about what she was saying until one day she obviously heard it herself and said to me "I really should stop saying that, shouldn't I" and I never heard it again.

Lilka Tue 02-Oct-12 10:40:02

Actually, it's the 'glib' ness of it that annoys me i think. I'm sensitive to people joking about putting their kids in care. I guess living with the results of that kind of thing puts it off limits as a joking matter ever. I don't see any adoptive parents saying 'oh god, why don't I just disrupt' when their kids have fights

Lovesoftplay Tue 02-Oct-12 10:48:36

I don't have any "home-made" (love that term!) children so don't have anything to compare with, but I know I appreciate and love my boys more than I thought possible. I don't think this is any different to any of my non-adoptive friends though.

They drive me up the wall, I snap at them when I am tired, I am very strict with them, and sometimes I could merrily throttle them both. Again, I don't think this is any different to non-adopters. However when we first got them, I used to literally count my blessings every day that I was finally a mummy, I don't know any women who have conceived easily who say that. I am aware that is a huge sweeping statement, and am prepared for many mum's to shoot me down, in fact, I hope they do!

JazzAnnNonMouse Tue 02-Oct-12 13:08:10

Sorry if I gave the wrong impression I'm not waiting for them to stop taking about it or bored by it, on the contrary I find it very interesting. This may sound v odd but sometimes I'm jealous of how much she appreciates parenthood but maybe she just doesn't feel like she can complain about her dc yet as anything slightly negative she says is always justified with comments such as 'I'm so lucky to have dc' 'shouldn't complain, so lucky really' etc

DameKewcumber Tue 02-Oct-12 13:28:18

lovesoftplay - the only problem with "home made" is the flipside is often "shop bought"! yesterday DS asked me if I had paid for him!

hmc Tue 02-Oct-12 13:30:19

No

Lovesoftplay Tue 02-Oct-12 13:31:42

DameKew, I hadn't thought of that, although that is pretty funny really, bless him smile

My oldest (4yrs) keeps staring for too long at my pregnant friend. He is utterly baffled there is a baby in there. It has been useful in helping him understand about his own adoption though!

Happyasapiginshite Tue 02-Oct-12 14:36:27

I have one of each, a homemade (but would you say I cheated and used a cake mix because he's an IUI baby ??grin) and a 'shop-bought'. I'm still at the stage of looking at our adopted dd in total wonder and awe that it all worked out and that she's so gorgeous. I'm absolutely not blasé about her yet.

I can't say that I appreciate my children more than my friends who decided to have children and just had them do, BUT I think that through our struggles to have a family, the years of IUI and IVF and then the long adoption process, I think I have a different view to life than some of my friends. I'm quite an optimistic person by nature but I think I've changed in that I don't EXPECT things to work out for me any more and when they DO work out, I'm very appreciative of it. I'm not full of doom and gloom at all but I don't think I've got a right to things like I maybe once did, if that makes sense.

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