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If you have a partner, did you easily agree on possible adoptees?

(10 Posts)
ChoccyJules Sat 03-Nov-12 11:30:40

Bit of a 'must share as feel lonely' post, sorry, but had frank and difficult conversation with DH yesterday which left me feeling quite bleak.

As he points out, he has not come to this decision lightly (we first discussed adoption over 20yrs ago when we were going out) and I respect that. He wouldn't be willingto take on a child with learning difficulties. It's not that he couldn't look after them (we have done respite care with very complex children) he doesn't want to do it permanently. He would be fine if we had a birth child and they had such needs but says he wouldn't choose such a life. He wants to dream of his child's future and watch them fulfil it. This is where I am most shocked as I want my children to be happy, he wants them to be successful (measured by job etc). After so long together this really hit me.

He also wouldn't want for us to take on a child which DD will one day end up caring for (or at least deny her a sibling he feels would be easier to have an adult relationship with). I do get that but families love who they get, imo.

I work with children with many different needs, physical, learning, sensory and emotional so I accept that this world is not alien to me and I'm in the minority.

But I can't help feeling a child with no diagnosed learning delays (he would consider but not choose a physically disabled child), if coming from a background of neglect, will be as much of a shock to him. He says this is different as we would expect to be dealing with the fallout of a child's history but could hope to help them get through it, then grow (to grasp a 'good' future).

Anyway, long post over. There isn't really a question other than how did you sort out who you could offer to parent? Also did anyone change their minds during preparation and what were your reasons? Thank you as always for being such a supportive bunch and (if you got this far!) reading.

KristinaM Sat 03-Nov-12 20:58:00

I think this is going to be quite a difficult issue for you. Lost of children available for adoption come from a family background of addictions , learning difficulties and mental health problems. These problems are genetic as well as environmental

In other words, soemone whose parenst had addictions is more likely to becoem an addict, even if they are brought up in another family. In addition, a baby whose mother misused drugs or alcohol during the pregnancy may have suffered permanent damage from this.

These difficulties can be ameliorated by a supportive family but they cannot be cured.

If educational and career success are Crucial to your Dh then I think you may find it hard to adopt. You don't really know whether or not a child has suffered " soft" brain damage until they are about 7-8 years . Many emotional and mental health problem don't show up until adolescence ? I've afraid it's a very risky business

I'm sorry, I know this isn't what you want to hear

Happiestinwellybobs Sat 03-Nov-12 21:05:23

We agreed to look through the list we were given separately, then came together to discuss. Anything that either of us felt strongly that we couldn't deal with, was a straight no. So for example I felt I could care for a child born out of rape - my DH did not, so that was a 'no' for us.

It was really difficult and it was the one thing we discussed more than anything - dealing with the guilt was hard. But we both had to be happy and confident in our decision. Not sure if I've answered your question!

Italiangreyhound Sat 03-Nov-12 21:53:55

ChoccyJules I am not yet an adopter and so I can't answer any of these thoughts from the point you make but I just wanted to say that DH and I have these types of conversations.

We also have a birth child and so questions about whether our DD will have to 'look after' a sibling after we are gone etc are relevant to us too. I think it sounds like you are both just discussing the kind of children you feel able to parent, so both of you need to agree, and he does not sound like he is being unreasonable.

From what you have said initially I did not read that he was very into success etc. I mean he may have said lots of other stuff to you but from what you say at the beginning, it does not sound like he is all into success.

To "... dream of his child's future and watch them fulfil it." doesn't to me say that they will have a fantastic job or being company director etc. J

My friend has a son whose has Down’s Syndrome and when he was born, many years ago, my friend said he had to kind of alter the plans of what he was hoping for for his son (this is not a reflection on anyone else's child or anyone else's plans - just what my friend felt). I guess what I am saying is that your husband does not sound as if he is being unreasonable and the question is partly really the kinds of children available for adoption in your area, and in other areas too.

Anyway, Choccyjules all the very best to you and your DH as you work through this.

Italiangreyhound Sat 03-Nov-12 22:20:00

APOLOGIES I really did not mean that comment about my friend's son with Down's Syndrome to sound negative, but looking at it I realise it may come across that way.

Of course my friend and his wife are very good parents and I am sure devoted parents.

What I meant is that all parents, birth parents or people who will become parents by adopting, have to consider about disabilities and how they feel etc, some people don't discuss it etc before-hand because they don't even know but when going through the adoption process I guess everything is discussed. It seems right your DH is being honest about how he feels even if it is hard to talk about and of course if you would have liked to look into adopting a child with a disability this must seem a blow to you, so sorry if it sounded like I was making light of it.

I have just been reading up about children wit h diabilities and adoption and I did not mean to make light of how you choccyJules were feeling.

Anyway, sorry if what I said sounded crass on either front, I did not mean it to.

ChoccyJules Sun 04-Nov-12 12:34:26

No, it didn't, Italian it read fine.

I am finding reading other people's perspecives very useful. Although I was and remain disappointed, I guess my shock about his decision has to be got over as we're not identical in other ways either.

I was cheered by Happiest talking about looking at lists, we did that when we were preparing to do respite care too. However I was under the impression that LAs and Agencies would want to know our intended categories before starting assessment, ie not spend money on us if we don't want to take on their cohort of waiting children?

Moomoomie Sun 04-Nov-12 14:28:23

This is indeed a very difficult situation to be in.
I remember when we were talking to our SW during assessment, saying we did not necessarily want a rocket scientist. We wanted children that we could help develop and reach their full potential.
As other people have said, with an adopted child it is a "gamble" as to what you get. I don't mean that to sound harsh, it is true.
All adopted children will have suffered loss even if they come home to you at a day old... Not as though that will happen.
My dh and I tried to be very detached when we looked at the list and if one of us felt it was a no, it was a no. No arguments.
As you have a birth child to consider to, your decision is probably harder.
Best wishes.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 04-Nov-12 20:43:05

DH and I took a similar approach to others here and went through the list of "yes", "no", "depends" and if either of us said no, that was definite and non-negotiable. It was one of the worst conversations we have ever had together, not because we disagreed but because of the subject.

Anyway, we agreed on most things, and our guiding principle was fairly similar to your DH by the sounds of things, in that we could not consider a child with a known life limiting disorder (because of our DS, who we wanted to have a sibling throughout his adult life too), or that needed significant medical care (because of our doubts to cope). But, as Kristina says, we knew that this didn't mean that an adopted child would be free of other complications, as that just isn't the case.

My experience (and that of our prep group friends) is that we didn't need to have a clear idea of our "red lines" prior to assessment, but we did need to demonstrate that we had a good understanding of the reality of modern adoption, in that almost all children will have been exposed to some situation or experience that is harmful to their development or well being, with a consequential impact (however small). I think we said upfront that we could not cope with a child with significant medical complications (I don't think it had occurred to us at that point that we would need to have a conversation about parenting a child born of incest or rape...) but we would want to explore with our SW our ability to parent a challenging child, and the impact of that on us and our family. Note - I think SW quite like it when you say that you want to discuss something to draw on their professional opinion!

Sorry, bit of a ramble blush

Lilka Sun 04-Nov-12 21:23:50

I am single, but went backwards and forwards quite a lot in the assessments, particularly the first homestudy. I wasn't given 'the list' until late on in the process, so I didn't have to be very specific from the off. We did it over two sessions because I felt i needed to go away and research some things, because the SW isn't a medical professional and can't tell much about many of the possible conditions. I was willing to take on quite a lot of SN. I said no to serious physical disabilities and severe learning disabilities but would consider most other things. I went back and forward over HIV and other blood disorders and eventually said yes, although tbh it's very rare so never even saw one profile of a child with HIV. I never considered incest until they asked, but I said yes.

At the end of the day, I decided based on my vision of being a parent and on reading up on things and considering what it might be like to live with that and whether I could cope with it. I could envision myself parenting a child with up to moderate LD's and being happy so I said yes, but maybe another prospective adopter couldn't envisage that and was unhappy at the thought of it. I was more restrictive the second time around because I had DD1 to consider as well. It is different when you already have a child

Anyway, I think you have to go with your guts and so if DH doesn't want to consdier any known LD's, you have to go with that. If he is pushed outside his comfort zone, you might end up with problems later. It's important you both feel comfortable about this, that you don't feel pushed to adopt a child with a condition you don't feel you can handle. Neglect and abuse can mean a lifelong disability and limit what they can achieve, and I think it's important that you/DH can say that you know this is definitely a possbility, and if that is the case, then you can deal with that

Italiangreyhound Sun 04-Nov-12 23:38:09

Lilka your comments are very wise. I do agree that it is important to think about what you can cope with. Maybe as time goes on any of us who are considering adopting will go back and forwards about what we think we can 'handle'. I too have a DD already and so am thinking how things will impact her! it sounds a bit mercinary but of course once we adopt (if we are able to do so) we will be as protective of the child we adopt, so in some ways that caution we as parents feel is not a bad thing! Just my personal opinion!

ChoccyJules it is good to know this is helping you. Other people's perspecties.

I've been reading a lot on line about transracial adoptions and yet in my area there are not that many children of different ethnic groups so probably the child will be white (as am I). I guess I feel the need to think it through and try and be as prepared as I can for any questions. ChoccyJules it is good to hear other people's musings, my DH and I have had smilar conversations as you and your DH so it sounds like a few of us on here are at a similar stage, which is kinda nice!

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