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Ideal child form

(45 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Fri 04-Jan-13 21:49:55

We have been asked to fill in an ideal child form. As in part of a loss workshop, the child we did not have either because of infertility or loss.

Just reading through it brought tears to my eyes. Even though I had thought many things had been dealt with, and in many ways have. It reminded me of things I had forgotten.

Has anyone else filled in one and would be willing to share or to PM me, please?

It's kind of hard because it might depend which child they are asking about! The child that I miscarried very early on, or the child I hoped to adopt 6 years ago when we first thought about adoption, or the child I hoped to have had during the IUI treatment or during the IVF treatment, ? Etc etc. I am not sure they are the same child! The gender, the ethnicity and the age might all be different! So maybe I do not have an ideal child! From the point of view of adoption this might seem easier but I don't want the social workers to think I am avoiding the issues!

Any advice, please?

Thanks so much.

Italiangreyhound Sat 05-Jan-13 23:39:03

Thanks Devora.

KristinaM Sun 06-Jan-13 00:29:00

Italian -I DONT think you are flippant or not engaging with the issues. It's because I think you ARE trying really hard to engage that I'm pushing you to work them through a bit . Because as sockets said, it does really help when you are faced with these things with your own child . And this is when you have the time and energy to read, research, go on training courses, meet other adopters etc

I have to say that IME food issues , nightmares or PTSD, not being able to cope with family or other social gatherings , attachment issues and extreme jealousy of siblings are common problems and also not particularly extreme.likewise teens who drop out of education or have addictions problems and mental health problems. If you read the adoption boards here you will find recent examples of most of them from this relatively small group of adopters.

If I wanted to give you extreme examples I woudl have talked abut kids who sexually abuse other kids, soil and smear , make false allegations , run away or injure or kill family pets. Kids with 25+ moves in the care system. small children who have been excluded from half a dozen schools. couples whose marriages have broken down or whose other kids have left home or been taken away from them . parents who were forced to return their baby to his birth family only to get him back brain injured sad

Which is why I always do this hmm when someone on mumsnet ( NOT you Italian) accuses me of giving worst possible examples when I talk about something relatively mild.

KristinaM Sun 06-Jan-13 00:36:12

Shockers-please forgive my curiosity, but is your DD the younger or older child? I always wonder abut the protective factors, why one child seems to emerge relatively unscathed from the same family. Is it personality, genetics, circumstances?

I've also noticed that in large sibling groups the youngest children seem most likely to have serious problems whereas you would think it would be the older ones ( as they spent more time with the birth family ). Maybe being a carer is protective in some way? Maybe it's because progressive nature of addictions means that younger children are more affected in utero?

Italiangreyhound Sun 06-Jan-13 02:51:50

Thanks Kristina I appreciate all the comments and advice, examples, both extream and mild (although very sad and heart breaking) are all helpful for those of us learning more.

I watched a heart breaking programme about adoption from overseas a long time ago, where lots of things went very wrong. But also read some very moving stories of international adoption on the Internet. So I do try and understand all sides.

Thank you one and all for the support.

RollingThunder Sun 06-Jan-13 03:19:08

I don't know anything about adoption but wanted to add my (maybe helpful) experience as the parent of a child with autism and someone who knows lots of parents of children with autism.

All the things kristinam said apply to either my child and family or families and children I know!! They are all bio children from loving nurturing backgrounds, no drink or drugs involved in pregnancy, children very much loved and wanted.

These children explode into their families like IEDs! The impact can be devastating. Nearly every parent I know is on antidepressants. People's marriages do implode. Some people I know can never eat out with their children and only go to 'safe' places where everyone understands.

I personally worry a lot about the impact on his NT sibling of his brothers SN! I get dismissed by all and sundry (he is fine, he is lovely, why do you want to label him). Even when they do agree there is an issue, you can't get support because as a family we are not 'deprived' enough! And ds1 isn't 'bad' enough (NB this means distuptive! He is pulling out his own eyelashes, but this is not a 'visible' sign of distress)

Other people will say to you ALL the time, my child does that too! Either competitively or dismissively!

I think the point I am trying to make us that while its incredibly hards and I usually feel like I am failing, you survive because you have to and because your child depends on you. And all the mothers I know with SN children had NO idea it was coming, it just exploded their lives.

Our children are a huge joy too, I love my son dearly, but I would not have chosen this life. Now that I have it I just gave to do my best in it! I have no choice.

One of the things that people say about parents of sen kids is that special children are sent to special parents! Which IMO is patronising bollocks!

I did see somewhere, sen parents become special because we have to and I actually quite like that. I have certainly discovered depths of patience and perservearance I never knew I had.

I suppose what I am trying to say, at 3am, as I can't sleep while worrying about ds1, is these problems are really real and really hard, they dominate everything about family life, every aspect if it, the impact on siblings is profound. I spend all my time feeling like I am failing as a mother! So really, really think about the impact on you, your family, your child! Because SN of any kind, from any reason are incredibly hard and when they are 'hidden' its really fucking hard because no one makes any allowances at all!!

I hope you don't mind me crashing your adoption thread, specially as I have absolutely no experience of adoption at all, KristinaM's posts just really spoke to me and I wanted to highlight the pact that issues with a child can have on your life!

KristinaM Sun 06-Jan-13 09:31:31

What a moving and helpful post rolling.hope you got some sleep.

AngelsWithSilverWings Sun 06-Jan-13 09:58:00

I'm still very good friends with most of the couples from my prep workshop in 2005.

Out of 6 couples and one single adopter only one family have had serious problems settling the children in. These were children who had been through numerous foster placements and had had an adoption placement break down before SS decided to split the siblings and place the younger two with new adopters. The children were 5 and 2 when they were placed.

They were offered all sorts of post adoption support over the years but my friend, the adoptive mum has had a really hard time. 6 years on they doing fine but they have been through a really tough time that could have led to a disruption or even a marriage breakdown in another family. The DCs are now settled but the older one will always have attachment issues.

All the other the couples have had challenges but they were all resolved without further support from SS and are all very happy families.

We have had a very easy time with our two as they were still babies when we adopted them but our DS age 7 has just had to have some counselling to help him get through a change at school that he found difficult to cope with. This stems from a fear of change that he has had since he was moved from his foster home at 10 months old.

I've been very impressed with the help offered by my DS's school when he was going through his recent problems. They were very switched on about adoption and were very quick to arrange the support that DS needed.

I'm sure that far more challenging times are ahead of me as my DCs get older and start to question their adoption story. I'll be posting then begging for advice!

Sorry to waffle on but I just wanted to give you as much info as I can about my experience.

Lilka Sun 06-Jan-13 11:55:52

IME (I know quite a lot of adoptive parents in and around my area and the one I used to live in), the most common problems seem to be school/education. Unfortunately, this is a problem area where you are reliant on other people (teachers etc) to work with you to help issues, you can't try anything alone like with say, sleeping issues. Other professionals can be extremely supportive or extremely un-supportive.

Food and sleeping are other common problem areas, social interactions with other children, and feelings of insecurity full stop

The majority of adoptive parents I know have some issues and they are happy families working to deal with them. There are also a significant (large) minority with more severe problems, a few who seem to have no issues whatsoever, and another few with really severe problems like Kristina listed. Personally I'd list myself as being in the significant minority with lots of issues. I can't even post openly about a few issues I've experienced in the past.

I think you are very thoughtful, very much engaging with the isssues and I think by the prep course you will probably be one of, in not the most, read up and 'engaging with the issues' adopter on the whole course! Honestly, I mean that.

Italiangreyhound Sun 06-Jan-13 13:47:29

Oh Lilka what a truly lovely thing to say, you have brought a tear to my eye! Thank you.

AngelsWithSilverWings Thank you for your kind and reassuring comments, I am so much looking forward to our prep group or others we meet on the journey becoming friends to our whole family.

Rolling I am so sorry to hear your story and I am sure it is very frustrating when people imply you have been 'selected' to parent children with SEN because you are very skilled in dealing with problem! I don't think things like that happen, but I absolutely agree that sometimes when things happen some families can react and cope very well and draw on some inner strength, but that should not be underestimated. I am sure you are doing a brilliant job. Those who worry they are not doing a good job, often are (in my humble experience).

My friend has a child with Asperser’s and it has made a very big impact on their family life.

I think when people say that they too experience stuff there could be a whole bunch of reasons, yes, sometimes people seem to almost be competitive about problems! Also sometimes people want to say they too have been there. Sometimes that can be reassuring, at other times annoying. When we have encountered problems with our birth child it has usually been helpful when people have experienced similar problems and have genuinely given good advice, support or simply the knowledge that we are not alone. But yes it is very annoying when my friend, whose son is very bright, compares his spelling work with my daughter (who is most probably dyslexic and has struggled at school for years). Anyway, thank you for your words of wisdom and may you experience some rest and peace in your very valued role (there are many of us out there who do really value parents of all sorts who parent all kinds of kids with all kinds of challenges and it is only because you are willing to share your experiences that we behind to understand a little more).

Italiangreyhound Sun 06-Jan-13 13:49:28

Sorry - that we BEGIN to understand a little more).

KristinaM Sun 06-Jan-13 16:02:23

I completely agree with lilkas post and especially the last paragraph

Italian -many prospective adopters come on these boards and ask for the opinions of " real life adopters" . Then, when they don't like what they hear, they flounce off telling us we are taking rubbish. You are one of the few who seems to be really trying to get her head around the complexity and diversity of the issues.

It's also great that you have experince of dyslexia, as thsi affects many adopted kids. It's often not diagnosed, even in school aged children children in foster care. I remember meeting a friends newly placed 8yo daughter who, I was told, was not behind in school. She asked me what was written on a jug in the kitchen. It was the word " milk". Within a few days her mother had established that the child was memorising reading books at school and couldn't read at all. However it took a long time for her to get a formal dx. At first she and her Dh were told that it was their problem, they couldn't accept that they were bright people who had adopted a stupid child. angry. The mum now does learning support for kids with dyslexia.

Im sorry if i have appearedd to be suggesting that all adopted children will have serious problems. Because you were asking g about the real vs imaginary adopted child, I have focussed on some of the problems that might be involved. I wasn't trying to give a " balanced picture " of adoption

FWIW, my impresion is similar to lilkas. About 20% of families seem to have minor or no problems, 60% have moderate difficulties and 20% have severe difficulties. This is only my impression of the families where children stay long term and doesn't take account of disruptions ie children who leave the pavement before the adoption is finalised, usually in the first year. And obviously it's related to the age of the child on placement, their previous experinces and other risk factors.

Italiangreyhound Sun 06-Jan-13 18:12:20

Thank you Kristina that is very kind to say and I do really appreciate it. It is good, as I say, to get a realistic picture of what might happen and to know the worst case scenario thing - while also hoping for the best. By that I mean knowing that some kids will come through the whole adoption journey without problems or not too badly affected etc and all the shades in between.

My child also can look like she is reading a book and actually is not! We have been doing Toe by Toe and it is BRILLIANT (for us) and certainly worth trying if anyone is struggling with that early stage of reading. It starts out with single sounds and gives ticks' for each single sound so children feel very praised in a good way. I know adoptive children might find praise hard but I think most kids might like to see that tick on the page when the sound is said correctly and even my DD who doesn't like reading has actually asked once of twice to do the Toe by Toe book! we do it daily for about 5 minutes and in just two months it had made a difference!

shockers Mon 07-Jan-13 22:52:33

Kristina, DD is the eldest sibling and has FAS. DS came to us at birth when we were foster carers and has miraculously been unaffected by BM's lifestyle, other than being very 'busy' all the time. We have found sport most useful grin.

Your list of more serious behaviours has more than one of the issues she presented for many years, which just makes me all the more proud and astounded by how far she has travelled... although she still has a long journey ahead of her.

ItalianGH, I agree, Toe by Toe would be a fantastic system for a child that struggled with praise. You have to sit close together to do it, but it's at the child's pace and you can silently tick a sound that's correct, so there is visual praise that the child can absorb in their own way. I always put a dot on sounds that aren't quite there and make sure I explain fully beforehand that a dot means 'nearly'. I use this system for some pupils at school.

shockers Mon 07-Jan-13 22:53:51

The system was originally designed for children with Dyslexia.

KristinaM Tue 08-Jan-13 23:19:01

Thanks shockers. I had Incorrectly assumed that they were removed from the birth family at the same time . As you'll know, the received wisdom is that the babies are more likely to be alcohol affected as the mother gets older. But sounds like Ds has escaped the worst effects. Makes me wonder about the effects of binge drinkning vs steady daily use. It's so sad.

And of course he's only had one set of carers from birth , which will have helped him tremendously and mitigated some of his risks. And naturally you will have been on the lookout for problems from day 1.

I think a lot about these protective factors as well as the risk ones . I do believe that therapeutic parenting makes a difference for these kids. I feel sad that so many new adopters seem focussed on short term goals at the expense of the big issues. It must be due to poor traing and research, as well as untrained and inexperinced SW. You'll remmeber that nana nina who used to post here sometimes talks about her work in her early career with FAS kids. She must have been one of the few SWs of that generation who knew anything about it.

Your poor DD. sounds like you have all been through so much together.

Italiangreyhound Wed 09-Jan-13 15:56:45

Hi Kristina can you say a bit more about your thoughts on "I feel sad that so many new adopters seem focussed on short term goals at the expense of the big issues." What short term goals vrs which big issues.... please.... thanks.

KristinaM Thu 10-Jan-13 20:35:41

There's only one issues for me and its building attachment. Anything that interferes with that is secondary. Except urgent medical care I suppose.


Getting them in a routine
A proper healthy diet
Sorting out food issues
Getting a decent hairstyle
Sorting out their teeth ( unless they are in pain )
Sending them to school/ nursery
Letting all your freinds and family meet them
Throwing an adoption party
Indulging in all your fantasies about your child's dream bedroom
Throwing out all the tasteless clothes the FC bought them
severing all contcat with the FC becaus you don't like them
Washing all the clothes and bedding they brought from the FCs
Getting rid of their dirty and broken toys ( unless dangerous)
Establishing your house rules
Impressing the SW with how " settled" they are
Correcting their accents
Getting them off a dummy /thumb sucking /other comforting behaviour
Getting them off a bottle
Making them sleep on their own /in the dark
Leaving them with friends and family
Allowing your family to do caring tasks for the child ( feeding, nappies, bathing )

Please understand -there is nothing wrong with any of these things. They are the things that most bio parenst take for granted. They are just not the most imprtant thing and they can't be allowed to interfere with it .

Also I wonder how it feels for a child to arrive in your house, terrified and grieving for their last carers, only to find that you want to change everything about them and take away all the comforts they have never known

I shoudl point out this is an extremely controversial view ( i know, unusual for me wink ) and most SWs won't agree with it . So best not to tell them wink

shockers Thu 10-Jan-13 21:40:38

You are, in my opinion, completely right.

All some of these things will come in time. I wish you'd been around when DD came home. I took her dummy away because I thought it would damage her teeth... poor little girl had no idea how to self soothe. That was just one of the huge mistakes I made in the first couple of years.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but better training for prospective adopters would be a million times more wonderful.

I think we did lots of stuff right too... but a lot of it was by accident!

Italiangreyhound Fri 11-Jan-13 01:47:50

Now Kristina if you are going to tell me things that are not going to IMPRESS Social workers that is not going to help me!!!

Actually it is going to help me a lot! because I will know what to say and what to think secretly! I have got to get the hang of this attachment thing, it is bloody scary!

I can see what you mean and I agree. I know when we had DD most people seemed concerned with one thing! Do they sleep through the night! It might seem like a race getting them on to solids, getting them out of a cot etc etc. can any of these things (in your list) help with attachment?? I can see how many/some could hinder it. I think you need to recommend a good easy to read book (please). Am currently reading

Real parents Real Children

(as recommended by someone on here). Have an ancient copy not the below one but it's same book.....

Thanks * Kristina*.

Italiangreyhound Fri 11-Jan-13 01:49:57

Thanks too shockers.... any advice on what to do very well received. I can learn from your hindsight. (Please)

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