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Thinking about adoption, confused, need some perspective

(13 Posts)
TheProw Fri 15-Mar-13 13:39:49

Hi all,

I'm thinking about adoption as a first choice to expand our family of myself (30yo), husband of 2 years and our two very well behaved greyhounds (children seem to love them as they lean on you to show affection and are very relaxed dogs). My husband and I both come from small families but have had quite different upbringings. We both want a 2-3 child family and agree that adoption may become a serious option for us. For some reason we don't feel a stong need to have biological children, but would love the chance to bring up a family, even though it is more challenging through adoption.

For myself, the reasons I can see for wanting to adopt are actually quite selfish. I just don't want to put my body through pregnancy and childbirth. Although I am outwardly strong (and a very sporty person) I know I'm not 'robust'. In the past I have experienced the result of pushing my body too far (major surgery) and I don't want to do it again, not for a baby/child that isn't actually alive yet. The second reason is that I'm not really that fond of babies, but I can really connect with toddlers and older children. The only 'loss' I'd feel from not having biological children is not being able to name them, which is silly really! I didn't rename my greyhounds when I adopted them because it's who they are and this is the same for a child. I have rationalised this loss to a) waste of 2 great names b) names help to create a fantasy of what your children might be like, even if you know the reality is probably going way way different.

My husband just wants a family and says it's getting to that time. What I'm worried about is that I don't feel the incredible need and longing to have a child that many of you say is required to successfully adopt- but I know that if all avenues to having a family were removed I'd be devastated and would fight for it forever. My husband and I have talked about this on and off for about a year now. I know that adopting a child(ren) that has had a tough start is not a bed of roses and I'm a bit anxious (understandably) of the unknown.

I just wondered about what your thoughts were and if you think I'm crazy. The main worry I have from my own research is attachment issues between child and father. I have no idea how my husband would react to his children not bonding with him for a long time. Would it be a better idea to go through the biological route first, even though I'm not keen on that idea? As you can see I could do with more experienced people giving me some more perspective on this. I feel guilty about all my feelings and am quite confused.

TheProw Fri 15-Mar-13 15:37:57

Well, I've just asked my husband about attachment problems "What would you think if the adopted chidren didn't like you for a long time?' And he said "Well I didn't think they would anyway, and will hate us after age 14 anyway." (his sense of humour) and then more seriously, "It's all part of the process, I'd still love them." So, I guess I don't have to worry about that part so much.

Phineyj Fri 15-Mar-13 15:48:21

I felt a similar way to you and social services found my reasoning very suspect. They may say, as they did to me, that you are fooling yourself and have not 'grieved for your birth children'. Bear in mind that many potential adoptive parents are turned down (I can't give you figures as I don't think the agencies concerned are required to keep them) and that the process to be approved is long and arduous. You may be asked to rehome the dogs.

The thing is, no-one can tell you not to have your own children -- but there are many obstacles in the way of adopting. In my case I found the physical difficulties of pregnancy and birth were really not at all bad. I guess no-one talks about the easy ones!

You sound like a thoughtful and analytical person but this is an emotional decision in the end and I found rational analysis did not help very much.

I'm not saying don't adopt if that's what you decide you really want - it's a great thing to do.

Phineyj Fri 15-Mar-13 15:50:34

Btw, for me the longing for a child didn't kick in until it started to look very likely we weren't going to have one...

Domjolly Fri 15-Mar-13 15:51:31

If you think its the right time its the right time smile

I would say get some child care exprince now dont wait because they usually want this demonstrated in people who have no birth children

You might also want to talk about the following

Race will the child be the same race as you
How many chikdren you may feel able to take on a sibling group
Male or female
Also the level of contact you would be willing to have (alot of adopters feel strong armed ino taking on conatct) and regret not being stronger

And age of child/chikdren

Italiangreyhound Fri 15-Mar-13 17:03:27

TheProw I wish you well on your journey as you look into this.

I would agree that getting contact with children is good, maybe try and find a family centre, pre school or school, or other place where you can volunteer or get contact with children who are more of a challenge behaviorally as well as children who are not.

I would also make a list of why you want to be a mum, and what you are looking forward to, uncertain about etc.

I would read through some of the other threads on here and try and get a feel for it all.

I have heard that greyhounds are very gentle dogs and some social workers may be very favourable to family pets. What they might ask is how would you feel if the child was cruel to the dogs or did not get on with them etc. They might ask that kind of thing.

They will I am sure ask how you feel about not having biological/genetic children. I think you do need to think about this before you start the process for adoption. Maybe for some it is not an issue but for others it can be. There is a book called Adopting after infertility.

I know you are not infertile but by not having a baby you are kind of choosing not to use or not to 'try out' your fertility. Hope that is not an offensive way of putting it! I don't mean it to be. I think it is worth exploring how you are your DH feel about the idea of not having genetic/biological children but adopting. Many people who go into adoption will have explored this so it would be useful to think about in depth. (We have a birth child but wanted another and could not have one so we have explored this thought before proceeding into adoption).

All the very best.

Lilka Fri 15-Mar-13 18:46:35

Hi and welcome smile

I was fertile when I adopted, and I have adopted 3 times, although I'm single. I know several fertile couples who have adopted as well smile

I was also not a 'baby person' so I adopted older children. You'll find agencies very happy to get someone who wants preschoolers or older children and not babies.

So clearly i don't think you are at all crazy!

I'd say if you know you'd be devastated if you couldn't have children at all, then you obviously do want children. The adoption process is tough emotionally so you need the commitment and determination to follow it through, so you do need to be sure you want a child. However msot of the fertile couples I know were not desperate as such, they just knew they definitely wanted children, the time was right, and they wanted to adopt.

So if you think the time is right now then get childcare experience, preferrably not with babies if you don't want to adopt a baby, read up on adoption and make the initial contat with agencies

I have never come across social workers wanting people to rehome dogs before adoption. They do want an assurance that you care about the child more than the dogs - in other words if AFTER you adopted the dogs didn't at all get on with the child or were aggressive you would rehome them rather than disrupt the adoption.

Moomoomie Sat 16-Mar-13 13:38:10

I couldn't help but notice that the dogs are a big part of your family, as they should be. This may be a sticking point with a SW though.

We had two dogs when we applied to adopt back in 2000. Our SW was very concerned that for me they were my baby substitutes, which was not the case, they were our dogs whom we treated very well.

The SW focused fairly heavily on the dogs during our home study, to the point that I was really concerned.

All was fine in the end. And our girls really learnt to love the dogs very much.

We don't have a dog at the moment, it doesn't feel like we are complete.

Moomoomie Sat 16-Mar-13 13:39:47

P.S I agree with Lilka's last paragrah.
You have to be certain to tell the SW that the dogs will go not the child!

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 16-Mar-13 16:02:33

I think you've got to be pretty determined that you want a family to get through the adoption process, never mind to make a success of an adoption placement. If you have any doubts at all, now is not the right time. But one of the benefits of adoption is that there isn't the same time pressure as trying to conceive, so you can probably afford to wait until / it feels right.

FWIW, we are not "baby people" either, so we didn't feel we were missing out on that score by not having another biological child. But I did go through a period of intense longing for another child, and then a process of coming to terms with never being pregnant again. Don't discount the possibility of needing to "grieve" before you are ready emotionally to adopt, even if you are certain that you do not want to have a biological child.

TheProw Sun 17-Mar-13 08:47:38

Thanks everyone, you're wonderful.

The dogs are an integral part of our family and I've made a commitment to them already. Im confident it would be fine with a sw. After 5 mins of waggy tails and curiosity over visitors theyre back on their beds for a nap and if you happen to sit on the sofa youll end up with a doggie head on your lap. I can tell them to 'leave' people. I would only rehome them if I could see signs that they were getting more and more stressed and this couldn't be resolved with my extensive doggie knowledge smile or with support from the rescue. I hope this would be enough. I hope sw know the benefits of dogs, their unconditional love, about how they teach children to treat animals and others that are dependent on us etc.

I'll start volunteering. I was thinking about joining a brownies group but I've realised I've got much better options available to me, so hopefully I can do this over the summer/autumn. I expect this will give me and dh time to talk more about what we want. DH want to go to an information evening run by our local council, so we'll do that as well.

TheProw Sun 17-Mar-13 08:55:32

Sorry, I wasn't very clear, by 'rescue' I meant the greyhound rescue where ours are from!

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 17-Mar-13 09:35:37

Good luck, TheProw! Getting lots of information sounds a good plan.

Just to say on pets, we have two cats and we took a similar view to yours above, and that was fine with SW (and indeed with DD, who loves animals having had a dog at her FC)

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