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If you knew then what you know now, would you still do it?(52 Posts)
We are coming up on panel day and, although I'm not having second thoughts, I'm trying to mentally prepare myself the best I can for what may be ahead.
I feel so positive about adoption, but when everyone says 'you're so brave' or, when looking at forums I see the issues people have, I wonder if, rather than being positive, I'm actually being naive.
About the only thing I can see is that (in common with all parents) you just can't prepared yourself.
So... I ask you experienced adopters.
Bottom line... If you'd known then what you know now, would you have still done it?
I probably come to this thread with a different perspective to some adoptive parents, because ds has been very unhappy, and very very difficult (think drugs, alcohol, violence and worse ).
So, for him, I often wonder would he have been happier with different parents (either his birth parents or another family altogether). And I worry for my younger children, that living in such a dysfunctional home might have harmed them.
But for me, I love him with every bit of me. I cannot imagine life without him (even though I sometimes wish he would disappear for a bit), and I feel sick at the thought that he might be as troubled as he is but placed with someone who doesn't love him, which would be truly tragic.
So for me (possibly selfishly), I would do it again. No question.
And having had the discussion with my other children now they are all a bit older, they surprisingly agree with me. As dd put it "I can't imagine how he would cope with other parents" which was nice for me to hear.
Would I still adopt my 2 (they're bio siblings)? Yes I would. They have always been family, so the thought of them going into care when their parents were killed...no, just NO! The first months were utterly brutal; we had all (me, DH, and both DC) been hit hard by grief, DS has needed both grief and trauma counseling along with therapy for a serious phobia. DD is much younger and adapted faster.
Would I adopt again? That's an ongoing topic of discussion between me and DH; he would like to, I'm not keen at the moment. I have my doubts about how DS and DD would cope, I also hated every second of the adoption process and felt as though I'd been emotionally raped by the end of it (gross invasion of privacy doesn't even begin to cover it).
The most realistic comment I got was from someone who had 2 BC - one of whom had had a rollercoaster adolescence. She just said children are always a gamble. That is very true.
I can't imagine life without my two DDs and would do it again without hesitating. I have coped with more than I ever thought possible beforehand, just like biological parents often do.
Yes, children in care have had damaging experiences, but this covers a huge range of circumstances and personalities. ED seems to have sailed through remarkably intact (she is now 14), YD (aged 6) has some wobbles. But for me the crucial thing was that they were both doing well in mainstream education (or nursery for YD) - academically, socially and emotionally - and they had a very positive sibling relationship. They are wonderful - and it is not just me that says that
Adopting older children has benefits in that more is known.
Sadly these days many children that are up for adoption are very damaged. Fetal alcohol syndrome, the effects of drug abuse during pregnancy, mental health issues in the family, other special needs (learning and physical in their genes) and the neglect or abuse that meant they ended up being adopted. Great for all the success stories but so often not the case. Luckily it sounds like the adopters end up loving the children but the challenges can be huge.
aladdin, I completely agree re changing the care system.
Yes!! - I am single adopted mum. DD came to me 2 years ago aged 2. I cannot imagine life without her - nor can her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I think adopting her was the best thing I have ever done. One word of warning - panel is only the beginning. After they said YES to me my SW told me that this was only the start and my child might not even be born yet. 18 (frustrating) months later she finally phoned me to say there was a potential match - as it turned out DD first came to the attention of SWS 3 wks after she was born and a couple of days before I went to panel so my SW's prediction was pretty much on the ball.
Would I do it again - No. I was sounded out about DD's half brother who was born in May this year and taken into care from hospital but have decided that that would not be best for us.
BTW - she is not a toddler anymore (4 going on 14) so perhaps need a new nickname.
By the way - our BS would not do it again- he wishes we had never adopted, it has been very tough for him
We are at the extreme end of the spectrum, DD is very challenging
She is 7 and was 15 months old when placed. We were told she was developing normally and had no problems
She was diagnosed a few years ago with attachment disorder and is now diagnosed FASD
Our lives are far from normal and it can be lonely but I would still do it again. She is my daughter and I couldnt bear that someone else may have adopted her and not stuck by her
Services are terrible though and we have to fight for everything
I would change the care system (very damaging) and access to services
I also had post-adoption depression and agree with the above poster about how difficult that is. People presume that you will be over the moon when you adopt your child, not that you will become depressed
We are newish adopters to a young child, so have not had some of the challenges that may occur as she gets older. We both feel it was the right decision for us now but it took a long time to get to the same point for us. We had no birth children due to infertility (discovered 8 years ago) and my DH said he had 'put away' the idea of having children. I thought I had, then in my forties realised I had not. So initially it was me that started the conversation around adoption, DH was afraid of rocking the boat. Eventually we both got to a place, where it felt it was the right thing to investigate, with lots of promises to each other that if either of us wanted to pull out, then we would stop with no blame attached. Easy words, so hard to do. The prep classes and home study were great, it was after this it got difficult, I developed what I can only describe as stage fright, I found looking at children's profiles very difficult, how would we know which was 'the one', I began to doubt my ability to parent any child. By this point my DH was very keen and understandably perplexed and frustrated by my cold feet. We eventually took a 10 month time out from the matching process to start new jobs and move house. When we started back up I had rediscovered my self belief and we were matched with the first profile we saw. Our daughter moved in 9 months ago and became legal last week!
So I would say it is entirely normal to be nervous and have doubts and fears, you would not be human otherwise. I let my fears overcome me for a while and my DH and I would often wonder when we would find ourselves on the same page emotionally regarding adoption.
BTW my fears have come true, I am in my mid forties with a toddler, so am perpetually knackered, I wonder if I will ever be able to return to the job I loved, we have no family near so limited with baby sitters, we have not been out as a couple since DD arrived, DD likes to disturb our sleep but can't tell us what the problem is! None of this will be news to any new parent. Writing this is making me laugh, because none of it matters, I was prepared for it to be hard, but totally unprepared for the feelings of love I would have for this little person. It is really important to be honest about adoption and potential difficulties, and these may be ahead of us, but before taking the plunge it was impossible (for me anyway) to know how it would feel to gradually fall in love with this little person.
Another aspect of being a parent, is that it opens up other avenues of life and experience, so whilst some doors close, others open. Is that not the nature of life though?
So for us, no regrets. It's taken almost 4 years to get to this point. I know it's a cliche but I do feel my life is more meaningful and has more purpose.
I can't articulate how much I appreciate these replies - the good ones and the ugly ones.
It's great to get it from the 'coal face' and KristinaM, I've thought about your reply a lot. It's really helped me to see what bad 'looks like' which is what I've been missing up until now.
But, it's great to see all the positives too... reminds you that it's not inevitable, just something to be aware of and wary of.
Yes yes yes! As I write this DS is playing with his tigger in the cot and looking at me with his big round eyes. He has been with me for 2 months now and every day I fall in love with him a little more. I am so proud of him and so grateful to his birth mum
Yours besottedly NTM x
YES absolutely YES!
There are times when things are tough that i wonder what we have done and question my ability to support the girls and give them what they need but we work through it and come out the other side a happy family.
Completely yes - though I should acknowledge that DD is still young and (so far) no more problematic than the average just-out-of-the-terrible-twos!
Re cold feet - completely normal IME. When I left hospital and DS was still in Special Care I fleeting thought about not going back for him, as the reality of having a baby seemed so overwhelming. And the day before Introductions, it crossed my mind quite a lot to phone the SW and tell her I'd decided not to go ahead with it.
I think if you don't have any nerves or doubts, you don't understand the enormity of what you are doing (like Pre-wedding nerves)
It's a yes from me! Adopting my two was like winning the lottery.
Definitely yes!! Though must admit sometimes think longingly 'what if....' But then again life would have been too peaceful..ha ha. Adoptive mother to nine year old girl who has been with us five years
So my answer above was an absolute yes. But, we have also turned down the chance to do it again. Lots of reasons - not all adoption related.
But as much as I love and adore DD (flossy's post sums up how I feel about DD now) the first months were hard as I suffered from post-adoption depression. Only 4 people know this in real life and only my DH knew at the time. I felt that I couldn't tell anyone as no-one would understand. Why after trying for 10 years to have a child and going through the process could I possibly feel so bleak? It felt so completely and utterly taboo to talk about it.
Thankfully I came through it. BUT I couldn't do it again for fear of damaging our lovely little family by having a similar experience.
It doesn't make me feel any regret about going through the process (just that I should have asked for help). As I look at my beautiful, funny, cuddly, demanding, independent, bossy, whirlwind of a daughter, I can't possibly have any regrets.
It was hard. Hard because he was pissed off at moving in with us and losing his foster carers. Hard because I brought the baggage of my infertility into it so it made it very emotional. Hard because he was 18 months old and that age is bloody hard work. Hard because our circumstances changed so it meant I had no choice but to go back to work full time. Hard because was pretty textbook and exhibited all the behaviours they told us about on the prep course.
It is still not easy as he is a sensitive, complex, anxious, and bright (although we are not sure if he's bright or still hyper vigilant) and has a tendency to be controlling, but he is my son. Plain and simple. He is my sun, moon and stars. He has changed me for the better and I love him so much that at times it takes me breath away.
Good luck! xxx
most definitely YES!
But, with hindsight, I wish I'd been easier on myself. I didn't expect to struggle so much - and was scared to tell my SW that I was finding it hard, in case she thought I wasn't the right mum for my children, and that the placement was breaking down :-(
we're 9 years in now, and they are 'mine' - the fact that I didn't give birth to them doesn't even cross my mind. I would die for them; simples....
YEs but then my child doesn't have significant problems. Those issues he does/has had have been tricky but manageable - one of the most difficult things when I look back was the isolation in dealing with them. No-one wants to accept that a child adopted very young llike my DS with no obvious issues/neglect/drug or alcohol problems etc might still have issues surrounding adoption. It makes it very lonely dealing with those problems sometimes.
Also lucky that I had pretty much bonded with him before those issues had to be dealt with so it wasn't much different to dealing with a problem with a birth child.
Your welcome :-)
I think the thing about adoption is that it's a gamble. The same as having a bio kid of course, it's just that the odds are very different.
You might get one of the 20% of children who seem to have no problems ( in the long term I mean, they all have minor problems for the first few years ). Or the 60 % of children who have moderate problems, that take years /therapy /counselling/medical treatment /support in school etc to address. But you might get one of the 20% of children who have severe difficulties, which will put your other children , career and marriage under severe , even intolerable stress. You just don't know.
There are mumsnetters here who have children in all three " groups" . Many dont know yet, because they've only had their children a few years or the children are too young eg under school age for many issues to show up yet . You are unlikely to hang around mumsnet if your adoption has disrupted .
So a bit like marriage. You hope You will be in the third that are happy togther rather than the third who divorce or the third who stay togther but are miserable. Some people marry again. Others adopt twice. It's a triumph of hope over experince :-)
KristinaM... I did indeed ask and I appreciate your answer.
I find all the 'theory' so.... Exactly that.... Theoretical. I appreciate learning about real life examples as it makes it easier for me to visualise
what may happen and ensure (as much as you can before you are the plunge) that we've thought this through.
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