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Are these the right motivations? Feeling so confused

(135 Posts)
MaryQueenOfSpots Tue 05-Nov-13 10:37:08

My DH and I have a lovely but eccentric 5 year old DS who we love beyond reason. While watching him grow and become independent of us is amazing, I find in my heart I want to re-experience it all again. Simultaneously, my head tells me to enjoy the freedom to mumsnet work and have some of my own time now DS is at school.

We have tried to conceive naturally for 3 years and now I have reached my 40s, I'm beginning to come to terms with being infertile. Everyone says to consider IVF and I did go to a clinic to find out more, but morally I just can't get past the thought that there are already children who really need a family and that genetics isn't everything.

If we didn't have a child already, we would have no hesitation in taking on the challenges that an adopted child may bring but we need to consider DS in the equation. I love him to pieces but I recognise that he may struggle more than other only children to accommodate a sibling. He prefers adult company or imaginary friends even when there are other children to play with. I definitely wouldn't see the adopted sibling as a playmate for him.

However, he is very nurturing and affectionate to visiting younger children and when alone, he often plays with a baby doll - changing its nappy, trying to make the baby laugh. In the longer term I think it would do him good to have to share me and DH. I would also hope that once both the children were adults, they would benefit from having each other.

I also worry about whether the additional needs of a traumatised child will be too much for DS. I'd hate to make him unhappy by my selfish desire for a bigger family. When I read the forums I really worry. But this is somewhat counterbalanced by the experience of a friend who adopted two children (aged 3 and 5 at adoption, now 6 and 8) who has had a few tricky issues (control over food and bedwetting) but on the whole it has been a great experience for them. I am pretty sure we could cope with similar.

I am so confused about whether my motivations to adopt are the right ones, or even if they are realistic. Was my friend exceptionally lucky with her children? It's helped to write all this out funnily enough, but I would be so grateful for the views of anyone involved in adoption.

Lilka Sat 09-Nov-13 18:09:04

It is essential for a child to feel loved, but it isn't more important than safety, food, etc

Also, I'm going to seperate love from caring actions. I know some people disagree, but love is an emotional state, a feeling, not an action. Just because someone is cuddling their baby and soothing them and coocheecooing doesn't mean they have actually bonded with and love their baby yet, similarly you can't assume that because a child has been horrendously neglected and is permanently brain damaged because of neglect, that their birth parents didn't feel some love for them

I didn't bond with or love my children for months, yet my lack of love never stopped me from performing caring nurturing actions, hugging, soothing, etc. My hugs and cuddles and soothing were loving actions but they weren't love itself.

So in my humble opinion whilst love is very important, it's not the best place to start if you want to put it in preference to adequate nutrition, safety from physical harm and comforting/loving actions (which are not love themselves, you don't have to love to perform a loving action). Actions over emotion.

A baby who is loved but is not being fed properly and left in their cot alone for 15 hours at a stretch, is in way more danger than a baby that isn't loved because his/her mother has, say, PND and can't bond, but is being fed every 2 hours, burped, nappy changed, kissed and walked up and down. Baby 1 could be permanently affected and hurt very quickly, baby 2 will be absolutely fine long enough that the mother has time to get help and eventually start bonding

You do not have the luxury of time with baby 1, because the love will not sustain the baby or do anything to prevent serious harm.

Kewcumber Sat 09-Nov-13 22:26:58

I didn't bond with or love my children for months

HA! I actually thought something very similar but didn't say it for fear of exploding Taffleee's head!

Love wasn't enough because it didn't exist at first. Commitment, responsibility, an understanding (at least theoretically) of how to parent, a need to nurture, a stable personality and a stable life all helped.

taffleee Sun 10-Nov-13 16:25:40

lilka - i am in no way suggesting 'neglected' children shouldn't be well looked after by a family who offers a better life!!

My responses have totally been misread - but in a way I'm glad I have been here, and hope the OP does read, because everyone who has disagreed with my posts have given total explanations, good or bad of their personal adoption experiences (and i've not taken anything to heart, because i believe 'debate' solves more issues than support sometimes, gets people to open up a little, maybe?)- which gives a far better explanation of what its like to adopt, other than just a support network???

I may be totally wrong, but reading this thread (my comments aside in some cases lol) I believe many of you, maybe in retaliation to me, have given a totally frank and honest post about your experiences - and I for one have a new view, (in some cases) -

Don't think I'm a bad person, I'm really not, and in no way was I meaning to be rude to anyone -

roadwalker Sun 10-Nov-13 16:40:58

Don't pat yourself on the back for too long taffleee, If you bothered to read you would find posts like the ones on this thread all over the adoption board
You havent encouraged debate only shown how ignorant you are of the whole system and the children typically needing adopting
You also totally hijacked the OP's thread for your own aims, treading over any posts that were directed at the OP

taffleee Sun 10-Nov-13 16:47:09

On the plus side (maybe lol), if there are so many children awaiting adoption, maybe potential families who haven't even thought about adoption, who would be able to offer a loving home, are as 'ill informed (?) as me?

I for one have read personal experiences shared on this forum and feel far more informed of the 'trauma' adoption involves - on both sides.

Am I allowed to read posts and agree, even though i may have thought differently at the start??

taffleee Sun 10-Nov-13 16:53:36

roadwalker Theres no 'patting on the back' from me.

And I had no agenda so to speak, just merely a person with some views who entered a discussion forum -

If I didn't encourage a debate, and only shown my 'ignorance' then so be it -

But seeing as though so called 'ignorant (i would think 'ill informed' would be a better term, without wanting to enter into an argument) would be able to offer homes to so many children in need, maybe discussion does need to take place -

I'm not on here for a fight, would appreciate the same, and please no name calling, would be nice

Lilka Sun 10-Nov-13 17:01:49

I hope we can all move on from this thread now - taffleee has said things she has apologised for, I reacted badly and I'm sorry, but I think this thread has served its purpose

Taffleee - of course you can post if you want to. However if there's anything else you want to know about adoption etc, it may be better to start a new thread at this point. This one is just a long argument now and it's best to forget about it and move on. Any adoption related thread can go in this board and you'll get responses mostly from adoptive parents and sometimes adoptees/sw's/other professionals, but if you want to discuss wider issues around the care system or get views from lots of people who aren't adoptive parents etc, aibu and chat can be better places to post. I'm glad you feel you've learnt something. Yes I do post very honestly and frankly, and i do that as much as possible because i think that's the most helpful and supportive way to do things.

To be honest, a lot of people are very unaware of the issues which tend to affect adoptive families and adopted children in the 21st century. Some people hold totally silly views. I was told my 8 and 10 year olds (who had come to me after years of neglect, abuse and jumping around the care system) would be completely fine after a few months of good parenting, that they couldn't possible have PTSD because only soldiers get that/only adults get it, that 'all children do that' (about very unusual/abnormal behaviour for a child their age/for any child) and so on and so forth. I educate where I can, and ignore everybody else. This forum is one of the places where'll I'll go for 'education' rather than 'ignore'.

taffleee Sun 10-Nov-13 17:14:42

Lilka I have read some of your recent experiences on another thread - and can only hold you in high regard - you seem to be a very loving and tolerant mum, fair play to you, and much love -

I was in no way meaning to be rude to anyone on this thread, and I'm so sorry if I 'Hi-jacked' OP's post, I'm a little new to the 'discussion' forum process and my full apologies if I did this - will know better etiquette in the future -

I for one would hope this site would be of use to me in the future, as Lilka has mentioned, she posts honestly and frankly, and so do I (although I may not have had the right to do on this thread, an I do really apologise)

Hopefully I can learn to enjoy and benefit from this site as others have, we live and learn hey?? x

Kewcumber Sun 10-Nov-13 18:35:18

tafflee it really isn't about you having the "right" to post, anyone can post and I would say that we are fairly accepting (of necessity) of people who have different opinions.

Many of us would have started the adoption process fairly naively and I know I had the optimistic idea that adopting a child under one from overseas meant the child really wouldn't remember anything of their previous life and would to all intents and purposes be 100% mine with no issues.

In fact I would say that apart from the physical issues which did eventually resolve, I was in denial about the impact that adoption had on my DS and I regret that as I could have made decisions which would have benefitted him much earlier than I did. As it was I have to live with the fact that I minimised his separation and loss anxieties instead of accepting them and dealing with them. I listened to too many non-adopters who said "all children do that" and allowed myself to ignore the signs.

So I am fairly robust about saying (at least on a forum like this) that adoption can (and often does) have long term effects on children which need to be managed. Love isn't even close to being enough.

Its enough for me, DS is the centre of my world and the even the thought of anything happening to him can make me cry. But it isn't enough for him - he needs more from me and I'm happy to provide it.

taffleee Sun 10-Nov-13 20:32:18

Kew you have given a full and frank explanation of your experience, which is so from the heart and I feel shouldn't be read or directed at me, but from all adopters and and potential adoptees -

Bless you for what you have done and you seem like a total loving and giving mother - I'm sure any child under your care will be well loved and looked after, and I hope they feel lucky enough to have you x

Much love x

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