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Age of child when you're just not sure - matching

(88 Posts)
Choccyjules Sun 09-Mar-14 23:09:39

DH and I can't seem to narrow down our thoughts on children, which we need to do to help the SW share profiles with us.
In general, the following statement is true: we are looking for a child aged 0-3, gender unknown.
In detail, DH points out he sees a male toddler and I see a female baby.
We have a female BC aged around 5/6.
I also go onto the Adoption UK forum and there is a thread running there about some recent stats saying that parents who adopted babies are the ones most seeking post-adoption support. That the babies' needs are, obviously, mostly unknown at the time of matching.
I really do get this and yet I would love to parent a young baby again. My SW says if this is a need then there's nothing wrong with it (short story is I had cancer when DD was a baby so feel I missed a lot of it).
DH fully understands my feelings but thinks we'd know more about a toddler, may get a bit more sleep etc (he thinks we're too old for a baby!). There's also the age-gap to DD, which everyone says should be as big as possible (except our LA, funnily enough, who are fairly ambivalent). But practically, IF it turns out that AC is able to interact with DD (by which I mean that I know I'm not creating a handy playmate), won't a 2/3 yr gap be more compatible than a 4/5 yr gap?
I know this is very long, sorry. As I said, LA (on prep course) and SW really don't have a strong opinion so we feel a bit adrift. Our only advice on age is from boards like this. I worry that we should 'just know' who we are looking for - but to me, being so specific feels like I'm writing a shopping list...maybe that's why we've only got as far as 0-3 yrs.
Anyway. Baby or toddler? Any useful experiences and thoughts very greatly appreciated. Thank you.

NanaNina Sun 09-Mar-14 23:54:25

To be honest you probably won't need to make a decision. Your age range 0 - 3 is a very popular one and so there will almost certainly be approved adopters already waiting for a child of this age. The need nationally tends to be for older children (over 5) a sibling group (of 2) with maybe one younger and one older and children with disabilities.

I think you need to be as flexible as possible and try not to have too much of a picture of a baby girl, or a little toddler boy, because the reality will probably be quite different to anything that you've imagined. Sometimes we ask adopters about their "fantasy child" because it's not at all unusual for adopters to have this idea in their head. It's a but like when you're have a BC, you can imagine him/her in a certain way sometimes.

You might be asked if you will "raise your offer" to a slightly older child. Most adopters want under 5s and so 5's and over are often waiting for long periods and of course the older they get the less chance there is of them being adopted. Sad but true.

I don't think you can know whether you will need more post adoption support with a baby than with an older child as so much depends on the child's individual circumstances and pre placement experiences. Having an older child doesn't necessarily mean you will not get broken nights as many child (adopted or not) have sleep problems through the formative years, and again so much depends on the particular child.

Sorry I'm not trying to be negative but suggesting you keep an open mind, are flexible and don't have too many pre-conceived ideas about the age and stage of particular children, because many children awaiting adoption will not conform to the normal patterns of development. I think the best thing any adoptive parent can do whilst going through the process is to get to grips with attachment theory as I think this is one of the most important issues for adopters to help them understand their adopted child. Many LAs include it in the prep course and put on post approval courses, but you can't do better than start to read around the topic. There are lots of books about it (probably on Amazon) but more likely on (Adoption UK site) and (BAAF bookshop)

Hope everything turns out well for you.

Marraskuu Mon 10-Mar-14 00:56:45

Is it your SW who is saying you need to be more specific to help her decide which profiles to show you, or is it that you feel you ought to "know"?

You clearly have a lot of insight and good communication with your partner. Perhaps the two of you could try and get into the detail of what matters most to you, which might be physically caring for a very young child, or helping a toddler develop language, or anything that means something to you.

This might be more helpful than identifying a number, especially thinking about how the emotional (and behavioural) needs of your adopted child are likely to be quite a bit younger than their biological age. It might give your SW more to go on, and help them to look for the right match for your family.

KristinaM Mon 10-Mar-14 12:38:39

Can I just check, have you been approved for one child, either sex, aged 0-3? And you will have ruled out certain things already on your form?

If so, I don't see why your SW can't show you the profiles of all the children your agency have in this age group? I'm assuming there won't be dozens.

In terms of fitting on with your DD, my experience is that personality is far more important than gender or age gap ( unless it's huge of course ) . You need to keep an open mind and read each profile in turn.


excitedmamma Mon 10-Mar-14 13:06:54

I think all ages come with their own problems/issues so I don't really 'get' your husbands point of view... sleepless nights comes with all ages wink

For me, I think if you have a 'need' for a baby again, then this needs plugging else seriously coming to terms with... if you dont then it could lead to bonding issues on your part with an older child which is unfair on everybody

I wouldn't worry too much about gender... the age is the main issue here...

Choccyjules Mon 10-Mar-14 13:16:08

Thank you for those thoughtful answers.

Nana The 0-3 thing is because children aren't usually placed within 2 yrs of a birth child.

Approval-wise the Panel don't specify gender/age/no. of children anymore. And we've never been asked to rule anything in/out but I guess our SW will have an idea of what issues we could cope with.

I am comforted by what Kristina says about personality not age or gender being the important thing. That helps me not worry too much about 'getting it right'.

Marraskuu I suppose we've identified that having a younger baby would be important to me. The question is, it is absolutely vital? Other areas, well, DH and I talked again today and he is not totally set on a boy.

We had some really good input from an Adoption Child psychologist about attachment disorder: causes, behaviours and management, so we are aware of that area and what it may mean for our child.

I was talking to the SW this morning about whether a toddler would have more difficulty settling in (and cause problems for BC in her short-term too). A baby may be more unaware of moves/trauma etc (although the folk on AUK think not) but we 'd thenha ve a much bigger age-gap for the rest of their lives as siblings. I seem to go round in circles!

Choccyjules Mon 10-Mar-14 13:17:32

Crosspost with excitedmama sorry!

Choccyjules Mon 10-Mar-14 13:19:29

excitedmama are you saying I may always regret not having had the 'baby' period? I guess that may be true...but then I remind myself I have had a child, maybe just not in the best circumstances, due to illness. There are childless couples desperate for a baby.

MyFeetAreCold Mon 10-Mar-14 13:57:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

excitedmamma Mon 10-Mar-14 14:10:41

Choccy.. I had something a little similar when I was fostering thats all.. promised a baby.. fell through.. next placement a 5 yo and i think my 'disappointment' at not getting the baby affected things sad...

I just think you really need to be true to yourself and be sure you are happy to not go through the baby period again....

I was very lucky.. our LO came to us at 6 months old and so I got my baby!!

Congrats at overcoming cancer btw

Good luck x

NanaNina Mon 10-Mar-14 14:36:17

Are you applying to adopt with the LA or a voluntary agency? I find it very strange that you are not seeking approval for a particular age range and number of children. Are you sure you've got that right?

MrsBW Mon 10-Mar-14 16:12:24

NanaNina - although we said what we wanted to be approved for in terms of age, gender and number of children our letter from the Decision Maker confirming our approval said something along the lines of...

'Although you are not approved for a set age, gender, or number of children, you and your social worker have discussed and agreed that you would be best suited to <age>, <gender> and <number> of children. It is this criteria therefore that we will use when matching'

I was surprised too...

The age thing is interesting. We're looking at an older sibling group and I'm trying to work out if the toddler/preschool stage is something I can do without. I've never felt I needed it throughout the whole process and I'm fairly convinced I'm only over thinking it because in every other way (from what we've seen so far), they're perfect for us. And I know that - even though they're old in adoption terms, in 'real life' they're babies.

Thing is, if they were both young, I think I'd be saying to myself 'yes, but if they were older, we might have more of a clue as to any issues'

If they were both boys/both girls (they're one of each), I'd be wondering if I'd feel like I missed out only having one gender...

I don't really know how to untangle my thoughts on it.

Sorry OP, don't mean to hijack but just wanted to add my support. It's hard, isn't it? This is one time when I really wish you could meet them in advance, to understand 'them' not 'them on paper'.

Choccyjules Mon 10-Mar-14 16:58:10

Feel free to hijack!

People think about these issues from all different angles so it's all helpful smile

Meita Mon 10-Mar-14 17:17:08

Nananina, I believe that the 'approved for x child(ren) in y age range' thing, has been abolished. Nowadays you are either approved to adopt, or not. Don't know why or what the reasoning behind it is. Maybe it is thought that whereas these things are obviously discussed during assessment, you may continue to discuss them after approval, and your circumstances may change, or you may 'grow' to feel that you could adopt an older child than you originally thought, or a sibling group where you originally thought you wouldn't. Or maybe that once you see actual profiles, all the tick-boxes make less sense when faced with actual children. But I don't know really, just that we've been told that one is simply approved to adopt these days.

namechangesforthehardstuff Mon 10-Mar-14 18:55:45

This is a really interesting thread for us as we're thinking along the same lines although DD will only be 4 on approval so our age range is further limited.

Have had a quick look on AUK but can't find the stats or discussion of them - is there a link?

namechangesforthehardstuff Mon 10-Mar-14 19:01:01

Ah found it smile

MrsBW Mon 10-Mar-14 19:03:50

Care to share? grin grin

namechangesforthehardstuff Mon 10-Mar-14 19:21:00

Yes sorry that was rubbish. grin on phone so links difficult but it was the first topic in that bit that's basically 'talk about the burning issues in adoption' if that's any use?

namechangesforthehardstuff Mon 10-Mar-14 19:23:05

By which I mean the 'discussions' section.

Angelwings11 Mon 10-Mar-14 19:33:47

We were Approved in the 'older' process for a sibling group 0-5 a couple of years ago. I wanted to experience the 'younger, baby years', however we were very flexible. LO was nearly 13 months upon placement and we knew that there is uncertainty with preverbal children. Our nephew has ASD and is a selective mute, so we know that children who appear to be developing normally may still have significant needs later on. If I were you I would just look at profiles and see what really resonates with you. We saw our lO's photo/profile and something just clicked (her photo was unlike anything we had seen in CWW/bMP....she was scowling and looked quite angry!). Hope that helps.

NanaNina Mon 10-Mar-14 19:45:17

Right - things do seem to have changed about approval and I don't think it's a bad idea really as this can be negotiated between the applicant and the assessor during the assessment. Maybe too the LA hope that they can encourage adopters to take older children, sib groups and children with disabilities.

MrsBW - I thought that these days social workers were taking vidoes of children to show adopters, which helps to "bring the child to life." I also saw a TV programme recently (think you saw it too) on "adoption parties" where children awaiting adoption and their foster carers and adoptive applicants were all invited to a venue and the theme was "fancy dress" so the kids mostly ran riot and the adopters were able to see them in "real life" - not sure how successful these parties are but one foster carer was going to her 3rd one with 2 boys aged about 6 and 8 I think, and no one had shown any interest.

On occasions we have "planted" prospective adopters in MacDonalds and the foster carers have come in with the children, as another way to bring the children to life. I think on balance videos are probably the best and I think all LAs should be using them. You won't know of course about the children until intros start but you definitely need something more than reports on paper.

Got a feeling that we got into a disagreement about something!!

Maiyakat Mon 10-Mar-14 19:49:25

I was approved for 0-6 years so got to see a whole range of profiles within that. And I think that helped me realise that really, if I was honest and if it was possible, I was hoping for a littlie. My SW picked up on this too, and DD came to me at 11 months. Before I was approved the whole thing was still so abstract I couldn't visualise myself with a child of any age!

I found I read DDs profile and just knew she was my daughter, I know that's not everyone's experience at all, but sometimes logic gets overtaken! Best of luck with it all

Inthebeginning Mon 10-Mar-14 20:10:36

hiya choccy I was convinced I wanted a little one as young as possible. We were still asked age and we originally said 0-5, but I changed mind to 0-3 as I need them to "need" me iyswim.
I started a post on here a while ago about it and my uncertainties. However, as soon as we heard about our little one who will be 20 months old when we get him, age meant nothing.
The whole boy/girl thing didn't bother us at all. We wouldn't have had a choice if I was pregnant. id always imagined a girl but again it it just didn't matter.
Our s.wrker knew that the younger the better but other than that there were other things that we found more important.
I'd suggest unless you're absolutely certain on something, not to stew on it too much grin

MrsBW Mon 10-Mar-14 20:46:01

NanaNina ... Thanks very much, I'd forgotten about videos/DVDs and will make sure to ask...!!

Namechanges ... Very interesting indeed!

namechangesforthehardstuff Mon 10-Mar-14 21:05:48

Well complete link/communication fail actually...

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