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Books + reading matter - adopting with a birth child

(8 Posts)
Squigglypig Mon 19-May-14 15:41:53

Hi there,

We're coming to the end of Stage 1, have done a bit of reading about the ins and outs of adoption, attachment issues, potential problems and so on.

Our social worker has encouraged us to read around adopting with a birth child in place. At the moment I'm reading Arletta Jame's "Welcoming a New Brother or Sister" through adoption and frankly it's scaring me (I'm about half way through). However it is an American book and I'm not sure how much it relates to our experiences as we have a birth child of 3 1/2 so we would really be looking at adopting below 2, whereas a lot of the families she's talking about seem to involve older children and adopting out of birth order.

I've also ordered "When Daisy met Tommy" which seems to be more closely related to our experience and another book to help us explain to our daughter what's going on. Can anyone recommend any other books which would help.

Also I'm reading some really intimidating stuff about the potential behaviour problems that adoptive children can develop later on. If you have an adopted child who seemed fine initially but later caused lots of problems, were there any signs in retrospect that all was not well?

I guess it's just a fear of the unknown, at the moment we have a pretty happy life with our little one and I'm not sure if we're just being a bit mad (I know my mum thinks so) at risking this for some vague thoughts about wanting to have a couple of kids/for our daughter to have a sibling/ having the room etc.

Any thoughts or experience would be really welcome.


happydazed Mon 19-May-14 18:19:55

I am just starting stage 2 and I have a just turned 4 year old. I bought a few books to read to him, best for us has been nutmeg gets adopted, he enjoyed the story and it got him asking questions. No advice for books for adults though as I haven't really found one I liked yet.

nervouslurker Mon 19-May-14 18:31:12

Watching with interest.

I was pleasantly surprised when they told me BC has to have some sort of course/counselling about it all before I'm approved.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 19-May-14 21:11:46

No book suggestions, I'm afraid. But feel free to ask Qs (we adopted DD at 15 months when DS was nearly 6yo)

64x32x24 Mon 19-May-14 22:11:38

I'm reading Arletta James' book at the moment too (there is a recent-ish thread started by me), DS is also 3.5 and we have recently been approved.

As concurrent planning is an option we are happy to consider, we haven't talked to DS in terms of adoption, nor in terms of having a new brother or sister. So, we have had to muddle our own way through... So far we have basically been talking about there being babies whose parents can't look after them, and so someone else needs to look after them, and that this may be something we could do. We have also been pointing out that families come in all shapes and flavours.
Since becoming more aware of this general topic, I have found that a surprising number of picture books feature things that can at least be used to start conversations in this direction. But in general we have just kind of tried to prepare DS for the shock of a new baby - not a ready-made playmate, but rather a squealing, screaming, non-mobile, non-talking, and incredibly attention-demanding little thing. Similarly as you would prepare any young child for the arrival of a new baby, really, be it by birth or adoption. If we end up not doing concurrent planning, we can adjust those expectations once we have a pretty definite match, to suit the age of the child.

Nervouslurker how old is your BC? Ours didn't even have a conversation with our assessing SW. She observed him for a bit when he came home from nursery school whilst her one-to-one meeting with DP was still ongoing. That was all.

Squigglypig Mon 19-May-14 22:27:38

Thanks everyone. I'm finding the Arletta James one quite hard work tbh. I just want to read positive adoption stories but keep reading about the challenging side of some adoptees behaviour and it is making me question what we're doing given that some days we find it pretty hard work keeping up with our relatively easy going DD!

We read a lot to DD so that's definitely a good option, I know what you mean about a lot of pic books having a theme of adoption and making new families. And fairy tales are pretty good on loss and grief.

The idea of concurrent planning seemed okay in principle to us but financially it seemed too much of a risk. I don't mind missing out on the very early baby stages in any case as I found them quite challenging. My LA also doesn't offer a course for birth children but I think the SW will make sure she is chatted to as part of the assessment.

nervouslurker Mon 19-May-14 22:33:57

My BS is 5, almost 6. I've mentioned it in general terms to him. (Families in all shapes and sizes, some babies grow in their mummies tummies, some ladies who grow babies in their tummies can't look after them, so they go to live with their mummy and daddy a bit later etc...)

They were very clear he is part of their process, it's one of the things that made me prefer this VA over the (very difficult to contact) LA.

WeLoveLego Mon 19-May-14 23:24:58

Hi SquigglyPig, we have two BC (4 and 2 years) and have a recent AC aged 1.
I can't say I found any of the books available that useful, but I did find trawling online articles from newspapers (mainly the Guardian) very interesting at least. Our LA gave us a very comprehensive reading pack but there was virtually nothing on the BC/AC mix, which now in hindsight was a great thing, as I've found just going with it has worked for us.

I can relate to the 'fear of the unknown' feeling as we felt this throughout the process, but at the same time we rationalised it, as we felt 'the fear of the unknown/ what on earth are we doing?' feeling when expecting BC2 too. I think there's always an element of worry and anxiety when expanding your family, be they biological or adopted as you're not sure how the dynamics will evolve, and what LOs will be like.

In terms of a book to explain to your daughter, we used 'teazles baby bunny'. It has some great question prompts at the back that helped us talk through the book with the children.
Someone recommended showing BC1 the film Stuart Little, but this really confused him as he then thought we were adopting a mouse!

I hope this helps.

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