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Overseas adoption, opinions please.

(40 Posts)
Stratter5 Tue 25-Nov-14 20:39:07

Always wanted a big family, but it never happened. I'm at home all day, have plenty of room, plenty of time, and most of all a lot of love to give appreciate how boaksome that sounds. I think I'm a fairly decent parent, and I have the full support of both DDs, who think it's a great idea. DDs are 22 and 18 next year, I am 47.

I'd like to adopt from overseas, particularly I'd like to adopt a small family of children orphaned by the ebola outbreak. Honest opinions please.

Italiangreyhound Tue 25-Nov-14 21:08:49

Stratter great news that you are thinking about this. What do you understand about adoption and about adoption from overseas? Why particularly adoption from overeseas?

If you can say more about your thoughts I/we could give options, maybe.

Also, are you a single adopter and do you have plenty of money because there are costs involved in overseas adoption that do not exist in domestic adoption, as well as the cost of raising a child/children/small family of children.

All the best.

Lilka Tue 25-Nov-14 21:12:33


Well, adopting from overseas from certain specific countries is fine and doable, but the situation you are describing isn't feasable or appropriate.

There are a couple of stable international adoption programs which UK parents can go into at the moment, I'm pretty sure China (the special needs program that is) is one of the most stable and most frequently done.

But the countries affected by this outbreak are
- Not countries which as far as I know participate routinely in international adoption anyway and thus have no real tried and tested system for it, which would make it incredibly difficult to do even in a stable time period.

- Epidemics and other disasters create a state of chaos and disorganisation, and the system is stretched beyond its limit trying to cope. Accurately identifying children who have no extended family left that can care for them can sometimes be impossible for some time. Inevitably this creates enormous potential for corrpution, like after the Haiti earthquake when a few people tried to traffick children from their families. How do you even know a child is a true orphan in such an environment, with no paperwork? Working international adoption programs are usually suspended following disasters because they require so much organisation, stability and scrutiny to work in the best interests of children (especially in African countries, where corruption has been rife in certain places)

- And also you need to think about the children. They would have just lost everything, if they've lost their parents. Their home, their family etc. They in all likelihood need their community and country. It would be enomormously traumatic in the aftermath to respond by sending them off to a foreign country and try and replace their recently deceased parents. The children will need support, time and psychological care in their own community now.

Can I ask why exactly has this particular situation affected you to this extent? Adoption is no small undertaking, especially parenting a traumatised sibling group. There are many children who can be adopted, both in this country, and in several foreign countries open to UK parents. They don't make newpaper headlines but their need is no less great for the lack of exposure. But I have to admit I don't understand why there is this response to one particular situation but not generally. And this is a standard thing following disasters...the Japan nuclear issue, 9/11, Haiti, this Ebola crisis...LOTS of people enquired after all these specific events about adopting the orphaned children. But it's really not appropriate or workable, and I don't really understand why the same people are primarily interested in these specific children, apart from media exposure.

So if you think adoption is for you (and you've researched/are researching what it means in this day and age, and the needs of the children) then I would say look for feasable international adoption programs (or domestic adoption of course), because you can adopt internationally assuming you meet the requirements of the country, and based on what you've said you qualify for adoption in this country too.

Lilka Tue 25-Nov-14 21:18:15

Actually I corrrect myself, Liberia has participated in international adoptions, but it's decreased rapidly in recent years, and there have been problems in the system eg. suspensions due to corruption issues. But Sierra Leone requires parents to be reisdent there for 6 months before adoption, and it appears there are next to 0 adoptions from Guinea (I'm getting most of this from the US State Department, I think I trust their information)

Stratter5 Tue 25-Nov-14 21:52:53

I'm a single adopter, with a very strong support system from my XH and XPILs. I don't have a lot of money personally, but I do have again, monetary support from my XH, who is supportive of this, and has said that he will help financially - he and his parents are very wealthy, and take good care of the DDs and I.

Initially, I was looking to adopt a small, young family within the UK, but we have an adopted family from overseas within the extended family, and I'd like to extend the adoption to children who are not only orphaned, but actively shunned within their community. Probably, it is me being idealistic, and unrealistic, but I just feel that those children have no chance, and I could offer them a very good life. The one thing I am good at is being a parent, and I could offer them a happy childhood, and future opportunities they wouldn't otherwise get. No idea if it's relevant, but we already sponsor a couple of children, and DD2 sponsored another personally as one of her birthday presents - had a lot of help choosing a sponsorship programme from Mumsnetters.

Italiangreyhound Tue 25-Nov-14 21:53:27

I wonder if the desire to adopt after a disaster is about the feeling of helplessness in the face of a disaster and wanting to help. After the Haiti earthquake there was a child who had lost an arm and I just wanted to adopt her. Maybe it's a natural reaction but Lilka points out lots of very significant facts about the chaos and displacement that happens after any disaster.

Stratter5 Tue 25-Nov-14 21:54:57

Also, and probably totally irrelevant, I always wanted a large family, and I really miss having children around. Mine are pretty much grown up now, and I'd like to give others the home life they had.

Italiangreyhound Tue 25-Nov-14 21:56:25

The desire to adopt is a very good one, IMHO it's just a case of working out what it needs, what you can offer and what would be best. Do you know much about the process for approval in this country? Have you read other threads on here already?

Italiangreyhound Tue 25-Nov-14 21:58:07

The desire for children is not irrelevant, the desire for a child or more children is, IMHO, the best reason to adopt. But, you need to know what you are taking on and what you need to be able to carry it through (in terms of physical and emotional resources). I don't think sponsoring a child in another country is at all relevant to adoption.

Stratter5 Tue 25-Nov-14 21:58:16

Possibly Italian, but for me it simply highlighted the situation they are in, I can't do much regarding that, except donate, but I can make a difference to some.

Stratter5 Tue 25-Nov-14 22:03:00

No, I don't think sponsoring is relevant either, it's simply that that is the most I can do for them as an alternative. TBH, nothing makes me happier than a houseful of children, we've always had a houseful, as the DDs always had friends staying. Our fsmily is tiny, but very close and supportive, and our house is such a happy one, and I'd love to being more children into our fold, and give them the love and happiness our children had growing up. My house is big, and empty now it's just DD2 and I, and she will be gone soon. It seems the perfect time to bring more children into our family, so they can have the love and laughter they had.

Italiangreyhound Tue 25-Nov-14 22:09:06

I'm not criticising sponsorship. I think it is a great idea. You asked "No idea if it's relevant..." and I guess I would not mention it in adoption related discussions with social workers etc because I don't think it is relevant to adoption in general but you have explained why it is relevant to you. grin

Stratter5 Tue 25-Nov-14 22:12:30


I promise I won't mention it, was just trying to explain my train of thought. Probably I shouldn't mention that I foster wildlife, too? smile

Lilka Tue 25-Nov-14 22:20:39

I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to adopt at all (of course not, since I adopted!), its about the 'where'.

I do understand the helplessness and wanting to help - but adoption isn't going to help these particular children right now.

It could certainly benefit other children. There are a few countries which permit single women to adopt, or to adopt specific children (many countries restrict single women to older children or children with special needs). You will be closing in on the age maximum for some countries though. We may be able to help you identify ways forward depending on what your thoughts are and what you are looking for. Domestic adoption is almost certainly going to be the easiest way forwards, especially if you would like to adopt a younger sibling group without significant special needs, but there might be an international program out there. We can certainly point you towards resources to help you in your research smile

Lilka Tue 25-Nov-14 22:22:17

Hmm, maybe not grin
I'd love to foster cats for a local rescue branch
<sidetracks totally> grin

Stratter5 Tue 25-Nov-14 22:37:48

I have a lovely foster cat with me atm, Lilka. He kind of snuck under the 'wildlife' radar when my vet popped his head round the door, and said "Would you like a cat? We have a lovely stray in who needs a bit of tlc". blush

NinePeedles Wed 26-Nov-14 13:49:10

I am both a foster carer and an adopter, and to be honest, your post made me feel sad.
There are many, many children in the uk who have been freed for adoption or permanent foster care but have not found their forever family, particularly sibling groups and those with varying degrees of additional needs.
Many are shunned through no fault of their own due to exposure to their birth families chaotic lifestyles, particularly drugs and alcohol.
It is heartbreaking to go to adoption events and see the sheer numbers of such children.
While my heart aches too for the children whose lives have been devastated by the ebola outbreak, my feeling is that it is better to support those children within their own country/culture, having lost so much already.
JK Rowling's charity Lumos works hard to end institutionalisation in many countries (although not afaik those affected by ebola) to develop fostering and support children within their communities.
You sound like a lovely person, and in a strong position to either foster or adopt (or both!) in the uk.
Please reconsider? You could be the answer to a little sibling group's dreams!

Italiangreyhound Wed 26-Nov-14 14:27:54

NinePeedles of course we are all entitled our opinions but I can't really understand why people feel as you do regarding "While my heart aches too for the children whose lives have been devastated by the ebola outbreak, my feeling is that it is better to support those children within their own country/culture, having lost so much already." Why are children in our own country more deserving of adoption if they have no family?

I will certainly agree it is much easier to adopt in the UK and there are a lot of additional complications that make overseas adoption quite challenging. There is also a lot to be said for adoption within country and for this to be encouraged as well.

I will also completely agree with Lilka that adopting after or during a crisis, such Ebola or an earthquake, is probably impossible and highly inadvisable.

But the desire to adopt from overseas and to totally change the life of a child in this way is, in my humble opinion, a very valid one.

My introduction to adoption came from hearing about adoption from China and Russia and my husband and I explored adoption from China as I have Asian experience (having lived there) and some basic language skills. When we seriously explored adoption we chose domestic adoption and were very happy we did, but maybe years of reading and hearing about international adoption helped me to learn more about adoption in general.

But as I say, we are all entitled to our own feelings, I am just not sure what reason you have other than the numbers of children in the UK, and surely that could be challenged by all the other people out there who do not seriously consider adoption at all. Only asking! grin

NinePeedles Wed 26-Nov-14 15:14:52

Italiangreyhound, I am not in any way saying that children in the uk are more deserving of adoption.
However, it makes no sense to me to uproot children from their country of birth, from their extended birth famililies, from their culture, language and possibly religion when there are children stuck in care desperate for permanence in the uk.
Children anywhere placed for adoption have lost so much already, surely it is better to have as few "losses" ( for want of a better word) as possible?
Adoption can be tough anyway (for the children) without added unecessary mismatches.
Op did ask for opinions! smile

Barbadosgirl Wed 26-Nov-14 15:26:56

My reading of Lilka and Ninepeedles's posts is that children may have been orphaned by the Ebola crisis but that does not mean there might not be family or people in their communities who could and would take care of them and might this not be better for them than adoption. If what those communities need are support through aid or charitable work to make that happen then perhaps that would be a better focus for those communities. Had I been orphaned as a child I think I probably would have preferred to be raised by my godparents in the next village to me rather than travelled thousands of miles overseas to a totally different country and live there with a new family I didn't know. There are children here in the UK who don't have that option which could have the op as their forever mummy or the op with her childcare experience and desire for a house full could make a fantastic FC.

Not so much that there is anything wrong with international adoption, more is this really the best thing for those communities?

Stratter5 Wed 26-Nov-14 16:00:01

My main reason for considering children orphaned by ebola is simply that very, very many of them aren't being cared for by their families and/or communities. They are being actively shunned, due to fear, superstition, and ignorance. A year down the line, nearly, and the agencies are still fighting against these fears and superstitions, and openly admit that the mortality figures are a drop in the ocean compared to the real, hidden figures, as a large majority see ebola as not a disease, and something to hide, partly because the body disposal goes directly against their beliefs. These children are being condemned, much as disabled children were in Romania.

Barbadosgirl Wed 26-Nov-14 16:32:07

I appreciate what you are saying but I still lean towards the view that educating and supporting the communities so they understand when the children are no longer infectious would be a better solution for these children, like this charity is doing:

Lilka Wed 26-Nov-14 16:58:11

However the situation over there means that it is impossible to adopt these particular children, meaning that the only way forwards is to support them within their country.

Given that it's not going to be possible, are you considering other adoptions seriously OP?

There are still children everywhere whose communities are not taking care of them, or/and for whom there is no reliable foster care system etc. Romania was not an isolated case. I can think of more than one country which is processing adoptions which has children being adopted who have been profoundly neglected in institutions. However for these children foster care or better orphanage care won't provide anywhere near as good a situation as adoption, whether domestic or inernational. 14 years old and weighing 14lb. 9 years old and 10lb in weight. Or kids drugged with anti-psychotic or tranquillizers every day to make them be quiet and easy to care for. That's appalling neglect but out of the spotlight, away from the attention that Romania got. Improving the foster care systems is a must and increasing domestic adoption over there is what everyone wants to aim for for a long term solution, but it's a slower process and hence it's just not good enough for some of the children there right now.

I don't mean to imply that all institutions act like that of course, many are good places staffed by very loving people, just very underfunded and understaffed, so the environment is not good often enough through no individuals fault for children to develop without delays, or learn to form secure attachments to people etc. Adoption is very traumatic obviously, but still may well be the best way forwards for some of thse children, and so if someone would rather go that way than domestic at this time, then absolutely fine in my book, and good luck.

Anywy, I personally don't have any issue with international adoption as a concept, just with certain practices, places etc. It's easy to say 'adopt domestically' but actually some people who go international did so because they couldn't find an agency here who thought they could match them domestically, or because they have strong and particular ties to a certain country etc. It's not always a free choice for people.

Lilka Wed 26-Nov-14 17:04:55

And obviously only some children abroad would benefit from being adopted, many may be best supported and educated in their own country

But for those whose best chance now comes from adoption by a foreign, they deserve it just as much as British children, so we shouldn't try and steer people away from adopting them unless there's a reason why it's not a good idea for those particular children, or why it isn't likely to work for that particular parent.

Stratter5 Wed 26-Nov-14 17:10:26

Given that it's not going to be possible, are you considering other adoptions seriously OP?

Absolutely, I want to adopt, I feel I can give children a really good life, and I am serious about it. I'm also very grateful to everyone who is posting, you are all helping me greatly thanks

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