Advanced search

Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.

SW not willing to recommend us for two children

(26 Posts)
Fredmitten Mon 15-Jun-15 20:18:42

I posted last week about SW saying we weren't suitable parents for any of the sibling pairs in the system with our agency. We went back after meeting face to face with SW and said approval for one or two, broader age range for two, narrower for one.
Tonight she has said she is not happy to recommend for two, has anyone else asked for a second opinion at this kind of stage (end of stage two) on this or a similar issue? Grateful for your thoughts/experiences - really sad house this evening.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Mon 15-Jun-15 21:11:42

Sorry to hear this.

Did she give you her reasons for not supporting you to be approved for 2?

Did you agree with the reasons? (presumably not?)

Are they solvable at all?

What I would say is that going from 0 to 2 is a gigantic step. I didn't know what had hit me for 3 months. I think it would have been even harder if my eldest hadn't been 8 but had been only 4 or 5.

Is it possible that your SW is right and that it would be too risky for you to go with 2 and that you would struggle to cope for some reason?

(These are all rhetorical questions, don't feel obliged to answer them).

Fredmitten Mon 15-Jun-15 21:40:18

That she doesn't think we could meet the needs of two at the same time. And I think lack of local/ close family and me wanting to go back to work are the reasons.

We think we can cope, but can't change family geography and I've said if needs be I'd stay at home

She might be right I guess, we can't say we would definitely cope, no one could I don't think, but we believe we can.

I'm disappointed at having been in the system for two years and this only being raised now, and don't think we can settle without a second opinion. I'm guessing SWs tend to stick together on these things!

Kewcumber Tue 16-Jun-15 08:37:22

SW will look only at the "risk" rather than whether you feel you can cope when deciding this and I think for the reasons you've given it would be high risk. I ended up giving up work for a few years when DS was about 5 and I know how draining some of the issues have been - I have no idea how I would have coped if I hadn't been able to afford this give up work, had my mum locally and had 2 rather than 1.

Saying "I'll give up work if needs be" is all very well but unfortunately you've already told her you're going back! And the problem from SW point of view is that once the children are adopted they really can;t stop you doing what you want .

When I was going through the process it was much harder to get approved for 2 than it seems to be these days though I do think it's unfair if you have always expressed a preference for 2 that they didn't tell you earlier that it might be a problem.

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Tue 16-Jun-15 10:13:47

We have siblings and while our local support network is small, the few we have, provide a good deal of help and it's needed often. It is the hardest thing I've ever done. The times we need a grandparent to pop over for a couple of hours is increasing. With school visits now and nursery taster sessions for the other, birthday parties, activities etc. our children need one of us to attend on our own with them, to have our full attention for support, because their security and lack of confidence just needs it (and we have children with very minimal extra needs). Fine on a weekend but it's often while DH is at work and so it's a case of asking grandparents to help out. Also it's just the sheer exhaustion of it all, there is no break, if DH is here then if we're not together as a family we are splitting them up to give them their much needed one to one time. My body physically hurt everyday for months because you've got a heavy toddler in your arms every second of everyday, because if one isn't in your arms, the other is and your body hasn't built up from the baby stage. There's then the sibling rivalry, the wanting me to themselves all the time, the fighting over toys, of course you'd get that with birth siblings but their reactions are different e.g. ours will tantrum where they physically harm themselves for attention as that's the extremes they've learned in their earlier lives. Like many adopted children they've also had few boundaries put in place prior to fc placement so keeping an eye on 2 toddlers is even more exhausting than most of my friends find it. All this means a good support network is so so vital. Adopting one child is not easy and yet having gone from 0 to 2, during the small amount of time one has been at nursery, it FEELS like a piece of cake! My prior working life had prepared me quite well for the demands, energy and hours of siblings, something that was noted at approval panel as a reason we were approved for siblings, but nothing could really prepare you for it, Ive never been so tired in my life and I once worked 60 hours straight with only 5 hours break (to sleep)!

I am going back part time after a year but I'd switched jobs prior to adoption to allow me to work hard while I'm at work but not bring my work home with me, as my other job would have required, with a high level of stress, so the return to work thing I think also depends on what job you'll be returning to.

I've met a couple of people on training sessions who've said they wanted to adopt siblings but their SW 'persuaded' them to adopt one child instead. I wonder if your SW hasn't told you before because she/he too thought she may be able to 'persuade' you and now realising she hasn't, after all this time has said something. If it were me I'd have preferred the honesty from the start too tbh. I will say this though, we have the most perfect match and with all it takes I wouldn't change our decision to adopt siblings, it's the hardest but best thing we've ever done, however, while we were adamant we only wanted to adopt siblings and wouldn't be happy any other way, on the occasions where our eldest has been at nursery and we've experienced just being with one child, I've realised had we only be allowed to adopt one child we'd have been just as happy.

If you feel like you can't move forward without a second opinion, get one, for piece of mind. I think though that they are very cautious when approving adopters for siblings, so they're not saying you can't do it, they're just saying if there's any risk that puts a doubt in their mind they won't do it and in your case it's probably just support network. Much like single adopters need an even more solid support network than most (how you single adopters do it I don't know btw!), I think that is the same for those adopting siblings.

It also must be hard because if you've experienced infertility it's always about being told no, isn't it sad and you kind of lose control of everything, it's all in a doctor's hands or a SW's and this is just another decision taken out of your hands that alters how you saw your future once again and it's hardsad However, if a second opinion doesn't change the situation for you, I guarantee in a few weeks, months or a year when you have one LO placed with you, you'll be too happy.....and too exhausted, to even think about this decision being made for you smile as hard as it is now.

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Tue 16-Jun-15 10:19:48

Sorry, the gaps were where emoticons were placed but now fail to appear!

And the most important thing I forgot to add....This still doesn't mean you won't have siblings! While you'll have an adopted child to prioritise, you may be a adopting again a few years later, if that's what you want smile

Kewcumber Tue 16-Jun-15 12:19:27

tomatoes thats a very good post and should be mandatory reading for anyone considering a sibling group. I hadn't realised how hard even adopting one would be (but bear in mind I am a single adopter) and how relentless it is at times even years after you've adopted.

No regrets for a second but I look back now having really regretted having to give the idea of a second child and wonder how on earth DS (or I!) would have coped with his (not very significant) issues over the past 3 years (I adopted 8+ years ago!). I have had to put in so much time and energy into dealing with school and other places that I'm not sure how I would have managed with a second.

Hats off to those who somehow do manage!

Kewcumber Tue 16-Jun-15 12:19:50

PS emoticons appear just fine on a desktop computer...

ALovelyTrain Tue 16-Jun-15 12:42:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fredmitten Tue 16-Jun-15 13:38:04

Thank you lovely people - hugely grateful four your considered thoughts / experiences.

On the work front - I've always said I plan to go back, as that would be the preferred option. But there's no financial need for me to, and in fact if one of us needed to be home each day we'd probably both drop to p/t. I was just stupidly determined not to just bs and tell the SW what they wanted to hear, but try to be honest.

We expect it to be huge and overwhelming, but have a strong local network which we have actively grown.

We've asked for panel to be put back (due to be a month today) as I'd only cry tears of sadness if only approved for one at the mo, and that would just be the wrong thing all round. I can't imagine finding peace with this quickly, but who knows, just don't need panel looming.

We've also been told we should extend the age range for a single, and are currently feeling hugely dumped on.

It's not jus birth families with sibs I feel we are not as good as, but all those adoptive families too.

I know it's shorter next time round but I've hated it, and the thought of two birth families, two life stories and all that goes with it feels undo able.

Anyway, really a feeling sorry for mysel message - but thank you - and pls don't think I have any negative views on onlys / parents of onlys - it is just all very new.

Themoleandcrew Tue 16-Jun-15 13:39:10

We adopted two preschoolers and to be honest we really struggled at first. We were never approved for an individual or a sibling group but just approved. We were then approached about our two and the agency agreed the match. We have been lucky so far as ours seem to have no major issues at the moment.
It's quite common I'm told for birth parents to continue to have children they are unable to look after so you may end up with siblings anyway. We have now adopted a third and are considering a fourth which is weird and scary as its a world away from where we started.

Themoleandcrew Tue 16-Jun-15 13:41:25

Also we both work but work shifts so one of us is at home most of the time and we have no family close by to help. It really is hard work but it can be done.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Tue 16-Jun-15 14:16:14

We started the process being keen on adopting a sibling pair, but our SW persuaded us to go for just the one. In hindsight, she was right. The love and attention our DD absolutely craved in the early days took every drop of our energy. She's doing so well now and I'm not convinced she would have been if she'd been sharing our attention.

We're now at the stage of considering going down the road of adopting a second child, but weren't not sure. I never thought I'd be happy to have an only, but as it turns out, I am entirely content with my wonderful DD and it's a thought to bring all that upheaval into her life.

Try not to take it as you being somehow lacking, everyone is just different.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Tue 16-Jun-15 14:30:27

we're not sure not weren't

irishe Tue 16-Jun-15 14:52:12

We adopted one and were approved for one by choice so didn't experience the disappointment you are feeling. You sound understandably shocked and will be grieving (probably yet again) for the family you want. I think you have done the right thing by delaying panel, it is very soon, considering how you are feeling.
I wonder if my experience will be of any use whilst you process all this? We had been in the process for 2 years, before being matched with a baby girl. Sadly this match did not go ahead. This hit me like a bolt of lightening. I was thrown into grief for "losing" the baby girl but also grief for our inability to have a biological family. This was such a shock to me, we had been infertile for over a decade, all fertility treatment years in the past, perfectly at peace with it all. I am adopted myself, had a very positive experience etc. the intensity of the grief was so overwhelming we had to pause the adoption process in order to allow me to process the grief.

I was eventually able to restart and we now have a much loved dd.
I suppose what I am saying is that the adoption process is like trying to navigate treacherous waters, with hidden rocks that can cause untold emotional strain. For me, the irony was I thought I knew that and was prepared, but the hidden rocks were my own buried emotions. Seriously, years in the process, my own individual counselling and an intensive home study and no one realised, least of all me! Unbelievable really.

So I would be the first to say, you are allowed to feel however you want about this. Be sad/angry whatever you feel, as you move through these feelings it will become clear what is the right path.

One child may not be what you want now, however anything can and does change where our emotions are concerned. You may understandably feel overwhelmed at the thought of going through this process twice, it is possible (not definite of course) that how you feel about this too, may change.

Whatever happens and whatever decision you make, I wish you all the best.

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Tue 16-Jun-15 21:19:49

Kew Thanks for the heads up on the emoticons, it must be the phone smile

Also, my DH only does 30 mins joint parenting on weekdays, that 30 mins makes the difference (the weekends obviously more so), without it...well, I wouldn't cope, it keeps me sane. How you do it literally 24/7....well my hat goes off to you and every other single adopter!

Fred So glad you've delayed panel. If you've been aiming for this for 2 years, you want to truly celebrate the milestone, not see it as a setback. Matching is hard and this is supposed to be the mini-relief break of excitement and achievement not upset and definitely want to be getting the bubbly out, not the tissues. I hope you get to do that, you deserve it.

I do agree with the previous post saying that 'people are just different'. My DH for example was told if he were the main carer we would possibly not be approved for siblings and that is purely down to me having experiences in life dealing with many children at once, not because I was potentially (or now am) a better parent in any way at all.

As for SW wanting to increase the age range, I'd just do it and not worry. When it comes to matching you'd just say no to options that fall outside of your preferred age range. We said yes for 0-5 and got approved for that but we wanted 18 months-4 ideally and ruled out profiles put to us based on them falling out of that, even though within 0-5. The bonus is, if you have a very narrow age range and you wait a long time and then decide to maybe look outside of it and discover the perfect match, you're already approved for all the ages smile

I hope you find a second opinion that offers a change of perspective or find peace with this decision as soon as possible thanks

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Tue 16-Jun-15 21:25:33

I also hope you were viewing this on a computer Fred because there were flowers in that!

Kewcumber Tue 16-Jun-15 21:49:57

How you do it literally 24/7

You lower your standards and accept that being a "good enough" parent will just have to do!

Maleficent60 Wed 17-Jun-15 08:31:39 Have you read this? Adopting two is it wise. Without offence. The common theory on buying puppies from the same litter can have devastating consequences. But we are talking human beings and if those theories are only partly true. I have a set of twin friends who feel jealous of each other. I thought twins would always be friends and yet...

StaceyAndTracey Wed 17-Jun-15 17:13:52


You said that you didn't think you could cope with two birth families and two life stories . You may still get that with a sibling group - many are in fact half siblings , so do have different birth families . They may not look like each other or even be the same ethnicity.

Also many siblings have been living separately for part or indeed all of their lives , so they have very different life histories . And even those who have lived together for a significant time will often have had very different experiences - perhaps one cared for and one scapegoated . Or one stayed with mum and the other with gran .

I think it's easy to have romantic notions of " allowing children to stay with each other " when the relathioship is tenuous or non existent or is a negative rather than a positive thing in their lives .

Cabawill Wed 17-Jun-15 19:08:57

We were placed with siblings (then 5&3) in January. Had they not had school & nursery I think I would have severely struggled. They demand CONSTANT attention and I have to be firm and consistent even if it's a complete hassle and I know it would be so much easier to let it go.

I don't feel my friends really understand how different it is when you adopt. Even my mum who spent a lot of time with us all, said she felt I was too strict at times- this was until we went out on our first night out since they were placed two weeks ago. She understands now after being completely run ragged grin

My DH works from home and his help is invaluable when we have tantrums with one, he can carry on with the tea or do the reading or distract the other. I don't know if it would be as good having two without me knowing he's there upstairs should I need him.

Fredmitten Wed 17-Jun-15 19:20:58

Hello All, really solid and helpful advice here which I appreciate.

I don't think there are any romantic notions in our house, but it's good to have the challenge.

We're going to get a second opinion, not because we expect a different response, but because we need to know we have tried.

I need to get a handle on parenting an (probable) only and how we would make that work - and stop crying quite so much!

I think we'll need to take some time, how much I don't know yet.

I'm not sure our LA responds well if you say no to a profile if in age range and everything else fits - they are very much of the mind that they get the matching right - and would be marked if we said 0-4 and rejected and profiles of over 2.5 year olds.

Thanks again!

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Thu 18-Jun-15 08:39:17

Re the ages: I think you need to have a frank conversation with them. It's one thing to say widen your age range to CONSIDER more children but no agency should push you into any adoption. Forget marks against you for saying no for any reason, if they think they have a perfect match for you and you don't agree, don't be afraid to speak up. They will not want a disruption as much as you don't. We turned down an initial suggestion with the reason 'we just feel no connection with what you're telling us about them' and that was it, no further mention. If you go forward with a match thinking this is not what you want, it won't work and they would be idiots to encourage you to do that IMHO. It could be that they are just trying to get you to widen your age range because they know there are fewer children waiting right now and don't want to rule anything out for you, which is fine, but you need to have the conversation about if that's it now......well, not now, now you need time out to breathe and deal with the present situation but before you eventually do panel. Worry about this one later. smile Hope you're feeling even 0.001% better today and hope you get a thoroughly considered second opinion quickly.

Slippersmum Sat 20-Jun-15 09:48:28

It is so important to keep siblings together and my perspective would be for LAs to put in the support required for this to happen more. Children often have a stronger attachment to siblings than their birth parents. No one is denying it's incredibly challenging to adopt more than one child at a time which is why the focus should be on support for those people who are keen to keep siblings together. The numbers of siblings separated is shocking. BAAF have done a lot of work and research on this topic which makes very interesting reading.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Sat 20-Jun-15 10:27:39

I'm not sure I agree Slippers . The pendulum seems to swing back and fore with the thinking on this and there are often very good reasons for adopting siblings separately. I'm not convinced that adopting siblings together should be the default, it really needs to be case by case.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now