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

Anyone willing to help me understand?

(12 Posts)
FurtherSupport Sat 01-Aug-15 20:11:24

I have a friend who has a 8yo she adopted when he was 10mo. He was in care from birth.

She's lovely and loves her DS very much, would go to the ends of the earth for him etc.

He does well at school and seems entirely "normal" to me, perhaps a little bit shy and not as boisterous as some children his age, but they're all different and he's not exceptionally quiet IMO.

However, she always defers to him. He gets to choose everything. For example, we've agreed to spend a day together with our Dc next week and I've suggested an outing I thought all the boys might enjoy. Her response "sounds good, I'll ask DS"

Now, in this house, if it was something I thought was Ok and my friend wanted to go too, the Dc would be told that on Tuesday we're doing XYZ, so this seems unnecessary to me. Friend says that because of his early life it's important for her Ds to have control over his life and that she needs to do this, which does make sense. I also know that some families adopt more than one DC and I don't know how you could make this work if you had to give more than one child such control.

I'm honestly not judging/criticising, but trying to understand. Is this a necessary part of raising an adopted child?

poetboywonder Sat 01-Aug-15 20:24:52

I think this is nothing to do with adoption. it's her way of parenting. She probably thinks asking him first is a way of respecting his choices as well as avoiding unnecessary fall out.

zoemaguire Sat 01-Aug-15 20:28:44

Horses for courses! Maybe she isnt sure it'll be his cup of tea. I don't have adopted dc but if somebody suggested an outing that I wasn't sure my dc would enjoy, I would certainly ask their opinion before committing to going. Not at 3, but definitely at 8. And if one wants to go and one doesn't, then we negotiate, its a good life skill to learn. I'm far from an 'anything goes' parent - some things they just have to suck up - but no way would I take them on a whole day outing if I thought they were going to hate it!

Sigma33 Sun 02-Aug-15 08:09:54

It may be he cannot cope with the unexpected. Many children with attachment issues struggle to feel safe in the world, and predictability can help with that. Just because you don't see difficult behaviours doesn't mean they don't exist. It is quite common for children to 'shut down' in order to conform at school etc, then fall apart emotionally at home. The temptation is to say that it is 'bad parenting' - in fact, it is parenting that meets the child's needs.

There is quite a debate about how often adopted children need to be an only child, for a number of reasons - including whether siblings should be placed together:

Being removed at birth and adopted at 10 months does not mean your friend's DS therefore has no special needs. That is 2 significant moves at the pre-verbal stage (so more difficult to process), plus the birth mother may have used alcohol/drugs/been exposed to DV during pregnancy - all known to affect the foetus long term. Then add in possible genetic tendencies to ADHD, ASD, some MH or LD conditions.

A recent study from Bath University showed that 10-15 years into adoption, in about 1/3 things had run more or less smoothly, 1/3 there were significant challenges but also some progress, and 1/3 things were constantly difficult with no visible prospect of improvement.

Most adoptive parents will have educated themselves about the specialist parenting styles and techniques traumatised children need to recover and thrive.

Why not ask your friend about it? Say you've heard adopted/looked after children often need therapeutic parenting - is that her experience? Is there anything you can do that would be helpful?

JaneDonne Sun 02-Aug-15 09:00:48

I wouldn't ask her. It sounds like passing comment on her parenting and for what? Because you don't know why she asks her child their opinion on things more than you would ask yours?

Maybe it's adoption related, maybe not. But if you assume it is and that it's a necessary part of parenting her child you'll be a better friend to her.

JamHoneyMarmite Sun 02-Aug-15 12:31:19

Also, perhaps by saying she would ask her DS, she may have been down-playing that she would try and prepare him for that activity - but if it became clear he wouldn't handle it well, it gives her an easy way of asking for an alternative without going into his privacy?

Kewcumber Sun 02-Aug-15 18:01:22

Her response "sounds good, I'll ask DS"

This sounds pretty normal to me if you have one child - at 8 years old, why wouldn't you ask him if he wants to do something. I very often say to DS "fred is going to the park - do you want to go?". I'm not meaning to be passive aggressive about it but I really don't see this as being a big deal parenting wise.

It doesn't really matter if you understand does it? confused She chooses to give her DS the choice of activities, you don't. I give DS choice of some things not others. If she had two then maybe she would give the the choice alternately.

If she hadn't made a point of saying it was adoption related and just said "Well with one I can give him the choice so why wouldn't I?", would you still be strugglig to understand it.

IME it's a big mistake mentioning adoption to do with any parenting choices as people immediately want to know why it's necessary. Sometimes it isn't necessary but it's easier.

Out of interest - do you mention he was adopted at 10 months old because you don't understand why he would have any adoption related issues at that age? Because I'm happy to help you understand that.

Kewcumber Sun 02-Aug-15 18:21:38

A recent study from Bath University showed that 10-15 years into adoption, in about 1/3 things had run more or less smoothly, 1/3 there were significant challenges but also some progress, and 1/3 things were constantly difficult with no visible prospect of improvement

Thats interesting Sigma I think on a thread once I speculated that maybe 20% of adoption went smoothly with no issues, about 20% had serious and significant issues and maybe 60% have some issues, may need some intervention but not in the significan t category. SO I was a bit out - but i'll know now that I can quote a third a third a third!

Bath Spa have done some interesting stuff around emotion coaching/attachment friendly schools.

Kewcumber Sun 02-Aug-15 18:28:56

This is a Bath Spa video from their teachers programme re attachment friendly schools

UniS Sun 02-Aug-15 18:36:06

I ask my 9 yr old if he would like to do x with y when an invite comes his way. Occasionally he really doesn't want to.

Kewcumber Sun 02-Aug-15 18:39:55

In fact thinking about it - I can't remember the last time I asked one of DS's friends Mums if their DS wanted to do XYZ with DS and they said "I'll ask him" and every one of them has more than one child.

I'm surprised that your friend felt the need to justify it as an adoption thing.

Sigma33 Mon 03-Aug-15 07:53:36

The Bath Spa study was actually older child adoptions (I think 'older' meant over 2 years old, although from what I heard when I worked for an organisation that had a project supporting adoptive parents those placed younger are also likely to have significant on-going effects)- it's by Julie Selwyn and her team, and is called 'Beyond the Adoption Order'.

My suggestion of asking is not in relation to this specific issue. But she has already told you that she does parent differently because he had so little control in his early years, so it is a conversation you've already started which suggests she is open to talking about it. The adoptive parents I know (OK, anecdotal) would not mind being asked if they thought it was different parenting an adopted child to a birth child, if a friend was genuinely interested and it was done at an appropriate time/situation e.g. discussing both your DCs over a cup of coffee and not after a huge tantrum...

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