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Advice wanted from adoptive Mums!(16 Posts)
I found this forum when looking for advice on adoption,
I am looking to adopt a child/children, not right now but once I get back on my feet securely.
I am looking for any advice or any stories about adoptive families experience of the adoption process - good or bad please!
I am realistic and know it will tough at times hence asking for as much advice or information or experiences as I can get.
I'm in no rush with this but I am looking forward to it.
Thank you, I sure will do that _
I moved out of my ex partner's house and I have recently started a new job so need to get a place sorted next - sorry! I probably should have said that in the first place _
In a nut shell..
Hardest thing I've ever done but despite everything I would do it all again to have the family we have now.
Top points to note IMO...
It's 'parenting plus'. You're a parent as much as any other by any other means, but it is not the same as parenting a birth child, get your head accepting that and you're off to a good start.
You are not going to fall in love with this child from day one, then add in the fallout by that child of moving once again and the insecurities that's caused, plus any other trauma they are dealing with linked to the reasons they were removed and everything being new and not familiar. You've now got a child you're not bonded to by hormones, tantruming, often including head banging and lashing out, they're not sleeping, so neither are you, but then they are glued to you the rest of the time so you can't even so much as go to the toilet. The love comes but not overnight. That's hard, really hard.
Contact with birth parents is pretty standard, even if you're writing to them each year and they're not writing back. You'll end up wanting desperately to have it flowing in both directions once you have a child placed with you, for their sake, but when you start the process it's the hardest part to accept (IMO!).
There is something known as the BS case, it's recent. It hasn't changed the law but it's made SW's nervous. There was apparently some sloppy practice going on and this ruling was supposed to re emphasize the need to make sure adoption was the absolute last resort in all cases. The number of children being placed for adoption since then has dramatically dropped, as while it may have gotten rid of the sloppy practice, it also seems to have ALLEGEDLY made social workers more nervous at choosing adoption as the next step. Add this to a speeding up of the adoption approval process and you have more adopters than children waiting. If you are not out to adopt a school aged child, a child with significant extra needs or siblings (unlikely to get approved for siblings if single, though not impossible) then you COULD be in for a long wait, so be prepared for that wait. Our LA has recently advised 3yrs+ for some adopters! But things change, as quickly as the numbers have dropped, something could happen to turn it in the other direction.
The 6 month approval process seems scary and invasive but it's not that scary and it does need to look at every aspect of your life for the child's sake. I think the majority of adopters, under the new quicker approval system at least, find post being approved, while waiting for a match, far harder. It's horrible for you because, rightly so, it's finding homes for children not children for homes. Therefore you will literally be compared to others adopters, what you have to offer vs. what they have to offer and it's hard when you're not chosen, which for some at the minute is happening repeatedly, as there can be 50 adopters to choose from for every child.
If you're single (I've made that assumption based on 'ex-partner', sorry if I've assumed wrongly) you'll need a really good support network of friends and/or family. In fact, if you're not, you'll need it too! I have no idea how single adopters do it (but they do and do it well!). And yes there are millions of single parents out there, but I refer back to point 1...parenting plus!.
Having said the above, you then need to make friends with other adopters, as while your friends will tell you everything your child does is the same as their 3 yr old, so it's normal, they will regularly forget that their 3 yr old has had a great start to life, so of course their child is going through 'normal" testing of boundaries etc., yours however has experienced serious trauma and it is therefore highly likely to be a factor, so yes it is different! You'll get good at the 'nod and smile'
Be aware, if sorting finances out now, they will want you to take a year off work and ideally only return part time. Well, ideally not at all, but that's not realistic for most of us! Having said that, they want to know you will give up work should the additional needs of a child mean you need to. We all see the child crying for mummy at nursery when she leaves but they get over it in 10 mins. Try a child whose parents have left and never returned, their concerns are real not theoretical and for some adopted children, nursery can be just too traumatic for quite some time.
Social workers...We've had really good ones, others have had horrific experiences. You do have to face up to the fact your life is in their hands and it seems pot luck on who you get
Post adoption support, I'm yet to use but I'm dreading needing to based on what is written on here!! Someone recently quoted a 1/3 of adoptions have no major problems by teens, 1/3 have some problems and the remaining 1/3 have significant problems (or something like that I think), so chances are you may very well need to. A failing system of support will probably be the scariest thing to hear but you need to go into adoption with a real need to fight your child's corner, because there is a real possibility you will have to.
Now, if you've read all that and aren't put off (I wasn't trying to!!!) then this is very likely the path for you!
What I can't sum up in words is the positives. Our life is the most challenging it's ever been but the happiness and love that they bring is imeasurable and indescribable, you can't put that into a sentence. I can't imagine being without them, it feels as if we never have been. I love them to the ends of the earth and for all the process took out of us and for all the additional parenting things we have to do, it's 100% worth it for the family time we spend together, that essentially is as normal as any family time experienced by the 100's of others versions of what makes a family unit today. We chose this route to becoming parents over IVF and I have zero regrets.
I strongly recommend the previous advice of reading through the many threads on this forum. You will really get an idea of the various issues you may experience and what 'parenting plus' really means
(LONGEST. POST. EVER. Sorry. )
Wot TeamAcorn said.
(Can we cut and paste that as a sticky?!)
Thank you so much Team Acorn!!
That was exactly the kind of things I wanted to hear!
I am single, so adding in about being less likely to have siblings was very valuable to me, I'd not though of that possibility
I am not put off by anything you have said but I have taken on board everything you have said.
I have been reading through other posts - I have a silly question... What are all the abbreviated letter standing for? I understand the SW and such. But some I am not clicking... Sorry to be silly!!
There are too many lol, you'll have to ask specific ones but I'm happy to reply with those I know
Three of the most important CO, PO and AO.
Care order - The order a court gives for a child to be placed in care.
Placement order - the order a court gives that decides a child will be placed for adoption.
Adoption Order - The order that makes a child legally the adoptive parent's child, when child changes their name to your surname and all the social workers disappear!
and all the social workers disappear! never to be seen again even if you need them.
Just bumped a thread I remembered which may help understand why it's hard to get approved for siblings
And sorry, predictive text meant it should say namine not naming!
I just heard back from and adoption agency local to me, they focus on sibling groups aged 3+. They have sent me an information pack and lots of helpful advice on finding information. They advised I spend some time considering what aged children I would like to adopt if/when I get to that point. I've got experience of children up to age 11, and I am very close with my nieces and nephews 8 and under.
So I have another question,
I know there are different issues within birth families at different ages (e.g the boundary testing and such as children developed more awareness), but what, in particular with adoptive families, have people found difficult with different aged children?
I co-parent my 3 year old and 5 year old 'nieces' and until they started school had them 50/50 with their mum, so I'm well rehersed in the baby and toddler age needs and tantrums ;)
You might find this thread interesting:
Our children have very few additional problems so best rely on others for advice but I'm good for the basics! For our toddler/pre-schooler...
Our eldest had very few boundaries for first 3 years so sticking to boundaries like a birth child would, who you've shown the way as they've grown up, is harder. They've got to re learn. Luckily their FC did the hardest bit but still noticeable.
We've had regular tantrums but also many with head banging or purposely trying to hurt themselves to the point where you need to hold them down to protect themselves (this appears to be the product of neglect as they learned this was the only way to get attention)
They have reverted back to earlier years, they missed out on the nurture, so now they want to be carried everywhere and fed etc. Our youngest is refusing to leave nappies behind because he loves that it means he's still babyed
In nearly a year they've been left twice with a family member who wasn't myself or my husband. They struggle with the idea that you simply may not return and so we have to go out separately so one of us is always with them. And nursery and school transition is very hard for same reasons.
They remember birth family and foster family and grieve their losses while with you, so you have to deal with that, that can come in the form of aggression, tears or just not wanting to interact. We started life story work with them quite early on because they needed to talk about it.
Nightmares, lack of sleep etc relating to either their past with birth family or simply the ordeal of leaving family behind.
Simply starting parenthood with a toddler, your body isn't ready! You haven't worked up to it. My body hurt every day for months, EVERY DAY I was in pain! We do have siblings though, so there is no break.
Other parents - dropping them off at nursery or school means questions! Either you tell them your current situation (which you don't want to really as it's your LO's story to tell, so you just want to reserve it for close family and friends) and you get questioned, or you leave it out and then get "why are you able to return to your job when you had your child 3 years ago?" erm..... ?!? Not a big issue but it makes life more difficult.
Control issues which has meant extra tantrums and things like night terrors and being scared of everything.
Lack of confidence due to past experiences.
You need to do a lot of prep for going away for a weekend. They're worried they are moving on again.
Scared of police or any building which so much as resembles a police building.
I think each age has its own specific issues but some ages will share some of the above
Thank you for the link Tokoloshe!
And thanks again Acorn.
I am starting to think a 3+ child would be where I want to start, or siblings if I find I do get the chance to.
You're welcome. I personally love that I've spent a year off where they are at an age we can do so many things together...but then I'm not fussed by babies! It's a good age, I'd recommend it. There's pros and cons vs ages with adoption. Older children tend to have experienced trauma for longer which brings additional issues but with younger children there are far more unknowns due to damage done in the womb and during their pre-verbal years.
Good luck with getting everything else sorted and starting the process
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