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How did you know you were ready?

(12 Posts)
MrsKayJay Sat 08-Aug-15 15:45:46

We've had three miscarriages this year, and I feel increasingly lousy and done-in. We would love to have a big family but it's looking less and less likely.

Meanwhile we've talked a lot over the years about adoption and how much we'd love to be able to, perhaps after learning practicalities with our own kids.

Now, I know that practically we would have to wait a year after stopping TTC and I can also see that it's not an easy or straightforward process (I'm also not quite so naive about general adoptive parenting as I used to be after reading these boards extensively, although obviously nothing compares to the reality).

My real question is how did you know when you were ready to make that first step?

Were you totally sure and confident or did you have self doubt? How could we ever look after (potentially damaged) children when we don't have our own and don't necessarily know how to parent someone at the best of times?

Any advice gratefully appreciated as we move forward ... thank you.

flamingpie Sat 08-Aug-15 16:07:32

I'm sorry for your losses. That's a bloody tough year you have had - I hope you have some good support.
In terms of knowing when we were ready for adoption - for me and my dh, we knew we didn't want to progress further with ivf but still wanted a family so it was the next logical step. However, we were very nervous and unsure and both had big wobbles at different stages. We keep giving ourselves milestones to make a final decision - so initially we said we would just go to the information evening, then we said we would meet the sw, then we said we would decide after prep group etc...although we made sure we came across with a bit more certainty with our SW (like a job interview, you need to be honest but with a confidence you may not always feel 100%). I think the more we uncovered, the more we had good and bad days and it was really meeting up with some adopters and their children that swung things. Some adoption stories sound so grim on paper, but when you meet the children and see the love and firm bond with their families, it made it much more realistic.
And thank goodness we did - I'm sitting in the garden watching my AMAZING child run around and play on his slide and offering me kisses every time he runs past me.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

SageYourResoluteOracle Sat 08-Aug-15 16:14:24

My DH and I have only just decided to start exploring adoption now. Following a pretty grim fertility diagnosis, we were very lucky to have DD via egg donation IVF. For a very long time, I had ruled adoption out as I couldn't bear to let go of what might've been, the 1 in however many hundred chance of me conceiving naturally. For many reasons, including medical and financial, we really aren't able to have any more treatment.

Just recently I was talking to some of my closest friends and the conversation got round to adoption. I had written off the possibility of ever having another child, of ever having a sibling for DD but it didn't feel like something I'd ever be able to make peace with. I said that I felt like adoption wasn't for me and that I was worried it'd be too difficult and that DH and I wouldn't be approved. 'Nonsense' piped up one of my friends. 'Why don't you adopt? You would be able to give a child love and a home and opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have!' And things became clearer from there, really (and I have established that we quite possibly could be approved for adoption).

DH has always been keen on the idea yet I've always had a barrier to put up but, for me, it was if a light had switched on in my head:
cut my nose off to spite my face and forever wonder if I could've had another child or give it a bash and therefore give us (and any would-be adoptee) a chance.

Hels20 Sat 08-Aug-15 18:44:09

That's a difficult question - how do you know? For me, I think it was receiving a very stark diagnosis from the best doctor (allegedly) to deal with sperm issues. We had spent a huge sum of money on IVF, done 7 rounds and with not even a BFP and I just knew. I had always said "if we don't get pregnant after 3 rounds, we will look into adoption" but I kept on moving the goal posts and trying wackier and wackier treatments (from extensive accupunture for me and DH to herbal teas every morning and night for 3 months to some sort of blood transfusion to meeting specialist after specialist).
I didn't want to stop and then suddenly - when I read this letter which was very cold I realised we were chasing something that would almost certainly never happen.

So we started looking into adoption but I also got to the stage of appreciating my life for what it was - I had an amazing DH, amazing friends, children in my life because I made it a point of being involved in my friends' children's lives. And I had also gone through a horrendous personal heartache of my sister dying of cancer at 29 which put everything in perspective.

I went on a massive frivolous ride - extravagant holidays (South America, Australia, Africa), spent a fortune on clothes (I didn't need to save for children...I could be very selfish if I wanted) and I got to the stage that I realised my life was good and I was happy. Then I looked properly into adoption.

So it was a long and expensive (I think the world of IVF is a rip off...) journey but I got to it slowly. And now am so pleased it was a slow thing because I now have the most amazing boy and if I had gone any faster I wouldn't have had him.
Sorry for long post.

In summary - I really think it is a "gut" thing.

Daisiemoo Sat 08-Aug-15 22:49:32

We were watching Friends, the one where Monica & Chandler adopt. DH said to me why have we not done anything about that?
That was it!! We were ready so I got in the phone and it all started from there lol!
I will add we had failed Ivf about 18 months before and had previously said if it didn't work we would consider adoption but needed time to heal over the fact my oven didn't work!
Now we have two beautiful children grin

SageYourResoluteOracle Sun 09-Aug-15 01:48:26

MrsK, I've had another couple of thoughts: with regard to being ready, unless faced by infertility, I think that many people don't actually overthink starting a family. Sometimes things that are easily come-by require little thought. I'm not meaning to be derogatory toward people who have children without difficulty, I'm just trying to (very inarticulately) say that people who do struggle are often faced with decisions and choices that others will never have to contemplate.

Secondly, having had my DD through DE IVF, I've come to realise that although I've worked with children for most of my career and think I'm a good enough parent, I have days where I think 'Well, that went well (not)...what the heck am I doing??? Wine!!' Parents get things wrong and it's a total learning curve. Adopting a child who has experienced neglect, trauma or abuse must be very hard indeed but I suppose you just find a way. It's trial and error. This is one of my adopting fears, actually. I worry that I'm doing right by DD but she's had a good start in life. Am I strong enough to parent a child who hasn't had the best of starts?

Finally (and I will shuddup in a minute), it's occurred to me that I was holding back on the decision to adopt because I was worried that I was viewing the process as a last resort and I never want any would-be adoptee feeling like I hadn't completely accepted that adoption was a route to expanding our family; that whoever I adopted was a 'runner up prize'. When I was diagnosed (ovarian failure at the age of 31) I remember feeling ridiculously cheated, betrayed by my body and it felt as if I was grieving. At the time, the thought of Donor Egg IVF or adoption as a route to parenthood almost repulsed me as I felt so angry and neither seemed like an option or a choice; they only seemed like a compromise. Yet, we had egg donation and DD as a result so, if I can get my head into a place where that's a great choice, a beautiful story and so on then what's stopping me from making the choice to try and adopt?

Sorry to ramble on but this decision is something that's very new for me and this thread has helped me to gain some insight into my decision. So, thanks everyone.

OP- I wish you all the luck in the world for what you decide to do.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Sun 09-Aug-15 03:35:25

I think the best parents feel they aren't ready to be a parent yet - it is terrifying, draining, expensive and often thankless... smile

How do you know you are ready to start the adoption process? Well, we had always talked about adoption and DH in particular was v against ivf. After two miscarriages, as soon as we were in a home with enough bedrooms we started calling agencies. It was more a matter of when, not if, although with a bc already we did take it slowly at each stage to be sure it was right for all of us

TeamAcorn Sun 09-Aug-15 09:32:05

I had a feeling for most of my adult life that I was infertile. Literally just a feeling and I didn't know where it came from and then I found out I was (but not psychic with lottery numbers..damn it!). I had the same feeling IVF would not work and based on the other thought and that I was right the first time, I thought trust my gut! I very much focused on the negatives of IVF, there are so many IMO, against the CHANCE of getting pregnant. On the flip side, my life experiences meant I knew I could easily love a child who was not biologically mine and I felt my experiences would mean when that child was older I would be able to relate to missing family members, feeling let down by them and the need to re connect etc. as I'd been through something similar. I had a genuine belief this was meant to be, as if all my life had led to this point.

However, while I'd had this epiphany and was sure as the sky was blue, I had a husband who hadn't had any of those thoughts or experiences. So I gave him time, months in fact and he thought a lot about what it would mean to not have a child that looked like him etc. and almost grieve the loss of that idea and he read a lot, of mainly forums to be fair, and in the end it was him who made the decision to phone our LA. He did this based on the fact he didnt want to do IVF, he wanted to do adoption and thought he was cut out for it. He wasn't 100% sure but figured start the process and we'll find out, after all you're assessed intently, so you'll be tested, questioned and told if you're not, if you don't realise it yourself by that point.

Once we started we took a stage at a time. I'll be honest, it helped that IVF was the last resort because we always had the get out clause of if either of us felt we couldn't do it, we had something else to try, even though we both didnt want to do it and would rather adopt.

Did we ever feel 100% confident? Even with my little epiphany and similar experiences to some of the children adopted, no for me aswell as DH! You will constantly throughout the approval process question whether you can do it and that's a good thing I think. Then the children arrive and be prepared that in those first few months it is so very hard and you will likely question yourself again, did we make the right decision? Am I cut out for this? I think it's just normal to think those things. But then they disappear. I Of course constantly have doubts if I am good enough parent and reflect on what I need to do to improve and tweak things and learn from my bad days (all parents have them!) but that's what makes a good parent I think.

So how do you know?

Be 100% sure you don't want to do the other...IVF, donor eggs/sperm etc. You don't have to start the adoption process being 100% sure you want to do it but you do have to be 100% sure you're done with the other.
Read lots about adoption - books or forums.
Then simply.....go with your gut and always be willing to pull out if your gut changes its opinion! smile

We became the parents of sibling toddlers and my gut feeling was right...100% right decision with no regrets. If I found out I was miraculously pregnant now I'd be absolutely pissed beyond belief and depressed about it rather than elated for ruining our perfect family.

TeamAcorn Sun 09-Aug-15 09:54:28

A comma after the word 'elated' in that last sentence may make it make more sense! blush

Kewcumber Sun 09-Aug-15 10:54:15

Be 100% sure you don't want to do the other...IVF, donor eggs/sperm etc. You don't have to start the adoption process being 100% sure you want to do it but you do have to be 100% sure you're done with the other.

I think this is key.

I was much more brutal than some posters on here. I ste myself a limit of 3 IVF attempts and decided in advance of them that once my 3 were done that I would move on to adoption. In my case becoming a mother was a much bigger driver than getting pregnant. In fact I was so determined that I moved on to adoption within a month of my final IVF failing. And no thats not generally allowed but dozy social worker never thought to ask so I didn't quite mention it.

This was in the days of the process taking significantly longer than it does now (at least approval) so I grieved the loss of birth children in tandem with the adoption process starting. That did work quite well for me as the prep course was a great forum to talk to other people who had been through similar experiences.

It helps perhaps that I've known since my 20's that my fertility was shot to bits so I suppose I'd been mulling over the possibilities in the back of my head for some time.

And you will never be "ready" - DS is 9 and I'm still not ready. I was desperate though and I think that was enough! Desperate works better than "ready" for me. It also meant the issue of an adopted child being second best wasn't really in my head, I was desperate for any child. And I can say to DS hand on heart that I'm glad IVF didn't work, because then I wouldn't have him, someone else would. And that wouldn't do at all.

Tangerineandturquoise Sun 09-Aug-15 12:32:45

Some prep courses do a little meditation in saying goodbye to your imaginary birth child. But really you aren't ever really ready for the bombshell that comes home with you on the last day of introductions.
Parenting an adopted child is different in so very many ways-that actually it isn't necessarily a drawback that you haven't parented before, the feelings the challenges, the developing bonds, the rejections if they come, the acceptance of things beyond your control, the little nuances of behaviours that they bring, having a birth child wont necessarily prepare you for those in your adopted child, but they will all influence how you parent.

If you want something to do to try and work out where you stand,
Start to read- Primal Wound (don't start with her, but worth a read to be ready)
Bruce Perry Begin with the Boy who was raised as a dog- there is a lot of penny dropping there but a lot of hope as well I think
Margo Sunderland
A few of those under your hat and you will have more of a feeling of it you are ready

Knittingninja Tue 11-Aug-15 17:59:39

Hi MrsKayJay,

not sure if I really have advice but just wanted to say hi and that I'm sorry things have been so tough for you. Until fairly recently I've been wondering the same thing as you...

DH and I have finally got to the point where we feel ready to start the adoption process. We made the decision to stop IVF about this time last year. We gave it six months, went to an adoption information evening in the spring- well frankly we both found the evening awful and depressing except for talking to the parents who had adopted. We then had a home visit from a social worker and some of the things we were asked to do (get childcare experience, get more friends, use birth control!) seemed like hoops we had to jump through for social services. We were both really angry about various aspects of it all- which was really the grief talking. I'd already done a lot of feeling sad and grieving but clearly had some more to do. We decided not to go ahead with the adoption process at that time. Now in the last few months I am actually starting to feel excited about the prospect of adopting, without also feeling really scared of being excited (as I did during treatment). I am much less sad and angry than I was before. So am feeling in a much better place, even though we haven't even started the process yet. The thing is I'm not sure if we would have done as much grieving during this time if we hadn't been looking into adoption- it really makes you consider what you won't have, which is horrible but necessary. We've found reading around the subject really helpful- Sally Donovan's books seem very helpful so far.

Wishing you all the best
xxx

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