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Am I being a selfish cow?(53 Posts)
Got a call from my SW yesterday to say I have a linking meeting next week and so far it's just me being taken forward. She shared some information about LO and so far nothing too concerning (apart from the usual IYSWIM). So far so good......roll forward a few hours and I've been awake half the night churning this around and around in my head and now all I can think about is LO isn't a baby (is a toddler).
This will be my third linking meeting in five months (have been family finding for 6 months), the other two were for under 1's but they picked the other adopter both times, to say each no was heartbreaking is an understatement. I plan on only having one child and I wanted to experience the baby stage. All my conversations about potentials have been for under 1's and I was told there were a few coming through the system that I have already been put forward for so safe to say all I have imagined is a baby.
So far the only no I have for this LO is age and I feel like a shit evening typing this. Has anyone else passed up the baby stage even though they really wanted to experience it?
I'm so confused right now and don't want my decision to be clouded by my previous disappointments and if I'm being totally honest my desperation.
I don't think you are being a selfish cow at all . You have to do what is right for you. I would just say that sometimes that your child or children are not the ones you think they will be. Ours are older and not the gender we were anticipating and yet, they are it, no ifs or buts and the criteria was chucked straight out.
The babyhood thing is not something we had - ours are school age. I would just say, and I'm sure you know this so apologies, that being an adoptive parent is such a different undertaking that the key is surely primarily becoming a parent rather than ticking a box.
If however, you would feel that you had missed out not to have a baby then that feeling might be sensed by the child so you have to be happy.
It is probably different in your area but my LA told me this week that they have 30 adopters approved for babies and none coming through the system. I hope it is different where you are but worth considering.
Anyway, very good luck and let us know how you get on.
Ooh it's a difficult one. I have step children and we adopted ds age 3 1/2 so I also missed baby stage with all of them. I do look at other babies and my heart pulls a bit, but there is still so much of the rest of their lives to love being their parent. I guess you have to get more information about lo and decide if you think that you could be their mum. Is it worth missing a possibly perfect match for baby stage? Maybe, but only you can know really in your heart. And don't feel bad. Adopting and learning to love your lo is bloody hard and your heart has to be really ready.
What age toddler are we talking about as 2, even 3 yr olds can still have real babyish moments. I do appreciate that's not the same but I think people tend to focus on the 'terrible twos' type aspect of toddlers and actually there's loads of lovely cuddly baby moments as well. Plus they are way more interactive that is v rewarding in itself. It's completely normal to have doubts/concerns going into the linking meeting. I'd just try to keep an open mind and see how you feel. They might show you a photo and you just find yourself falling for them...
Good luck however it works out :-)
Would it help you to write down all the things you are hoping for from the " baby stage " ? Then you can work out
1. what parts you won't get anyway with adopting
2. what parts you would get with a baby and not a toddler
3. what parts you will still get with a toddler
Then you can work out if the things in 2 are deal breakers for you .
Of course if this type of analysis doesnt work for everyone , but I find it helpful . Warning - it can be very emotional .
For some people , just writing down " I will never be able to breastfeed my baby " can be devastating . While for others it's not issue. Or they might even be glad they've never had to consider the whole breastfeeding / bottle feeding thing .
That's why no one can say you are " selfish " for missing something, it's very personal . What's a loss to some people eg having a newborn , is no big deal to another who doesn't like babies .
We had the exact same dilemma. We'd set our hearts on seeing at least some of the baby stage, had told our SW under 2, but were really hoping for under 18months.
We had seen a couple of profiles for under 1's, but nothing had come of it, and then we were sent a CPR and DVD of the most beautiful little girl who was 18 months old. Even though it was a perfect match in every other way, we very nearly said no based on age alone. The court proceedings had been very drawn out for her, and were still going on, so we knew she might already have turned 2 when she came home.
We thought long and hard, and realised that our desire for the baby stage was based largely on what we were seeing our friends having with their babies, and not wanting to miss out. We also realised that in a few short years, we would all be past the pregnancy/baby stage, it goes so quickly!
Our little girl has been with us 9 months now and we shudder whenever we think we might never have known her. She came home two weeks before her 2nd birthday and we did see some of those baby things. She still had a bottle in the morning/evening and was still in nappies. Lately she likes to snuggle up and 'play babies' which is really sweet
Also, it meant I was off work with her just at a stage when her speech and just about everything she did was changing daily, and it's been absolutely magical to experience it with her.
We love her so, so much and it doesn't matter a jot now that we didn't have those early months.
Its absolutely up to you, and you might decide you really do need that baby stage, but just thought I'd offer my experience of it, as I remember feeling just the same!
Very best of luck to you.
Thank you so all so much, I'm going to work on my list this weekend and closer you've made me cry!
I haven't stopped thinking about him all day. Praying the linking meeting goes my way so I can at least learn more about him but my heart is already pulling one way.
Third time the charm....hopefully
It must be o'clock by now
It's very easy for me to say this as I adopted an 11 month old but I have seen a lot of adoptions of all ages up close and personal.
Many of us starting out want our adoption journey to mirror as closely as possible the birth journey for fear of missing something. Understandably.
Closer makes some very wise points about how to decide and how quickly those early days go. In theory DS was everything I could have wanted not only under 1 but ridiculously small for his age (in 3-6 month clothes) so I could even pretend he was younger but it was really no consolation when he wouldn't allow me to cuddle him when he got upset and wouldn't make eye contact. And I still missed out on the same experience that my friends had - breast feeding, tiny baby etc.
As it was DS because of more attention and better nutrition raced through the baby stages so fast it made my head spin and was a toddler within 3 months and if truth me told I barely remember that first three months
As a (marginally!) more experienced parent I look at the toddlers and think how needy and babyish they are.
Really think through how much you want those few baby months you might get and compare it to what your head says about how good a match this might be - getting a photo might help you visualise the future better.
It's such a big decision and really there is no way to know what the right decision is, so you just to make the best decision you can and be at peace with it. If it's any consolation, I was so desperate by the time I was matched with DS that I think I might have accepted the offer of a pony at that point.
And that took me so long that I cross posted with you!
MintyLizzy9 I have no advice, it is your decision but you are not selfish. are you adopting alone (single adopter?). Is there a realistic chance of your adopting a baby in your area? In my area there were very few babies, when we adopted 18 months ago I had found details of just a handful of babies, a fair amount of toddlers and a lot of preschoolers.
We have a birth dd and I did like having a baby but to be honest she is now 10 and I love her more now than i ever did as a baby! Or adopted son came to us at 3, almost 4, 18 months ago, he is now 5 and I love him more than when he first came. I hope you are catching my drift. Love grows. BUT you really must decide what is key for you and how the chances are for you adopting the age you would like to adopt.
Good luck and don't feel guilt! Guilt as a parent is your enemy! Bless you.
Closer makes a good point - it was so good having my adoption leave at a time when we could go out, have adventures and really enjoy each other's company. For us it also meant I was home to prepare him for school and had the time to fight for the support he needs and the right school place. If he'd been any younger I would have missed this precious preschool year at home with him.
I don't have any birth children and DH and I adopted our son at 2.5years old - so I have never had the baby stage.
BUT there are advantages in adopting an older child - some of the uncertainties of a younger child won't be there (autism, developmental delay etc) and it is much more fun from an adoption leave perspective (as someone else has pointed out). Also my DS has regressed (and in fact - at 4 and just starting school, he frequently rolls about on the floor at bedtime saying "I am a baby!" And he wants to be treated as a baby. He is young for his age which I think might be related to his adoption.
You have to go with your gut - this is a lifelong commitment and if you are only going to have one child - and babyhood is important to you - then perhaps hold out for that. Having said that, I know that there are few placement orders out there - where I live I have been struggling to be taken on for DC2 (2 boroughs have rejected us) because there simply aren't the children.
Our ds was 20 months when he came to us. He was classed as hard to place for several reasons including "being to old". When he came to us he still had a bottle, a pushchair,cot, nappies. He was very much a baby. At three he is more of a little boy but needs cuddles,reassurance,holds our hand etc.
As another poster said having the time off I did at that age was fabulous because if I had of had him naturally he would have been in nursery by that point when we could experience things together.
I originally naturally wanted a baby but what swung me was a) he was perfect for us and us for him b)babies are babies for such a short amount of time c)I could have let him go and waited years for something that potentially might never have calm.
Having said all of that, people can advise but ultimately the situation has to be your choice and nothing can change what your gut wants.
Wishing you lots of luck
Italian, I don't think it's about love. I think it's about wishing and hoping to be able to experience the early stages in a child's life, not wanting to feel as though you've missed stages in their life/development.
It is interesting that was your experience/feelings, though.
I was super keen to be matched with a child as young as possible. I think (I say think because it's a distant memory now!) I stated 0-2 on my matching criteria but was encouraged to change it to 0-3 as there were more girls in that age range at that particular time. When my daughter arrived she was older than I'd hoped for but very baby like and needed a great deal of care and nurture.
There are positives to children being a bit older; for one thing we have a better idea of how well they are meeting milestones and expected developmental stages, so things are a bit less of a risk in that respect.
In reality, if I had had my daughter placed with me at 6months, 6 weeks or a year of age I would always have wished I could have had her sooner and been there every step of the way. I still feel irrationally (albeit fleetingly) sad sometimes that I wasn't with her from newborn, which is silly as I simply could have been as she wasn't even removed let alone approved to be adopted!
ButtonMoonLoon yes, I understand that the OP wants to experience those things. And I know I got to experience them with my birth dd so I do not in any way at all blame her for that. It's totally normal. If she wants that more than this particular child then she should definitely do what is right for her and wait for the right match.
MintyLizzy9 I was not meaning to imply love is guaranteed, but perhaps that love makes up for things not being 'perfect'. My dd has had quite a few issues such as behavioural issues and is very dyslexic, which has created frustrations for her, at times she can be very frustrating but love takes over in those things. I was not meaning to be flippant about love, I guess I was saying that if this were the right match, maybe not having those baby months would not matter, but as I say only the OP knows how important it is.
My point was also, in the long run, I am not sure all of the things we think we would like are really what matter. But I can't possibly say what is important for any other person. I can only say for myself what I have experienced. And that is that as one moves on to the next stage the earlier stages are quite quickly forgotten. Because what is current takes over, or at least it has been so for me. It doesn't mean our 'hopes' are not important - they are.
So I think 'love' for whichever child any of us adopt or give birth to does in some way make up for the bits that are not as we had expected. If that makes sense. but none of us can predict how much we will love any child!
I can also give the example of our adopted son. I was very keen to have a year with him before school. Actually, I wanted him to be a baby and actually I originally wanted a girl! I had a kind of 'dream' of having two girls, maybe because I am one of two girls and maybe because we had thought of adopting from abroad (China) where many babies adopted are girls.
Luckily for us the social worker did not see that it said preference for a girl on our profile! They matched us with a boy.
Anyway, I had seen a documentary about boys in the adoption system and I was more open to a boy by that time (and so was dh) so we read little one's profile and we kind of clicked with him! Before we saw his picture.
As I say, I was keen to adopt and have a year at home and I had figured if the 'child' (at that point unknown) were three that would be the case. But I quickly realised as he was a summer baby, he could be off to school the next academic year, just a few months after his arrival with us. Anyway, long story short I decided that the loss of that year with him/another child was not worth the loss of parenting him. DH was taken with him too, he was relatively easy (on paper) and both felt 'why not'! So we went ahead and were matched and the rest is history. He has fitted in well with our family, and we with him, and it has gone very well so far (18 months in!). It certainly was not always easy at all. I guess what I am saying was he was not what I necessarily 'wanted' but he was perfect for us.
Good luck MintyLizzy9, I can honestly say matching was one of the hardest bits so once this is all over and you know where you are, things will be better.
PS the photo reference was that we did not just fall in love with his beautiful face (but he is GORGEOUS) because we did not see a photo.
And yes we kept him back and he started school late (in foundation), so I had almost a year at home with him but this was because he needed it and not because I needed it.
We found the goalposts moved as we heard about potential links. We imagined a girl preschooler but then (after 12 months) we heard about a little boy, under 2 and kept an open mind when looking deeper.
The more we heard, the more we felt this was the right child for us (shockingly, our SW was too busy to read his CPR till much later).
2.5 years on, he is our son, is thriving and though I would have loved to have him sooner, due to his age, we were more aware of potential difficulties and had enormous fun in my year off.
He really was still a baby, still loads of first to experience. He was the right child for us. It has to be right for you and you will know, just keep an open mind. Go well xxx
In the adoption journey people talk a lot about your own experiences of childhood. Mine was pretty idyllic and I thought that stood me in good stead. It did, but it's only now that having had our boys placed for 9 months that I realise how much it influences everything. The other thing that not everyone talks about is how hard it can be to love an adopted child. I have to say, most people I know who have babies placed do seem to love quickly but those with older children, it can take time as their little personalities are formed and sometimes it doesn't fit in with what you imagined.
I am sure there are lots of people who love their adopted children immediately but I'm just saying that if it's not what you always dreamed of, it might be harder from the outset x x
I wonder how likely with a "baby" under 1 you would get the baby stage you would love to experience.
A new born is vastly different to a 4 month old a 7 month old a 10 month old a 12 month old. I think writing the list that was suggested is such a good one. Having a baby that isn't "content" is actually incredible soul destroying - their screaming/crying is designed to cut through you and it really does.
Be kind to yourself as you wait for the right LO to find their way to you
Kazza I totally agree, I think loving my 3 year old ds was not instant, there was an instant feeling of affection but love took time. But it did come and lots of things can help, like skin to skin at swimming pool and physical contact etc.
Random those are excellent points.
Our little boy was placed with us at 6 months and it has been wonderful and I know how lucky we are. In regards to the "love" bit, he is absolutely adorable and everyone said it too. I think this kind of made it almost more difficult because it wasn't instant love, it felt strange. When I said to my mum after about a month or so how I was feeling she was shocked! But why? He was a stranger all be it a very cute one and I was doing all the "mum" things yet I didn't feel like a mummy. We're now nearly 10 months in and I still have the odd time when I don't feel like a real mummy but the love is there and is unbelievable. I would say it started feeling better after AO was granted 6 months in but the past 2 months it's been overwhelming.
Part of that i think is because he's not a baby anymore, he's a walking "chatty" little person with his own personality. I think it's that I've fallen in love with more than anything.
It's A completely amazing age now, much more fun than the baby bit so definitely think about that if you're having a year off. I can't even imagine going back to work at this age and missing so much fun. Thankfully I am lucky enough to be able to be at home with him until he starts school.
Thanks everyone, your advise and experience is a massive support and has helped me quash any doubts!
Anxiety levels are through the roof at the minute, I said I didn't want to know what day the linking meeting was as I thought it would be easier...not sure anything can make it easier. I'm useless at work, I'm either having a little cry in the loos or staring at my phone WILLING it to ring, I have a system with SW that if it's a no then I get an email and a yes is by phone so every time an email pings thorough my heart is in my mouth...only realised just how much junk email I get
Stress eating biscuits and drinking tea...the diet is fooked!!
When we adopted our first child I said to my dad that I was worried about the age and he said once our child was here that is what would count not the time we didn't have-and he was right. I can't describe it because what happened before is very much a foundation of who he is, but for our love, it didn't matter and what we got from developing a bond and then attachment is and was every bit as special as going through the new born stuff that other parents went through.
Small babies are nappies and sterile bottles crying pooping making learning leaps. Mixed into all of that is the developing loving relationship.
Random Mess also makes a good point _ Having a baby that isn't "content" is actually incredible soul destroying - their screaming/crying is designed to cut through you and it really does._
We have had nappies and bottles and tears (years of tears) done potty training and baths, we have co-slept and had broken nights without a child under 1.
Second time around our SW was hoping to find us a child under 1 but we ended up asking to be matched with a child older, who just reminded us of our first child. No one expected us to be the adopters who raised our hands for that profile- I wont pretend it has been easy or easier (different though and I feel a bit more in control) but it does seem to be a really good match for both children which has been very good for the whole family way of life.
Minty fab. please keep us posted.
Incy great to hear.
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