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Other's Expectations - only in matching and already struggling!(35 Posts)
I'm coming on here for a quiet unassuming little whinge because no one else really 'gets it'. I guess I'm in those final few weeks of matching - waiting for panel - and other people are starting to really wind me up because - and it's not their fault - they don't really understand.
To put it in context, I spent years being fairly sure I could not have children so we put it out of our minds. Then we had a last ditch attempt to conceive for around 4 years then was advised to consider IVF or adoption. I had always wanted to adopt and never, ever wanted IVF - which I now know would not have worked anyway.
It took us 2 years to be approved (a long and dull story). After 3 months of approval we got linked to a LO - we are thrilled. He is an older child, age 6+ but pretty terrible early experiences. Panel is in a few weeks.
Since then, people have been really pleased and excited for us which is lovely. But their attitude to him moving in has been odd. My manager asked if we could delay it by a month or so - because work is really busy and she can't spare me. No one else seems to think this is an unreasonable request - 'why can't I just say to his social worker, it's a bit awkward, can we put it on hold?' etc etc. Push it back to the school Easter break perhaps, so we get a couple of weeks with him, before he goes to school...
I also said I wanted adoption leave to start a week before he arrived - apparently everyone else thinks this is a bad thing. I will, apparently, just spend it worrying. I should work until Friday then start intros on the Monday.
I am exhausted. I work in a demanding mental health role - I work in child protection and with risk, people who can be suicidal etc. I'm virtually on my knees and the adoption process on top of that and other life events mean we have coped with a huge amount. I really wanted just a week to tidy, prep food for the freezer, buy the last few bits and pieces for him...My manager wants me to finish off every last piece of work before I leave as there is no one to hand over to...
As for needing 12 months off - well, he'll be at school. Best thing is to go back to work after a couple of months maybe. Suggesting I need 12 months off is a bit, well pfb apparently.
Thing is, he's got GDD. He struggles with school. He struggles with his peers. His S&L is very delayed. He's really going to need a lot of support with everything.
I'm desperate to meet him. I imagine heavily pregnant women can't wait to hold their baby in their arms. I can't have that but I do want to meet him, hug him, chat with him. It feels like other people are trying to downplay everything - apparently 'it's different for pregnant women, because it's physical for them.' They are allowed to want to finish work, nest, prepare. I want to yell, it's not different! I may not be giving birth but I really want to be able to plan for and enjoy the arrival of my new LO!
I just feel bad - for me, yes, but also for him - he is special. He is wanted. He's not something to be pushed around - moved to a date when it is more convenient for everyone. Just as much as a baby being born, he has his needs, the time he comes to live with us will be when he is ready, not when it's a convenient lull at work (not that there ever is one).
I'm feeling a bit 'mama bear' on his behalf and a bit fed up on my own behalf. I'm really excited that he may be coming to join our family. I think others are too, but they don't seem to be seeing that there is a huge amount to be done to help him settle in. A quick online grocery shop and 'dumping his stuff in the spare room for now' is apparently all it will take.
Oh well, do ignore, I am whinging, I know. I should be glad we have been chosen for such an adorable, wonderful little boy. I am fervently hoping matching panel say yes. There was a veritable stampede for him and we were chosen. I feel sick when I think about it and my stomach does a little flip. But I just can't wait and no one needs to piss on my parade!
I need to get used to other people's comments don't I?!
No fuck 'em don't get used to them, that's letting them win
Move his placement a month because work is busy? Have a fucking biscuit
Lol Mybloodykitchen I knew I could rely on you for a no-nonsense opinion!
I'd move his placement forward a month just so I could sod off and hibernate with my new family for a while...
Not an adopter, but I think those 'charming' nuggets of unsolicited advice aren't anything you should be learning to take in your stride - they're crass, ill-informed and belittling. You have every right to be furious. Apparently the little boy who may be becoming your son should hang around a bit longer in foster care so your manager doesn't have to pick up any pieces? Screw that. You might well point out that while a newborn sleeps 16-ish hours a day initially (well, by repute - mine didn't), your new son will need very intensive parenting from the moment he arrives, and intros, from everything my friends who have adopted tell me, is like doing Tough Mudder without any training.
It writes me that your manager - who presumably works with vulnerable children? - is more interested in you tidying up projects than in the welfare of your potential son...? Does she think he's being held in suspended animation till Easter???
Someone more knowledgeable will know whether this is discriminatory.
You have the same rights as maternity , how would they expect you to delay birth i wonder.
I also work in mental health and honestly they get their knickers in such a twist. Learn what you are entitled too and stick it it with a smile as you leave to start you're new job as mummy
I now work to live not live to work.
Thank you Heavy
My manager hasn't outright asked me to delay his placement. She was talking at length about how inconvenient it was and how 'ideally it would be delayed...maybe a few weeks...or even better...by a month if possible..' then possibly realised what she was saying and talked instead about how I will need to finish everything off and make plans to tie up all loose ends...it was one of those awkward convos that petered out a bit...
I think people generally think that, he is safe, he loves his FCs, he won't know if it's pushed back.
But that's what bugs me I think. No one would dare say to a pregnant women, I hope your birth is delayed a couple of weeks, but it's OK with adoption - and it seems part of a wider dialogue about how inconvenient people going on leave to raise children is for employers - and I totally get that in an overstretched short-staffed NHS it is a nightmare, but no one bangs on to pregnant women about how inconvenient it is for them to have 12 months 'off' - it seems that if you're breastfeeding a newborn, it's accepted.
In better news, most people have been fantastic. I'm just feeling worn out and ropey and I just can't bloody wait for the wheels of matching panel to turn.
He was the best. No question.
Meandyou MH is hard at the best of times. I think I'm tired because I spend all day helping quite poorly people manage their own distress and life problems, and it's now my time to deal with my own 'stuff'.
I am determined to get that week off before he arrives. I can't be dealing with stuff right up to the end
My manager has said that is fine....so long as everything is done....Yup. Sure.
<nods and smiles>
Totally agree with mybloodykitchen!
We have just been matched and are starting intros in 3 weeks, my work are amazing about time off etc but still keep giving me all the hard cases, difficult patients that need long term follow up (I work in primary care). I keep reminding them that if i was 14 months (time from starting the process) pregnant and had a bump the size of a small country things would be totally different!
This is your version of pregnancy, you have the same rights! Do what's right for you.
Good luck with panel, fingers and toes crossed x
One of my colleagues (also NHS) was told by her manager she couldn't go on adoption leave at a certain time - she gave her a Paddington Stare, ignored her and communicated with HR from then on! I had to smile sweetly and get someone to cover my on-call 3 days before I started intros as surprisingly enough I didn't want to be up for 24 hours and exhausted... Having 9 months off from it all was lovely!
Yeah, I'm with kitchen, fuck 'em and a biscuit for your boss. I get that it sucks to be her, but tough, you're having a boy and you need time off. And that's all there is to it.
I can't remember the exact rules though. I think adoption leave is (or was) only for 10 days from him moving into yours - I don't think it covers intros, does it? So you might have to use leave. Given that you won't be able to use it at any other point this year, I don't see how they can deny it.
(In defence of your boss, it sounds like she realised she was being unreasonable hence the petering out... Hope so at any rate.)
Enjoy the nesting when you get the chance - other people have no idea that the prep they fit into a 9 month pg we usually have to fit into a week or ten days or that the uncertainty means there's no time to just sit and enjoy knowing that it really is going to happen. I love that you're going all Mama Bear already.
Probably you do need to get a bit used to it though, no-one will treat you like they treat mothers who give birth, (and in part you'll not be able to do the things that go along with that anyway) and few people will realise how very different it'll be for you to parent your 6yo than it is for them to parent theirs.
Except us here, because we also are amazing.
Good luck, please let us know how it goes!
Thank you everyone for your words of support - I thought I was going a bit mad because I was at the suggestion it might be easier of it could be delayed...and no one else seemed to be!
I knew I could rely on you lot, you're awesome
I think adoption leave starts the day of intros now, I don't have any leave left to take, I think that is the day I ask for the leave to start or I can ask for it from 2 weeks beforehand (in accordance with mat leave). I may be wrong though - best check.
MrsCollyDog good luck with your matching!
I am also getting difficult, complex clients and new projects to get off the ground...gotta love the NHS!
What a load of dough balls! Your boy is precious and important. Sod them.
I really feel for you. We are 5 months into placement and have had quite a few ill considered comments come our way (although most people have been fantastic). I think the trouble is that most people have no idea how the process works, or what it can feel like to be in the middle of it. Just yesterday someone asked me if we got to choose our dd from a range of children- I said we were just grateful to have been chosen ourselves!
On the adoption leave front, I'm pretty sure it can kick in from the start of intros if you want it to. Don't forget that adopters are also now entitled to several (I think it's 5 days) paid leave for adoption meetings before your official leave kicks in. I used mine to cover matching panel and our intros week. More info here: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/419080/bis-15-259-changes-to-adoption-leave-and-pay-from-5-april-2015-technical-guidance-for-employers.pdf
They're all idiots.
Just keep saying sorry if it is inconvenient, but of course everything is being done for the best interests of the child or similar. Also I will aim to get as much complete as I can but I can't promise to have it all done . It's not your fault there is no one to do a proper handover to.
Yes yes to taking the week off before intros if allowed. I did this and it really helped me switch my brain from 'work mode' to 'mummy mode'.
Yes yes to taking a year off if you can. You have to manage the half terms, holidays, INSETs. And your child will need stability. The 6 hours they are at school for isn't very long. And then you have special assemblies etc to go to too.
Also, I wish I had actually been able to take DD1 out of school some afternoons to have more bonding time in the early days. I couldn't as had pre-school DD2 as well, but I think it really would have helped us to have been able to do that.
Ach, people are numpties. This is just the start of you having to be mama bear, so everyone had better get used to it. Oh, and congratulations
Firstly congratulations and secondly stuff everyone else. You take what time you need to prepare. How exciting for you. That's all I have to input. X
Oh bloody hell you are having some off experiences!
Re I don't think it covers intros, does it? Yes, our adoption leave covered intros, I'm sure. They were utterly full on and there is no way I could have worked at the same time.
Hope you give anyone a cold stare and said 'No our child can't wait!", if they think he can!
Re No one else seems to think this is an unreasonable request - 'why can't I just say to his social worker, it's a bit awkward, can we put it on hold?' etc etc. Push it back to the school Easter break perhaps, so we get a couple of weeks with him, before he goes to school... Please be reassured you are 100% correct and any friend, family member or college who suggest you delay your meeting and parenting your new child is utterly heartless! Who knows what could happen because of a delay! I would never allow a delay for any reason, than it was right for the child or some crucial health issue (like if someone got flu or whatever!)
Re I think people generally think that, he is safe, he loves his FCs, he won't know if it's pushed back. It's good if he likes/loves foster care but this is his start of his forever family, it is awful people do not seem to realise this, I think they are being very foolish and you should challenge these views, subtly, e.g. 'the process is all arranged by social services to ensure the smoothest transition for our child.' It sounds like some people think it is all thrown together at the last minute, it is not!
Re I also said I wanted adoption leave to start a week before he arrived - apparently everyone else thinks this is a bad thing. I will, apparently, just spend it worrying. I should work until Friday then start intros on the Monday. That is totally your choice. I stopped work the day before I met ds, and it was a bit of a rush, a week would give you time to get yourself in Mummy mode!
Re My manager wants me to finish off every last piece of work before I leave as there is no one to hand over to... that is a real shame, please do explain to her what you think will or will not get done, can she not allow you 'someone' help you in your last few days??
Re As for needing 12 months off - well, he'll be at school. Best thing is to go back to work after a couple of months maybe. Suggesting I need 12 months off is a bit, well pfb apparently. Social services suggest 12 months off, if you want that , take it. You are entitled to this by law (I think). Get a bit heavy if you need to. If you decide after 6 or 9 months you are ready to go back and your son is ready for you to go back then you can go back early, you just need to give them warning and agree a return date. You can also (I think) request some sort of 'keeping in touch days' and these are helpful for you to be able to feel OK when you go back.
Are you parenting with a partner/husband? I hope he is supportive. If so, lean on him, if not, lean on us.
Re He's really going to need a lot of support with everything. That says it all really, he needs support and you can give it, but not if everyone else is trying to make you prioritise them! Please do not cave in.
Whoever things 'A quick online grocery shop and 'dumping his stuff in the spare room for now' is apparently all it will take.' is not really aware, are they!! Ignore them.
Re It feels like other people are trying to downplay everything - apparently 'it's different for pregnant women, because it's physical for them.' They are allowed to want to finish work, nest, prepare. I want to yell, it's not different! I may not be giving birth but I really want to be able to plan for and enjoy the arrival of my new LO! Please do not let anyone steal your joy, they are trying to because they do not understand, we do!!!! Enjoy this time. Shut out the crap. Keep on being mama bear. Wait for the future, it is rushing to meet you.
Re I need to get used to other people's comments don't I?! Yes, but you don't need to et them seep in, get your forcefield up!
Oh congratulations and fuck em
You are right, they are wrong
I had a week of annual leave before introductions then went on adoption leave from the first day of intros. I'm so glad I did, it was nice to have that time to plan, relax, do some odd jobs, nest etc. Once intros start your life is never the same again.
Your boss is being hard work by the sounds of it and unfortunately because so few have any experience of adoption it's not that uncommon.
I've found that you need a very thick skin with adoption, sooner it grows the better so use this as a good first example of where it is needed. Find out where you stand legally, decide what time you want/need and tell them. Don't apologise, don't bend, your new family are the important ones here.
As for finishing work, be clear with your boss what you can and can't finish, there's nothing more you can do really. You need to leave when you leave and once your little boy is in your life then you won't be able to take calls from work, be asked questions etc, even if he is at school! Be very clear about that too - no contact from work for however long you feel is comfortable for you. A friend of mine who had a baby had to work up until about two days before her baby arrived and they were then contacting her the week after he was born. A colleague came to visit and sat and asked her work questions for an hour! They pestered her so much it ruined her first few weeks. Some bosses can't cope with the idea of people being off work for family sadly.
But this is a birth - this little boy is becoming your son and you are becoming his mother.
Once you have left work you can put all that crap out of your mind. Your manager should have thought things but not said them IYSWIM. Even if I feel a little groan inside at having to cover mat leave, I always tell people to enjoy thier leave, that we'll manage just fine and that when they get back to work nothing will have changed.....
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