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Adopting sibling

(22 Posts)
bigbadwoluf Sat 24-Dec-16 10:28:12

Name changed for anonymity.

We are 5 months into placement with my DD, who is wonderful, but I've found being a Sahp much harder than I thought. I am a single adopter. I'm planning on returning to work part time soon, to stay sane.

However, there is now a sibling. And potentially I'm being asked to give up a promotion (which has benefits in terms of flexibility for DD), and stay off work, and take the sibling. I cannot do it at all without an adoption allowance, so if that's not forthcoming, I can't anyway. I do believe in keeping siblings together, this is very important to me. I'm not sure what to do, but at this stage, it's not clear what/when I'm being asked, so I have time to think.

What I would like to know is not stories of those who took siblings, but those who didn't. How did you manage the guilt? How did the kids feel? How did contact go?

My concern is that the sibling could end up in long term foster care (as was the plan for DD if I hadn't come along). How do I explain to these kids that I put my career above one of the siblings having a secure home? How do I say no, if that's what I decide?

flapjackfairy Sat 24-Dec-16 11:40:05

I think you have to think of what is best for you and your lo esp as you are a single parent and wanting to return to work.
There may be many more siblings to come and you cannot take them all.
I would try to remove emotion from your decision as much as possible and look at whether it is right for you and your existing child esp so soon after adoption .
What comes across is that you do not really want to take another one but would feel guilty saying no but if the child is young (i am assuming baby) it is highly unlikely that it would remain in foster care and even if it did that doesnt mean it would not have a stable happy childhood as part of a loving family.
You would have no need for guilt as the situation is not of your making and sometimes siblings have a better chance to thrive when adopted seperately and on going contact may be possible as well.
I wish you good luck and hope you have a wonderful christmas with your lo

donquixotedelamancha Sat 24-Dec-16 12:14:15

We've been through this, though there are two of us. Two young kids at once is hard work- significantly harder than one.

We didn't hesitate, and I understand the duty you feel to keep them together, but if we were offered a third, we'd have to say no- feeling that way really surprised me.

You need to be able to look after the child you have well. In the current climate its very unlikely a new baby will languish in foster care for very long.

If you can care for both, great; but ultimately it must be what works for your family.

bigbadwoluf Sat 24-Dec-16 12:45:56

This baby may wait in foster care. Potentially needing long term foster care. DD was in foster care at birth, and due to a risk, had to wait for me.

I can take that risk once. I don't know if I want to take that risk twice. I don't know if there will be an adoptive family willing to take that risk. So despite the sibling being a newborn, I don't know whether the sibling would be as easy to place as everyone imagines who are outside the situation. I worry I'm the sibling's best chance. But at the expense of me.

Don, why and how would you say no to a third?

flapjackfairy Sat 24-Dec-16 13:25:51

I am actually a( long term ) foster carer and adoptor who specialises in children with complex needs. I think you may be surprised how many people are willing to take on kids with needs esp as so few children available at the moment . So if that is your motivation i do not necessarily think it is a valid one.
Also dont want to start an argument at all but i struggle with people talking about kids languishing in fc or ltfc not giving children a stable home.
I have 3 xbc 1xa and 1x ltfc who has been with me for 9yrs . We love and treat them all the same and regard them all as our children regardless of legal status and it is the same for all fc i know.
Foster care could be the best option for this little one if they have complex needs as it offers more access to support than an adoption would so it is by no means straightforward.
It must be hard to make a decision but as i said previously it is early days with your lo and you have to prioritise their welfare first because chances are a long term family will be found for this other lo if you decide to say no. Good luck with it all

bigbadwoluf Sat 24-Dec-16 13:53:49

They probably don't have complex needs. It's not that sort of risk.

However great long term foster care is, it's not as secure as adoption with your sibling.

Has anyone been offered a sibling, and said no?

Kr1stina Sat 24-Dec-16 15:03:15

I think quite a few families have been offered siblings and have said no. But they may not want to post many detail here. People ( not adopters ) tend to judge and often families have not discussed their decision with many other people.

You said My concern is that the sibling could end up in long term foster care (as was the plan for DD if I hadn't come along). How do I explain to these kids that I put my career above one of the siblings having a secure home? How do I say no, if that's what I decide?

I think that's a lot of assumptions.

1. You were willing to adopt your child with the same risks, so why wouldnt someone else?

2. Your career is important to you. It's your family's only secure income. Don't rely on an adoption allowance long term, it could be withdrawn at any time. It's also important for your self esteem and mental and emotional health. Too soon your child will be at school and you could be isolated at home.

3. You say you are not particularly enjoying being a SAHP. Which is fine, many men and women don't enjoy it. So why would you want to become a FT parent permanently? Because it's very hard to go back after years out the labour market and negotiate a well paid part time job that works around the needs of two children, one or both of whom may have SN.

4. You don't have to explain to any kids, yours or anyone else's. If you decide to say no, it's not a thing that should be discussed with your child. There are some decisions that need to be taken by adults and telling your child would place a burden of guilt and responsibility on them - my mum said no to my brother because I was here first.

My advice is very strongly that If you say no, the baby goes on to be adopted in another family and you tell no one who is involved in any way.

You are the adult and you need to do what's best for your existing family, as all parents do . No one tells their kids why they decided to conceive another child /use contraception so they didn't. It's not a child's business. Same with adoption.

I know a family who have just adopted a toddler. Another couple in their training class approached them and told them that they were offered the child and said no. Now they have been asking the new adopters all sorts of questions about the child and saying " we were told x, were you told that ?", " his needs aren't as bad as we thought " , " he's much cuter than he looks in his photos " .

It's caused so much distress to the new parents . They feel anxious that perhaps the others know information they don't about their own child. Or that perhaps they have made a mistake and don't understand all the risks.

They feel that the other family are either saying " so glad we made that decision, that child is worse than we thought, lucky escape there " . Or " so sad that we made that decision, that child really should have been ours ".

It's had a very negative inpact and was totally unnecessary.

5. If you say no, you email the SW and say " I've thought very long and hard about it but I've decided that this isn't the right time for me to adopt again. If baby's new family want to do so, I'd be happy to have contact " (assuming that's what you would want ) .

You don't need to give any more reasons than that, unless you want to .

6. If you decide to take this second child, please be 100% sure that you are doing it for yourself . Doing things like this for altruistic reasons rarely works out well, because children are ungrateful little shits won't show you any gratitude.

7. Remember SW are not a disinterested party in this. It's much easier for them to place with you than assess another family or search outside their area. What is easiest for them isn't necessarily what's best for you and your DD.

8. If you are thinking of going ahead, please speak first to other single parents of two of more children with special needs. It's not easy and you need to have an idea of what you are getting into.

bigbadwoluf Sat 24-Dec-16 18:31:53

Even if I adopted the sibling, I would have to return to work.

Both children could well not have any special needs bar usual adoption related issues. It's a risk. Not a need.

I think I would need to explain when they're older. I wouldn't keep a secret like this. It would be in the younger one's file, and I wouldn't want a bombshell later for DD, why didn't you say yes?! I'd want them both to know why I didn't say yes. I believe later finding outs are much worse than something you've always known.

I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of if I did say no. I'd just like stories of contact, and perhaps how the kids felt, if anyone has been there.

bigbadwoluf Sat 24-Dec-16 18:34:56

I have a well paid part time job that fits. I cannot give that up.

If I took further adoption leave, I would have to give up a chance of promotion. A promotion that would be even better in terms of flexibility. But I couldn't give up work entirely.

CheeseAtFourpence Sat 24-Dec-16 19:55:46

We were told about a sibling some months after DD came home. I was struggling at that time - it was very soon and we said no. I didn't feel any guilt at that point.

We got another call a couple of years later. I found that decision much more difficult but said no again. I did feel some guilt especially as that child has remained in foster care for some time. But ultimately I did what I felt was best for us. DD is aware of her siblings and I'm sure we will have lots of discussion as she gets older but I remain adamant that we made the right decision.

Good luck with the decision you make.

donquixotedelamancha Sat 24-Dec-16 20:13:05


Why: We'd say no to third at the mo (maybe not in a few years) because two young kids is exhausting and finances are snug at the moment. I think we'd really struggle, and I'm not sure it would be the best thing for any of us.

How: With great difficulty, because I feel exactly the same as you about it.

Not saying you should say no, that's obviously a very personal decision, and it's great if you can bring them together; but I think it's OK if you can't.

I'm also adopted and have never met my biological siblings. Its not a bombshell if handled right.

Finally, any baby will be snapped up at the mo - they won't wait in care.

Maiyakat Sat 24-Dec-16 20:36:07

Coming at this from the other angle, my DD has an older sibling who is adopted by another couple. They were asked to consider DD and said no. I will be forever grateful that they did! They decided that the addition of a another child would disrupt their existing children too much. I believe it was also the right decision for DD, who needs a lot of adult attention and has some additional needs. They opted not to have any contact with DD, which does make me sad (although I think the SWs didn't handle it very well). DD was 'difficult to place', and this was a few years ago when there were more children than adopters, and she still found a home.

As others have said you have to make this decision on the basis of what is right for your DD and for you. I dread getting a call saying DD's BM is pregnant, but I think I would have to say no as I don't think it would be the right thing for DD and I'm not sure how well I would cope with 2.

bostonkremekrazy Sat 24-Dec-16 20:57:36

We have said no to a sibling while having 4 siblings. We said no for very specific reasons that our children will understand if they ever get around to asking us!
So far they have not asked why is X in fc and we are adopted with you...they just accepted the arrangement.
We have letterbox, send xmas and birthday cards/gifts and direct contact is planned.
I think if your heart and head says no then your decision is already made, and no-one else bar your child in the future needs to know the details of what you have chosen to do and why.
We never discuss our situation with anyone in RL...people can have funny ideas- why inflict them on yourself?!

bigbadwoluf Sat 24-Dec-16 21:24:00

DD is a baby.

I snapped her up... no one else did. She waited months longer than she should, and needed nationwide family finding.

My heart is conflicted.
My head says no.
My gut says siblings should be together.

I think I need to wait for more information, and see whether I get 'the feels'. Anything is possible for family. But while they are my family's family, they're not my family.

If I could really believe they had a good long term family lined up, who would allow ongoing direct contact, then I could easily do the sensible thing. In fact, what I think may well be the best thing. But I lack that confidence.

bigbadwoluf Sat 24-Dec-16 21:25:58

Thank you to those who have given experience, it really helps.

I don't think being aware of your limits is shameful at all.

But I think I need to give myself permission to identify those limits, whether it's taking this sibling and no more, or no siblings at all, or no to this one, but if there are more, reassessing then.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Tue 27-Dec-16 11:45:18

I think there is a difference between siblings who have lived together and already have formed a bond, and a new baby arriving after the first is placed.

Surely the reason for not taking on a second child is 'I didn't feel I would be able to meet both your needs properly and therefore it was better that DC2 went with a different family'.

When we adopted we were aware that BM might go on to have further children. We have been pretty clear that we would not be able to take on 1 more (or 2, or 3 ...).

You have to do what is best for the family you currently have, and not take on an additional child you may struggle with purely because they are genetically linked to your DC.

exercisejunkie Tue 27-Dec-16 13:06:34

I think underthename raises a very good point there, keeping older siblings together is different from a new baby arriving after a child is placed with a family. Do what is right for your family now, i.e. You and DD, I'm just at the beginning of my adoption journey but know I will only be adopting one child, (if i'm approved) fir several reasons, 1 I'm a single adopter, 2 i'' likely to adopt a child with additional needs, 3 i'm a nanny and would like to take my potential adopted child to work with me, that will work with one child, but probably not with two.

bigbadwoluf Tue 27-Dec-16 20:19:39

I think there is a difference between siblings who have lived together and already have formed a bond, and a new baby arriving after the first is placed.

I'm not totally convinced by that, due to my own and members of my family's experience. I don't believe genetic links mean everything, after all, I am an adoptive parent. But sibling links are special, whether genetic, adoptive, or step. I suppose, I think that however that link is formed, there is a chance for it to be very positive, and there is nothing quite like a sibling to get through the dark times in life, and nothing quite like being parted from a sibling to leave a hole. As I can't keep this sibling from DD forever, and my family experience teaches me that is not right, she will know she has the sibling, and has the potential to be hurt by being parted from the sibling. Hopefully, she will have contact even if I can't take the sibling, so the relationship will be there, even if it isn't just now.

So, I do think it's more complicated that viewing it as 'just genetically linked.' Especially given that this sibling could be the only person DD knows with the same risk as her.

Whatever decision I make, it will have long term consequences for both children, both in terms of the childhood I can offer, my mental wellbeing, and their adult relationships. I really want to feel I've got it right.

DD is still a baby herself. 5 months in, I don't think she's ready to stop being the baby. But equally, she could have a full sibling, a friend forever, the only person in the whole world who really knows what it's like to be like her, share her DNA, share her parent, share her story. This sibling exists, and shares so much with DD already, and I cannot be blaze about laying that aside. Which is why I'd like to know of others that have done so, and had a 'success' story. Because I can read success stories of taking the sibling, but very few where people admit they did, and it was a mistake, or they didn't, and it was the right thing all round. And that makes me feel it's not ok to say no, given my experience of siblings.

Themoleandcrew Tue 03-Jan-17 21:00:40

We have been in the position of saying yes and then saying no to adopting further siblings. The one we said no to was born less than 3 months after their older sibling came to live with us. The guilt was horrible but we had to do what was best for our existing children. We have contact with the youngest sibling although at the moment they are all too young to really question things too much. A large part of our decision to say no came from the expectation that this child would not be the last sibling born, and that we could not keep taking as many children as their birth parents could produce, not without making our existing children's lives worse. I think the imminent arrival of another sibling has helped us to feel happier with our decision.

bigbadwoluf Thu 05-Jan-17 19:50:03

Thank you, mole. I agree, I have to do what I think is best for the family I already have, but I'm so torn on what this is. I certainly think birth parents could end up having many more children, and I certainly cannot be parent to a tribe!

If people have adoption allowances for taking a sibling, would anyone mind giving me a ballpark figure? I assume it mirrors fostering allowances?

5ForeverBabies Thu 05-Jan-17 22:50:39

NC but regular.

It would be unusual to get an adoption allowance for taking on a healthy baby simply because it is a sibling - adoption allowances are really hard to get now unfortunately.
they tend to be reserved for:
taking on siblings together
taking a child with special needs
in some areas taking a child who is in an ethnic minority group, though much rarer now.

adoption allowances are usually means tested yearly, so even if you do get one, you have to jump through the hoops every year.

it is usually the amount your LA pay for fostering amount, minus child benefit - so about £150 a week. It is calculated by looking at the amount the government says you need to live on, what you have coming in, and they pay you the difference if there is one.


Themoleandcrew Fri 06-Jan-17 00:28:14

We get an adoption allowance for our youngest. It's not a lot. Certainly not as much as the foster carers allowance and not enough to make a huge difference to our household income. If I were to return to work full time I'd get virtually nothing in the way of an allowance. Just a token amount.

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