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DM Story - adoption(15 Posts)
I am interested in adopting potentially and making enquiries at this stage. I have spoke to adopters and researched online.
Today I read a very scary DM story about a woman whose life had been shattered by adopting a young boy. Her marriage fell apart and she attempted suicide after her adopted son was violent to her for many years. Tbh I have read quite a few stories in the media like this.
Are these extreme stories? Or is it more common than reported ? It seems like its impossible to adopt a healthy young child with no or little additional needs. Would this be correct?
Must point out I am not a regular DM reader, but saw the article when Google searching!
I read so many terrifying tales when we started our adoption journey. I almost convinced myself it wasn't right for us but then by chance on a camping holiday we met 2 seperate families made by adoption and it made such a difference. People enjoying their children and having normal lives. One of the mums said to me "it doesn't matter whose fanny they come out if, we are just mum and dad". Like with anything there is a spectrum of problems. My daughter has been home a year, she was 16 months at placement and despite good consistent foster carers she was a crazy bag of anxiety and nerves. The start was tough but my god I love the bones of her now, and have absolutely no regrets at this point. Who knows what the future holds, we don't know for our birth son either but they are both 100% ours and we would do anything for either of them. Good luck.
It would be naive to go into adoption with rose tinted glasses as unfortunately some people do have a v rough ride with adopted children. If you look at statistics about a third of adoptors fall into that category while another third have a relatively straightforward family life. The rest fall in between .
Children up for adoption tend to have been damaged by all sorts of things and the damage done to their brains ( eg by alcohol and drugs before birth) cannot be completely undone no matter how good their adoptive family is.
On top of that they can have inherited issues and further damage caused by trauma inflicted by their experiences in the birth family or by their removal and experiences in care.
I dont want to sound overly negative but think you need to be realistic about what the future could hold.
There are no gaurantees with any child of course, adopted or otherwise and there are so many chidlren out there who need and deserve a great family to love and care for them so i think it is a risk worth taking but that it makes sense to be well informed .
I understand that any child that would be adopted will have needs( some very acute) but the media scare stories almost seem like such children could potentially ruin your life!
Having said that I've been slapped, bitten, kicked by my friends/sisters young kids, all from loving homes, yet this could be interpreted as dangerous behaviour. I wonder whether their is a higher degree of scrutiny for adopted children and a tendency to attribute any such behaviour to their background .
I don't want to view adoption naively and think I'll go skipping off in the sunset with a lovely baby. But the stories about adopters being driven to the point of suicide are very sobering. I suppose its about learning as much as you can to make an informed decision.
"If you look at statistics about a third of adoptors fall into that category while another third have a relatively straightforward family life. The rest fall in between"
The bristol report (from whence this comes) took half its participants from AUK, this and other sampling issues mean the real numbers may be smaller than this. Its still the best (only) attempt to quantify this issue. Much more research is needed.
All that said: Flapjack's point is very true, there are no certainties with adoption and you should be prepared that your children may have additional needs.
The majority of people who had 'severe difficulties' in the bristol report had been let down in some way by their agency. The most common factors were a poor understanding of the match and/or inadequate post adoption support.
I think you are right that many unadopted children have behavioural problems and many adopted children are perfectly 'normal'; I think sometimes adoption can be used as an excuse; but you should still assume a much higher chance of additional needs. A bit of time trawling these thread for the common issues will give you a healthy level of caution.
There is some stuff you can do to mitigate your concerns:
1. Pick a good agency.
2. Do some research before you choose matching criteria and stick to them. Don't take on more than you can handle.
3. Find out as much about a potential match as poss, before saying that final yes.
Even if you do all of the above, most kids you might get could still have hidden needs. That doesn't mean you should listen to DM style doom mongering. Kids are terrific hard work whatever the situation. Our two kids had a plethora of potential issues and are happy, healthy and fab. Adoption is a wonderful, positive thing to do and I can't describe the difference my two have made to my life.
You might find it interesting to have a look on adoption uk forum at the any good news thread (sorry dont know how to link) currently running . There is a heated debate on these v issues and whether the negative impact of adoption is emphasised too much.
OP , I think you will struggle to adopt if you will only consider a healthy young child with no additional needs.
Can I ask - why do you think such a child might be available for adoption ?
And if they were, why would social services spend time and money approving you for such a child when there are families ready and waiting who have a little more flexibility ?
And even if you were approved ,why would you be chosen ahead of all the others ?
Sorry if this sounds harsh, but you need to go into this with your eyes open.
Successful adoptions don't make good stories for papers or forums.
That said, don't be naive. You can't do to a child what's been done to our children (collective adopter 'our') and expect that there wouldn't be repercussions.
V true tldr and in my first reply i was trying to be balanced in my advice. I am a huge fan of adoption and would recommend it!
However whether it is sensationalism or not it is certainly a fact that there are those who have had horrendous experiences despite putting their heart and soul into it.
Some have had their homes,marriages and mental health wrecked and others have been subjected to lying ,stealing and ongoing violence and even allegations and police investigations. All pretty harrowing stuff and i think we are being unfair to them and potential adoptors by not acknowledging their experiences.
Having said that there are parents with birth children who also have a dreadful time but i feel that you are raising the chances of experiencing those sorts of issues if you adopt children from the current care system.
Just my opinion but i give it as a foster carer and adoptor of many years experience of children in care (though that doesnt make me the oracle just trying to make it clear that my opinion is formed from first hand experience over many years).
I think its interesting that you have chosen to focus on the part of that story whuch deals with the family which broke down, rather than the smiling happy one.
Truth is adoption is a gamble. I know many adopters with horrendous stories to match that one. At the moment they are all hanging on. I also know many adopters who, like me, are bumbling along in that middle ground. We have our ups and downs, stuff we have to work through but we are managing.
You just don't know. That healthy baby could turn out to have all sorts of problems. On the other hand, again like me, you could get an 8 year old, who despite having all the odds stacked against us, it actually doing OK.
Its a risk you choose to take or not
The reason I have focused on the negative story is I have heard many stories through the media like this and I want to be aware of all the possible pitfalls, so I am going in with eyes wide open.
Adoption is a fantastic thing to do. I am asking myself do I have the resilience, skills and patience to be an adopter?
Those are brilliant questions to ask yourself. No one can tell you, and you'll likely not know for sure yourself til you do it - it's a giant leap of faith at crunch time.
One thing to bear in mind though is that (usually) by the time you're doing it, you're doing it for your own kid, who you love enormously. It's not a hypothetical 'troubled child', it's your own kid and you'd move heaven and earth to help them.
(Obviously, this doesn't apply when child is first placed. That's just hell on earth and you have to just suck it up. )
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