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Any experience of substance misuse or concurrent adoption?

(17 Posts)
nic386 Fri 07-Apr-17 10:19:33

Morning everyone.
We've been approved since August '16 and are waiting to be matched. We had a meeting with our sw this week about a lo. The lo had withdrawal at birth due to bm's substance misuse. Sw isn't sure it's a match as we already have two bc. Does anyone have any experience, particularly long term with this?
However, during this same meeting concurrent adoption was brought to our attention. It's not yet practised in our area but is being discussed at the sw's next team meeting and she seems to support it. She's said this is an option that is available to us. I've done some research but does anyone have any personal experience of this? TIA x

luckylucky24 Fri 07-Apr-17 12:27:53

With 2 BC I really would not recommend concurrent adoption.
There is a very real chance that you will have to return the baby if the courts decide the parents can have baby back. If it works out then it is great for everyone. If not, it could be devastating. Especially for your children. A friend of mine recently had to return a baby to birth parents after looking after her for 6 months from just 2 days old.

comehomemax Fri 07-Apr-17 12:44:39

With drug exposure and withdrawl, an issue to consider is the wider lifestyle choices also being made. A birth mother abusing drugs will also very likely be self medicating with alcohol and other prescription drugs. So drug exposure can often be an indicator of other issues. It also make a research into impact of drugs quite hard to scientifically monitor.
Some things that have been linked to drug exposure depending on the drug of choice: low birth weight, prematurity, difficulty sucking / swallowing, dyspraxia, speech delays, global devt delays, stomach/ digestion issues. However, these issues are all possible for many reasons and obviously the poor prenatal care and losses of birth family/adoption can add other layers of issues.

Kr1stina Fri 07-Apr-17 16:58:29

I agree with come home, BM will amost certainly be using several drugs and alcohol. The long term risks are significant and there won't be clarity for some years. You need to be able to accept the level of risk and uncertainty.

Mrscollydog Fri 07-Apr-17 20:06:51

Our lo had hideous withdrawal from opiates requiring treatment for a prolonged period of time. She came to us at 16 months old 14 months ago. At the moment she gas no obvious issues, she is doing just what she should be and has made massive progress since placement. Who knows what the future holds but so far she is amazing. We have a birth son who was 7 at placement, we talked about concurrency but a v experienced SW made us see sense. Knowing how quickly BS and AD forged an amazing bond, I couldn't imagine the trauma of her not staying with us as is the risk with concurrency. It helped having an older child at placement as we were able to see how she was doing developmentally when we were looking at the match. Good luck

donquixotedelamancha Fri 07-Apr-17 20:36:10

On the list of problems an adopted kid can have, most substance abuse is about as easy as it gets. From personal experience: while withdrawal isn't fun, heroin really isn't a big deal after the first few days. There is some limited evidence of possible long term issues but, broadly, nothing compared to attachment, autism or the trauma of severe neglect. If, however, the child was very prem then that can cause significant issues.

As Kris and Comehome said: FASD is likely to be your bigger worry. Most addicts drink, even if they say they don't. No way to be sure of outcomes and frankly there's likely to be some risk with most adopted kids. Many kids of drinkers are fine, its real pot luck.

We considered concurrent, but haven't done it. It's likely to be your best bet for getting a baby. For me, getting the kids early would be a huge positive, two warnings:

1. As lucky said: you have to be able to give the child back. Its not likely, but is a significant possibility, which is not really the case with the normal route.
2. One of you has to not work so you can be a full time foster carer. I don't think there's a way to do it with maternity leave.

Congrats on the possible match after such a long wait.

Rosieandtim Fri 07-Apr-17 21:23:50

The law has changed re foster to adopt type arrangements, and you can start adoption leave from placement, even with foster to adopt/concurrency.

However, I couldn't do FtA or concurrency with older children. "This baby may or may not become your sibling", it's just not fair.

nic386 Fri 07-Apr-17 21:27:55

Thanks everyone for your advice. This lo has been subject to neglect and violence also. There was also definitely alcohol use as bm was hospitalised while pregnant due to this. I really wish there was a crystal ball. I believe myself and oh could be parents to lo but I'm desperately trying to weigh up the impact on bc.

Rosieandtim Fri 07-Apr-17 21:30:34

There is no crystal ball.

So, you have to be sure you can take the worst case scenario. In concurrency, that includes handing the baby back to the very family that hurt them.

itsbeenaverylongweek Fri 07-Apr-17 22:54:56

Just realised I'd read your post on LM about this. I have no useful advice as no experience of either but wanted to wish you luck whatever you decide flowers

donquixotedelamancha Fri 07-Apr-17 23:37:57

"The law has changed re foster to adopt type arrangements, and you can start adoption leave from placement, even with foster to adopt/concurrency."

Good to know. When was that? We were pretty recent and it was a no go.

"However, I couldn't do FtA or concurrency with older children. "This baby may or may not become your sibling", it's just not fair."

That's a damn good point.

Rosieandtim Sat 08-Apr-17 10:24:59

It did change recently, perhaps last year?
"You’re entitled to adoption pay and leave from when the child comes to live with you."

user1491148352 Sun 09-Apr-17 12:18:17

OP - I would think long and hard about the potential impact on your BC. I was brought up in a family which included two adoptees who developed significant behavioral issues in their teens. It made my life and that of my other siblings pretty miserable. My parents were not equipped to deal with the fall out. Years later, my parents having died, we are still coping with the impact of my parents' decision to adopt those children - think substance abuse, nieces and nephews with drug/behavioural problems. It is not just your life that will be affected.

nic386 Sun 09-Apr-17 13:40:05

Thank you. That's the exact reason I'm asking these questions now. I'd be devastated if my bc grew up and said they wished we'd never adopted. If I don't think it's right for them then it won't be happening. Fortunately I also have a social worker who is of the same mind set. It's certainly narrowed our search criteria but we'd rather wait and make the right decision for everyone x

Revoce Mon 19-Jun-17 19:14:55

Hi ni386,
Please go very carefully. On our adopter's form, it states that we are not approved for a child with complex needs. Thanks to non-disclosure about maternal drinking by the placing authority, 4 years later we have found out our daughter has FASD. We are at breaking point and we are both very ill trying to cope with her disability and her behaviour. I'm hanging on by a thread daily. When she is at home from school we live from moment to moment, either trying to persuade her to do the right thing, or dealing with the fall out of her extreme behaviour. At times we glimpse her as a lovely, sweet and really charming little girl, but mostly her symptoms are so bad that she is unable to cope in our world and we can't cope in hers.

I wish you all the best with your adoption, but do go carefully.

feelingoldandtired Mon 19-Jun-17 20:15:28

Could you not tell your children you ate foatering this baby for now and that she may stay long term but you are not sure x

If Mam if a drug user and has been hospitalised I wouldn't think there would be a chance she will be returned to bm. So I'd be asking about the wider family and have these been assessed. Has there been any previous children's and what was the outcome of these ?

Mama1980 Tue 20-Jun-17 07:56:45

My youngest was born addicted and went through withdrawal at birth, her bm is an addict who abused drugs and alcohol throughout her pregnancy.
I can't help wth the concurrent planning as I already had custody of youngest elder sister and by relinquished dd into my card the day she was born, she was adopted by the time she was 7 months. But my situation there was very unusual.
As far as being born addicted goes, dd suffered horribly through withdrawal and for the best part of 2 literally couldn't be put down, she had that awful keening cry and needed my reassurance at all times.She also has developed a seizure disorder. But she is beautiful and funny and developmentally on schedule and just like any other 3 year old in many ways. Who knows what the further holds FASD is by its very nature uncertain. I adopted her with another adopted child and two birth sons, it wasn't an easy decision but I don't regret it for a second nor would I do anything differently.
Uncertainty I'm afraid is the name of the game and every child is different.
If you do consider this I'd advise getting as much medical info and assessments as possible (depending on lo age) you'll need to fight for the help they will need.
If I can help in any way feel free to ask questions.

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