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Adopting a child when you already have a biological child(10 Posts)
DH and I would like to adopt a child. We already have a DD who is nearly 8. We were hoping to have a second child but sadly that hasn't materialised so we are thinking about looking into adoption. We were thinking an older child of 4 or 5 would fit into our family well.
We have no concerns about the adoption process. We are aware it is lengthy and time consuming and are happy to put the effort in.
But I have two concerns.
Are we too old? - DH is 48 and I'm 47
Will we love the adopted child the same as our biological child? I would hate for the adopted child to not be as loved as our biological child. They would be treated the same but would I feel the same about them?
Hi francie, I have a bc age 11 and an ac age 7, who came to us when she was just under 1. I was 45 and dp 47 when we adopted, so your ages shouldn't be too much of a problem if you crack on. Post 50, I imagine it does get to be much more of an issue.
Your second question is the million dollar one that is probably impossible to answer. I think there is a whole range of experience here, and anything I say risks being of no value to you. I will say that I love my adopted daughter very much and she and my birth child are absolutely sisters. That doesn't mean I love them in exactly the same way. My birth child is my mini-me, very very like me in looks and personality. My adopted child is not. So I think that creates a different dynamic with the two (not that you necessarily love people more like you, obviously). Is it much different from the differing dynamics that can occur between parent and a number of birth children? I have no idea. But if you adopt a child of 4 or 5 you will get someone where not just nature but quite a bit of nurture make them different from your birth child. Will you feel the same about them? Is it necessary that you do? Is it enough for you to treat them the same and accept that the relationship dynamics are different but still full of love?
To answer your two questions:
1. You should be fine. Pretty common age at my VA. If you left it too long, you might find it harder to match with younger children (and you want one significantly younger than DC) so you might want to get cracking.
2. What you describe sometimes happens, I don't think its too common these days. Part of that long process is the prep and vetting to avoid this. DD1 I felt a visceral connection immediately, DD2 took much longer but the love grows. You know that intense protectiveness that is impossible to explain to a non parent- did you imagine you'd feel that way before your first child? I think you'll be fine.
We have just adopted a 2yr old with complex needs. We are 53 and 52 x
We have a BC age 4 and a AC age 1.5.
To start with I think the love grows differently with an adopted child. Someone once described it as more like the way love in a relationship develops as apposed to that smack in the face when BC is born.
I found that a few months in I looked at her and it hit me how much I loved her. I see her no different to our bc.
P.s. we have 3 birth children . I long term foster child (been with us 10 yrs since a baby ) and our adopted nearly 3 yr old.
I can honestly say i feel exactly the same about them all. I adore each and every one !
Is there a reason you've said a 4 or 5 year old? I'm not sure I've heard of someone with a BC adopting such an old AC (who will certainly come with short term challenges and most likely long term ones too.)
If it's because they'll already be in school or because you think it'll be a nice age gap, you probably need to do some more reading/talking and consider revising that age downwards.
I have a bio child and we have also adopted 3 more. All of ours were adopted at less than 12 months and to be honest I would have found it harder introducing an older child into the family, they are likely to be more traumatised. Not saying it can't be done I guess I just don't have that experience.
In adoption terms you are not old so as long as you get started I wouldn't imagine that would be a huge issue. At last panel I was close to turning 40 and they were all smiling saying how young we were!!!
As someone else has said the love grows differently with an adopted and bio child. You don't have the pregnancy to get ready and get excited and start to love - instead one day a child comes into your life that already has a history. A really common term in adoption is fake it till you make it - meaning just act like you love them and one day you will realise you're not faking it anymore. I can honestly say I love all of my children equally, all in different ways becaus each one is so different but there is no question as to whether we love bio child more than the others.
franciemczoo When we stopped IVF (having run out of money and me frankly hating being injected so much) I felt relief. We waited 6 months and then went through adoption and adopted our son within 20 months. He has been with us for three years.
I would not change a thing. (Except I would like all the assisted conception money we paid back!)
Our new son was three, almost four, when he joined us. Our birth dd was smitten with him on day one of meeting, we had over a week of introductions and then he moved in. The honeymoon period lasted exactly one day, the day he moved in! By day two the jealousy started and she was very jealous of him, and he (in time) learnt to be jealous of her.
Despite that they learnt to love each other!
Here is my advice, pick and choose from it as you will:
Be as open as possible when choosing who to adopt. Find a child right for your family, not the child you imagine will be right! And most of all a child for whom you are right! Be open about age and sex of the child you adopt. I really wanted a girl originally but a boy was right for our family. I wanted a baby but a three year old has been right for us.
Prepare your birth child well.
Have boundaries in place, e.g. the kids are not meant to go in each others' rooms unless invited in (our rule), and any special toys that cannot be shared are kept in their room. The toys downstairs are shared.
Do as much as you can to build connection in the early days, we did painting pots, junk modelling, trampolining, cinema visits, zoo visits, as much as we could to build connection with the kids. This doesn’t necessarily cause issues with bonding with you as parents. I think this is because your initial day to day experience are you and new child. However, at weekends and after school it is you and new child - and existing child - and maybe partner too.
So some of these times will be different from just you and new child.
The child will attach primarily to primary carer but you also want them to attach to their new sibling and new parent (if in a partnership) too.
Do not pass on any items from existing child to new child without existing child’s say so! Massive rows for us because we gave our son his sister’s special chair and apron! Really, the money you save passing things on is not worth it if your existing child does not want to pass things on!
That’s all I got, not a lot after three years! But I would echo fake it until you make it, vital.
And also I think the love is slightly different. But then I wonder if the love we feel for our kids will be different anyway, won’t it. One area is that our dd has been in our loves 12 years, four times as long as ds, so it is different. But ds is smaller, younger and that kind of makes you want to protect and care for them more!
I think adopting a child younger than your existing child (by at least two, hopefully at least three years) is always vital as you (as a parent and as a family) mostly do prioritise the younger child’s needs anyway. That means the new arrival gets the normal priority that would be expected and is not singled out as an adopted child, if that makes sense.
Thank you everyone. Your replies have been very helpful - and reassuring.
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