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Adopting new birth sibling - what to do for best?

(19 Posts)
EarnshawLintonHeathcliff Mon 03-Aug-20 04:59:39

I know there are other threads here about adopting your child's birth sibling but felt it was rude to hijack those.

I've been approached to see if I want to be considered to adopt LO's birth sibling (baby). I know it's a decision only I can make but am so torn. I want LO to grow up with a sister/brother but if I wouldn't have chosen that for LO just yet, ideally would've waited another year. But nothing is ideal is it. If I were to proceed it's likely new baby would be placed home with us within months (if not delayed by coronavirus).

LO is not yet three, has been home two years; perfectly settled and happy. My worry is that new baby will displace LO and could prove to be the wrong thing for them. In the short-term I feel now is not the best time (LO needs longer, I feel, to have undivided attention) but, long-term, growing up with sibling is potentially best. I know many adopted children have best of both worlds as they get the 1:1 attention whilst still having sibling relationship due to good relationships with adoptive parents, but know too that this is never a guarantee.

Am just so torn - wondering if anyone has been in similar position and how you factored your decision? Haven't spoken to loads of people, just my trusted circle who all say I have to decide what's best for my family (just me and LO as am single parent), trouble is I don't know what is best. Am wracked with guilt at thought of saying no, but worried my LO will be upset with attention going to sibling.

I know too that birth-mother could go on to have numerous other children but wouldn't feel conflicted in future because if I took this sibling now that would be me at capacity physically, emotionally and financially, so the future in that sense is not an issue. Just desperately trying to make the right decision now, for LO and for little sibling.

Any advice appreciated.

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smeemoo Mon 03-Aug-20 08:26:12

We are currently hoping to adopt a biological sibling.

I am really not experienced but wanted to follow this thread so that's why I'm commenting!!!

We made the decision on the basis that: 1) we can 2) we think our LO will like it. I think you can over-think these things and get yourself into a mess so we decided to go with our gut instinct. If deep down you're thinking you can't and it's not the right time, then maybe it isn't?

If your first instinct was to say yes, but you're a little worried about the way your LO will find life I would say go for it. We are desperately worried our LO will be upset by having a new baby in the family, but I think ultimately he will love it. I think there's a lot of books you can get to help prepare them.

That may not be good advice.... as I said I don't really know what I'm talking about!! Obviously not everything goes to plan and only you know exactly how your LO will react.

EarnshawLintonHeathcliff Mon 03-Aug-20 15:21:00

Hi smeemoo, hopefully someone who's been there and done it (either way) will come along and offer their experience. You're right, you sound different to me already in that you seem to have already been at the place where you decided that you wanted another child. I used to think that I did, but life with LO is so wonderful that urge has disappeared, am perfectly content with just me and LO. Can I ask how long your LO has been home for and what age gap would be between your LO and sibling? My initial reaction was 'what would be best for LO?', but am still going around in circles with that; is just timing really.

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heycorona Mon 03-Aug-20 16:11:13

I could have written this myself!

We were approached in March about a half-sibling to our LO (almost 3 now) and we said no. Lots going on with covid, our relationship, my business etc, and LO was in such a lovely place.

They emailed again last week asking if anything had changed, said baby (2 months) was still in foster care, BM is appealing etc.
We had to say no again, our reasons haven't changed (apart from our relationship being much better!), plus my OH is due to start a new job in October and he was/would have been the one taking adoption leave.

It is really really hard to know what is best for you, LO and also the baby, but you have to go with your gut.

There is no right or wrong answer, and if it is no then there are so many adopters out there who will want a baby and will love him/her.

EarnshawLintonHeathcliff Mon 03-Aug-20 17:05:19

Hi heycorona thanks for answering, and glad things have improved in your relationship; think lockdown has been a tough time for so many of us in different ways. Did it take you long to make your decision and did you feel guilty about saying no? I know there are loads out there who will love and care for this baby, I know I would myself too am just so scared of doing the wrong thing for my LO who has to be my priority in decision-making. Am worried if I say no that LO will be sad about that in future, or that we wouldn't be lucky enough to have an open relationship with baby's new family. I made decision to say no but was so sad about it. You said your LO was in such a good place, do you mind telling me what your concerns were in changing that? If you're happy to share but don't want to post publicly please PM if you prefer. Am hoping others will come along with similar experiences, particularly those who are now dealing with sibling contact as a result of saying no. I know I would love this baby too, 100%, I just have to be sure sharing attention is something LO would be ok with eventually and it's that part that I'm not sure about.

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heycorona Tue 04-Aug-20 10:56:42

Yeah, it's been tough, but I think we're getting there!

I always said I would want another if it was our sons half-sibling, but timing was just rubbish, and my OH was more 'no' than me. We talked loads but within a couple of days said it just wasn't right.

I think we were also put off a bit by the social worker who came to see us. We'd obviously been through the process before, in the same house, and she started criticising things that weren't even mentioned before, such as the width of the spindles in the stairs (she said we'd have to get a new staircase or something blocking it when it was never mentioned before by our previous senior SW!), and also said our spare room would need to be set up as a baby's room, even though she also said baby would probably be in with us for the first 6+ months.....
We were a bit 'You called US, you approached US about this, why are you making it so hard?!'. And that did put us off a lot.
We also wanted to get a kitchen extension done, but knew (because of her attitude) she wouldn't be happy about it and could even stop the process if we did it, even though the first time we had a loft extension done half way through the process, our SW was fine with it and it was finished before approval.

Our LO now has 7 half-siblings, including new baby, so our other concern was if we took this one would she have another, and then where does it stop. She also said she wanted the new baby to come to us, so what happens next time....

I think where LO has had all of our attention I was worried he might get jealous, not accept the baby etc. I know he would eventually, but I think part of us just wants to give him the best life ever, and while another baby wouldn't change that we just want him to feel he's loved and will always be our No 1.

HPFA Wed 05-Aug-20 21:26:09

How do you feel yourself about this? Do you want to be parent to another child?

Imagine someone from the future telling you that your LO would definitely not benefit from you adopting their sibling. What do you feel? Relieved? Disappointed? Now imagine them telling you the opposite. What are your feelings?

Of course you'll want to think incredibly hard about the benefits for your LO. But you need to be sure about what you want as well.

EarnshawLintonHeathcliff Fri 07-Aug-20 03:36:25

That's so frustrating to hear about how different social workers can be heycorona, I get we're all people and so everyone will be different but it's a shame with things as important as this there isn't a little more consistency I think. With the 7 other siblings, wow, I guess that number alone would be a decisive factor. I am totally with you though with just wanting to give your son the best life possible, that's all I want too, for my LO to be loved and secure and never want for anything; just have to figure out, somehow, quickly, whether that also means a sibling. Have thought a little more this past few days that birth mother could definitely have more children so even if I kept these two together there's no way I could possibly do that for any subsequent children. Gosh I wish I could be decisive!

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EarnshawLintonHeathcliff Fri 07-Aug-20 03:47:54

HPFA

How do you feel yourself about this? Do you want to be parent to another child?

Imagine someone from the future telling you that your LO would definitely not benefit from you adopting their sibling. What do you feel? Relieved? Disappointed? Now imagine them telling you the opposite. What are your feelings?

Of course you'll want to think incredibly hard about the benefits for your LO. But you need to be sure about what you want as well.

Some very good questions for me here HPFA. I guess the honest answer is, yes I do want to parent another child, just maybe not now. I'm over 40 now too so do worry about being a much older parent; feel guilty for that for my LO sometimes.

Wow though, you've posed these questions in such a good way; I think I need to think about the feelings aspect of it as my initial response was that if I knew how it would impact negatively on my LO for definite then my answer was an immediate no; if it was positive, a yes; it would simply inform my decision. I just responded with answers, not feelings. Such a good way to put it, am pondering as we speak; I think relieved for now as the timing really isn't ideal for me personally, yet disappointed overall. Ever had that feeling where it's one of the biggest decisions of your life but you want somebody to make it for you already! confused I'm driving myself insane. sad

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Bananacloud Wed 19-Aug-20 15:26:16

Gosh! I don’t mean to make hard decisions you made even worse.. but on the likely/unlikely event of your child finding out you could’ve adopted their baby sister or brother and you declined destroy your relationship?!
Obviously you must’ve considered this before making the decision. But still, it will be heartbreaking moment for all those involved.

EarnshawLintonHeathcliff Fri 21-Aug-20 16:27:38

Hi Bananacloud there would be no likely/unlikely about it, my child would know as I am (age appropriately) completely open with LO about adoption. I have, of course, considered how they would view my decision, it's something I have agonised over. I think it destroying my relationship with LO is a bit strong though.

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isadoradancing123 Fri 21-Aug-20 21:04:35

Never underestimate how powerful sibling love can be, esp when , unfortunately parents get old and die

smeemoo Sat 22-Aug-20 06:30:08

I'm sorry, but the OP has adopted a child and has no obligation to adopt a sibling, and should not be made to feel guilty about any decision made here.

Should OP feel guilty if she does adopt the sibling and can't afford to look after them, therefore has a reduced quality of life for all? When can the OP start saying no to children, or should she just adopt all 12 of the future birth siblings that may be born?

It was not the OP's choice to have a second child and nobody should be forced into it so I'm finding the last few comments a bit ridiculous!!!!!!

I'm sure that if the OP is able to, they will facilitate contact between biological siblings so that they have a relationship when the OP is old and dead (sorry OP........!).

ivfdreaming Sat 22-Aug-20 06:48:26

OP says she'd like another child just not yet. I'm
Not sure I'd be able to forgive my mother if she passed on a biological sibling but decided to adopt a non related sibling down the road?

GreyGoose1980 Sat 22-Aug-20 07:31:26

I don’t think you can base your decision on some hypothetical future reaction from LO. Yes they may be sad in future that you didn’t adopt their bio sibling. However the flip side is they may be resentful that you did as they may struggle sharing the attention. Or alternatively you may adopt a future bio sibling in a couple of years anyway and you can’t adopt them all!

You need to decide what is best for you and LO now / in the immediate future based on LO’s current needs and your financial and emotional ability to parent a new baby now vs when LO is a bit older. There is no right answer OP, but please don’t feel guilt into making a decision either way. Biology is only one factor - sibling love can easily grow without a genetic link.

Whatever you decide will be the best thing for LO. Most people grow up to know their parents aren’t always able to make perfect decisions but loved them.

heycorona Sat 22-Aug-20 08:38:39

I think some of the comments to OP are a little unfair. This is a hard enough decision without the added guilt trip from strangers.
I’ve been there, still don’t know if we made the right decision, but as others have said, what if birth Mum has another....then another....then another....should we take all of them?! We didn’t sign up to take all blood related children that come along, we sign up to give the child we adopt the best life we can.
So please don’t make OP feel any worse than they already probably feel.

GreyGoose1980 Sat 22-Aug-20 09:24:31

OP - realised my first post was a bit blunt - hope you still read it as supportive of you and non judgemental. Was just trying to say whatever decision you make will be the right one as it will have been made with LO’s best interests at heart. flowers

Jellycatspyjamas Sat 22-Aug-20 18:45:57

Never underestimate how powerful sibling love can be, esp when , unfortunately parents get old and die

What utter nonsense, I have 4 siblings two of whom I have a passing relationship - despite my mum getting old and dying. No one can say how a child might or might not feel about adopting a subsequent sibling, in the sane way as no one can predict the impact of bringing another birth child into a family.

While the desire to parent is heartfelt, I think the realities of adoption mean entering into the process from a head screwed on place. What would be the practical, financial, work, parenting implications on the OP, and her child. Do they have enough space in the house, would they need a new car etc or all of the baby kit again, could they afford childcare or to stop work if the child needed additional care.

Not romantic, or feel good but very necessary thinking - parenting two traumatised children is a completely different ball game than parenting one. It needs proper consideration - if she decides not to go ahead, that’s something for her to talk about when her child at the right time.

Not sure I'd be able to forgive my mother if she passed on a biological sibling but decided to adopt a non related sibling down the road?

They would be related though, in exactly the same way the OP and her child are now.

EarnshawLintonHeathcliff Sun 23-Aug-20 03:07:29

GreyGoose1980 no worries, absolutely read it as supportive, thank you. Thanks too to those of you countering the guilt-inducing comments, they helped so very much. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion on an open forum, indeed that's part of the reason people post - to have varied comments and viewpoints. Within that though I also think a bit of consideration as to how we air our views is important, let's just say younger me would've been devastated at someone saying I was 'destroying' my relationship with my child or that I would never be 'forgiven' for making the wrong decision, when there's ultimately no right or wrong here. Which is why it was such a difficult decision to make in the first place.

As others have stated here sibling relationships vary greatly, I have siblings I'm incredibly close to and others not so. My decision is documented for my LO so whether they end up growing up separately from a sibling and having diffcult emotions from that, or grow up with a sibling they have a fractious relationship with, or indeed, grow up with either option and are totally at peace with it, LO will know it was a decision that was made in their best interests, in their sibling's best interests, and was one made with love. I would, also, like to think that LO will be raised to have empathy, understanding and consideration for others, myself included. So, hopefully, there will be no 'hating' involved, irrespective of my decision; just as LO is also being raised not to 'hate' their birth mother for continuing to have children without fully appreciating the impact on LO and subsequent siblings.

I won't say what I ultimately decided here in case anyone in a similar predicament reads this in months/years to come and is inadvertently influenced by me. But it's one that I have absolutely agonised over and which has naturally taken into account almost every viewpoint and consideration expressed here so it's been reassuring to see others have had similar thought processes to my own.

But thank you so much to those of you who have been honest, balanced and considered in your responses. To those whose responses did come across (possibly unintentionally) as guilt-tripping I pray that you never find yourselves having to make decisions as emotive as this; maybe they're not as straightforward as you seem to think, but I do thank you for your honesty.

My favourite comment though has to be Jellycatpyjamas...'They would be related though, in exactly the same way the OP and her child are now'. My sentiments exactly, thank you.

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