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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.

Has anybody adopted who has a biological child

(26 Posts)
lostitoday Thu 11-Jun-09 20:05:52

Hi
I can,t have any more children due to an early menopause and I am having trouble coming to terms with it.
I have thought about adoption but I am worried about shattering my ds's existence.
He is 8 and of course in that time he will have got used to being on his own and of having me and his dad to himself.
I am open to having a baby to a child up to the age of 7.
However what if the child has behavioural problems emotional issues and it disrupts my ds's world.
I am not saying that I don,t want to deal with any issues that a child may have I think it could be a rewarding challenge but I would be worried for my ds how he would cope etc.
Just wondering if anyone has done this despite having one biological child and how did their child take to it.

hester Thu 11-Jun-09 22:17:30

Hi lostit. I have a 3 year old birth child and am currently being assessed to adopt. My experience is that social services are very aware of the possible implications for your child - they have a duty of care to him, too, and will want to interview him as part of the process and be certain this will be good for him too. They will want any child they place with you to be at least a couple of years younger than your son. You will be given every opportunity to say what kinds of things you can cope with, and IME there is no pressure to sign up for a child with problems you can't cope with. Having said which, it is unrealistic to expect no problems with an adopted child.

It is very, very nerve-wracking, isn't it? But why don't you contact an adoption agency and discuss it with them? The process gives you loads of information and opportunities to discuss your concerns, and of course you can pull out at any time.

Our social worker has been lovely and very supportive. She has lent us books and videos about adoption when you have a birth child; she has given us children's books about adoption to give to our daughter; and she has put us in touch with other parents of birth children who have adopted.

chegirl Thu 11-Jun-09 22:25:58

Hello,

I have an adopted child and had two birth children at the time.

Because your child is 8 you would be unlikely to be approved for a child older than 4-6 (depending on agency policies). Unless things have changed most agencies want the adopted child to be quite a bit younger than the youngest birth child.

As Hester says, you will have lots of time to look into all the implications and challenges of adoption. You will not be forced into anything you dont feel ready for.

I think its worth ringing around and making those intial enquiries.

Good luck.

shockers Thu 11-Jun-09 22:28:04

My son was 12 when we adopted. Things are fine now ( he's 21) but it's been a rocky road at times. Can I suggest the younger the better? I know that there are older children who need homes too but if they are adopted and it breaks down, that can be devastating for all concerned. We got my son at birth ( very unusual but we were foster carers) and my daughter at 3. Dd came with attachment issues which are much better now (8 years later) but she is by no means easy to have around. We love her dearly but wish we could have got to her sooner for all our sakes.

chegirl Thu 11-Jun-09 22:43:36

Hi Shockers.

My DS was 8 weeks old. We fostered him for two years before adoption.

He is 6 now. I strongly suspect attachement difficulties (if not actual disorder). Did you get your DD assessed? (if you dont mind me asking).

hester Thu 11-Jun-09 23:02:43

chegirl, do you mind me asking about that? How is it possible to get attachment disorder within 8 weeks? (Not doubting you, just really interested.)

hester Thu 11-Jun-09 23:04:29

lostit, also want to express my sympathy with your early menopause. That must be really shocking. Be aware that social services will also want to be sure you have processed your grieving on that and are ready to move on. So it is owrth using this time to get whatever support you need to help you resolve your (understandable) grief.

shockers Thu 11-Jun-09 23:12:24

Hi chegirl,
Don't mind you asking at all!
It was picked up pretty quickly with DD. She has a strong desire to control any situation she is in esp when unsure of who IS in control. She also gets hyper-aroused. Luckily the psychologist at CAMHS had experience with attachment and identified it. After Adoption ( an adoption charity that you have possibly heard of?) run a course on the effects of attachment issues/ disorder which is brilliant. It's called SAFE.I thoroughly recommend it for ANY adoptive parent. DD has actually got attachment disorder but, as I said, things are much better than they were. It is damage that can be rectified but very slowly and with lots of patience. There have been physical changes in her brain... we've seen the scans!

shockers Thu 11-Jun-09 23:16:05

hester,

Very possible. Mums with post natal depression who don't bond with their babies immediately can have children with attachment issues. Those early weeks are absolutely vital.

hester Thu 11-Jun-09 23:29:51

Thanks for that, shockers. It makes it even more of a tragedy how long it takes to get children through the care system and into an adoptive home, doesn't it?

shockers Thu 11-Jun-09 23:36:45

It does... and that is a major source of frustration for both foster carers and adopters. In my humble opinion, too much priority is given to the rights of birth parents who, in many cases just don't deserve it. More priority should be given to the mental health and wellbeing of the children. I realise that was a pretty sweeping statement but I did say in many cases... not in all.

jenny60 Fri 12-Jun-09 09:46:33

Hi,
I am in a similar situation, having a 5 year old bs and now in the middle of the home study. It is a HUGE decision, but what we have decided to do is to take things slowly, think through every step very carefully as we go and not to agree to take a child we think we can't cope with. This may mean that we don't adopt in the end. That would be v sad, but better than being dishonest about what we can cope with and, more importantly, what our son can deal with. Our sw is being very good about this and they do seem to agree that the best child for us and for our bs is one with as few obvious problems as possible. The problem is, as you will see if you read more of these boards, even tiny babies or older children who are described as 'well attached' can develop very significant problems as they grow. That's the risk we face. It's one thing to take this on as adults, but another to take it on on behalf of a 5 year old. There is no easy answer.

One of the best things we did was to get in touch wtih our local Adoption UK contact who put us in touch with some local families who were or had been in a similar situation. It may have been a coincidence, but the stories we heard first hand were much more positive than the ones I have read about here and on the Adoption UK message boards.
Good luck. J

shockers Fri 12-Jun-09 16:05:16

There is a very good book on the subject of attachment which really makes you think about the child's perspective. It's called "Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control." It's by Heather T. Forbes.

I want to stress that we don't regret adopting our DD but we do wish we had found her earlier.

We have had no problems whatsoever with the adoption of our DS who came to us on the day of his birth.I held him a lot during the first months... I have since heard that physical touch helps immensely unfortunately, older children don't always feel comfortable with touch. The SAFE course I mentioned yesterday covers touch.

chegirl Fri 12-Jun-09 21:14:33

Thanks shockers. I am glad to hear that you have been able to do such good work with DD smile

Hester I dont mind you asking at all smile. Although DS was so young when he came to us he had already suffered a lot of neglect. B.mum did not hold him v.much and when she did she almost dropped him and handled him roughly. She didnt feed him properly to such an extent that he lost a dangerous amount of weight. He was smaller than my DS3's birth weight when he got to us (despite being bigger than DS3 when he was born that is).

We fostered him for some time. During this period the court award 4 contact sessions per week of 4 hours each. We lived in a different borough. Consequently DS would be picked up by contact worker and taken to contact centre. There he would see birth mum. Then he would be bought home. This process took up most of the day.

Problems with this (apart from the bloody obvious)
Different contact workers for different days.
He could be asleep with me, wake up with contact worker, fall asleep, wake up with social worker and birth mum, fall asleep and wake up in car with contact worker, sleep and then wake up with me!

Mum would often be late or not turn up. Instead of bringing him straight home they would keep him hanging about for long periods 'just incase'.

When she did turn up she wouldnt do anything with him. She would sit looking at him. Then she would get taken down the shops so she didnt get bored and kick off.

This went on for at least 18mths.

Then when things calmed down for the poor little thing disaster stuck. My DD was diagnosed with luekemia and I had to be away with her for a long stretches. Often leaving in the middle of the night.

That went on for 2 years and then we lost DD. DS adored her.

DD's illness and our absence couldve only served to reinforce the damage done by DS's early neglect sad

So the poor little bugger has been let down by everyone, including us.

Considering all this,he is bloody brilliant.

He shows quite a few signs of attachement problems. He has always been pretty controlling, even as a teeny.

He is clingy and anxious. He asks me every day if I will pick him up from school (like I have ever forgotten him!)

He is v.distructive, even of things he loves. He doesnt have a single toy that isnt broken

He 'steals' food. A lot.

He sabotages things. If things are going well he is v.likely to throw a huge tantrum for no reason.

He gets very excitable to the point he really cannot cope and breaks down.

I cant think of everything now but there are lots of things.

He has learning difficulties so it can be hard to pick apart what is what IYSWIM.

He is super lovely though grin

hester Fri 12-Jun-09 21:53:35

chegirl, that sounds devastating - for all of you. I'm so glad your son has you - and you have him. Thank you for explaining to me. It is devastating what children go through, isn't it? It's a very odd feeling that somewhere out there may be a child I will one day (hopefully soon) adopt. It's a very sad feeling that s/he may be suffering sad

chegirl Fri 12-Jun-09 22:14:20

Thank you hester.

I hope you find your child and they find you.

Although 'on paper' my DS may look difficult and damaged, he is wonderful and funny and loving and perfect.

So keep that in mind wink

Best of luck.

hester Fri 12-Jun-09 22:28:06

Thanks chegirl smile

jenny60 Sat 13-Jun-09 15:02:17

Thanks from me too: you are amazingly strong to have come through this, you all are and I just hoped I can be as strong for my ac when s/he comes along.
J

jenny60 Sat 13-Jun-09 15:03:20

Oh, sorry I forgot to say that I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter. I cannot even begin to imagine how devastating that must be,

chegirl Sat 13-Jun-09 17:28:44

Thank you jenny.

I dont know about strong. Not much choice really.

But I AM very determined. Thats incredibly important when you adopt (but I expect you have learnt that much already) grin

I wish everyone on this thread all the very best. I cant wait to hear how everything goes.

misspollysdolly Sat 13-Jun-09 20:51:39

Just to add my two penn'orth, we adopted DD (now 9) 6 year ago and have gone on to have two birth children (boys aged nearly 4 and 18 months). Life is interesting!

chegirl Sat 13-Jun-09 23:57:21

May I ask?

How did DD cope with b children's arrival?

I was a bit worried when I had DS3. I wondered if DS2 would feel pushed out. In fact it seems to have 'sandwiched' him in IYSWIM. I have an older son, DS (Adopted) then DS3.

DS2 loves being a big bro.

misspollysdolly Mon 15-Jun-09 23:40:25

Our experience has been similar to yours chegirl in that having the boys seems to have sort of 'cemented' her in to the family, even though there were the obvious concerns on our part about whether she would feel pushed out or separate to the rest of the family. That said, it can sometimes be the root of some pretty searching questions and a stark reminder that they were and are my babies but DD was not - in quite the same way at any rate.

The summer when I was pretty newly pregnant with DS2, DD was particularly unsettld and difficult, but this also conincided with the change from infants to juniors, so who knows what the real issue was - she certainly voiced then that she thought we loved DS1 ore than her and we had to do some fairly straight talking with her. Mostly however, it has been a positive experience. DD has a degree of attachment disorder which isn't always easy to live with and sometimes I feel not only the responsibility of trying to do a good job of raising her, but also a great responsibility that we have brought two little boys into this situation too - they one day will come to know about DD's background and the concept of adoption which is, as yet, unknown to them.

No-one though can deny or take away their very genuine, very loving, very accepting sibling relationship. When DS1 was newborn, DD said to me 'Mummy, he IS my brother and I AM his sister.' That was like her statement on the subject and it remians unchanged. Not too deterred by it all, I hope I will be lucky enough to have a further birth child sometime in the future. smile

chegirl Tue 16-Jun-09 19:22:55

smile

There is no denying that my boys are proper brothers either!

The midwife made a silly funny comment. I had DS3 at home. She came to check up on me and DS2 (adopted) was at home with me and baby. She told another midwife, who later told me 'I was really shocked that he was adopted. You wouldnt have been able to tell from the way she [me] was with him!

Also - when I was pg the medics were not interested in DS2 because I had not given birth to him. He was not put on my notes. Consequently none of the midwives knew who he was! sad. It was all very upsetting and odd.

I felt like I had two invisable children. DS because of his adoption and DD because of her death. Whilst I was pg 'they' were not interested in DS but wanted to know about DD's birth , after I had the baby 'they' were interested in DS but not in DD.

BTW DS3 arrived the same week that DS started school. We couldve arranged these things better couldnt we smile?

misspollysdolly Tue 16-Jun-09 21:09:30

DS1 Arrived 12 days late on the first day on DD's 8-WEEK LONG summer holidays - now how's that for rubbish organisation...!! Had he been on time, I'd at least have had around a week to 're-group' but no...!

It's so refreshing to hear from someone else who has had birth children post-adoption (although I appreciate you had birth children either side of adopting). I have never met anyone in this position and have had several years of feeling quite unique and often quite alone. Life is not always easy with DD and my own emotions around raising her, but I often don't know where to start with talking to others. Pleased to meet you, chegirl!

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