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Ideal child form

(45 Posts)
Italiangreyhound Fri 04-Jan-13 21:49:55

We have been asked to fill in an ideal child form. As in part of a loss workshop, the child we did not have either because of infertility or loss.

Just reading through it brought tears to my eyes. Even though I had thought many things had been dealt with, and in many ways have. It reminded me of things I had forgotten.

Has anyone else filled in one and would be willing to share or to PM me, please?

It's kind of hard because it might depend which child they are asking about! The child that I miscarried very early on, or the child I hoped to adopt 6 years ago when we first thought about adoption, or the child I hoped to have had during the IUI treatment or during the IVF treatment, ? Etc etc. I am not sure they are the same child! The gender, the ethnicity and the age might all be different! So maybe I do not have an ideal child! From the point of view of adoption this might seem easier but I don't want the social workers to think I am avoiding the issues!

Any advice, please?

Thanks so much.

junowiththegladrags Fri 04-Jan-13 22:10:22

I've not had to do anything like this Italian but I'd say describe your ideal child as they would be now, i.e. if someone could hand you over a baby/child tonight what would they be?
Hopefully someone with a bit more knowledge will come along soon.

Good to see things moving on for you. Best of luck.

Italiangreyhound Fri 04-Jan-13 22:33:30

Thanks so much.

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 16:05:32

I suspect it's less about age etc, as obviously any child changes their age and most parenst don't care that much about gender. I think it's more about how you imagine the child will be throughout their childhood and into teenaged years and youg adulthood.

For example, people sometimes post on here saying stuff like "we are a wonderful loving family, we are so busy and active, we do sport, hike, play the guitar together, camp, -wouldn't we be the perfect family to adopt, we have so much to offer a child? " .

thing is, is, it's fairly unlikely that an adopted child will come from a birth family who do all this , nor are they likely to have done it in foster care. So there's a pretty good chance they will not enjoy doing all the stuff your wonderful family now does. And even if they belive they might like it, they might not be able to stop themselves sabotaging it. Camping might trigger frightening memories for them. They probably haven't learned the perseverance required to learn musical instrument. Their social worker might not let you take them camping anyway as its not been risk assessed.etc etc

And yes of course, I know that any birth child might not enjoy these things. But they are much much more likely to, because they have the genetic and personality similarity and they've been doing it from an early age. Plus they are much more likely just to go along with things than a child who has lived elsewhere and experinced other lifestyles

I know you have a child already and IIRC, one with a stong personality. What will you do if a new child doesn't want to join in the activities that you do together now? If they want a totally diffenet kind of diet? Want to watch different tv? Have different values and ambitions?

Many adoptive families have educational qualifications and good jobs. They want that for their adopted children. Odds are that the child comes from a background without these things. They may have learning difficulties. They might see no value in education. How will that be for you? How will you feel if your other child goes to university and your youger one leaves school at 16 and goes onto the dole? If your neighbours, friends and family belive you are treating them differently because they are "not your own".

What if a child rejects your political , religious or moral frame work?( This is a question often asked of paremst who practice a religion, but my experince is that in fact some of the most militant believers are agnostics or atheists, who insist that their children must not be taught anything of other belief systems ) .
Will you miss church every other week because the child doesn't want to go?

Teenaged years -mental health problems and addictions have a genetic link. Your adopted teen is more vulnerable to these things. You will get less help than bio parenst in the same situation. How will you cope?

Etc etc. etc

sorry if this sounds so negative but I'm afraid an exercise about loss will inevitably bring up difficult feelings

VerityPushpram Sat 05-Jan-13 16:32:47

Could I ask you to expand on something Kristina? When you said 'You will get less help than bio parenst in the same situation.' Why would an adoptive parent get less help?

Italiangreyhound Sat 05-Jan-13 16:48:19

Thanks Krsitina. I have filled it in and tried to be totally truthful and any thoughts that come up. I am sure they will ask me all those type of questions. It is kind of hard because it is setting up to say how you think your birth child (had you had another etc) woudl look and act etc and as I fill it in I want to also say that yes I know an adopted child won't look or act that way etc but it's kind of an exercise to go through. It's also hard because had our attempts to increase our family succeeded thus far the child could look or act quite differently whenever we had succeded! The activities (yes, it does ask about them) I put were fairly straight forward, walking, swimming, watching films etc, and any one of them could be scarificed or suspended if necessary. Hopefully we will use the form as a talking point and progress from there.

Thanks for your input.

Yes, I too am curious, why would an adoptive parent get less support?

AngelsWithSilverWings Sat 05-Jan-13 17:07:14

We did this in our workshop. It was on the same day that we had to describe a loss we had experienced.

It was quite an informal thing in our workshop and was kind of sprung on us. They asked us to write a physical description of the child or children we imagine having and also to think of a name.

I remember writing about a girl and a boy and giving them both the names that we had been thinking about calling the baby that I had miscarried.

At the end of the session we were told that we wouldn't be matched with a child that had one of those names as they didn't want us to see the child as a replacement child. I remember being really upset bout that at the time. I just imagined that this perfect child with a perfect name would come up and DH and I would be prevented from adopting them. Seems silly to me now looking back but at the time you worry and worry about every single thing!

funnychic Sat 05-Jan-13 17:11:17

Hi Italian hope it's all going well. I was asked to do the same, not on prep course but on my homestudy by my assessing sw. She wanted me to be 'idealistic' so I based it on exactly that, although I knew that the type of child I would end up matched with would most likely been far from my ideal notion. So for instance I said, a girl, aged 2yrs, blonde hair, blue eyes, girly type of girl enjoys pink and sparkly, likes swimming and parks......your get the drift... you can put anything your heart desires, the gist of the exercise is to show you that in reality you can love a child that doesn't fit your ideals. It will all make sense as you start doing the exercise.
Hope that helps. x

Lilka Sat 05-Jan-13 17:27:23

I guess it means imagine a child in your head, as they might have been had fertility treatments succeeded, because your form mentions you don't have this child because of infertility. But maybe it means imagining your 'perfect/ideal' adoptive child.

I think the majority of people certainly imagine their future children in their heads and have a certain image - maybe they have imagined their childs appearance or age or name or themselves doing family activities etc. Which I think is fine as long as you also realise that that image is very unlikely to come true and real life will never be the same as imaginary life, and as long as you are prepared to consider children who might be quite different to your mental image of a child (I think mental images only become a problem when they take over and if you become fixated with them).

I certainly had a mental image of my future child in my head by the end of homestudy. She was a brown haired little girl aged about 6 who was small for her age, with big blue eyes, and she and I read bedtime stories together and had magical family christmas's. Her name was Rose. The thing is, I knew full well this was my imagination taking off, that I would never be matched with a 6 year old girl called Rose, who looked like that and loved reading. She was just a motivational image conjured up by my brain. I was fully prepared to consider children all through my age range (3-12) of any appearance etc. And I brought home a blonde 10 year old who is not small for her age and whose name is definitely not Rose, and doesn't enjoy reading that much. That was 100% fine, because whilst I had loved dreaming of my imaginary child, I wasn't hung up on that image and was ready to welcome a very different child home.

But loss is very present in adoption, and it's important, if you need to, to grieve for the biological child you haven't been able to have, and maybe writing down details of this missing child will help process it all

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 17:31:11

Perhaps it woudl be easier to think not about you ideal bio child but your ideal adopted child.

IME adoptive parenst generally get less help and more blame for a number of reasosn

Some friends and family think that they brought it on themselves

soem professionals see possible abuse as the root of every problem and as a-parents are not bio parenst, they belive they are more likely to be abusers. In addition, many belive abuse or neglect that happened in the early years won't affect the child, so if the child is displaying signs later, it must be recent abuse.

Many psychosocial and behavioural problems of adoptive children are caused by attachment issues, and they often only manifest with the parents ( often the mother). As the kids are fine in school /brownies/dancing, it's assumed that the parents caused the problem

Some professional ( mainly Sw) believe that problems with adopted children are caused by the adopters " inability to come to terms with their own infertility" . Hence the massive emphasis on this in preparation groups /courses

A-parenst often live in areas where resources are scarce . Schools may have little experince of children with behavioural problems and low tolerance

They are often middle class and financially comfortable so are not seen as priorities or "deserving"

They often piss off profesionals by reading up on the Internet, joining support groups and campaigning for help for their child, rather than presenting as " grateful" for what they get .sometimes they ar brighter and more informed about the subject that the professionals they are dealing with, which pisses them off even more.

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 17:37:01

I have to say I think the whole" we won't match you with a child called rose" is plain silly.

Because names are closely related to class in this country. Very few adoptive parenst woudl choose the kid of names most adoptable children have.

Also because if a match was perfect in every way, why woudl it nt go ahead just because of a name??? Bloody stupid in I M not very HO

Though Ido knwo a family where the a -parenst were John and Mary, their bio son was also John and they adopted a boy called John. The SS reluctantly agreed to let them change his name LOL. [not their real names obv]

BTW I write LOL because it wasn't SS decision to make as they didn't have parental rights for the child

Italiangreyhound Sat 05-Jan-13 19:35:22

Thanks so much for all your help. I thin the reason I found it hard at first is because I really don't have an imaginary real child in mind, and when we tried to expand family we tried with my eggs with IUI, we looked into adoption overseas and we tried with donor eggs so the child could look quite like us or quite different from us and could be almost any age! Maybe in terms of adopting I do have an image of the kind of child I might like but it just seems cruel to be set up to fail... tell us what you like so we can tell you can't have it! I am aware enough to know that I love all kinds of kids, I love my nephews, my god children, my friends kids. I hope I will be able to love a child placed in our care regardless of what they look like etc! BUT I can see this is all part of the process, a kind of deconstruction of our dreams and a reconstruction of the reality of the life this child has come from and the totally new life they will create with us. I hope!

What if they are mad on trains and only want to eat burgers!! I will survive, and I hope I will thrive but I guess I am hoping the SWs will help me with all this adjustment. So far they have been very nice and nothing has been sprung on us, which is very good. I would have to say my limited experience so far is very good. The two doing are training so far included an adoptive mum who shared her story and was lovely.

Thanks ladies for your support. I am excited and raring to go, if I have to stop going for walks and start train spotting, I will be ready.

Italiangreyhound Sat 05-Jan-13 19:38:39

PS that sounds very me me me centred! Sorry, of course the one who we really hope will survive and thrive is the little one we get to parent, they will be the key one. As I get older ironically I am more open to change than I was, although perhaps more risk averse, no more bungee jumps!

Any other thoughts welcome, I want to learn and I want to be prepared.

THANK YOU thanks thanksthanksthanksthanksthanksthanks

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 20:00:52

It doesn't sounds me centered at all. This is about the losses you have experinced and will do , but it's important work for the future. It's easy to focus on what a child looks like, but this isn't a deal breaker for most people. I've never heard of an adoption breaking down because of it! It's usually because of the difficult behaviours that the child exhibits and their inability to attach to the adoptive parenst.

This is not a train spotting vs walking situation. It's about how you woudl cope if a child couldn't handle eg going to the shops or visiting your family or having other children over to your house. How woudl it affect your older child if they coudl never have friends over to the house because their younger sibling was insufferable.

It's not about the normal life's and dislikes or personality differences that face most families. It's about the special difficulties that are not run of the mill, and your have little chance of encountering unless you adopt, as they are unlikely to be issues for your family and friends, but they are often issues for adopted children.

How will you cope if an adopted child rejects you completely but is overly affectionate with everyone else ? While they all tell you what a lovely child she is and how lucky you are. And when you share your experinces and feelings you friends tell you that you are being too harsh or expecting too much . And your Dh tells you to lighten up and be more loving.

You say burgers all the time isn't a problem. Really? if your older child has to sit and eat her vegetables while youger sibling gets a burger? You can only go out for a meal if burgers are on the menu? You have to take a burger with your when you go to eat at your friends house? The doctor and dentist give you a row for your child's un healthy diet? You have to give up your job so that your child can coem home from school each day for lunch as the school don't serve burgers every day ? The school threaten to report you to SS?

I'm not sure you are thinking through the reality of these issues. I hope you will never have to face them. But considering some of this is part of the process.

shockers Sat 05-Jan-13 20:01:06

They often piss off profesionals by reading up on the Internet, joining support groups and campaigning for help for their child, rather than presenting as " grateful" for what they get .sometimes they ar brighter and more informed about the subject that the professionals they are dealing with, which pisses them off even more.

I just made the dog jump when I shouted an involuntary "HA!" at that.

How very (and unfortunately) right you are Kristina.

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 20:07:17

One last point then I will shut up -you say you hope the child will create a new life with you.

One of the major difficulties is that most children adopted as toddlers or older don't WANT to create a new life. While their past may not have been ideal or even acceptable, it's all they have known. Their subconscious need is to recreate the life they have known in the past with you. Often that involves a lot of chaos , drama, fights, moves, lack of routine,constant change of carer. Just the opposite of what you plan to give them. = problem

KristinaM Sat 05-Jan-13 20:08:20

LOL at shockers poor dog

Italiangreyhound Sat 05-Jan-13 22:03:58

Thanks Kristina yes, you have pointed out quite rightly that I have not really engaged with the issues. I will try more. The train spotting and burgers comment was meant to be flippant. I guess the burger issue is a real one to some extent but my understanding is that kids do change diet in time and I guess I would do my best to work with them, giving them what they at the right time if able to (by this I mean my own DD has a sightly different diet to us because she wants it but ironically hers is super healthy as she loves vegetables!). I think we would hope eventually that somewhere we would be able to live a family life together. We have discussed (DH and I) what would happen if I had to give up work to educate a new child at home (as my friend did with her birth child when encountering problems at school).

*Anyone, just out of interest are these worst case scenarios or are they things all adoptive parents have to deal with? I only know three people in real life wh have adopted (aside from you guys I mean) and they did not seem to have to deal with such huge issues. I agree one needs to be ready, but I am not completely sure how I can be ready for something I don't know it will be, except going through all the scenarios.

It would be devistating to have a child who did not like me but liked everyone else, I guess I would seek some counselling and help to work it through.

As far as a creating a new life I guess we would have no choice but to do that. I could not (would not) want to reacreate a life of chaos and if we did that the child would probably be taken off us (we would not do that) and of course life would never be same as a family again. I have thought about this a bit, a fair bit, how will DD feel, will she resent the new child etc etc. Will my marriage suffer? How will we all support each other etc.

I will really try in the prep group to take all these things on board, anyone who can offer advice on how to solve the problem of trying to create that calm place for a child who has come from chaos and wants to go back to chaos, please do jump in and advise me. I really do want to be prepared, if my answers seem flippant, I am not unaware of the enormity of what we are undertaking.

Thank you again.

Frankee Sat 05-Jan-13 22:50:53

Don't want to scare you to death but Imop Kristina is bang on with all she says
😔Italian .

shockers Sat 05-Jan-13 22:53:02

I would never seek to discourage anyone from adopting, but it really does help to be as informed and prepared as possible and you sound like you are doing your utmost to be in that position. Although the theory won't always prepare you for your own feelings, it will help you to understand why your child does what he or she does and then it will be far less difficult to take it personally when he or she appears to want everyone but you... although that won't necessarily happen.

DD used to go to anyone but me and it really hurt, it also (wrongly) made me think that anyone else would do a better job of being her mum. Had it not been for the fact that we also had her brother and had bonded wonderfully with him, I would have questioned our ability to parent at all.

I'm pleased to say that 11 years on, we finally feel like we're getting somewhere! DD comes to me to talk about what excites her, or when she's upset. She no longer publicly rejects me in favour of just about anybody else when we're out. We have been to Clinical Psychology together and I've had counselling. It's been a long haul and I'm sure we're not completely out of the woods yet (what parent of a 14 year old is?), but we feel things becoming more relaxed all the time.

I know I haven't answered your original question, but in response to your last paragraph, we just remained clear, calm (as possible) and firm about our house rules. We removed DD from situations where she, and we were becoming stressed with her behaviour (we've left a lot of social gatherings and restaurants) and gave her quiet, specific praise when she got it right (she couldn't cope with people being pleased with her at first). We experimented with flavours and foods, as she was a McDonalds burger and chips child, and involved her in growing, shopping and preparation when she was calm. She looked forward to this and slowly, different food tasting became a treat, as did cooking.

DD has attachment disorder, DS doesn't. Both adopted, same birth family.

Best of luck on your journey!

Italiangreyhound Sat 05-Jan-13 22:59:13

Shockers thank you so much that is really good to hear. Well done for you and your DD and whole family. It is encouraging to know. The more I read and understand the more I feel prepared and also feel that there are reasons for things and that can help one to find the answers. Our own (birth) dd displayed a bit of diffiuclt behavious, also around eating out occasionally and we worked through stuff and it was helpful to be able to work out some of what goes on in their heads. I know it is different for birth and adopted children and I know I will need to work it all out in relation to both for as long as I live. I know one can't always provide an answer for the other either (I mean because one thing worked with birth child etc ect). Just talking to friends has helped a lot so I hope our prep group will become like our antenatal group! Or is that too much to hope for.

shockers Sat 05-Jan-13 23:08:10

We were the only ones from our adoption training group that carried on til the end! We still have friends from our Safebase training group though, and also a lovely lady with a boy of DD's age who we met on holiday about 6 years ago. There's an acceptance with other adoptive parents that is very calming, they don't put your child's behaviour down to you not loving them enough when you're trying your best not to show emotion at an huge meltdown, they just gently support you... and you do the same for them.

hippychick66 Sat 05-Jan-13 23:10:25

Hi Italian - i know you from another thread. grin nothing to add to this discussion except to say that I'm really happy to see you progressing with the adoption. I 'knew' you through many of your losses and i know how much you've been through to get to this point. You were always very knowledgable and full of wisdom on the other thread and i'm sure whatever you've put on the form will be fine. just keep taking it one step at a time. X

Italiangreyhound Sat 05-Jan-13 23:15:46

Thanks Hippy. Lovely to hear from you.

Thanks Shockers will look for those chances to build up a new network of friends.

Devora Sat 05-Jan-13 23:26:50

IGH, I have PMd you.

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