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Adopting in the UK today has more risks for the prospective parents than, say, 30-40+ years ago.

(41 Posts)
pingu2209 Mon 18-Jul-11 23:47:01

30-40 plus years ago there was a social stigma to being an unmarried mum. There was little to no financial help in terms of benefits. There were more babies and very young children up for adoption then and the likelihood of the babies/very young children having other problems such as emotional issues or damaged in some way such as through drug use during pregnancy was not as great as today.

Today, as there is no social stigma to being an unmarried mum, and there are far better benefits to enable a mum to cope financially there are far fewer babies/very young children who are up for adoption. Those children (any age) up for adoption are more likely to have had more time with their unsuitable birth parent(s) to be emotionally or physically damaged and more likely to have been damaged due to drug taking during pregnancy.

AIBU to think that adopted parents 40+ years ago had less problems with their adoptive child than adopted parents of today? AIBU to think just as there are fewer babies/very young children up for adoption, the above means there are fewer adults prepared to adopt a child too?

Let me just put on my hard hat and bullet proof jacket on.

CarnivalBizarre Mon 18-Jul-11 23:49:25

Are you writing a thesis on this?

BabyDubsEverywhere Mon 18-Jul-11 23:55:42

From the way you have written it there i would have to agree with you, a few of my friends foster, what those poor children went through before they were removed is unforgivable, social services knew what was going on but wanted to make sure they covered all bases. They were little children, if they had been taken when they were first put on watch they could have had half a chance a life. Not many people want an agressive, emotionally damaged 6foot teen to deal with. His life is going no where fast and he cant understand why they kept visiting him and leaving him there for some more. Then taking him away and then giving him back, to be tourtured some more. He asks why? What can you say to that really?

<BabyDubs follows OP to collect a hard hat and bullet proof jacket from the cupboard>

BuntyPenfold Mon 18-Jul-11 23:57:25

Sadly, you are probably right.

Many present-day adopters take on the outcome of perhaps generations of undiagnosed mental illnesses and dysfunctional families, plus the effects of neglect, drugs, and foetal alcohol syndrome.

They are the ones who need the hard hats sad angry and sadly, most adopters get very little support as they struggle to help these seriously damaged children.

pingu2209 Mon 18-Jul-11 23:58:30

It reads that way - but no.

My sister (then aged 42) has 1 child (not adopted) and wanted to adopt another to add to her family and look after another person who needed it. She had rose tinted views on adoption and what the child would be like. She remembered all the adopted children she knew growing up in the 70s and 80s and how lovely their families were etc.

She then looked into it further and realised how much things had changed. She only had 1 formal meeting with lots of other people looking into adoption. It put her off for life. She said that she found it hard to understand how anyone would be able to cope with the majority of the children up for adoption (her views not mine - I wasn't there!).

There is another thread re wanting to adopt a child and it made me think about my sister and all the things she told me after looking into the adoption route.

hester Tue 19-Jul-11 00:01:38

Well yes, you are right, adoption has changed. Far fewer babies are relinquished; most children adopted due to neglect/ abuse/ substance misuse/ mental health problems. Plus the system takes longer - it usually takes at least a year - so even children taken into care at birth do not get adopted till they're a year old, and have had to be disrupted and suffer loss.

Prospective adopters need to understand that raising adopted children is different in many ways from raising birth children.

I love it, though. My adopted dd is the best kid ever, except for my birth dd smile

BuntyPenfold Tue 19-Jul-11 00:02:33

There is a website called Adoption UK, which offers support to adoptive families.

One look at the message boards there would scare most people away for life.

FreudianSlipper Tue 19-Jul-11 00:10:34

i am not sure i think adoptive parent now sare made far more aware of the childs backgroud and family history but as more children are takign away from abusive parents then yes what you are saying is right. many children were adopted from mother and baby homes where the mothers often bonded with their child b/f them then had to give them up for adoption, it was a form of punishment. that must have caused problems jsut heartbreaking to read some of the stories and older children would not even have had the chance to get our of a home

pingu2209 Tue 19-Jul-11 00:11:24

Perhaps the reason all the celebs go abroad to adopt is that children up for adoption in their own countries (UK/US) have too many problems and issues for them to deal with (or for their 2 or 3 nannies to deal with).

Birdsgottafly Tue 19-Jul-11 00:11:34

I don't think that there are less adults wanting to adopt, less may now pass the test to adopt or there aren't the babies (which they want) available.

Children and babies were removed sooner and for different reasons, an abused child was more likely to be left with its married parents and a baby of a financially struggling single mum removed, for instance.

I think that it is difficult to say if there was less emotional damage, it wasn't something that was talked about, 'stiff upper lip' and all that, people got on with life.

SS work under the law, it is the law that dictates that parents and families have to be worked with 'in partnership', not SS. SS don't leave DC's in the situation, they don't have the grounds to remove them, unless they have put 'services' in place to try to help.

This is part of the reason why a proposal in the law, by Martin Narey, was discussed recently.

Birdsgottafly Tue 19-Jul-11 00:13:29

Pingu- i think that clebs go abroad because birth families have the right to contact under EU and US law, so it prevents the clebs from being blackmailed and taken advantage of by birth families, and i don't blame them.

pingu2209 Tue 19-Jul-11 00:21:13

What is the point of adopting a child, for the birth parent(s) to be able to still be in contact? If the birth parent(s) were that bad that they couldn't keep their child, surely they lose all those rights.

Then when the child is 18 they can get in contact if they wish.

BuntyPenfold Tue 19-Jul-11 00:29:59

Even abusive parents have the right to 'letterbox' contact with the child - written updates of progress, messages of affection , family news etc.

I know personally of, and have heard of other cases, where the violent and criminal birth parents have been accidentally given the adoptive parents home address and phone number, by social workers.

The adoptive family has had to change their surnames, move house, leave their jobs and relocate away from their own friends and relatives.
Social services make a lot of errors that are not easy to undo.

Birdsgottafly Tue 19-Jul-11 00:33:25

It isn't just the parents, though, you could imagine the headline 'Madonna/Angelina stole my nephew!' (mind you she can keep him for a couple of million).

You can buy silence alot easier in third world countries.

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Tue 19-Jul-11 00:39:55

This is subject that is of paticular interest to me, and this article is particularly thought provoking:

MichaelaS Tue 19-Jul-11 01:13:02

I guess I agree with your statement, but I think one of the main reasons there are fewer babies to adopt is the changing attitudes to abortion. I think 30-40 years ago there was definitely some shame in being a single parent, but there was also a huge shame in having an abortion. The statistics support the idea that more women with an unwanted pregnancy were likely to carry to term and give up for adoption rather than to abort. Now its the other way around.

That leaves today's adopted babies as the ones who were wanted by their parents but could not be cared for there (e.g. drug abuse) or a handful of people who would rather not abort but still don't want to keep the baby. Because the proportion of the former has gone up, the proportion of the adopted children / babies with problems has increased. But I think the available support for adoptive families has also increased.

GothAnneGeddes Tue 19-Jul-11 09:22:46

I don't think there being less stigma to being a single parent and fewer women being forced to give up their babies -(which accounted for the vast majority of adoptions, back then, not babies removed from neglect), is a bad thing and I'm hmm that the OP wants to paint this as some rosy age.

InTheNightKitchen Tue 19-Jul-11 09:27:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

InTheNightKitchen Tue 19-Jul-11 09:30:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

squeakytoy Tue 19-Jul-11 09:33:12

As someone who was adopted in 1969, and who has looked into adopting myself in recent years, I know only too well how much things have changed.

My adoptive parents were my Mum and Dad, they were the only parents that I knew, and the only ones that I wanted. I always knew I was adopted, but I didnt have, and couldnt have had, any contact with my birth mother.

I feel for anyone hoping to adopt these days, as I dont think it would be possible to feel completely like a full parent to a child if there is still some sort of contact with their birth parents. Adoption, especially for younger children, in my view, should be a complete new start for the child.

cory Tue 19-Jul-11 09:35:44

Another thing that has changed is that adopted parents are far more likely to speak openly about any problems they encountered.

chinam Tue 19-Jul-11 09:46:10

Children adopted internationally can have experienced many of the same issues seen with children adopted in the UK. I personally know people who have adopted children with fetal alcohol syndrome, had suffered physical/sexual abuse etc. Even children who haven't been victimised in this way will most likely still be affected by the losses they suffer no matter how good a family they are adopted into. All any adoptive parent can do is try to educate themselves about potential issues and make use of whatever meagre services are there in the event that a problem does arise. All that being said, adoption is the best thing that ever happened to my family and I would not be without my children.

psiloveyou Tue 19-Jul-11 09:46:50

On the other hand I think adoption today is easier in some ways because it is so much more open. Years ago many adoptions were kept some kind of dirty secret even from the children. Many children have now grown up to become very insecure adults because they have no idea of the background they come from. Many spend their adult lives searching for birth family, not knowing the truth and consequently feeling as though a huge chunk of themselves is missing.
These days open adoptions are encouraged where ever possible. I believe this can only be a good thing. My adopted dd sees her bm twice a year. She is my dd in every way and has no real emotional links with her bm. Most importantly though is that she will grow up knowing the truth. That her bm loved her but wasn't capable of keeping her safe or loving her in the way that most parents can love. There will never be any unanswered questions for my dd which can only be a good thing.
I know lots of adoptive parents who would love to have the opportunity to know their child's birth parents. For lots of reasons this isn't always possible we are very lucky.

psiloveyou Tue 19-Jul-11 09:49:11

squeakytoy you are very wrong with that comment. It is also quite insulting to parents like myself who do have contact with birth family.

EricNorthmansMistressOfPotions Tue 19-Jul-11 09:51:57

- Yes, there are fewer babies being relinquished voluntarily, as there is less social stigma over being an unmarried mother, which is a good thing
- More children are removed from their parents due to abuse, as we have a better understanding of abuse, so more children with attachment issues/PTSD etc will be available for adoption
- Your sister needs to do lots more research if she thinks adoption is easy or rose tinted
- Contact with birth families is maintained as it is in the childrens' interests. The adoptive parent still becomes the parent, that is the 'point'
- Adoption and related issues for the child and parents are far better understood and therefore supported than they were 30 or 40 years ago. This is a good thing for both the children and the parents.

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