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Adoption, does anyone have any experience of this?

(19 Posts)
Hilary Thu 28-Nov-02 09:57:39

Adoption is something I have thought about for a good many years now. I have looked into it a bit at various times but am beginning to consider adopting a child a bit more seriously now.

Has anyone else adopted a child or is anyone here adopted themselves? I would love to hear of your experiences and advice. I don't seem to be able to find out much from a personal point of view, just the practical stuff like all the checks you have to go through and everything.

Katherine Thu 28-Nov-02 10:17:45

Hi Hilary - I've not done this but my SIL is going through the hoops now so I'd also love any proctical stuff to pass on to her. They've had preliminary meetings and are now doing a basic course which they are not impressed with at all, but its another hoop to get through. Then they get into home visits. It seems to be taking ages. Seems really rough when there are so many kids out there needing homes. I know they have to be careful and vet people but its so sad that these children are missing out on time at "home". They would like 2 children so are considering adopting siblings.

Marina Thu 28-Nov-02 10:38:52

Two friends have adopted sibling boys of three and four and they have been with them about 20 months now. The boys are such great little guys but they had a rotten start in life and the elder is still punishing his adoptive parents for this. Occasionally his behaviour is very challenging, but it has improved such a lot now that he understands that they love him no matter what, but will not let him get away with extended naughtiness.
Social Services (the adoption happened through a Church of England agency not the local authority) have been unhelpful, in an overstretched, incompetent sort of way, but the couple have had brilliant support from their friends at church and their own families - and from the school both boys now attend. The foster parents the boys were with almost from birth still see them sometimes and are also supportive.
It is wonderful to see the little chaps flourishing and their mum and dad are so happy (if shattered...) too.

yoko Thu 28-Nov-02 10:40:20

hilary,i think that each adoption is unique so it is quite difficult to give advice,adopting a very young baby is completely different to adopting an 18mnth child,if you have 'birth' children this throws up moreconsideratons ,also many adoptions nowadays have elements of being'open',with various forms of communication or contact with some or all members of childs birthb family.i think adoption is a very different process than when i was adopted,my sister and i were just our parents children like most other kids ,obviously we were told but then it was over and done with,no outside 'intrusion' as it were.i have very positive experience of being adopted but i am aware of many people for who it has not been so good.there is lots literature available on the sujecy,a good place to start maybe the post-adoption society ,sorry don't have an address but try typing them into av search engine.i think adoption can be the most wonderful experience for all parties but as im sure you are aware there's just so much to consider.

Hilary Thu 28-Nov-02 11:19:47

Thanks for all this. I have two children of my own so have been told that adopting a baby would be unlikely as there are so few that they try to give them to people who haven't had their own children. I don't know how true that is but it sounds reasonable.

I would consider it important to adopt a child who is younger than my two as I think that keeping our original 'pecking order' would be good for our boys. I don't think our eldest son would thank us for shunting him down the line and putting someone else in his role.

I would be very interested to hear how your sil gets on Katherine as that is where we may be months from now.

Bugsy Thu 28-Nov-02 11:34:55

Hilary, I have not had a particularly happy experience of adoption, although I have no idea if my life would have been better or worse had my biological parents chosen to keep me.
My situation is probably more complicated by the fact that as the eldest child in my family, I am also the only adopted child. Parents thought that they couldn't have kids and then suddenly became able to about 2.5yrs after my adoption. My physical differences to my adopted family could barely be more different if I were a different race and my personality is also hugely different. Now, I am not suggesting that this is not the case in other families where children are biologically related to their parents, but somehow I have always felt an outsider.
I have other friends who are also adopted and they do not share my experience, however none of them have shared their adopted parents with natural born children.
Have you been in touch with NORCAP - www.norcap.org.uk? This is a charity with years of experience in the adoption process.
Don't be put off by my tale as times have changed since my adoption and nowadays alot of the children up for adoption desperately need a stable, loving home.

aloha Thu 28-Nov-02 11:51:31

The Guardian magazine last weekend had a feature about an adoptive couple who have set up a website to help potential adopters find their way round the beaurocratic and emotional maze. I have thrown out the mag now, but maybe someone else has it.

Rhubarb Thu 28-Nov-02 15:34:11

Hilary, I know of one family who have 3 children and have just been approved for adoption after 2 years, they are now just waiting for that crucial call. IME I have 2 adopted brothers and a nephew and niece who are adopted. My mother already had 3 children when she decided to adopt my brother, then she had me, and finally she adopted my younger brother. They have never been anything but "real" brothers to us and it is an insult if someone says "But he's not your real brother is he?" I know they feel the same way too.

My sister adopted her 2 children as she didn't think she could have any of her own, she had to wait two years for her first little boy. She has now had a son of her own, but I know they are all treated the same, especially by us who are already used to adoption anyway!

So go for it! There are plenty of children filling up the children's homes who would dearly love a proper family to be with. Even if, as Bugsy has described, they feel left out if you do go on to have your own, in my opinion it is far far better than being brought up in a children's home. But you know the pitfalls, I'm sure you would never make your adopted child feel anything but part of the family!

janh Thu 28-Nov-02 20:32:07

Hilary, I don't know how old your younger son is but if you started into the adoption process now, by the time you were in a position to be considered there might well be children available who, although not babies or even toddlers, were still younger than your own. (The older they get the more of them there are waiting for families.)

I suppose fostering is out of the question? (I have considered it, briefly, from time to time but know I couldn't cope with giving them back...)

anais Thu 28-Nov-02 21:43:02

I would also like to adopt some time in the future. Mine are very little atm, but like Hilary, I have thought about the option of adopting younger kids when mine are a little older. However, it does worry me that this would be really disruptive to the family group. Introducing other children - which wouldn't be babies - when your own kids are old enough to know that these children are 'different' for want of a different word. How easy would it be for your wn children to accept these 'intruders - who are obviously going to need a lot of extra love and attention. Does anyone have any idea what I'm trying to say? I did when I started typing and now I've completely lost it...

Hilary Thu 28-Nov-02 23:04:23

My youngest is 2 just after Christmas, my eldest is 4 in 2 days. We are not doing anything at all about it until at least new year but I would expect the process you go through to be accepted would take up many months and so if we are approved, my ds2 would maybe be nearly 3. Baby hood could be long gone for a child and still be younger than ds2.

Does anyone have any idea how long the process might take?

Thanks for your other ideas and suggestions. I'll check that charity out.

Also, a website I found made it sound like most of the children who need adoption are either in big sibling groups or are ill, disabled or of questionable mental health. Is this really the case? One boy's profile even said he was probably hiv positive. I mean, I don't shy from much but I do have to consider the children I already have.

Hilary Thu 28-Nov-02 23:06:14

Janh, I have briefly considered the idea of fostering but, like you, would really struggle to give them back. Also, for my sons, it would be a case of 'this is your brother...no he's not' all the time. I know it wouldn't be quite as crude as that but I don't know how that situation would affect them.

maryz Thu 28-Nov-02 23:34:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SueDonim Fri 29-Nov-02 11:21:48

I think all modern day adoptions I know of have been successful, on the whole.

I also know of someone who had her two children adopted. She was terminally ill and had absolutely no one who would look after them when she was gone. She was able to choose the couple she wanted and then spent time with them all (the children went to live with their new family before she died because she was too sick to look after them) before she passed away, with at least some peace of mind.

Maybe long-term fostering would be worth considering? I know some (and probably most) areas are desperate for homes for children who need to be somewhere long term, maybe because their parents will never be able to care for them fulltime, but they (or the children) don't want them to be adopted.

Rhubarb Fri 29-Nov-02 14:11:09

Hilary the process takes about two years.

As for 'intruders', well I have never experienced that in any adoptive family I've come across. As I said before, my older brother was adopted when my 2 sisters and elder brother were old enough to know what was going on, he was also half caste, but it made no difference at all, he simply became their brother straight away. When my youngest brother was adopted, I was about 4, he is coloured too, and again we just accepted him as part of the family.

As long as you don't make a fuss. I don't think my mother sat everyone down and told them she was going to adopt and ask them for their opinions. It was just something she did, she never asked her children what they thought. Children are very adaptable and will accept a newcomer so long as no pressure it put on them to accept them, they are not told the newcomer is 'special', and they are not treated any differently. As far as kids are concerned, the more normal you make the whole process, the more accepting they are likely to be.

Hilary Fri 29-Nov-02 15:07:35

I love the sound of your family, Rhubarb.

Two years, though? That's a really long time, I thought it would a year maximum. Is it always that long?

Rhubarb Fri 29-Nov-02 21:11:50

'Fraid so, the paperwork takes forever! My sister had no kids, and thought she could never have kids, but it still took two years before she got her son. A recent couple I know have just been given the OK, just over 2 years since they started the application. I think more people would adopt if the paperwork didn't take so long. But then I guess, it could take a woman that long to conceive and then give birth. As they say, all good things are worth waiting for!

hsanders Mon 04-Apr-05 20:06:03

I am adopted, as are my brother and sister.

We are all happy and a very close family - and actually really proud of the fact`we're adopted.

The only piece of advice that I can give is make sure if you do decide to go down the adoption route, tell the child very early on that they are adopted. None of us remember when we were told, only that we are adopted and what it means. Not quite sure how my parents did it.

I knew a girl when I was a child who did not know but her mum would talk with my mum about it!

Good luck and keep with the long process - it will be worth it.

mum38 Tue 05-Apr-05 13:39:47

Hi Hilary

This is my "warts and all" story. I have 3 children - two birth and one adopted. We went through the process about 4 years ago now. Our oldest child was 5 at the time and the agency did say they would only place a child who was younger by at least 2 years into our family. From the initial meeting until ds2 came home was 16 months. It felt alot longer!! The process itself consisted of medicals, references (police, friends), home study and a 3 day adoption course. Your papers then get sent to an adoption panel and if approved the social worker then starts looking for a good match for your family. To be fair our social worker was lovely and we didn't feel she was intrusive just wanting to find out our family dynamics and find the best possible match. The home study was very in depth and we had to talk about our childhood, relationship inc. previous relationships, infertility treatments, parenting style etc in great detail. We went through NCH which we found more approachable than our local social services dept.We got matched relatively quickly and our ds2 was 18 months when he came home to us. Two years later we got a surprise when I fell pregnant (having been told we couldn't have anymore biological children).

I agree with what maryz said alot of children that need homes do have extra needs for whatever reason. In our case ds2 has severe speech and language difficulties and associated attention problems and the last few years have involved alot of work, appts (paed, speech, occupational therapy) and to be honest tears. Also lots of battles with LEAs to get the appropriate support for him in school. At the time of adoption we were told he had a slight delay possibly caused by difficult start in life & ill-health as an infant. He is a gorgeous little boy but it has been hard work and will continue to be for a number of years. His future at this moment is not certain. We hope he will be independant but he will probably struggle through school. His birth parents both have a history mental illness which means he has a higher than normal chance of developing a mental health problem as an adult. Obviously we hope this won't happen but we will have to be there for him if it does.

Our other 2 children do if I'm honest sometimes lose out on our attention and ds2 needs more supervision and follow up therapy homework etc. having said that he is mine as the other 2 are mine. I love them all equally and luckily our families treat them all equally too. ds2 brings alot of fun and love to our house too and our family wouldn't be the same without him.

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