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


Easy/hard to place

27 replies

LaLaLands · 30/12/2017 20:47

We are currently discussing children’s background factors leading to their adoption with our SW and we are doing as much research as we can. Our SW has specifically mentioned that linkmaker generally has “hard to place” children, she inferred it might be better to wait for a match via the LA. Does anyone have any insight into what makes a child easy/hard to place? From my own research it doesn’t seem like there are any guarantees in adoption, what looks like an easy/hard to place child may turn out to the complete opposite. I feel like it’s a lottery, that there’s no way we can begin to minimise “risk”. It’s almost impossible to say a child who has experienced “x” will likely fare better than a child who has experienced “y”. Surely is like comparing apples and oranges? Or am I missing something? Is there a more “desirable” background or it it more “finger in the air”?

What do you guys think?

OP posts:
Jellycatspyjamas · 30/12/2017 21:59

My two were considered hard to place. They were older (4 and 7), a sibling pair and had been in foster care for nearly 3 years. My DD particularly is developmentally delayed mainly due to the impact of significant neglect and sge struggles emotionally.

In all honesty, apart from the huge adjustment to becoming parents, both kids are great, they are both coming on in leaps and bounds and DD is starting to make up some of the developmental gaps. They're a testament to what permanence and a loving family can do for kids.

We found our two on linkmaker - frankly there are no easy matches or levels of certainty with adoption, you'll know the right kids are yours when the time comes.

Ted27 · 30/12/2017 22:15

Most adopters are looking for children as young as possible, the 'healthy' baby with no issues. Most adopters are white. For some reason, girls seem to be more popular. So the further away a child is from that, the harder they are to place. They could also be harder to place because for security reasons they need to go out of county.

So my child, is male, dual heritage, just shy of 8 when he came, diagnosed ASD. Pretty much every hard to place box ticked there is. He was also an out of county placement.

Be aware that older child in adoption land is 4/5 and above. Sibling groups are also harder to place, two have a chance, three and more is a huge undertaking.

People hope that the younger the child, the less they will have been exposed to trauma. But you have to factor in genetics and the fact that issues may not become apparent until much later on.
With an older child, it is more likely that problems will be known about so you are more aware what you are taking on.

My hard to place son is doing very well, I think if his SWs could see him now they would be shocked and surprised by what he has achieved. Yes he has his challenges but I knew exactly what I was getting into. There have been no great surprises, doesnt make it easier, but I knew what I was dealing with.

bostonkremekrazy · 30/12/2017 23:51

We have adopted 4....

first 2 were 'hard to place', about to be separated to give the younger one a chance at finding a family....the first 5 years were very hard, but after 10 years they are doing ok, and exceeding all expectations of their 'hard to place' status.
number 3 was 'easy' - no diagnosis and under 1. We suspected a FAS diagnosis and this was quickly made. DC is by far the most difficult child we parent currently - the behavioral needs are huge, and we average 3 therapy appointments per week - OT, physio, portage is very very hard work and DC is not 3 yet.
number 4 came to us under 6 months - was very 'easy' - no diagnosis. DC has a medical condition that was not detected in FC, and is very poorly - needs 24/7 care and is medically very complicated. DC is in actual fact 'hard to place' and if the placement was now I doubt adopters would have been found.

The reality is very different to easy/hard to place....We had no idea that a medical condition would arise, it was completely unpredictable like it would have been in a BC.
In terms of overcoming trauma, You can try to predict on paper, but I think you simply cannot truly tell which children will thrive and flourish, and which children will not be able to overcome their past. Its just a risk you take...
I simply knew they were mine Smile

fasparent · 31/12/2017 00:06

Have been foster parent for over 40yr's and a adoptive parent, THERE are in our experience no Chrystal ball's all children are different in care
or not as are their social history's, many in care have more problems that most but with love and understanding do well , There will inevitable be children who will be lifetime Casualty's for no fault of their
Children can be resilient and brave have seen many placed over the years. Can say all ours have had positive outcomes. One baby had eight links all failed because of severe global delays was placed has
now surpassed all expectations.
We do our best prior too Adoption , Drugs and Alcohol effected Baby's get the best care we can give them, we are well trained in this area so the very early interventions and understanding works well and will defiantly go some way too prevent some secondary issues. Unlike children who not in care who's issue's are not seen.

Italiangreyhound · 31/12/2017 00:51

I'd agree with others, that there is lots of risk. The further you get from young, white, healthy baby the less 'in demand' a child will be (and yes, I have heard girls are more saught after and there are more boys in the system).

So being 'less in demand' makes a child harder to place. But it doesn't mean more risks and necessarily more issues.

Things to factor in 'for risk' to me would be lots of moves in foster care, parents with mental health issues that may be hereditary, potential foetal alcohol, autism in family etc.

But of course people have wonderfully and successfully parented children with some/all these 'risk' factors.

My birth dd is most likely somewhere on the autistic spectrum. If I had known when expecting her I may have been nervous but I love her to bits, as you would expect!

Personally, I'd look at what risk factors you and your partner can handle and go with that.

LAs will place their easier to place children first and any voluntary agencies etc would then be able to try and place other children and (if I have understood this rightly) any agency outside the LA who places a child would be paid by that LA.

So your SW is correct, Linkmaker and any organisations outside an LA will most likely have harder to place children. But if you are willing to consider older children, sibling groups or different/mixed heritage children you may find a perfect match that way.

We were happy to consider a mixed heritage child but her social workers didn't want us for that particular child. So it is not as simple as being open to this child or another. I know at least one couple keen to adopt a sibling group but they were only approved for one.

Anyway, all the very best.

Italiangreyhound · 31/12/2017 01:02

I'm sure I've said it before fasparent - you are amazing.

LaLaLands · 31/12/2017 08:30

Thank you this is really helpful. From talking with other potential adopters, we all seem to have slightly different acceptance levels of risk. For example, gender and having a newborn is more important than health risks of FAS and high levels of exposure to drugs in the womb, parenting a newborn is more important. For others, FAS is the big no-no but high levels of drugs is ok. For another, neglect and/or background of mild learning difficulty is preferable.

I guess we haven’t really been able to put one background factor as more risky than the other, we are taking each child individually and considering their history in isolation because of the unique combination of exposures.

I agree with you all, it’s impossible to predict the future outcomes so being prepared and going in with eyes wide open is important. I am also hoping that we “just know” when we see our child.

Very grateful. Thank you

OP posts:
dimples76 · 31/12/2017 21:14

My son was classed as hard to place and when I first heard about him and his challenges (global developmental delay and BP with learning disabilities) I thought that is probably the extreme end of what I could cope with but on the other hand he was 13 months (which was younger than I had hoped for) and had been removed at birth. So I think you are right LLL - it's looking at the child in the round. If, for example by boy has suffered neglect from BP prior to being removed then that would have probably changed my answer to no.

I am so glad I said yes!

B1rdonawire · 01/01/2018 22:36

I think you will find you identify a small number of personal absolute deal breakers (for me, it was were they expected to be able to walk, and live independently when adult). After that it may come down to "no reason to say no, so it's a yes". I said yes to the first profile I was shown despite one terrible blurry photo to go on ...but my SW really truly understood me and I trusted her when she said this was one I should look at seriously. So glad I did! Technically hard to place for at least 3 reasons, but an absolute joy.

Italiangreyhound · 01/01/2018 23:23

B1rdonawire that is really good news.

OP remember hard to place does not necessarily mean hard to parent, at all!

bostonkremekrazy · 02/01/2018 08:47

We had 2 deal breakers too....we specifically said we couldnt deal with. Our first child was placed and within weeks that deal-breaker became apparent. 10 years in it still is 😉
Sibling arrived 8 years later and moved in with the deal breaker....we struggle with it, but its not a deal breaker anymore.

Queenofthedrivensnow · 03/01/2018 18:10

Hard to place are sibling groups, boys, older children and children with additional needs.
I'm a sw

thomassmuggit · 03/01/2018 20:43

Yeah, Queen, I think we get the technical definition.

I think what OP wanted to know was what does that actually mean for adopters.

For us, 'hard to place' meant came with an illness that runs in our family. It's a phrase that encompasses a wide range of issues.

mtpaektu · 04/01/2018 09:49

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Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mtpaektu · 04/01/2018 09:56

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ALLIS0N · 04/01/2018 15:25

There’s no way of excluding risk or even minimising it. You can only think about the risks that are compete deal breakers for you and then balance the other risks.

Some people set limiting criteria without really thinking through the implications. Eg they say they want a girl which rules out probably 60% of waiting children( I’m just guessing a figure ) . But if you ask them why they don’t really know, it’s just a feeling related to some irrelevant stereotype “ I’ve always wanted a DD to buy frilly dresses for”.

Or they will only consider a young baby because they think they will be “ less damaged “ . Forgetting the huge amount of lasting damage that can be done in Utero and the difficulty of diagnosing babies.

In large sibling groups, people always want the youngest when they are often the most damaged, and won’t consider the oldest.

The reason that adoption days work is that prospective adopters and social workers are forced to think about options that they would not have even considered on paper. They see the person and not random facts ( over 40 , obese, developmental delays, 7yo boy, imperfect racial match ).

For those of your with partners, how many of you would picked him or her from a profile ?

Jellycatspyjamas · 04/01/2018 18:39

It's hardly the same thing, I needed a degree of chemistry with my partner and had 3 years to get to know him before making a permanent commitment to him and at any point I could walk away. My emotions needed to be engaged when we got married and I had time to fall in love with him. And he was a fully mature adult, responsible for himself in our relationship.

My children I had to make a commitment to based on what other people told me about them, while also knowing what I can and can't cope with - for is that's was a relatively small list but there were things that were definite deal breakers. The last thing I needed was a child being presented in such a way as to tug at my heart strings only for me to find out down the line that there were issues I said I couldn't deal with. As it was we got lots of information about what made our kids hard to place and had only had 2 photographs at that point because after a very long process I didn't want to have an emotional connection to children I knew fell outside what I said I could care for.

I totally agree with the need to keep an open mind and not have too many deal breakers early on but these children are wholly dependent on parents being able to meet their needs and potential parents need to be able to assess their own capacity to do that in the midst of an already emotionally charged process. The part of the process I hated most was the commodification of children but I also see the value of having fairly bald information to make a decision with. Mine were considered hard to place, for very good reason. I know of SW who have been told to make the kids look as good as possible, draw in adoptive parents, show photos and videos of the kids looking adorable, use selection days etc and, once they are emotionally engaged, talk about the challenges. That to me is underhanded and unethical.

As someone else said, difficult to place doesn't necessarily mean difficult to parent, but adopters need to go into it with eyes wide open.

Italiangreyhound · 04/01/2018 23:33

Agree with Jellycatspyjamas.

Also my relationship with both my kids (birth and adopted) is an unconditional life long commitment. My relationship with dh is only marriage. I have a get out clause for dh, I don't think one really exists for me and my kids! And I also spent three Yeats getting to know dh before I said 'I do.'.

tictoc76 · 05/01/2018 17:17

I liked your post Italian - I’m sure I’ll remember that when my husband is driving me nuts! Agree though - I love all my kids unconditionally, my husband comes with conditions.

Our first adopted was the first referral and we literally knew nothing about her - we were a bit naive in those days but I don’t regret the decision. Second was also first referral, probably harder to place as dual heritage and birth family history of learning difficulties. Our SW knew us though and we trusted her - she was right.

I’m not sure you can rule out FAS with any child under a certain age though - our BM shows no drinking or drugs on her notes but from Facebook snooping I’m really not sure she abstained. There will be a certain amount of risk with any child you adopt and as many have said harder to place doesn’t always mean harder to parent and vice versa. We wanted babies though so have always taken the risk of the unknown.

Italiangreyhound · 05/01/2018 21:44

tictoc76 great post.

2old2beamum · 05/01/2018 22:05

Agree with all posts above!
But which child is hard to place. We have adopted 8, the first four had Down Syndrome they have been fantastic, sadly DS 2 died due to severe heart defect.
ADD (number5) had bulbar palsy and we were aware of her short life expectancy but felt she deserved a forever family, she died just before her 2nd birthday.
We were approached by another county and asked would we be interested in a little 3yr old with CP with hydrocephalus (sorted) Very cautiously we said yes but he wouldnt die on no. He arrived a very angry young man and it took me nearly 2 years (me an experienced paediatric nurse Confused) to twig he had shunt problems. Was told he was not shunt dependent, ha ha.His life went from crisis to crisis living on TPN and we finally decided enough was enough and he died shortly after his 13th birthday.
We have since adopted DS deafblind CP and DD Emmanuel Syndrome life is still full of surprises.
BTW age is no barrier youngest now 12 was placed @ 3 when I was 64 and DH was 62. Letterbox now sealed phone number changed.
You will know when the child is right.
Good luck from a knackered mother!

fasparent · 06/01/2018 12:07

like 2old2bamum some of us have larger than life extended family with children of all ability's and disability's this is our choice,
never for one instance did we ever consider any were hard too place,
ours family exceed 14 with our birth children and door is still open, then there are Ex foster children whom we are still Mum and Dad too., plus Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren, Never a dull moment But lots and lots of support.
Would not change anything

bostonkremekrazy · 06/01/2018 14:24

While I parent hard to place children, (i'm typing from the hospital with a sickly one again while dh holds the fort with the others at home 😕), I think its really important to remember that some parents would not wish to parent disabled children - through birth or adoption, and therefore their ticklist of what they could not cope with is fairly full. If that prevents disruption in the future tick every box you need, do not take on a child, disability or situation you cannot manage. For the childs sake as well as your own.
Its all well and good adopters saying well I manage X, I manage Y.....sometimes I want to say well what do you want a chocolate medal?
We all have our own thresholds, its important that prospective adopters stick to theirs.

Ted27 · 06/01/2018 15:34

I kind of agree with you Boston. But I think the problem with this whole hard to place business is the perception that there are 'easy' children. I think prospective adopters hear the term hard to place and automatically assume that these children are more problematic and can be avoided.
Wheras many adopters with the so called easy to place babies still face huge problems when the kids get older, whilst those of us with the harder to place kids have no more difficulty than anyone else. My son is a lot easier than many of the easy to place babies have turned out to be.
Personally I would like the term to be banned.

There are just children, with their own individual set of needs. Its up to the prospective adopter to decide if they can meet that set of needs.

2old2beamum · 06/01/2018 15:38

No, I certainly do not want a medal, if your comments were directed at me. I just want every child to find a forever family.
fasparent I think you are so wise.

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