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Advice for a friend considering adoption

15 replies

cyanarasamba · 21/07/2008 21:56

A friend and her husband are starting to discuss whether adoption might be an option for them. They are both early 30's professional, solvent, healthy, well-balanced, fun, interesting people.

There is no reason why they could not have a biological child as far as they know, but it all comes down to the fact that her DH doesn't want a baby - although he would like a child. He just doesn't "get" the baby stage, and doesn't see why they should have to go through that if there is an alternative. OK, I'm probably putting words into his mouth here, but you get the picture.

Frankly I am concerned for my friend - it seems odd to me and I feel it would also seem strange to an adoption panel. I'm not sure they would be embarking on this for the right reasons and would appreciate any advice & opinions from those with more experience.

OP posts:
Kewcumber · 21/07/2008 22:07

I suggest your friends DH does some serious reading about the problems that tend to come with adopting an older child before he gets too carried away with thinking that adopting is an easy way of avoiding the bits of paretning that he doesn't think he'll like.

tiggerlovestobounce · 21/07/2008 22:08

It seems odd to me too, sorry.
It also makes me think he might be very naive about the needs of a potential adoptive child (which may be more than a newborns, and harder to "get") and I wonder if SW/Panel might think that too.

WannaBMum · 21/07/2008 22:12

People wanting to adopt need to think about wanting to give a child a home, not adopting to suit their own needs. I don't think your friends would get very far in the process, sorry.

cyanarasamba · 21/07/2008 22:13

Thanks - a very good point made twice!

OP posts:
bran · 21/07/2008 22:16

I think it's quite a common perception that an older child is easier, I've certainly had people say things along those lines to me. The assumption is that you would be adopting a perfectly happy, well-adjusted 3 or 4 year old and just skipping the 'messy' stage. The truth is that any child being adopted at that age is almost certain to be damaged and/or traumatised in some way and could well have behaviours of a much younger child and emotional problems.

I think if they make enquiries and start down the road to adoption they will be set straight on the problems long before they get to the panel stage. I'm sure that SWs encounter this fairly regularly and can give a clear picture of the reality of older child adoption.

cyanarasamba · 21/07/2008 22:17

I am probably being unfair to them in my presentation, I am sure they would be thinking in terms of giving a child a home. It is root reason for embarking on this path that worries me.

OP posts:
eandz · 21/07/2008 22:17

hmm...i like the way he thinks. i don't like teenagers. can i put my kid up for adoption when he's around 12?

bran · 21/07/2008 22:22

I don't think they are being selfish, I'm sure they are thinking in terms of doing a good thing for a child. If you've had a happy childhood and everyone you know has been reasonably well parented then it's not easy to imagine that some children have such a difficult start in life that they actually miss out some normal stages of development. I certainly didn't understand how damanged some children could be before I started the adoption process.

Kewcumber · 22/07/2008 09:06

I should also point out that its a very different feeling once you have your child knowing that you child will always have to deal with the "issue" of an adoption in their life. Before you adopt (IME) you are very focused on the nurturing aspects of adopting a child but once that child is real to you and you love them, the enormity of knowing that you will need to help them make sense of their life before you is a great deal more emotional than I had expected.

In my very humble opinion the only "good" reason to adopt a child is that you desparately want to. Otherwise when you hit the roadblocks along the way (and there may be many) you will drop out very quickly. If there is no reason why your friends couldn't get pregnant I suspect that the point that their social worker is discussing their sex life and asking them to justify why they holiday abroad or read so many books... is the point that pregnancy may wll start looking like the easier option!

I can only say again that your friends need to do a great deal more research before going ahead.

jujujuju · 22/07/2008 11:15

I'm not sure they would be allowed to adopt for 2 reasons, 1 because they can biologcally have children and 2 because of his strange attitude. Having 2 adopted children myself, I think they won't get past the first meeting with social services without being dismissed.

Kewcumber · 22/07/2008 11:27

jujujuju - they won;t refuse people just because they aren;t infertile. SW might question motives much more closely but I know people who chose to adopt without even tyring birth chidlrne first who were successfully approved.

cyanarasamba · 22/07/2008 11:32

Thank you so much for all your kind responses. I am in awe of those of you who have been through this process and adopted a child.

I might suggest the friends speak with social services sooner rather than later, that way they can perhaps get it out of the way and deal with their real "ishoos".

OP posts:
GooseyLoosey · 22/07/2008 11:32

This sounds like a terrible idea to me. I am guessing that what puts him off about a baby is the hassle and immense amout of work. He probably believes that an older child is easier and requires less input. This is unlikely to be true of an older child up for adoption who will have had experiences which are very difficult to cope with and may well have issues surrounding those experiences which impact on their behaviour.

In addition, I suspect at some point in the future, he may change his mind and they may end up with a biological child and an adopted child. This can be straightforward and I know people in this situation and it has worked well. However, it can also lead to isolation and feelings of rejection on the part of the adopted child if they perceive that they are not valued as much as the biological child.

Kewcumber · 22/07/2008 11:33

lots of social services run information evenings - that might be a helpful place for them to start (and a bit of a wake-up call!)

NineYearsOfNappies · 22/07/2008 13:37

You don't have to be infertile to adopt - but you WILL have to explore in depths the reasons why you are choosing to adopt rather than to give birth. There are lots of valid reasons though.

Wanting an older child if that's because an older child is perceived as easier would be the wrong way to go. But wanting an older child because you want an older child is perfectly valid - and there are hundreds of older children waiting for adoptive families in this country.

They will however all come with varying amounts of baggage; it won't be an easy ride. Doesn't make it not worth doing though.

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