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


Please can someone give me advice

24 replies

BlameItOnTheBogey · 22/10/2008 12:03

Bear with me. I think this is going to sound clumsy but before I start let me say that the reason I am posting this is because I have no experience of adoption and don't want to upset my friend. I'm sorry if it is untactful but I am struggling to express myself.

I have a friend who has been trying for a baby for 5 years. She's had IVF unsuccessfully several times and also a number of miscarriages. During that time, I was also trying for a baby. We also had IVF and were lucky that it resulted in our wonderful DS. When she found out I was pregnant, she distanced herself from me.

This summer, they adopted a beautiful baby boy. I am so thrilled for them as I know how much this means to her. She emailed me after to explain the lack of contact and said that she had felt so bitter but that since they had brought their son home, the pain was starting to ease. I completely understand the lack of contact.

I am going to see her for the first time next month (she lives in a different country) and I really would like some advice on how I should handle things. I'm sorry this is coming out badly. What I mean is that with my other friends with newborns we often talk about the birth, breastfeeding etc. But I guess this is different. I want to show an interest - should I ask her about the adoption process, the birth (which I think she was there for) etc? Will she want to talk about these things? I'm not sure if this will be seen as taking an interest or prying and reopening old wounds. I have no idea how to play this - or if I am overthinking it. (I'm really worried that I sent her an email saying how much DS looked like his dad, for example).

Please go easy on me, I realise this might all seem really gauche but I figured better to get a pasting here than risk upsetting her.

OP posts:
BlameItOnTheBogey · 22/10/2008 12:10

PS have to take DS out in a minute so may not be back on computer for a while. But thanks in advance for any advice and will check later.

OP posts:
igivein · 22/10/2008 12:16

Why don't you say 'what a wonderful son you have, I'm dying to hear all about him!'She can interpret this how she likes and either start her narrative from the adoption process or from when she brought him home or whatever. You can then take your cues from her about what she wants to discuss. You sound genuinely caring, so I think you'll handle it well.

hifi · 22/10/2008 12:21

im sure she will want to tell you everything about him. i get uneasy when anyone asks me about dd birth family , also when people ask why she was put up for adoption.anything else is fine.

BlameItOnTheBogey · 22/10/2008 12:22

Thank you for your reply. That sounds like a good idea. I guess concretely what I am frightened of is that I will accidentally say something that could imply that her son is any way less her DS than mine is mine, if you see what I mean. I absolutely don't believe that. But
I really am scared that I might make a mistake. At the same time I don't want to seem disinterested... See I am scared even posting this.

OP posts:
BlameItOnTheBogey · 22/10/2008 12:23

x posted with hifi. That's good to know. Thank you.

OP posts:
Kewcumber · 22/10/2008 14:53

don;t be so worried about saying the wrong thing to us! We're relaly very kind to people who are trying!

Getting adoption language right is helpful though people do have their own peculiarities... ie "birth" parents rather than "real" or "natural"

Though Bran is right, I wouldn;t initiate any discussion about anything pre adoption and in fact I would just refer to him as their son - no need for a qualifier.

Very general questions which give her the choice of what to say are the way to go... and the same kind of questions that you would ask any new mum - "is he sleeping well, how are you, can I help etc etc"

You will very very quickly forget he was adopted and move on to normal discussion about nappies, naps and buggies.

Treat her as if she has a new baby (assuming the adoption is very recent) and offer to make your own tea/coffee bring food etc. Generally congratulate her and say how woinderful he is.

You know the same as nomral just wihtout the gory discussions of the birth (unless she rasies it)

wehaveallbeenthere · 22/10/2008 15:08

Let her lead the conversation. You were friends before you had children? Do some catching up. She is in a different country, how are things there? Are they different? Similar?
Children are children...what are her childs likes? dislikes?
Any problems you can share?
I wouldn't mention her distancing herself. That is all past history. She now has a child of her own. Forge ahead as the friends you are. There is so much ahead of you both as mothers you will have countless subjects to talk about.

debzmb62 · 22/10/2008 15:16

i,d say the same let her do most of the talking first just comment on how cute he is and things like what nappies /buggys all baby things etc i,m sure you,ll be fine you seem like a great friend !if she wants to talk about things let her talk!! but just act normal

BlameItOnTheBogey · 22/10/2008 16:01

I'm back now. You're all so kind. Thank you for all the advice. The truth is I am so thrilled for her. When we heard that they had been matched with a baby I cried because I knew how much she wanted this. So I'll let her lead the way and give as much or as little info as she wants then. Her baby is gorgeous (I've seen the photos) so telling her how beautiful he is is an easy starting point.

Thanks once again. I think just have some feedback has made me less nervous about the whole thing.

OP posts:
stepfordwife · 22/10/2008 19:28

great advice here
you sound like a lovely person and a true friend, so i'm sure it'll go OK
enjoy seeing her again and meeting her son

Kewcumber · 22/10/2008 21:20

you really don't need to be nervous. All I wanted was for friends to gasp in awe and amazement at my wonderous DS. Which they all duly did and sounded like they really meant it to boot

I didn't want to discuss whys and wherefores, I wanted to be a mummy. I wanted to go round mothercare and push prams and moan about not getting enough sleep. Any friend that did that with me was a big hit!

mamadiva · 22/10/2008 21:39

I have 2 adopted cousins and was nervous about meeting them at first for fear of saying wrong thing.

But it just came naturally you just start talking about what kind of things they are doing, how do they sleep, and what they like dislike same as any other parent would ask if she wants to talk about adoption etc then she will probably mention it and if she does just make a point of saying you wanted to ask but were afraid youd upset her and then she will know you are generally interested Hope that helps a bit

Enjoy LO and your friend am sure you;ll be fab!

blithedance · 25/10/2008 23:48

I should think any awkwardness would be completely outweighed by the pleasure of having a friend with a baby to visit. Obviously she knows her child is adopted so won't be looking for any family resemblance etc. In the early days I felt very unsure of whether I was looking after children properly (I thought it must be obvious to everyone I was "bluffing") so to reassure her will be great.

As others have said the main thing is to appreciate the confidentiality of the child's previous circumstances. With things like breastfeeding, TBH I was relieved I had a concrete reason for using formula and was amazed that the whole thing caused such a fuss.

angel1976 · 28/10/2008 21:52


My cousin adopted a little boy three weeks older than my DS and I am THRILLED that my DS will have a cousin so close to his age when they grow up (though we live in different countries atm). I wasn't too worried about saying the wrong things to her as we are very close and she also went through failed IVFs before they adopted. She didn't mind me asking about the story behind his adoption (we knew she was in the process of adopting a baby from China but this was a local adoption that happened very suddenly) and she was thrilled when I said her DS looks like her DH. I think sometimes people are so afraid to say the wrong things, they don't say them at all and it kinda becomes THE UNSAID THING that just hangs in the air if you know what I mean. Since then, lots of people (who didn't know about the adoption) have commented on her DS and DH looking alike and she is always thrilled to hear that. I know this is not how everyone would react so it just goes to show that everyone is different.

I do agree with all the other posters, we mostly bond over sharing the problems and joys of our sons. Sleep problems (or lack of), weaning problems etc... All I can say is that it's been such a privilege to be able to share such a journey like motherhood with a cousin whom I consider a sister that I couldn't give two hoots about the origins of her DS. All that matters is that he is as much her son as mine is to me and we love sharing the journey together as due to our age difference, we never really thought it would happen.


MrsGhost · 28/10/2008 22:03

My cousins are adopted, the only thing that pees my aunt off, is if some one calls them her adopted children. They are her children, fullstop.

angel1976 · 28/10/2008 22:12

MrsGhost, my aunt-in-law (DH's aunt) was adopted and she's 40 but I find it very strange her mum (DH's gran) goes around telling people 'Oh, so-and-so is adopted because I wanted a girl so badly but you could never tell she was not one of us...' I was like 'uh, doesn't help if you go around babbling it!'

MrsGhost · 28/10/2008 22:28

Well, my cousins are in their thirty's. Aunt and Uncle are white, and my Cousins are from Nigeria. So, its obvious, iynkim but unless you wanted a mouthful of abuse , not something you would mention

bran · 28/10/2008 22:33

I totally love that Kewcumber said "Bran is right" before I've posted anything. That has made my day.

As others have said, just tell her how gorgeous her DS is and empathise with all the highs and lows of early parenthood and she'll tell you whatever she wants to tell you.

Kewcumber · 29/10/2008 10:42

Bran - I randomly wander around threads posting "Bran is right"

Though in this particular case I meant Hifi!

Kewcumber · 29/10/2008 10:44

and even people who know DS is adopted say - "oh but he does look like you" which if you check out my profile you will see how very much he doesn't look like me! It doesn't offend me at all, though I do find it slightly amusing sometimes.

Kewcumber · 29/10/2008 10:46

And I was massively irraitated when Ewan McGregors family was described in the paper yesterday as "two kids and an adopted daughter"

angel1976 · 29/10/2008 13:45

Hi kewcumber, your DS is scrumptious! Oh, that would irritate me too. I really hate it when the goss mags or newspapers say 'Suri Cruise is Tom Cruise's first biological child, he has two adopted children with Nicole Kidman.' Does it really matter? I am sure by now, people know that. What's wrong with 'Suri Cruise is Tom Cruise's third child, he has two children with first wife Nicole Kidman.' Argh! It's one of my bug bears. It's almost as if they dismiss the adopted children as if they don't really matter. And don't get me started on how he 'protected' his first two kids' privacy but somehow flaunts Suri like there's no tomorrow with photo shoots here and there!

bran · 29/10/2008 16:10

Carry on Kew, I do feel that I am usually right. I remember a while ago I read a thread that was a topic of interest to me and part way down someone had written something very erudite and insightful that summed up my views exactly. I thought I might just post to say this person was completely correct, but it turned out to be me. It was a very old thread that I didn't remember posting that had a recent post on it pulling into current conversations.

I bet Ewan and his family weren't too thrilled about that quote either. The media are quite odd about adopted and IVF babies and mention it all the time, but rarely mention other things that are about the same level of non-interest, like whether a child was breech or born a week after their due date.

Kewcumber · 29/10/2008 20:27

oh anyone is crass enough to refer to DS as my "adopted" son (rare to my face to be fair) I have no compunction in referring to their vaginally delivered child

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