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Advice for early preparations, and two questions!

101 replies

pinksky · 08/11/2009 17:10

Hi there,

I was really pleased to find this forum - I didn't know there were any dedicated forums outside of specialised websites, so sorry in advance for the long post

My husband (35) and I (30) would like to adopt in the future. Can anyone think of things that we could do now to get us as prepared as possible? We have found out about volunteering as 'independent visitors' for children in LA care, and thought that would be a good start. Aside from reading as much as possible and getting more experience of children, is there anything else that might help?

At the moment there are two things that are worrying me. Firstly that we don't have or want biological children. Will this stand against us? We would love children, but we have never felt that we need to have our own biological children. It's quite hard to articulate this and I worry that it seems odd.
Secondly, we plan on moving the year after next, out of the city to one of the outlying villages. We'll do this to give us the space to have children, but I wondered if this might hold things up? It would be within 10 miles of our current home, but possibly in a different LA. It already feels like a long wait before we move and I would hate to think we wouldn't be considered for a few years after this - it would definitely effect where we move to.

Thanks so much in advance

OP posts:
hifi · 09/11/2009 14:10

im not sure how easy it will be to adopt a young child withourt trying for birth children.
there arnt many "perfect babies" to be may be considered for an older child but this brings loads of problems.they usually have emotional, physical or mental health problems and its wether you would be willing to take a child on with either or all those problems.
once you are placed with a child you are basically not allowed to travel out of the country, do any alterations to your home, leave them with anyone who you havent nominated to have a crb check.once you have adopted them, after about 3 months you can do what you want.
also whilst we were wating they insisted we used birth control untill a child was placed
adoption is usually a last resort and its very draining.good luck anyway.

pinksky · 09/11/2009 16:07

Hi hifi, thanks so much for your reply, and the info.
We don't want a baby particularly, and certainly aren't expecting anything 'perfect', we just thought a younger child (pre schooler) would be slightly easier (obviously within the context). I wasn't aware that everyone who goes down the adoption route does it as a last resort. I realise it?s easy to sound flippant about this, and I have no real understanding of how draining and hard the process is - having children biologically could be seen as the easier route, but it's not what we want.

Thanks again, hifi, and if anyone else has any thoughts on how we can get ourselves more mentally and practically prepared I?d really appreciate it.

OP posts:
shockers · 09/11/2009 16:12

My husband and I have no biological children through choice. I have one son from a former marriage and we have two adopted children.
We fostered first though.
One was a baby and one was 3 when we adopted them.
Apparently their family background put people off. Those couples who read their form and said no lost out BIG time! I know our circumstances are slightly unusual but it is possible to adopt if you have decided against having biological children, especially if you're prepared to work with a child that has baggage.
Can I also just say that for us it was not a last resort but because we had fostered first, we had the advantage of knowing a little of what to expect.

Kewcumber · 09/11/2009 16:15

"they insisted we used birth control untill a child was placed" - I often wonder how they enforce that!

Most social workers are suspicious of people who haven;t tried for a bio family first, its far more common in the US than here so they don't come across it as much. But provided you are well prepared and have considered very carefully the issues it isn't impossible.

A friend of mine was sterilised and adopted without ever trying for birth children but thats quite an extreme way to convince a social worker that aren;t going to get pregnant!

If you are thinking that adopting a baby is a social need then don't, there are more prospective adopters than children under 2 (unless you are a non-white couple) in the system. If you want to adopt to give a child a stable home then consider a post-school aged child but be well informed about the potential issues.

I'm sure some posters who have adopted older chidlren could suggest some reading around the issues.

Kewcumber · 09/11/2009 16:18

I think chronologically adoption is most often the last resort but that doesn;t reflect in any way on how adopters feel about their children who are most certainly not second best.

I adore my DS and can't imagine my life without him but it was a long hard process and dealing with a child who will never know their birth parents (in our case) is heartbreaking when you would do anything for them. There is an aspect of my paretning DS that will alwasy be tinged with a sadness that I can't "fix" his start in life.

Fostering first is a good idea too.

shockers · 09/11/2009 16:33

I understand that feeling completely Kewcumber. Athough for different reasons. I wish my kids never had to find out about the pond life that are their biological parents. That is not something I say lightly... I didn't meet my father properly until last year so I know about the desire to know where you come from.
I just feel I have to be proactive about the rest of their lives... if I thought about it too much, it would destroy my sanity.

If you do adopt pinsky, there is a charity called After Adoption who run a course on Attachment Disorder... IMO every potential adopter, SW, teacher and family worker should go on this! Good luck... it's the best thing we ever did

Kewcumber · 09/11/2009 17:20

shockers - I too don't think about it too much for the same reason. When I do think about it, I rationalise that there was nothing I could do about it and he is happy with me. Still hurts when you are "parenting the child that hurts" to quote the book!

shockers · 09/11/2009 17:28

I've got that book... it's fab!

NanaNina · 09/11/2009 17:49

Pinksky - suggest you look on the websites of "British Agencies for Fostering & Adoption" (BAAF) and "Adoption UK" - you can join these organisations for a small sum and there is a wealth of information on all aspects of fostering and adoption on the sites. There are also numerous books that you can buy which will be informative and useful to you.

Shockers - have to say I was a little shocked to hear you describe the birth parents of your adopted children as "pond life" which seems to be unnecessarily insulting. Yes I know that children's pre placement experiences are often horrific and it is difficult to come to terms with what they experienced. I would have thought however that during the prep course and a/ment that you learned that birth parents often have had horrific experiences themselves which renders them unable to parent.

When you talk to your adopted children about their origins, I can only assume that you are able to be more temperate in talking to them of their birth parents, for their sake (the children I mean not the birth parents)

beemail · 09/11/2009 18:27

You could approach your local authority to see if they have any open day type of sessions tyo find out more about the parents that are being sought for the children in their care.
Joining a local Adopt UK support group is also worth doing - we learnt much from these before adopting our own two.
Wesites - Adopt UK, BAAF parents forums etc can be a ggod way of finding out more about some of the challenges. There should be some books recommended on these but Parenting the Child Who Hurts is a good start. nancy Verrier The Primal Wound and Coming Home to Self. There are many more that wil show up on an Amazon search.
Considering fostering, depending where you live finding out more about concurrent planning the Coram foundation and some LAs do this.
Any experience of children is invaluable when you get as far as the Home Report especially is there are people whose children you could look after who could then act as your referees
Hope this helps and good luck
I do know of people who have adopted who (as far as they know - but of course now never will know) could have had bio children! They did have to convince their social worker that this was their first choice. They adopted older children (7)

KristinaM · 09/11/2009 19:16

nina - i think its hard when you are living with the effects of neglect and abuse to be totally objective about the adults who caused it. when you see your child sobbing each day or struggling in school. when you know that they will never have a "normal" life because of the actions of adults who were more focussed on getting their next fix than caring for their children.

i can understand why shockers is angry. i know many other a-parenst who feel that way. like the dad who has to supervise access with the birth father who caused his son a serious brain injury. or the parenst whose daughter was sexually abused by men to get money to feed her birth mothers habit

I'm sure that these parents did not have the best possible childhoods themselves. but they are still legally and morally responsible for what they did, or the courts would not have convicted them. many adults had far from perfect childhoods but they do not abuse their children

i think its easier for you to take a more distant view as you do not have to live with the pain and loss. its very different when its just a job and you can walk away

KristinaM · 09/11/2009 19:20

pinksky - you have received excellent advice here

i know you say its difficult to articulate why you don't want biological children, but i think you will need to work out the reasons for this. can you say why you wish to become parents through adoption ? and why do you feel you would be able to parent a child with special needs?

shockers · 09/11/2009 19:34

nananina with the greatest of respect, I said that it was something that I didn't say lightly didn't I?
These two people are not just feckless parents... I anticipate great heartache in the future when my kids get their files from SS. I hope that I will have given them the love and stability they will need to come to terms with it.
Of course it's not something I would say in front of them but I assumed that this forum for mums was a safe place to occasionally share my dark thoughts.
"unnecessarily insulting" If you had any idea....

shockers · 09/11/2009 19:36

pinksy sorry about the hijak, I will repeat...It's the best thing we ever did!

pinksky · 09/11/2009 20:52

Thank you all so much for your comments, I am truly grateful for your considered advice.

I was putting off getting in touch with the LA, but maybe tentative/informal discussions are OK and we would certainly welcome going to an info evening.
We have discussed fostering, so I am really pleased some of you have suggested that might be an idea ? it is something that we?ll definitely look in to.

Kristina, you?re right of course, and we have thought/talked for a long time about why we think adoption is for us, over a biological family ? we realize being clear about this is essential and I?m only just starting realize it will be a big issue for social services, but certainly adoption is a first choice for us and fundamentally it feels right. Hopefully over the next two years we?ll be able to do more to put ourselves in a good position to be considered.

Thank you all so much again X

OP posts:
pinksky · 09/11/2009 20:54

ps No need to apologise for the hijack! I am so pleased it has been the best thing you've ever done

OP posts:
NanaNina · 09/11/2009 21:37

Kristina - you are preaching to the converted I think. Of course I am aware that it is different to live with the pain of children who have suffered abuse/neglect etc than to just read about it, or even to work with the abusing parents. I have also spent many many years as an adoption & fost sw and manager trying to explain to social workers for children, of the difficulties for foster carers and prospective adoptors of feeling as empathetic towards the birth parents as the social workers might expect, and explaining the reasons why, similar to those you outline in your post to me.

I have also spent countless hours talking with foster carers and prospective adoptors that we in SSDs are unrealistic in our expectations of them, as we expect them to love these children as their own, cope with the manifestations of their sometimes terrible pre placement experiences, and at the same time have empathy for the birth parents who have caused so much pain to the children, which will to a greater or lesser extent affect them through the lifespan.

Shockers - you say these are not just "feckless parents" and "if you had any idea........." well "with respect" I probably do have some idea to be honest. After 30 years of working with abusing parents I think I have a significant knowledge of the ways in which parents abuse and neglect their children.

Sorry but I still think your comment about the birth parents being "pond life" was unnecessarily insulting and it did shock me to see this on a forum here. I don't think it is an appropriate thing to say in any event and certainly not to people who are considering adoption, especially as they will be being encouraged to try to understand some of the difficulties of the birth parents and to try to have some
empathy for them.

I could have accepted your "dark thoughts" Shockers if you had used less insulting words to describe your feelings about your children's birth parents.

And incidentally Kristina I was taught over 30 years ago in my social work training to have "respect for people" and I have tried over the years to do so, regardless of their behaviour.

KristinaM · 09/11/2009 22:24

nina - i am not suggesting that we should not try to understand others or treat them respectfully

but the actions of some people towards children are often shocking and distressing and it is sometimes hard to see these profesionally or objectively when you are personally involved . thats all I'm saying

Kewcumber · 09/11/2009 22:34

I use fairly temperate language on here because I am very readily identifiable. If you are not - I see no harm in venting from time to time. I think scolding people who are (hopefully) doing a good job of dealing with the damage done by some birth parents when you know nothing of what kind of parents they are in real life is a bit patronising.

NanaNina · 09/11/2009 23:00

Loathe as I am to bicker with you Kristina I don't think calling people "pond life" is treating them respectfully - do you?

Kewcumber - I am not "scolding" anyone. I merely said that I was shocked to see birth parents referred to by an adoptor as "pond life." This thread was started by someone who is thinking of adopting and I don't think it sends a very good message from adoptors to prospective adoptors to talk about birth parents in such insulting terms.

I see only too cleary why shockers is angry with the birth parents of her adopted children and had she said this I would not have taken issue, but "pond life" - not on - sorry.

NanaNina · 09/11/2009 23:00

Loathe as I am to bicker with you Kristina I don't think calling people "pond life" is treating them respectfully - do you?

Kewcumber - I am not "scolding" anyone. I merely said that I was shocked to see birth parents referred to by an adoptor as "pond life." This thread was started by someone who is thinking of adopting and I don't think it sends a very good message from adoptors to prospective adoptors to talk about birth parents in such insulting terms.

I see only too cleary why shockers is angry with the birth parents of her adopted children and had she said this I would not have taken issue, but "pond life" - not on - sorry.

NanaNina · 09/11/2009 23:01

Sorry didn't mean to post twice.

Kewcumber · 09/11/2009 23:17

we'll have to agree to disagree - you may not think you were scolding but thats how it sounds to me.

Prospective adopters will be just the same as the rest of us if they have the perseverance to get to the end... they will fight for their DC's to get the best they can provide, they will deal with the nightmares and the feeding problees and the insecurities of their child and they'll grit their teeth and be non-judgemental about the birth family because they know thats what is best for their child.

Using rather fruity language about birth parents on an anonymous internet forum is so far from the mountain of other issues that adopters have to deal with... I doubt pinksky is now going to feel validated in calling all birth family members rude names in real life.

I think you should credit people with a higher degree of judgement. And if their judgement is that poor they presumably won't get approved.

shockers · 09/11/2009 23:38

nananina I am feeling so cross right now. MY daughter has a lifelong condition that SHE and I have to deal with. Please forgive me if I'm unsympathetic toward the people responsible.
Maybe prospective adopters benefit from hearing the truth about how loving someone who has been harmed can make you feel about the people responsible.
Would you prefer I referred to them in real terms... ie their convictions??? In " SW speak"? Would that have made it more palatable? Not for my daughter - sorry.
I have never, and would never say anything negative about them to my kids. Unfortunately, they will find out for themselves one day.I thought this was a safe place as I said before. I don't post pictures and no-one knows my real name. I've said stuff on MN that's too big to tell my friends because I don't want people knowing things about my kids before thay do.
Sometimes there are things you just can't dress up as ok but you can be greatful for the outcome. I am extremely greatful for our outcome and I would hope that shines out like a beacon to anyone thinking of adoption.

shockers · 09/11/2009 23:41

I feel terrible that this has overshadowed pinsky's thread so I'm going to bow out as gracefully as possible now with apologies.

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