Do adoptive parents really realise what they're getting in to?

(143 Posts)
Zavi Fri 14-Sep-12 20:19:41

I know that many infertile couples, or established families, turn to adoption as a way of creating happy family units but I wonder how many realise that having an adopted child - especially if it's not newborn(ish) - realise what they're getting in to. Children that are available for adoption almost always come from horribly dysfunctional families and that the children, unfortunately, have inherent issues, some of which will never be overcome by love/best intention.
It's my view that if childless couples/singles think that they will be able to form ready-made happy families with the type of children who are up for adoption then they are going to have a rude awakening.

LocoParentis Fri 14-Sep-12 20:50:34

Wow, as a prospective adoptive parent I find your assumption that we don't know what we are getting into very patronising.
My dh and I are yes childless and yes infertile and would very much like a happy family unit. That does not mean that we are stupid enough to expect a model child who just needs a hug and a nice bedroom to make it all go away.
And even if we did have unrealistic expectations and zero understanding of the issues our future children may have, the prep course, sw, panel, childs sw are there to assess our understanding and ensure we have an idea what we are getting into.
I also strongly believe that even if we are rose tinted idiots and the sw trick us into accepting a child with far more problems than we anticipated we can and will cope.
A birth child could also suffer any number of unanticipated problems. With an adopted child at the matching stage we can and will make as informed a decision as we can. If we feel we are unable to cope with the issues a potential match may have we will make a decision to wait for a child who we feel we will best be able to care for.
80% of adoptions are successful.

scarlettsmummy2 Fri 14-Sep-12 20:53:57

Op what is the point of your post? Are you just trying to upset those hoping to adopt?

Lilka Fri 14-Sep-12 20:59:15

I have adopted three times, and I deal with my children's issues (some minor, some more major) daily, so I have many thoughts on the issues children come with, and which adoptive families might face, and on expectations and family life etc. But I'm not going to talk about that in this post

Can I ask what connection you have to adoption? Have you adopted, are you a social worker etc? I'm not very clear why you're asking

Reading your post...it just seems like a simple statement not a real question, and I don't agree with it all. There are valid questions about good preparation and prospective parent's expectations and so on, but I didn't get the feeling that was what you are asking, especially considering your final paragraph. What is your personal experience with adoption to back up a blanket statement which apparently appplies to all modern adoptive parents?

So I want to say this - my children and I are a happy family. Maybe not the kind of happy family you see on adverts and christmas cards. We deal with many many extra issues and challenges that an average family would not. But that does not make us unhappy or a 'negative story' or anything like that

There are many adoptive families in this board who are very happy families also smile

I want to know what 'happy family' means anyway. I think I can tell simply from reading your post that our definitions must be very different

runamile Fri 14-Sep-12 21:02:58

It is not clear where your post comes from - have you had a bad experience yourself? The tone of your post is not very pleasant but I do have to agree with you and in a way, I wish more people realised that adoption is not like it was in the 1950s and 60s. I have had a traumatic experience of adoption with a marriage breakdown and two children who might end up in secure residential care for the safety of themselves and others.

Zavi Fri 14-Sep-12 22:10:53

I don't have any personal experience of adoption. I have some second-hand experience of adoption.
I do think this: that families/couples/singles who want to adopt really know what they're getting into.
I think that, if you're looking to adopt, then what you ought to be saying to yourself is "I'm the kind of person who is willing to take on a child - that almost certainly has got attachment issues - and I'm am willing to bear the brunt of that child's problems, and will that child disrupt my own situation"
I think it's great that people want to adopt deserving kids but I wonder if people - pre-adoption, know how damaged these kids are and what they're really getting into. I think some people think that if they adopt a kid and just love it everything will be fine. Kids that are up for adoption are mostly already very damaged. And love won't change that.

Devora Fri 14-Sep-12 22:43:21

Well, why don't you ask us instead of telling us, Zavi? Because, unlike you, there are many posters here who DO have first hand experience of adoption.
IME prospective adopters are clearly and continuously warned about the issues our children may have to deal with - not just by the social workers, but by bystanders like yourself who warn us constantly that one day we'll be burned in our beds by the damaged cuckoo we have taken into our nest.

For the record, my adopted child is a complete delight. Who knows what the future will bring, for any of us?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 14-Sep-12 22:48:41

Um, I know next to nothing about this subject. But I do know that social workers etc spend a lot of time preparing and placing adopters and adoptees. So maybe some people don't understand at the start of the process - there sure do before the end.

I'm curious why you posted this, OP? You don't have adopted children, You say your experience of adoption is second hand. So what prompted you to pop on over to the adoption section and create a new thread? Your post comes across as preachy and offensive.

Asmywhimsytakesme Fri 14-Sep-12 23:07:50

I don't understand the motivation for op posting, but I think some adoptive parents do later think they were naive, yes.

When we had fertility problems a close family friend who had 2 adopted children told us not on any account to adopt from this country.

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:20:02

Do adoptive parents really realise what they're getting in to? I would say almost certainly not, I've never met a parent who does.

Do people rush on to mumsnet to say "oh those darling orphans we must adopt one" when there is an earthquake in Haiti? Yup everytime.

Do those people get as far as adopting? IME they never even get as far as picking up the phone.

Do social services scare you witless on preparation courses about the potential problems your child might have? On mine they did.

Does that prepare you for the reality of any of those problems? Nope.

Do I think that people who want to lecture adoptive parents about how deluded we are going into it could read some of the threads already posted over the years about how love "isn't" enough and the real and serious issues some of us have coped with. Yup that probably would have been more productive.

"I think it's great that people want to adopt deserving kids" - so nice of you to approve but I didn't actually want to adopt deserving kids - I wanted a family.

"It's my view that if childless couples/singles think that they will be able to form ready-made happy families with the type of children who are up for adoption then they are going to have a rude awakening." why do you think everyone who adopts is childless? confused But apart from preaching about it to the choir here - I'm not sure what your point is?! You have come to tell us we are fools? Lucky? Misguided?

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:25:11

runamile - I'm sorry. My friends adopted a sibling group and the adoption of one disrupted before the final hearing but some years after being placed. It was painful to be involved with and I can't imagine how hard going through a marriage breakdown is on top.

Maryz Fri 14-Sep-12 23:26:10

Most of us simply know that we are willing to love a child. Any child. And face whatever problems and issues that child has in the same way that we would if we gave birth to them.

We don't think we are perfect parents: we don't expect our children to be perfect children. But together we become a "good enough" family.

I for one have no regrets.

hmc Fri 14-Sep-12 23:26:24

I wouldn't know but I expect they have had many hours of soul searching before deciding to adopt - and thank God people do come forward offering a stable loving family home to children previously denied this

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:28:06

Asmywhimsytakesme - anyone who thinks adopting from overseas is the easier option, hasn't done it! The problems are just different. Institutionalised children come with the kind of problems we have just forgotten about in this country.

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:30:23

Though come to think of it, you may be right OP - because adoption is rushed through soooo quickly in the UK that we really don't get any time to sit around just mulling over the endless possible problems the children we are matched with might have. hmm

Asmywhimsytakesme Fri 14-Sep-12 23:30:47

Kew I agree! I think she wanted to spare us the pain she went through (one child in prison, one with serious long term issues I won't go into here).

lljkk Fri 14-Sep-12 23:33:29

I reckon hardly any sort of parent truly knows what they're getting into by having kids. Can't see that adoptive parents are a special case.

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:34:19

Lilka " Maybe not the kind of happy family you see on adverts and christmas cards" - you know you can make your own on Moonpig? grin

"Christmas Chaos in the Lilka House" with photo shot of appropriate carnage shaded in tones of red and green and a light drizzle of snow?

Kewcumber Fri 14-Sep-12 23:35:45

"Can't see that adoptive parents are a special case." <pouts> Are too.

lljkk Fri 14-Sep-12 23:37:46

Not with regard to having naive beliefs about parenthood, I meant. smile
Adoptive parents are probably braver. Biological parents can more easily fool ourselves we knew what we were doing. HA!!

Zavi Fri 14-Sep-12 23:38:08

I posted this because I believe that people who might be considering adoption ought to think twice about what they might be getting in to.
Having a child through natural means and having a child through adoption are completely different things.
The difference being that with adopted children you can never know how badly their early experiences have effected them. Gigs simply not known and a lot can come out in the wash in later years.
That's why I would caution anyone that seeks to adopt in order to meet their (albeit perhaps unconscious)own needs.
It strikes me that adoption is about giving, giving, giving. It's my view that those seeking to adopt in order to fulfil their own needs, and not otherwise, are going to be very badly disappointed if they find that the love and stability they can offer is not enough or not appreciated.

KateSpade Fri 14-Sep-12 23:38:39

I'm adopted and would honestly like to know more about the issues you/people associate with adopted people.

I don't really have any apparent issues myself but would be interested?
Is it separation anxiety?
Self esteem?
Relationships?

lljkk Fri 14-Sep-12 23:41:10

Every word of that equally applies to people making their own biological children, Zavi.

Asmywhimsytakesme Fri 14-Sep-12 23:43:15

My friends were not told the full truth about how abusive the home environment was. That robbed them of the chance to make an informed decision and with hindsight they felt they were matched with an in appropriate sibling group.

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