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Adoption when BC is very young

November 12, 2019 11:34

Hi there,

This is my first post, I am just researching for the future as a prospective adopter. I have one BC of 1 year old. From research so far it seems as though AC and BC can do better if the adoption happens once the BC has grown old enough to be quite independent and can be involved in the process. I also understand that an age gap of at least 2 years (but many say the bigger the better) is recommended.

I just want to check because I've not seen anything on this - is there anyone who has adopted a child when their BC was still very young (not old enough to be actively involved) and what have been the positives (perhaps AC&BCbonding due to growing up together) and thenegatives (perhaps BC not getting the attention they need)?

Thanks in advance!

Edited 17/02/2021
Donatella November 12, 2019 16:18

Hi. I don’t have birth children but I have three teenagers who we adopted as babies. We only have a relatively small gap between all three - just the way it worked out.

I would advocate leaving a biggish gap - we’ve come through but not without an awful lot of work, sacrifices and huge time commitments which have meant no return to work for me.

Adopted children are complex - some are more straightforward than others but the majority, if not all, will have some type of additional needs to contend with. That might be organic - autism, adhd, fas/d etc. It might be related to genetic mental illness. It may be trauma related. Birth families are often chaotic, dysfunctional and come with long histories. Adoption and adoptees are complex.

I won’t repeat everything that’s been said over and over so I suggest you research the archives. There’s lots there. Sws will expect a minimum of two years gap but in reality will want more so given the age of your child I suspect you won’t be a priority just yet.

Read, research. Find out about the issues that adoptees and their families are living with - two of mine turned out to be autistic, one has adhd, two in special ed. Sounds easy but merely getting those assessments, diagnoses, statements, specialist provision has taken over our lives. Things are good now - 18 yo in uni, 15 yo predicted to also go to uni. 14 yo ... hmmm, probably not. But an adopted sibling with additional needs can make life very complicated for the non neuro diverse child. It meant mine were educated in different schools - 3 different schools!

Edited 17/02/2021
November 13, 2019 10:50

Thank you for your advice Donatella. I appreciate that you're not sugar coating anything and it sounds like you've undertaken some heroic work, that's very good that some are off to university despite many difficulties and I hope the other child finds their calling also, not everyone needs to go to university to be successful after all. I'm going to take your advice and go into the archives now... :)

Edited 17/02/2021
BeckyAUK November 27, 2019 11:40

Hi Emzz - I haven't experienced your specific situation either, but I have experienced bringing fostered children into our home alongside my adopted LO. I would second the view that a decent age gap is often easier on everybody. It was a bit more complex in our case as with my oldest LO being adopted, he had significant needs of his own. What we found was that he was happy if I fostered much younger children whose needs did not overlap much with his own needs, but became extremely unsettled if I fostered children who were slightly nearer to his own age - walking, talking, expressing opinions, sitting at the table with him, touching his toys, etc. etc. I always found it easier if the children in my home were not 'competing' for the same type of attention. It was fine if one needed to be bottle fed and one needed to play, but if both needed to play, it got more tricky. What Donatella said is also really important - a lot of children who have experienced trauma and adverse childhood experiences will need significant support throughout their childhoods. There may be lots of meetings, assessments, paperwork, diagnoses, etc. It can be very time consuming, and that can be hard on the other child too. It is lovely to think of two children close in age, growing up as best friends and playmates, but, unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. Much of it will boil down to the personalities, developmental progress and particular needs of both of the children.

Having said all of that, if you are only at the beginning of thinking about it, then you should factor in that you would be unlikely to reach the end of the approvals process in under a year, and then there is the elastic time frame of matching after that. It may be that if you started the process in about 6 months, by the time it was all finished, your birth child would be around 3, and you could consider a child under one. However, that's quite a restrictive age range and might make matching a longer and more difficult process.

Edited 17/02/2021

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