Right at the start of the adventure here, still researching, exploring and soul searching whether this is for us. Having read a lot of posts on here, some of you have spoken honestly about regrets, difficulties and issues related to life during and after adopting. Whilst challenges and frustrations are inevitable, does the good outweigh the bad? Are you glad you adopted? Was it all worth it? It would be great to hear some positives.
If you read through the archives you’ll see that this question has been asked more than once. I’ll say this quite gently but looking for positives does seem to imply that anything other than what you may consider positives would be a negative. This can be quite triggering - not to mention insensitive - for parents who have faced challenges and continue to do so.
So, what would you consider a positive? Getting two out of my three diagnosed autistic has been a huge positive. Getting them statemented and into specialist provision same. Successfully claiming DLA, PIP and carers has been hugely helping in partly plugging the financial hole that comes when one parent is not able to return to work. CEA cards are fab!
I know a lot of adoptive families. I also know a lot of families (I volunteer for a local charity) where the child/ren has an additional need. Without exception all these families face frequent challenges, obstacles to caring for their children, to accessing the support both they and their children need. Maybe think about adoptees - all adoptees - being children with additional needs, because that is fact. You might not know the specifics at placement but they will become apparent over time.
I’m not going to share our “positives”, of which there are many because our positives may not match your idea of positive. We’re all different. But start by accepting that adoption will bring huge challenges. It will stretch you in ways you can’t begin to imagine. You will have to deal with ignorance, rude and impertinent questions from people who think they have a right to know your child’s story, insensitive conversations with professionals who ought to know better, you will have to become your child’s advocate as well as their parent. It may well become a full time job. Do I regret anything? No, not really other than I wish things werent always such a battle - but that’s more because of the professionals I’ve had to deal with than what I’ve faced from my children.
Reframe it. Far better for parents to tell it as it is than sugar coat it.
Donatella as always expresses things far more eloquently than I could.
I have one 17 year old son, yes he has pushed me to my limits, but how could I regret it when he has come so far, achieved so much and is just simply a cracking human being.
I agree with the above - a positive outcome is relative - but I think the important thing is to have a realistic view of what adoption involves / could involve. Knowing the possibilities - the effects of trauma, ways attachment issues may present and the various conditions and circumstances that lead birth parents to struggle to parent their children - learning difficulties, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, mental health problems and socio economic circumstances. Some of these are hereditary - some have in utero effects. An awareness of all the possibilities, how to recognise them and how to go about finding the support and help needed as well as a certain kind of personality - strong, resilient and determined to fight for their children - is what makes a difference - what makes for a positive outcome. Adoption is about improving the life chances of those children unlucky enough to be born into severely dysfunctional families and halting the inter generational cycle of abuse. Many if not most adoptions have a positive outcome if looked at that way - but there are times when it certainly doesn’t feel that way. As Donatella says there have been many discussions on this in the past which you might find in the archives
I read all the difficult stories in Adoption Today before placement but living it is very different. Like Donatella I found the reactions of others especially professionals who hindered diagnoses frustrating.
However the difficulties we have faced have not been as difficult as those of friends with birth children who have unexpected conditions. Neither have they so far been as hard as many adopters.
Life may.not be how I might have predicted but then nothing is certain. As said previously you have to be prepared for uncertainty. For us there have been many positives but we have to look at small achievements. No I do not regret adopting and am proud of small steps he has achieved. We have adapted our lifestyle to fit in with what works.
My DS recently said he wished he didn't have one of his conditions. It is not only us coping with the difficulties but being able to help our children manage them too.
We have had a lof of easy times and some harder ones, but I have not doubted our decision for one second. The teenage years are definitely something else, but my kids are amazing.
In terms of positives, we tick most boxes of the standard definition of "doing well" (socially, emotionally and academically, adventurous, fun, athletic, musical,, etc. ), but we also tick some other boxes... We have had real challenges - things that would definitely fit the definition of negative, but we are all still standing, positive and hopeful, and determined to life our best lives.
We are all different. One person might crumble when real difficulties arise, while someone else might still be able to manage; some have more support than others, etc. It is impossible to predict.
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