Hello and happy new year to all! I am a newbie here, in terms of posting, but have been rummaging and reading many of the posts for a few months. The posts and responses have been incredibly helpful as I (and my husband and birth daughter) have been preparing for adoption. I hope one day I can offer some support in return for all I have gleaned on here so far. We are about to begin the matching stage and I have found the voice of adopters and experiences to be very useful as to what to consider carefully, what to be aware of, what to expect and what not to expect. I was wondering if there are any posts by adult adoptees I could review, so I can get some further insights from another perspective. I appreciate everyones situation is unique but I would love to hear more from an adoptee perspective of what helped/didn’t help them as they were growing up. Not sure if I have missed this on here or if there is another separate forum for this. Many thanks in advance.
My situation as an adoptee was very different to that of adoptees today; I was ‘relinquished’ as was more usual in those times. However, adoption is still adoption and you might find this useful; I knew I was adopted right from the very start - I can’t ever remember not knowing. My parents always told me how they prepared for me to be their child “all the aunties were knitting and sewing” etc which made me feel that the whole family were welcoming - which they were! At quite a young age they told me the story of how they collected me from the mother and baby home, details of the journey, what the Matron said and so on. Although in those days there was no thought of life story work as adopted children have today, those little stories made me feel happy and loved. I always felt proud of being adopted and rather ‘special’ to my mum and dad. What would have helped as I grew up, was knowing something about my birth family - I knew nothing at all and that was always an issue for me, though I did make contact as an adult.
It was very helpful that my extended adoptive family treated me just like all the other grandchildren and cousins. I was never made to feel different in any way. So I’d say that being open and having family and friends on board made a huge difference. I hope things go well for you xx
Thank you so much for your reply, your good wishes and for sharing your experience catlady1. I love how your whole family were involved in preparing for your arrival. My mum is very excited to have an excuse to knit again (no matter how old they will be) so that will please her.
Thank you for also sharing how you would have liked to have more information about your birth family. Obviously we will not know the situation regarding the birth family until we are matched but we hope we can help keep them informed and/or connected as appropriate. We were asked, if we had the option, if we would be willing to meet the birth mother, and father, if possible. Our assessing SW, who works mainly with adoptees rather than adopters, said this could be helpful so we can speak first hand about them if asked in future. I honestly can’t say how that would go and how I would handle it all, but we said we would be open to this. I guess this will be a case of crossing that bridge when we get to it!
Thanks again for your time on responding to my post catlady1. Much appreciated!
There’s a book called the Primal Wound which explains the fundamental loss very well. Plus looking at information on life story work might give you some useful starting points. As CatLady says it’s important to help the child feel fully a part of the family and understand and accept their adoption as a fundamental part of their story from the start, feeling welcomed just as much as any other member of the family
Thanks Safia, I am currently halfway through Primal Wound and finding it very helpful. I had heard that adopting a child when they were still a small baby did not necessarily mean they would be less impacted and now I understand more why. I am under no illusion that we will skip off into the sunset once we are matched and I am finding this book is a great guide to understand more about how and why certain behaviour will surface. Obviously how we navigate this is the most important piece but having this knowledge provides the context for seeing beyond the behaviour.
Thanks again for your reply.
Just to add as far as my children are concerned - they are now adults in their 20s - adoption has never been an issue. They have always known about it (they were both babies when taken into care and toddlers when they came to us) and we have some photos which they’ve been able to look at and have always answered their questions and talked about it when it has come up, for example with school topics or friends questions. My son had monthly contact till he was 2 as his SW had gone long term sick before putting in a court order to stop it. Their birth mum died when they were both in primary school and we had annual letterbox contact so plenty of opportunities to ask / discuss anything. But we kept it very low key and guided by them. At 18 they both decided they didn’t want any further letterbox contact but only to be contacted in an emergency. They are both accepting of the facts around their adoption and comfortable with their ethnic identity (mixed Asian / white but different Asian background in birth family than in ours) but the thing they have struggled with is their learning difficulties and how this affects them. My daughter at 26 has just finished life story work - over 2 years due to the pandemic - basically as it was the only thing SS would pay for! She says it’s been helpful though I don’t think it’s introduced anything new - but gave her the chance to express her feelings about her birth parents and what they did - in front of someone who understood - and put it all into perspective in terms of the rest of her life. Hope that helps a bit. I think the way you are considering their feelings long term and planning for how you’ll approach things will be really helpful in the future
Thanks Safia for sharing your additional thoughts and experiences. It highlights there are so many layers to adoption and challenges to deal with. Aside from attachment issues I gather development delay is common due to impact of trauma/neglect on brain development (plus potential in utero). I also gleaned from this forum you need to be an advocate for your child’s support needs which is clearly easier said than done. I have some personal experience in this area, but I am sure I will be back rummaging for more tips. It’s still early days for us, as we have only just started the matching stage but I understand that will likely take months…
Thanks again for all your guidance so far x
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