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Adopting with 6 year old biological child

Sarcia November 30, 2021 13:43

Hi there,

This is my first time posting on this forum and I am hoping for advice please. I have a 6 year old biological child and recently met a wonderful little boy who is 4 years old at an adoption event. There would be 20 months age gap between them. The agency are happy for us to proceed to matching panel, however I am concerned whether the age gap will pose an issue. I do have some worries about managing grief, trauma and attachment while meeting my son's needs, but I I hope to receive support for and do have tips particularly from the adoption training in managing this, but wondered if anyone else had any experience of adopting with a smaller age gap and how it worked for you? Both boys are quite attention seeking, but not overly demanding with this.

Thank you.

S, T and little N


Donatella November 30, 2021 23:27

I have a 20 month gap between my youngest two - both adopted and placed 20 months apart. Also have another adopted - now adult - child. My three arrived separately and all were under 12 months old.

I would be very wary. At the risk of sounding cynical, you may not get the support you need post placement from SS - that’s me being diplomatic!

Apart from the emotional, trauma caused issues think about practical ones. Sharing toys, belongings etc. Presume separate rooms? School can throw up many difficulties and your birth son won’t be able to escape them unless they’re in different schools. They’ll be two school years apart? That certainly caused issues for my eldest son when middle son experienced difficulties in school. We ended up with three in three schools.

You say both boys are attention seeking? Attention needing. How would you manage competing demands? A 4 year old isn’t going to be napping to give the older one space? At least with a younger child you will be better able to give separate attention to each.

There will be jealousy - your son is used to your undivided attention. Competing with a baby is one thing. Competing with a vocal, mobile, attention seeking 4 year is something else.

Have you spoken to his foster carer? His school? Do you have a full history?

My three get along well now - 20, 17 and 16 - but it’s been a rocky road at times and, frankly, a full time job. Assume he’ll have additional needs - because he will. How will you accommodate those? I guess at least SS will be able to share some of those needs with you .. they hadn’t been identified in my younger two.

Safia December 1, 2021 08:22

I have a 19month gap between my two - again both adopted - full siblings but had never met. They were placed six months apart as toddlers. As Donatella says the sibling rivalry was intense. I couldn’t use a double buggy as the eldest one would bite the youngest. At one time his face was covered in scratches. I did manage to work when they went to school but it was part time for my husband so had the flexibility there when needed. They did play together at times but mostly it was the older one (who has severe ADHD) doing stupid things and the younger one copying! I didn’t get any support services till they were much older and really had to fight for that. It will be very hard for your son being used to being an only child and then having a lively (probably) slightly younger child joining him - as Donatella says 24hrs a day with no respite. It may work well - they may get on really well - but I think you need to think through all the ways you can support yourself to cope - practical things as well as people and services such as respite care / activities for the children so you can still have 1:1 with both your sons. The younger one is likely to be very demanding in whatever way and you need to make sure you can still be there for the older one as much as you can

Sarcia December 1, 2021 10:45

Thanks both for your helpful advice and great to hear from others who have a lot of experience with this. I do have history for him and currently there are no obvious additional needs other than trauma and grief. He does have a few medical conditions that are under control and I have been involved with meetings regarding these. We feel we can support him with these, but my man concern was the sibling rivalry, as there is only going to be one school year difference. This definitely wouldn't have been something that I would have opted for, but we didn't anticipate exactly how little the age gap was. Financially I couldn't afford to give up work either, so that is something else for me to consider. I work part time and currently am able to be flexible which hopefully will help in the long term.

We haven't spoken to the foster carer yet, but that would be the next step if we proceed. This is where we are currently stuck and looked to you lovely adopters for advice :) Some really useful considerations thank you.

S, T and little N



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