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Single Mum with biological child - help please!

FullOfQuestions February 3, 2021 00:56

Hi, I've always wanted to adopt, and mid-thirties I still do and half wish I had done it 4 years ago and not put it off. I have an 8 year old biological son who is desperate for a sibling too!
I have 2 things that have held me back that I'm wondering if anyone could help me with please:

1. My son at the moment has a Dad (separated 6 years ago but we get on well) Albeit not the best Dad but my son sees him often. When I adopt that child won't have a Dad and it breaks my heart to think that on fathers day and just in general they will see their big brother seeing their Dad, giving him cards and presents and they wont have that. If my sons Dad wasn't on the scene then I wouldn't be worried about this as I'd be "Dad" role too. I feel this is just so cruel to that child though denying them a father.
Everyone I say this to says "but you are giving that child a loving home that they don't have now" which would be true but the child may not remember their past - all they will know growing up is their brother has a Dad and they don't.
Does anyone else have experience of this and could advise?

2. I'm a single Mum of 1. I know there's thousands of single parents in the world (I've been one myself for 6 years) but none that I know of that have 2 children - 1 biological and 1 adopted - to know how hard it really is!
I have my parents local that are amazing and I know they'll help now and again but that's it for any help for both children. I like to think I'm a good Mum but I need a reality check of how tough it may be going from 1 to 2, without any help at home and what problems may come along.

Any help or advice greatly appreciated please!
Thank you 😊

Edited 17/02/2021
windfalls February 3, 2021 08:45

Dear fullofquestions,

I can see your dilemma and so as you are still quite young I would put adoption off for a few more years. By the time your birth son is 18 he probably won't be seeing his dad so often as he will be off doing other things. So if there is at least a 10 year age gap between them then this will be less of an issue for an adopted child. They would still be close, there is a 10 year age gap between my two birth sons and they are incredibly close. Also such an age gap will make it easier on you as adopted children do come with issues/problems the severity of which won't be known.

Best wishes,xx

Edited 17/02/2021
Serrakunda27 February 3, 2021 11:54


I’m a single adopter, I only have one son, but know lots of single adopters with two children, and some with three

Yes its hard, and you do need a good support network around you. Social workers will dig into this,

My son sends cards and presents to grandad on Fathers Day, we have worked hard to develop that relationship. Grandad is my stepdad and never had children of his own and inherited me and my brothers when we were in our late teens, so he has been chuffed to have that relationship.

The point being is that families come in all shapes and sizes. Your existing child has a dad but doesnt live with him, any adopted child will also have a dad, who they can’t see. Its one of many issues that you just have to be honest with your child about.

Having a sibling for your existing child a reason is not a good enough reason for adopting though. You should adopt because YOU want to adopt. Maybe your son is thinking about his friends with siblings? Bear in mind that an adopted child is likely to have some level of additional need, they will take up a lot of your time, its not easy for children to cope with the added pressures of a sibling with additional needs. I know several families ( not adoptive families) where there is a lot of resentment and tension around the attention a sibling with additional needs gets, and the disruption they cause.

There is also likely to be a significant age gap between them, they may not be the playmates you and he imagine.

My last observation is can you afford a second child? Can you take a year adoption leave, how will you fund it? Childcare costs can be crippling. What changes will you have to make to your current lifestyle to afford another child?

Edited 17/02/2021
Donatella February 3, 2021 13:37

I’d echo what both Windfalls and Serrakunda have said.

Adopted children come with a range of issues, regardless of age at placement, which can and do make life difficult to navigate. You say the child may not remember their past but depending on age they well remember all their traumatic experiences, whether that’s explicit memories or proverbial implicit memories. The body stores trauma - so even if they can’t verbalise a traumatic event in their past that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten. Even if it happened in utero.

Knowing what I know now, I’d wait. I have three adopted children with just 5 years between them and it’s been tough. My eldest is neurotypical, though far from straightforward once he hit his teen years; my other two are dx ASD and getting those diagnoses, the right support, the right education has taken over my life. Luckily my eldest has pretty much emerged from his difficult period but it has, without a doubt, been hard for him.

There’s no guarantee that siblings will get along - birth or adopted - and when they don’t, piggy in the middle isn’t an easy place to be. You’re still young so, yes, I’d wait until your son is at least settled in secondary school - which is another consideration in itself. At one time I had three children in three schools - it’s not unusual for children to need that space from each other.

Good luck

Edited 17/02/2021
Lettice February 5, 2021 07:16

Re. coping with 2, I'm a single adopter with more than one child, and I know (mostly virtually) lots of others, some with lots of children. I think some of the biggest questions are about how flexible your work is, will you be working full-time, impact on your career etc. In order to pass the approvals processes (and to survive afterwards!) you will need to identify a strong support network for everyday eventualities and crises. It's about being able and willing to go and ask for help. It takes a village to raise a child......

If you use facebook, there's a very chatty UK group for prospective single adopters. Quite a few on there are in a similar position with a young birth son.

Edited 17/02/2021


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