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Honest post about adopting siblings. The impact on them, us and our birth child (sorry, not a happy post)

Mrs Fluffy Cat July 30, 2019 18:44

Ten years on, and life is not good. At all. If we could go back in time, we would not have adopted...there, I said it. Or at least not a sibling group (two older, very traumatised girls). I hate admitting it, and never thought I would feel like this, but it's the truth. And my husband feels the same. And it really hurts to say it, because we love our children.

We did not wear rose tinted glasses, we knew it would likely be a very rocky road, especially during the teenage years. We had asked for all the files and reports prior to making our decision, so we would have a good idea of what life had been like for our girls. We asked for therapy funding to be agreed in writing beforehand, as we knew our girls had an extremely traumatic time while living with their birth family. We were (rightly so) suspicious when the reports stated that our girls had made excellent progress and were seemingly fine...we knew they had to have been severely affected by the trauma they suffered and witnessed. We thought we were prepared, as much as we could be anyway...

What we hadn't anticipated was just how much our girls would trigger each other. We've had to deal with extreme violence, PTSD, running away, self harm etc x 2. Our youngest is copying her sister's very poor coping strategies. The impact both our girls kicking off has had a tremendous effect on our (birth) son. He has gone from a quietly confident, mature, very happy boy to a very depressed and anxious young man. We feel such guilt about turning his safe world upside down. We have also had to deal with ongoing serious security issues with a dangerous birth family, pretty scary stuff and not what we had expected.

Both our lovely girls are not doing well, and that's an understatement. I really fear for their futures. We will never give up on them, but the trauma is still very much with them, and therefore also with us. It really has been so incredibly hard. I have three children who I am really worried about, and that is a horrible feeling. What's really sad, is knowing that our girls probably would have fared better had they been separated and each been placed with an experienced long-term foster carer. Them being a bit older (our eldest girl was 8), they have felt it hard to call someone else mum and dad. They have really struggled with the intimacy of having to be part of a new family, and I can really see why that must have been so difficult for them. They were used to chaos and danger, and being part of a very large family. Them being thrown into a safe, but quiet small family (rural area) must have felt so alien to them.

Anyway, just feeling a little sorry for myself. Our life and careers have changed beyond recognition (have had to give up our jobs, financial security, no time for ourselves etc). I hope my post helps someone who is looking to adopt a sibling group. Not saying siblings should always be split up, as I know sometimes it can work out really well. But I do think very traumatised children, especially older ones, might do better in general to be placed without siblings (or other children). And I wish birth children would be better supported when things are tough. Professionals hardly ever asked how our son was doing. Sometimes he wasn't even mentioned in reports. Certainly nobody asked if he needed therapy. We had to fight for any help for him, and arrange it all ourselves. For a long time he kept his feelings hidden, as he didn't want to burden us with his struggles, knowing we were having such a hard time with our girls. He witnessed us being attacked many times, I know he finds this so hard. He still doesn't like to talk now, and that kills me. Ironically, each of our children will probably view themselves as being the 'least important' child. We love all three of them to bits. We wish they could just feel it and believe it. Sorry to be so down. Just wanted to help others who are starting a similar journey, but reading it back it all sounds so negative. I know when you are adopting you are likely to think 'it won't happen to me', or 'if it does, we will get through it'...and it's natural to want to feel happy about adding to your family, but please be careful and if you feel it is right to go ahead, ask many questions, get any promises of support in writing is my advice x

Serrakunda27 July 30, 2019 19:16

Just wanted to send you a hug (((( Mrs Fluffy Cat ))))

moo July 30, 2019 19:24

Sorry to read this Fluffy Cat xxx

Vent away xx that is just what this place used to be aboutxxxx not many of us left xxx

Sending chocs & coping juice xxx

Xx moo xx

Safia July 30, 2019 19:32

So sorry to hear this - it’s so very tough - hope things manage to settle a little in time and you and your son get the help you need as well as your daughters! They do seem to mature a bit with time 🤗

windfalls July 30, 2019 19:46

sending you hugs too. My husband and I feel this way too and we only adopted one child so i completely understand, you are not alone. xxx

Mrs Fluffy Cat July 30, 2019 20:33

Thank you so much for the hugs :) Nice to be with people who really understand. We should be able to talk about the negatives as well as the positives. I think it's really important. And there have been positives too. My husband and I are as strong as ever. We are very, very tired and sad, angry at times too. But we are not broken. And we still hold hope that all the love and positive messages we've tried to give our girls are inside them 'somewhere', and that one day they will recognise it as such. We also feel privileged and proud to witness our girls' resilience and determination. Big girl has a wicked sense of humour, and is so very clever (and cheeky). My little girl can be so caring, helpful and thoughtful and very smiley. We don't see that side of them so much right now, but every now and then it's there.. Life has been very unfair to them, and they deserve to feel they belong and are loved. Contrary to what my post may suggest, I'm an optimistic person, and I refuse to give up hope...but am also realistic and I know it will be really tricky for big girl especially to get back on track, as she is making very dangerous choices indeed. Thanks again x

Mama Bear July 30, 2019 20:55

So sorry you’re feeling like this Fluffy Cat, please vent away, that’s why we’re here.

i have to admit I’ve felt similar in the (nearly) 3 years since we got our little ones. There are absolutely great times when I can see how far they’ve come and be confident about their future. There are also times when I wonder what on earth we’ve done and if we’re really the right place for them. They’re still young right now but I fear the teenage years already.

It sounds like you’re still fighting and you obviously care so much about all 3 of them. Sending hugs and parenting juice x

Dribble July 31, 2019 01:57

Ah, Mrs FC, I’ve been there. I nearly gave up on my boy when he was 14 and my home was being smashed up . Somehow we survived ( I gave up my job; he got sent to a PRU which freaked him out) but by the time of his 18th birthday I couldn’t have been more proud of the young man he’d become.10 years on and he’s trying to fix more things than he ever smashed.. I can only put it down to me believing in his innate goodness ( which was hard to see at the time) and by us both responding to conflict resolution strategies provided by a mediation service. It’s been an adventure! Hang in there.

Scott C-R July 31, 2019 09:19

Hello Mrs Fluffy Cat.

That must have been hard to share, and your honesty is much appreciated.

I have sent you a DM.

Best wishes

Scott

Mojo July 31, 2019 11:10

Thank you for your honesty, as a prospective adopter, I need to read the reality of posts like this. As I firmly believe that this is the reality of adoption.

Mrs Fluffy Cat July 31, 2019 11:21

Thanks Mojo, it is especially for prospective adopters that I posted this. It's good to be forewarned, though of course I realise that lots of adopters have an easier ride than we have had. Wishing you all the best in your search. I remember going on these boards a long time ago when we were prospective adopters, and honestly it helped me so much. A wealth of information, and nobody judges here. x

Mojo July 31, 2019 11:56

i have been pondering about wether I want to take this route and the last 3 months I have been veering on not progressing.

This weekend, I had a truly fabulous weekend and questioned wether or not I could have the lifestyle I currently have with a child/REN with “needs” and the answer is no. So I had basically made up my mind not to progress any further.

it was almost like a weight lifted off my shoulders, don’t need to lose weight, no more intrusion, don’t need to worry about evidencing very healthy bank balance, don’t need to get the house & garden in order, etc

so yesterday, I read your post, and it brought a tear to my eye, as it has done now also as I write.

and your post has motivated me to continue this path.

I am not going into this wearing rose tinted glasses, my birth children are all now thriving, independent adults so are not at risk.

Reading your post reminded me why I wanted to do this in the first place, I know that there is a child/ ren out there, that’s needs I can meet, and Hopefully i can support them to adulthood and beyond..

not Having younger children in my life has left a massive void, I have experience, knowledge and understanding of all the issues that looked after children have and you have empowered me to keep going, 💕 mojo

peartree July 31, 2019 17:23

Hello Fluffy! Nice to see you. Sorry things are going in a decidedly downwards direction.

We found POTATO group a big help.

But yes, one of my biggest regrets in adoption is taking on a sibling group. Those trauma bonds are rife and you just can’t fix any of that without separating them.

Mrs Fluffy Cat July 31, 2019 17:41

Mojo, I think it's natural to feel wobbly at times during the adoption process. It's such a HUGE decision and getting cold feet is par for the course I think. It means you care about making the right decision. The approval process can be really intense. We are quite an introvert couple, and found some bits quite intrusive. And it took forever. But it needs to be thorough of course, as they need to know you are resilient, and have the necessary skills to parent very vulnerable children. I think a gut feeling of it not feeling right is very different however, and something that needs serious exploring. I didn't feel wobbly as such during the adoption process (though plenty of wobbles now!), but my husband did at times. I remember feeling this powerful, strong sense of commitment, even before I had ever set eyes on my children. Luckily that feeling hasn't left me. Sometimes that promise I made to myself back then (to never give up on them, to fight for my children), together with sheer bloodymindedness is all keeps me going. I wish you all the best in your search, sounds like you are doing a lot of soul searching, which I think is a good thing - it's such a big decision after all xx

Mrs Fluffy Cat July 31, 2019 17:44

Hi Peartree! Good to see you're still on the boards :)

I haven't come across POTATO before, but have seen people mention it on here, so must check it out. x

Ziggie-Star August 1, 2019 06:34

Thanks for posting fluffy cat sending hugs your way.

Bop August 11, 2019 19:47

We're a bit further on than you and I have to say that for our family, adopting siblings was probably a mistake - the trauma bonds are awful and all have ended up separated in their teens and are now thriving. With hindsight it would probably have been better if they'd been placed separately.

Hard to share more and why on a public forum without identifying ourselves.

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