June 14, 2020 16:49
Me and my husband are starting to look into adoption as a route for us to start a family. One of the recurring themes that we have seen about adopting a child/children is about social workers questions about why we would not want to have our own children.
We have obviously discussed this, but it is hard to give a polished answer, or one which feels watertight. For me, having experienced adverse childhood experiences growing up, the want to adopt comes in some part from the long lasting effects that this has had on my future plans. I have just never wanted to have my own children. I wonder if any users have come across any resources to help me explore this further?
On my husband's side, he does obviously have worries about how he would react to friends having children of their own. It's a decision we've both come to together, but I think we have to do some more soul-searching before we decide if this is the right route for us.
Any advice gratefully received.
June 15, 2020 09:03
I think it’s probably better you don’t have a polished answer - it sounds more natural - you’ve done your thinking and you have lots of thoughts around the issue. However if there’s a difference between your views and your partner’s - if they aren’t sure about giving up completely on the idea of biological children - then it’s best to explore this through counselling - either alone or together - that’s is something SW might suggest anyway so it’s good if you can be proactive. You don’t necessarily have to give up on the idea of biological children altogether but just understand where it feels for you in your priorities. Whilst most people who have birth children usually do things the other way round there are some who’ve adopted first - so it might be an idea to research the archives. The most important thing is to just be yourselves and be open with SWs about your thoughts and your doubts - it’s a learning process rather than an exam you need to pass
June 15, 2020 18:06
Thank you for your kind answer and thoughts.
Counselling is a good idea, we will look into that. A trawl of the archive has given me a lot more food for thought too, thank you for the heads up.
Appreciate you taking the time to answer :)
June 16, 2020 14:55
Excellent advice, as usual, from Safia. I think counselling in your situation is an absolute must because I think you really need to explore your own childhood experiences and this will be absolutely crucial if you do go onto adopt. Adopted children are all affected, to some degree or another, by their childhood experiences eg abuse/neglect and by genetic factors and so their behaviour can be very challenging at times (to say the least). You and indeed social services, will want to be sure that this does not trigger something in you or re-traumatise you, which could affect your ability to deal with that type of behaviour. Also exploring why you want to adopt is also a good idea - eg is it because you feel the need to somehow "save" a child from going through what you went through?
Please also bear in mind that parenting an adopted child is very very hard and is nothing like parenting a securely attached birth child ( and I have both). So both you and your husband really need to be on the same page on this - you both need to be 110% committed to it because it can put enormous stress and strain on a marriage. Also if you do decided to have both birth and adopted children then my advice would be to have your birth children first, have a big age gap and then adopt. This is because the needs of an adopted child can be so extreme that you may find it impossible to have any more children.
June 16, 2020 16:08
I think you are right about counselling - i wonder if anyone knows of any good agencies with experience in this area? I think you make a good point about re-traumatisation and the 'saving' narrative - something I have not directly considered though I imagine something which may have subconsciously shaped my thoughts about this. I agree counselling sounds like a must.
Re. differences with adoption, thankfully I have some experience with this (a few members of our families are adopted - and I have a couple of friends who have gone through the process), but you are very right to flag this obviously. I think, although we have experience with friends and family, this is by no means a full introduction to the challenges adoptive families face. Thank you for your contributions on that point.
Thanks very much for taking the time to give me some guidance, it is appreciated :) xxx
June 17, 2020 20:50
safia gave me the name of a lady called Esther Ina-Egbe who might be of help to you. If you look on the adopters board under the subject "Life story work" i asked for recommendations for life story work for my AD - safia has kindly put the link to this lady there (sorry but my tech skills are not that great and so i could not post the link here). If Esther cannot help because she is not in your area then she may be able to help with other recommendations. My only other suggestion would be to go through your GP.
best wishes xx