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Impact on birth child

WestCountryMum February 12, 2019 19:59
Hi lovely parents, My husband and I have been thinking about and researching the process of adoption for a while now. We were just waiting for our birth son to get a little older (he’s nearly 2 now) before taking it further. I thought it would be useful, before making any firm decisions to speak to some people who have adopted to understand what to expect. My largest concern is that of the impact it might have on our birth son. I don’t worry about not loving a new family member enough but I do worry that my decision has the potential to impact on him in a negative way. If you have any words of advice or experiences (positive and negative) then I’d love to hear from you. Thanks, Another worried parent
Edited 17/02/2021
chocoholic February 12, 2019 21:36
I am sorry I can't give you the definitive answer to your question, or even anything terribly reassuring. Our experience is that adoption has had both a negative and a positive impact on our birth sons. Our oldest birth son, Mars, has weathered every storm, and is a hugely positive influence on the lives of our adopted daughters. He loves them and understands them, and is so tolerant of their difficulties. This was true from the beginning and remains so today, 14 years later. However he is a very confident young man, he was already 9 years old when our daughter was placed at 15 months, and he just has one of those teflon personalities, where nothing much bothers him. Our younger son, Minstrel, has found it much harder. He is the polar opposite to Mars, lots of anxious thinking, negative thinking, not a lot of confidence. He was only 6 when our daughter arrived, and lost his place as the baby of the family. The smaller age gap made it harder for him to handle her very challenging behaviour, especially as he hit his teens and entered planet embarrassment. His sister displayed extremely embarrassing behaviour (to him), both at home and outside the home. She took loads of attention which should have been his, she still does, even at 15 she needs close supervision and is relentlessly demanding. He hates her. He still hates her and barely tolerates her presence, even though he's 20 and at uni now. I have tried everything I can to change this dynamic, to no avail, and it hurts me very much, for both Minstrel and Twirl, that there is such a toxic situation at the heart of our family. I think he is suffering from some kind of secondary trauma, as in so many ways he is a charming young man, but has a total inability to put aside his feelings for her. However, my experience is not everyone's experience. So much depends on your son's personality, and your new child's personality. On age gaps, on your own ability to give focused attention to each child, and their ability to handle sharing you. You will at least only be dealing with two children, not four, and so not outnumbered quite like us! There have been positives too, I believe that both my sons, even Minstrel, have been enriched by being part of a family life which doesn't necessarily always fit the 'normal' box. They have an appreciation for life and relationships which is shaped by their experience in positive as well as negative ways. Like others have said before me, adoption can be a bit like planning to go to Spain but ending up in Holland. There are still lots of lovely things about Holland! Minstrel is great with our younger daughter, Galaxy, but he was already 14 when she arrived, so their relationship is totally different, and I guess you're not considering a 12 year age gap! She too is a totally different personality to her sister, so that's another factor. Without a crystal ball, you can only be as wise as possible, given all the facts you have, and do your best.
Edited 17/02/2021
Pear Tree February 13, 2019 01:01
If you doa search several threads on this topic should come up. I would think extremely carefully about adoption especially when you have a little one still. The thing is, When you adopt a child you need as big an age gap as possible. The main reason is that they are unlikely to cope with taking the space of a similar stage existing child. and parents will find the whole thing much more overwhelming. These are kids who have been mostly removed from families who didn’t have capacity to care for them. They are hurting children. This causes life long issues. My children were the other way round than yours. You are definitely doing it the better way round having had a birth child first. We have 2 adopted young adults and 1 birth child. What I didn’t know when I adopted- wow there’s a lot! But I didn’t know that it wasn’t pot luck as to if you had a child with lots of complex issues. In adoption it’s far more likely than if you had a bc. And that’s fine. But I think honesty with yourself is such an important bit. Have a read of Margot Sunderland ‘what every parent needs to know’ and also the really good books by Sally Donovan. There’s a new book coming out by Helen Oakwater for people in your position. Read all you can about it.
Edited 17/02/2021
WestCountryMum February 13, 2019 06:43
Thank you both so much for your really helpful comments. You’ve definitely given me a lot to think about and read. If we do this I want to make sure we’re prepared so your honesty is much appreciated :-)
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cowgirls February 13, 2019 07:50
Hi I've typed a reply but leaned on the keyboard & lost it ! Quick response - huge age gap at least 6 years plus for example. Assume one of you will not go back to work Support next work vital & for the elder child cubs etc It is a massive gamble. Will reply more later
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Donatella February 13, 2019 08:57
Hi. I’ll be quite honest and suggest waiting at least until your child is in junior school, if not longer tbh. This isn’t like having another child by alternative means. When you adopt in all likelihood you’ll be having a child with additional needs, a complex child - whether that’s fasd, trauma, probably undiagnosed health issues such as adhd and/or ASD. You’re not just having another child - in effect you’ll be taking on a child and it’s birth family genetic history with all that entails. You might know a little, you might be told a lot. On the other hand, particularly if it’s a very little one, you might know next to nothing, particularly if birth father is no longer around. This might be child no 1 or it could be child no 10 and with that comes additional risks - epigenics. There are some children who are more straightforward than others - I have three, all arrived as easy to place babies. Far from easy to parent though and for the two younger ones it’s been 15 years of chasing assessments, diagnoses, battling with education. It has been a full time job so assume a return to full time work might not be doable. I’m not being negative - my kids are amazing - but it has been knackering. Keep reading. Keep researching. Research fas/fasd particularly. And good luck
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safia February 13, 2019 15:15
My birth children were much older - 14 and 20 by the time my AD came home - my AS followed six months later. Whilst it may be easier in some ways when your children are older it is not without difficulties - and losses to be honest. The eldest one was accepted by my AD as another adult but my younger daughter felt a lot of rejection and hostility from my AD who saw her as a "threat" / competition I guess. She missed out in many ways in her teens and I only managed to visit her a couple of times at uni. She went overseas after uni - to Central America for two years - a very worthwhile experience but I can't help but wonder if this was partly because of being pushed out of the nest prematurely. Also even now I think she feels I don't visit her as much as she would like - she is now married with a baby / toddler (as she now walks!) - I don't think I'm any different from her friends' mums - and if I was working full time it would be no better but it is the perception I think. My AD has complex needs - learning difficulties and mental health and is a life long commitment for me. I think you just need to read and research as much as possible at the moment - then start to make enquiries when you feel the time is right - the assessment process is lengthy and is meant as a period of knowledge building and reflection as much as assessment so you can change your mind at any time if it does not feel right . During this time you will be considering different types of needs an adoptive child might have and whether you can cope with these as a family - bearing in mind there is no certainty around the needs any child might bring. Your son too is still little and it might turn out there are things you would have to consider regarding his development. I think all you can do is take your time and apply at a time that seems right for you
Edited 17/02/2021
Larsti February 14, 2019 12:13
Very good replies above. Definitely have a search for other threads on this subject. My short answer would be don't put your birth child through it, or if you do go ahead, as others have said, have a very big age gap. But even then there are likely to be problems, as safia has decribed. Sounds negative/cynical and by nature I am not either of those things. The reality is it can be extremely tough and as Peartree once said 'adoption is the gift that keeps on giving' (which made me laugh out loud!) Your birth child will still have an adopted sibling (with a birth family who may or not be in touch with adopted child) when you are dead and gone.
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Reepoc February 21, 2019 21:30
We have a birth son age 6 and are in the process of matching with an AD. Our Social Worker was able to put us in contact with two families who had adopted with a birth child/ren of a similar age. We found it really helpful to speak to them and they were able to answer many of our questions. It's worth asking if your Local Authority/Adoption Service have someone they can put you in touch with, I found speaking to a real person so much more meaningful than reading books or articles.
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LizzyLizzyLizzy March 11, 2019 14:56
Hi, I was 11 years old and my younger brother was 9 when my parents adopted my two youngest brothers (then aged 3 and 6). It was a roller coaster ride and in no ways easy. However, despite it being difficult at times, they have always felt very much MY brothers and I love them to pieces! And in a way it was all I knew so it was normal to me if that makes sense. As an adult of 26 years, I have thanked my parents so many times for being brave enough to commit to adoption and for not giving up when the going got tough. Although it made life more difficult for me as a kid and teenager, that has made me who I am today. I'm stronger than I would have been otherwise and I like to think a more understanding and compassionate person. I believe that whilst adoption may make life a bit harder for your biological child in the short term, in the long-term I really do believe it will be so good for him. I have recently adopted a child myself now :) I always encourage anyone with birth children that just because something makes life potentially more difficult for your birth child doesn't mean its not whats best for them! Challenges and how we are taught to respond to them can actually shape us into better and happier people :)
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Larsti March 11, 2019 21:47
Lovely post Lizzy I have told the story before on here about the time my youngest BC came home and reported a conversation she had had with a friend. Friend 'Dash is sort of your brother isn't he?' BD 'Dash IS my brother' :-) She was 9 when he was placed (aged 4) I always say we have no regrets but at the same time if we had known in advance what the cost would be, especially for our youngest BC, we wouldn't have adopted. That may sound contradictory but there are subtle differences. Another thing I have said on here before is that I think there is a protective factor in having more than one birth child. They have each other. Often no one outside the family really knows what adoption is like and to be told how cute your brother is and suchlike when you know different is quite a lonely place I think. Like you though, adoption is one of the things that have made DD who she is. I often say to her that she has more compassion than a lot of adults who are totally clueless about children who have grown up in traumatic environments and/or have special needs.
Edited 17/02/2021


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