New here? Register in under one minute   Already a member? Login245011 questions, 1084534 answers  

  DearCupid.ORG relationship advice
  Got a relationship, dating, love or sex question? Ask for help!Search
 New Questions Answers . Most Discussed Viewed . Unanswered . Followups . Forums . Top agony aunts . About Us .  Articles  . Sitemap

Our wish to adopt a child has provoked some negative reactions, how do we deal with them?

Tagged as: Big Questions, Family, Friends<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (14 October 2016) 14 Answers - (Newest, 23 October 2016)
A female United Kingdom age 41-50, anonymous writes:

My husband and I have decided to adopt. I was surprised by the negative reaction of some of our friends!

I was prepared for the usual fears and prejudices (it's not your flesh and blood, you can never love him the way you would your own etc.) but I was completely caught off guard by two of my friends (who do not know each other) and who are shrinks (one is a psychiatrist and the other a psychologist,one doesn't have any kids and the other has two daughters).

They were happy to hear that we are ready for parenthood, but that positive reaction lasted until they heard that we wanted to adopt.

Even though we take this VERY seriously and are aware of possible difficulties adopted children may have (mostly revolve around fears of abandonment, consequences of neglect in orphanages...), they both insisted on the fact that (to put it simply in layman's terms) these children are damaged and more often than not are a burden. They kept giving me bad examples of parents who had to put their lives on hold to deal with their adoptive children with problems.

At first I said okay, they feel the need, as professionals, to face me with possible hardships, but as the time went on I realized that that wasn't their intention. They advised me against it. I asked them if they knew of any positive examples and they said that the bad outweighs the good.

In their opinion adoption should be the last resort for couples who can't have kids.

Now all of this wouldn't be such a big deal (I can live with having two friends who don't approve of my choices, even if they are shrinks ;) but they started influencing some of my other friends/family members who used to support our decision. They are shrinks and their opinion matters more to some of them, most notably my sister and my mother in law.

They just won't agree to disagree. It would have been easier if we couldn't have biological children. Now they just won't let go.

<-- Rate this Question

Reply to this Question


Share

Fancy yourself as an agony aunt? Add your answer to this question!

A female reader, anonymous, writes (23 October 2016):

It strikes me as peculiar that such propsedly professional friends let themselves confuse their advice to you as a friend, with that as in a professional capacity, after learning about your decision should they not have been a little less "advisory" and a little more curious as to both your reasons for your decision? Even if this is an emotional subject that would lead them to confuse their 'role' as a friend, I wouldn't expect any of my professional friends to offer me advice on their specific area of expertise, wether it be joinery to medicine, without my first expressing that I wished it, I have frequently told my friends, my opinion is irrelevant, do whatever makes you makes you happy when pressed as to what I think of their decisions. There's a huge difference between saying to someone, I personally would not do this because of my experience & saying you shouldn't do that, and trying to persuade your family members that you are wrong, I'd be very vexed had my "friends" done such a thing.

Additionally what is their motivation for this, do they think you are going to come "crying" to them when you face a difficult situation and ask them for a lot of "free" professional advice? Or have they become disillusioned with their professions and are using your decision to vent their frustrations in a selfish cathartic way!

<-- Rate this answer

A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (21 October 2016):

aunt honesty agony auntFrom reading your update I think you are more than prepared for what is ahead. As said a lot of people think going in to adoption will be all love, toys and fun and sometimes it is not. Off course the same can be said for biological children, as you said yourself children should not be categorized. Just like you I have worked with children from all backgrounds and children will all mental and physical disabilities. I agree each child is unique and different. I have saw children come from a wealthy background and be miserable as they have not had quality time with parents. I have also saw children come from a loving home and have difficulties in life. Really no child should be judged and I am glad you see it like that. Each child is a challenge to there parents. It sounds like you will make a good mother. Ignore what people are saying to you about being doubtful and follow your heart.

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A female reader, anonymous, writes (15 October 2016):

Thank you ALL so much for answering my post!

I am so grateful that a part from helping me with the problem at hand, you gave me some invaluable advice, good examples and ideas regarding adoption.

I hope HoeyPie that you are right and that given time our friends and family will grow to love any child we bring home. It's not about what we need (their support for instance, although it would be much appreciated) but what we could share together as a family.

Thank you RubieBirtle sharing these links, I'll check them out straight away.

WiseOwlE, that is the first thing I asked them - whether or not they think that we, individually and as a couple, may not be ready for parenthood, biological and/or adoptive. They said that we were not the problem, but the adoption. They really believe that it is too much of a gamble. Thank you for the stories you shared. Among other things we waited this long because we wanted to improve our financial situation (earn more, have stable employment, own a home). It's harsh, but t's true that richer people have more choice even in these matters.

Youcannotbeserious, thank you for your support. I too sometimes think about the fact that people who want biological children (if everything's fine health-wise) can just have them and almost all of them believe that they are cut out to be good parents. Only those who really screwed up are questioned by their friends/family if they know what they're doing. Even then most people will hope for the best believing that children will change their friends' lives for the better. I haven't seen that happen so far.

Thank you, Anonymous, for that piece of advice. It'll be harder with my sister and my mother in law not to discuss somethings this important, but for now, that may be the only way.

AunHonesty, we are doing are best to prepare. We started looking for couples around us who had already adopted and who could give us the real picture. I also work with children and have seen a lot. From dyslexia, ADHD to Asperger's and even some forms of abuse. All children are unique and all of them react differently, but there's an immense difference between those children whose parents really take care of them (spend time with them, play with them, teach them..) and those who are at best taken care by nannies, private tutors or in worst cases left to their own devices. So when people around me try to categorize kids, I tend to categorize parents. Thank you for your support!

CelticTiger, thank you for sharing that personal story and for asking really important questions, that we have pondered for a while now. There are both advantages in disadvantages to any choice we might make. Babies may prove to have some disorders and illnesses later on that could not have been detected. Older children, after having lived with lack of care and affection will most probably have some abandonment issues, for starters. And all of them at some point will have to deal with identity issues, wanting to know about their past, meet their biological parents. And we can be their to help them, because none of us parents, not even biological ones, really HAVE our children. We are there to help them on their way, as Khalil Gibran wrote, we are only the bow that sends an arrow. I too have experienced a little of these children may be going through. I was adopted by my step-father (my sister is not really my sister but his daughter, still, we both love each other and think about each other as sisters) at the age of 7 and my mother (nobody in my family for that matter) had ever mentioned my biological father. I learned who he was after my mum had died. After having spoken to him once (he never called back) and after having learned about his life I understood the decision my mum had made. But, the only difference is that I will talk to my children about their origins, and if possible I will keep track of their parent(s). No matter who they are, it's better if the children knew, than if they wondered forever and felt deprived.

Chigril, thank you so much for all of your answers! What struck me the most is when you said that these children have the right to have the problems they may have and that is quite a normal reaction! I mean, I never thought about explaining to my friends and family the way you did. I'll give them time and hope that will find common ground. I know that friendships go through a change when friends have kids. When suddenly my mum died young, my step-father had left us long before, I was devastated and it took me a lot of time to learn to accept it and grieve. Was I damaged when I kept to myself and tried hard just to stay on track, finish school and be independent? Would my friends have thought about me as damaged? Who knows... I hope that they wouldn't even if I was damaged. I needed time to find out who I was and heal. I owe so much for the people who helped me on the way.

Adopting and older child is really challenging. Your friend went through hell and she had no skills to deal with anything that had happened to her in such an early age. What your family dis was so great, taking care of the child knowing that her mother could appear at any time and take her away, which she did.

I hope that we will be able to get to know more about our child, and that he, or she will get to know us as much as he can.

Thank you all once again!

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A female reader, chigirl Norway +, writes (15 October 2016):

chigirl agony auntMy best friend when I was a kid, had a mother that was unfit to take care of her. My family became a support family for her, until her mother discovered it and tried to abduct her own daughter to get her away from us (guilt of not being able to care for her herself, I suppose). That whole story ended with her mother finding a new boyfriend and just ditched her daughter, because she wanted a new life with her new man, and got pregnant and it didn't "fit" with having my friend in the picture. As she was quite old at this point (11), there was no family who wanted her for adoption or for a foster home, and she ended up living in a childrens home administered by the government.

Now, my mom said my friend did have issues. I didn't see these issues at all, haha, she was my best friend so of course I thought she was the greatest kid on earth. My mom said she has issues with authorities and she would just go out on her own and do things without asking or without caring. But I think all that is logical.. It's how she had to live for so many years, basically taking care of herself. It's what you do to survive.

I had an abusive father, and although him being my biological father I wouldn't say it left me less scarred! I was manipulative, but that's something kids learn to be when they have to grow up with irrational and abusive parents, they learn how to get around it and escape it to the degree that they can.

But this is more about older kids, the older they are, the more they have learned to be on their own. But neither me nor my friend have drugs issues, teenage pregnancies or the like. We both are adults now, holding good jobs and living as every other normal human does.

There are people of all sorts out there. And there are people who are born with a diagnosis that makes them more "difficult" to deal with. Whether you are a biological parent or not, you always need to be prepared for the shit that can come, because you're not ordering a couch from a catalog, you're having a child....

There are young children out here too who need a family, and who might also have suffered trauma, but who are so young they will forget it over the years, and not have the same need for an outlet as an older child. But I still think the most crucial thing here would be that you should meet the child, maybe meet more children, and talk to the ones currently caring for them to know their story, their background, and see if you are a good "fit" for one another. Children are, like I said, individuals, and two individuals going through the same experience will have two different reactions.

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A female reader, celtic_tiger United Kingdom +, writes (15 October 2016):

celtic_tiger agony auntI think that adoption is not just about taking on a child that is needing a family, it goes far deeper than that. You are also taking on the childs biological family, and all the emotional baggage that it brings with them.

It appears that many people who adopt fail to see that once they have the child they have been wishing for, the childs past will not suddenly disappear and the clock re-set.

Many children are up for adoption, not through parents passing away, but through abandonment, or unfit parents, or a disability a parent cannot cope with. They may have seen, or been involved in horrific and emotional periods which does affect them - perhaps not physically, but emotionally. This is the difficult part, and which causes the most problems in adoptive families, and cannot be seen until many years have passed.

I have two cousins who were adopted as 4 & 5 year olds. They are half siblings, same mother, different father. You couldn't have two more different personalities if you tried. One has been an absolute joy, the other has run my aunt and uncle ragged over the years through her behaviour, attitude and general personality issues. Teen pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, eloping, you name it, she did it, a lot of the time to spite her adoptive parents, because they were not her real parents and she resented it. She also had a very nasty streak and used to try to batter her sister and my aunt and uncle. Her biological father was in prison for beating up her mum, her mum was an alcoholic druggy and it does make you wonder how much of a personality comes through the genes. It certainly was nothing to do with her upbringing, as they wanted for nothing and were loved more than anything due to my aunt and uncle not being able to have kids of their own.

So I ask you to think about things on a deeper level -

What age of child do you want? A baby to swoon over, a toddler, an older child? Each of these will present their own range of challenges.

Can you deal with the idea that one day, they may want to know who their "real" parents are? OR that the real parents may come looking for a child?

Are you happy to take on a child who may in themselves be a grounded happy child, but come with a family of baggage in their blood-relations? You take them on too, even if you do not know who they are, one day they may pop out of the woodwork.

I think anyone who has the emotional strength to take on an adoptive child, or foster children deserves a lot of respect. These children are not damaged goods, and they deserve all the love and kindness that can be given, but it takes a very strong person to be able to do this.

It takes a huge heart and a lot of emotional strength to be able to give such a high level of support and to open their heart to potential hurt. I honestly do not think I could do it, emotionally I am not strong enough.

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A female reader, chigirl Norway +, writes (14 October 2016):

chigirl agony auntBTW, I personally think that people who describe children as "damaged goods" aren't fit to be parents. Children are humans, not an object you go shopping for in the store that is supposed to come "in perfect condition". If you want to be a parent, you do so not because you want to play dress up with a living doll, but because you want to give love and care and nurture to a small human who needs it in order to grow into an adult.

I say, a child having a reaction to a crappy thing happening to it, doesn't mean it's damaged, it means it's healthy and has a normal ability to react.

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland +, writes (14 October 2016):

aunt honesty agony auntI think the are judging the situation as a whole. I think between them they feel you are not ready as a couple for this challenge, I think that they are worried that you are taking on to much and it will take over your life.

Off course that is not there decision to make. The only advice I will give you is do a lot of research and be prepared for things that may go wrong, a lot of these children have had a hard start in life, but also a lot of these children just need a loving home and food. It is a great thing to adopt and you should be proud. Your family and friends might be against the idea but it is your choice and when you get a child they will grow to love you as a family, and if they don't well they are not worth it.

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A female reader, anonymous, writes (14 October 2016):

Wow they are taking their work role into their friendship and whilst an opinion is useful they've gone way too far. It's time to get cozy between the two of you only and stop sharing your plans. Privacy matters. Avoid people for a while and spend your time speaking to people with their own experience of adopting. Become wise and wonderful in your own time. I hope you go ahead.

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A reader, anonymous, writes (14 October 2016):

Are you sure their assessment of the situation is not based on their evaluation of your marriage and your combined personalities as a couple? They may be implicating you're not ready.

I would think if they gave such a negative reaction, you would dig much deeper than the superficial responses given to you.

To some degree they have given you fair warning. The easiest children to adopt are those with special needs or disabilities. Some prospective-adoptive parents have been through the wringer trying to adopt healthy children without medical or mental-health problems; and agencies tend to drag these poor people through hell. However; that depends on the adoption agency you're dealing with; and I am so sorry to say, your financial status matters. The wealthier you are, the better your opportunities and selections. You may even have to travel out of the UK and search abroad.

Gay and interracial couples who are near and dear to me, did encounter some of the problems that your friends suggested.

One couple adopted a child who was 12, they already had children. He is a beautiful boy, but he often asked if they would help him find his "real" parents. It hurt. They tried, but failed. It did upset him, but he loves them dearly. He's treated no differently than their biological offspring. He has the best parents you could ever find.

The gay couple wanted an infant, and the agencies kept offering babies whose mothers were drug addicts or junkies. After nine years of searching, they decided to go surrogate and had twins. Then adopted the sweetest little boy who is autistic. He is quite adorable and loves his little sisters. He got a puppy for his birthday, and they are inseparable.

Let no one influence your decision, only listen to advice that may prepare you for your journey. It will not be easy.

Lots of factors are involved. The age of the child you're looking for, race, sex, and even if you would consider a child with a mild disability.

Best of luck on your endeavor! Please stay committed to your decision! They are not adopted pets, you don't give them back or give them away if you aren't happy with them.

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A female reader, chigirl Norway +, writes (14 October 2016):

chigirl agony auntOmg, they sound like a pain in the ass. I would just stop being friends with these people. They sound angry and jealous, why else would they discourage you from adopting? It's none of their business, and in my experience the only reason why people try to control the actions of others is if it benefits them somehow.

So all I can gather is that they would benefit from you and your husband not adopting, perhaps it would make them feel like they are above you if you don't adopt, and maybe they will feel like shit if you adopt because they have said so many bad things about adoption, and are afraid to be proven wrong. I dunno, all I know is that when people react this strongly and negatively there's a personal reason behind it, and it usually boils down to their own insecurities and them feeling inferior, so trying to bring you down to their level.

It's absolute BS they are serving you, btw. Neither has adopted children of their own so actually NEITHER has anything they can say about it. I would suggest you get in touch with other adoptive parents and talk to them instead, make some new friends and lose these two.

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (14 October 2016):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntIf only there were more people like you and your husband who actually made adoption a FIRST choice. There are so many children in need that, while I can understand people wanting their own flesh and bloody, adoption is such a wonderful thing to offer these poor children. And let's not forget it is actually much more difficult to be accepted as prospective adoptive parents than to churn out your own children, which you can do without any controls whatsoever.

These children have been UNLUCKY. How cruel and heartless to see them as DAMAGED. Yes, many of them may have problems and issues. However, your birth children could have the same problems and issues.

Friends of mine had 3 children of their own and decided to complete their family by adopting a fourth child. The mixed race baby girl had been given up for adoption by her mother after the father disappeared when she was pregnant and she decided she could not cope with the baby on her own. The adopted daughter was always told how "special" she was, as she had been "chosen". She was treated exactly the same as the other 3 children and grew up with the same challenges and issues the other children had. She is now an adult who adores all her family and appreciates how lucky she was to have been "chosen".

I wish you luck and love. You are very special to choose to do this.

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A reader, anonymous, writes (14 October 2016):

Are you sure their assessment of the situation is not based on their evaluation of your marriage and your combined personalities as a couple? They may be implicating you're not ready.

I would think if they gave such a negative reaction, you would dig much deeper than the superficial responses given to you.

To some degree they have given you fair warning. The easiest children to adopt are those with special needs or disabilities. Some prospective-adoptive parents have been through the wringer trying to adopt healthy children without medical or mental-health problems; and agencies tend to drag these poor people through hell. However; that depends on the adoption agency you're dealing with; and I am so sorry to say, your financial status matters. The wealthier you are, the better your opportunities and selections. You may even have to travel out of the UK and search abroad.

Gay and interracial couples who are near and dear to me, did encounter some of the problems that your friends suggested.

One couple adopted a child who was 12, they already had children. He is a beautiful boy, but he often asked if they would help him find his "real" parents. It hurt. They tried, but failed. It did upset him, but he loves them dearly. He's treated no different than their biological offspring. He has the best parents you could ever find.

The gay couple wanted an infant, and the agencies kept offering babies whose mothers were drug addicts or junkies. After nine years of searching, they decided to go surrogate and had twins. Then adopted the sweetest little boy who is autistic. He is quite adorable and loves his little sisters. He got a puppy for his birthday, and they are inseparable.

Let no one influence your decision, only listen to advice that may prepare you for your journey. It will not be easy.

Lots of factors are involved. The age of the child you're looking for, race, sex, and even if you would consider a child with a mild disability.

Best of luck on your endeavor! Please stay committed to your decision! They are not adopted pets, you don't give them back or give them away if you aren't happy with them.

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A female reader, RubyBirtle United Kingdom +, writes (14 October 2016):

Why not post your question on one of the UK adoptions forums

www.adoptionuk.org.uk/forum

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/adoptions

Then you can get replies from people who've actually gone through the process and possibly dealt with the same negative reactions.

But my advice is to stop discussing it with them

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (14 October 2016):

Honeypie agony auntI think adoption is a GREAT thing, no matter what. I would do a LOT of research into it before making the final decision.

There are SO many kids right now in Brittain who are in need of a home. I watched a documentary on the foster care and adoption system in the UK, and it stated that there are MORE kids who NEED a home than there are people willing to adopt.

Not all kids who are put up for adoption are "damaged" some are from teen moms who can't take care of the child and who's family can't either. Some CAN have medical issues (such as alcohol fetal syndrome, which doesn't show up till years later) children of drug addicts, children who were abused etc.

Now I DO understand your friend's concern. We have all heard of horror stories about kids adopted out of Russia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia (even Europe) with severe issues there were hidden till AFTER the adoption. So that possibility is REAL.

However, THIS is a decision only YOU and your husband can make. Not friends or family.

I do think family and friend will grow to love ANY child you decide to bring into the family.

<-- Rate this answer

...............................   

Add your answer to the question "Our wish to adopt a child has provoked some negative reactions, how do we deal with them?"

Already have an account? Login first
Don't have an account? Register in under one minute and get your own agony aunt column - recommended!

All Content Copyright (C) DearCupid.ORG 2004-2008 - we actively monitor for copyright theft

0.031211000001349!