Urgent advice required from adoptees

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Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby BJS28 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 10:54 pm

I am the biological maternal Grandmother of a baby soon to become adopted, not willingly I might add. The circumstances are extremely distressing but the LA are applying for permanent placement (adoption) as they do not feel my daughter would cope with parenting her child.

We have been given some papers to complete early in the new year to provide some background information on the babies mothers' life and how they came to be adopted, what the babies mothers' childhood was like, where she went to school, and what type of adopted parents my daughter would like for her baby etc. How my daughter answers the last question is anyone's guess because she'd like to raise the baby herself......

I am trying desperately to support my daughter at this difficult time as I believe her baby would be the making of her but, the LA don't agree.

Can I please ask;
(1) How soon did you find out, or told that you were adopted?
(2) Were you given the opportunity to ask questions and when were you first able to research your bm/bf?
(3) What kind of things were in your 'life story' box (if that's the right title for it)?
(4) For those of you who wanted to meet your bm, how long did you leave it before looking for them?

I sincerely hope we can block the adoption process and fight for my GS but if all else fails I sincerely hope that my GS is given the best chance of finding us at the earliest possible opportunity.

There is no right time for a baby to be adopted but to know you are losing your baby at this time of year is heart wrenching.

Would really appreciate your views and opinions

BJS
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby Donotunderstand » Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:37 am

Hi,
I am a kinship adopter of my niece, When fostering/adoption was discussed for her and her brothers and sisters the LA had a duty to look for placements within the family first. We had many meetings to try to find the best solution. Our daughter has a life story book. When she was little we looked at the photos together and as she got older I glossed over the facts and told it as a story. Now she reads it herself. So she has always known about her adoption. As we are family she knows about her birth mum but doesn't have anything to do with her yet but if she wanted to we would arrange it. In normal circumstances a child would have to wait until they were 18 and go through social services to make contact with birth mum although sometimes a letterbox can be set up where birth mum will receive a letter and perhaps photos once a year from the adopters and can write one in return.

Hope everythng works out for you,
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby ladyarcher » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:56 am

Hello BJS28 - I won't add 'and welcome to the forum' as I am sure that you would prefer not to be in the position of having to try and find out these things about adoption.

I have to say that as a grandmother.............. one of whose daughters has two sons out of wedlock........... I would have fought tooth an nail if anyone had suggested that my daughter was not capable of being a parent......... and though she had difficulties in pregnancy or in early parenthood my husband and I made sure that no authorities of any sort got involved.......things are not always easy for young people if they do not have a good supportive relationship with the baby's father........

...I also know how easy it is to lose a child to the authorities as during divorce I came close to that when I asked for help........ by help I did not mean that I wanted my sons from my first marriage taken into respite foster care........ what I wanted was help with housing as I had needed to go back to living with my parents and my father was not in good health......luckily my Dr warned me that my request was being interpreted as me not being able to cope with the children, which was not at all the case........

I was adopted myself, and would never consider giving up a child or grandchild for adoption...........

...are you not able to be considered for overseeing your daughter in looking after the baby or having full guardianship of it yourself(selves).........is your daughter mentally handicapped or an alcohol or drug user, and likely to neglect the baby,....... or subject to what they nowadays call 'anger issues' and therefore likely to cause harm to the baby .......if she is simply young and scared, there is no reason to take her baby away from her, or from you as its grandparent....

...adoption has been said to be a permanent solution to a temporary problem......


....this particularly applies to very young mothers, and while it may not appear to be the best thing for a mother to only be 13 or 14 years older than their child, plenty of 17 year olds are perfectly good mothers to two year olds......

Do not rely on nice little suggestions about 'life story books' and letterbox contact ........... it entirely depends on the adopting parents, and whatever they agree to at the time of adoption can change dramatically once the child is 'theirs' ....... just read some of the birth parents pain on these posts on this forum ........ adopting parents not encouraging the child to write......adopting parents stopping letterbox because they think it 'unsettles the child'........adopting parents moving without leaving a forwarding address, some even moving abroad ..........

As 'Donot....' says the local authority have a duty to look for kinship placements first ........ your grandchild is precious to you ....... fight if you can........

LA
born 1944 - adopted 1946 - found birth mother 1972 - sadly missed b.father who died young but who had told his subsequent children that they had two English sisters so when I made contact with them in Canada they were not shocked ......three years ago finally found full sister who had been given to a different couple for adoption......I found out about her when I was twenty five.......it took me forty years to find her........I would never have given up........
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby maxi » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:01 pm

I was adopted myself, and would never consider giving up a child or grandchild for adoption...........

I could not agree more, LA. My daughter fell unexpectedly pregnant. She was over 18, but much younger than she had planned... and when she told me she wanted to discuss the options. The one thing I was adamant about was that there was no way this child would be adopted. If necessary we would all pull together to look after the child somehow, the most important thing to me being that if she decided to go ahead with the pregnancy that the baby stayed within the family with people to whom it was genetically related...I was not having history repeat itself, and my daughter understood this completely as she has an understanding of what life has been like for me as an adopted person.

...adoption has been said to be a permanent solution to a temporary problem......

...and it b*ggers up people's lives all round; the adoptee, the birth mother (and father if he knows about the child) and the closer and wider family - siblings, grandparents etc. and I suppose also to an extent the adoptive parents who end up with a child they do not really understand in the instinctive way one understands one's own, a child who will never really be "theirs". It has a ripple effect which carries on through generations, it creates "skeletons in closets" and causes no end of emotional damage to anyone who is involved it seems to me.

Sorry - this is probably not what you wanted to hear BJS28; I'm just giving an honest response and I very much hope you can prevent this from happening and keep the baby within the family. As LA says "Fight it if you can..".

Just in case anyone is wondering about the outcome for my daugher: she gave birth to her baby - she and the father have a good relationship, thank goodness, and they are still together as a family a couple of years on. There are two sets of granparents living quite nearby who are always willing to step in and help, to ensure that the young parents get a chance to rechange batteries to cope with the demands of a small child who, although arriving rather unexpectedly, is very much loved.
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby ladyarcher » Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:18 pm

So glad your circumstances worked out happily Maxi..........ours have as well..........we kept daughter's ex fiance in the family as he was devoted to his baby son, and we minded baby while our daughter worked, and her ex, finished University.........and eventually ten years on he married our daughter's younger sister last year.........so she is our grandson's stepmother and aunt........they all juggle parenting well between them now, although it was tricky in the earlier years to set the routines etc.........she now has a two and a half year old from a more recent relationship........lovely lad, but unfortunately used alcohol to silence his demons, so they split up, but because of her experience in 'sharing' her older son, she has managed to still the fears of her younger son's father and grandparents that they would 'lose' contact with the little one, and as grandparents we and the other grandparents do our bit with childminding while our daughter and their son work........both working in 'Care' means a lot of time juggling shifts, but so far it works ok, and little one will be at nursery in the Spring which will give us grandparents a bit more freedom........

Whatever the circumstances I feel that if grandparents and perhaps other siblings can help spread the childcare load, then they should.......perhaps it is being adopted myself that I feel so strongly that family is family.........most people can fit another child into their lives if they carefully work out the effort and accommodation needed.......... I have been seriously ill recently, and so we are now downsizing from a six bed house that we could fit all our adult children and their partners and toddlers into, ........we have financially helped them all to set up in their own homes now, although they are mostly close to us so we can still pop over and cover babysitting times and after school etc..........the last one, our older daughter with the two sons, we are renting a house for, opposite the one we are buying, so our evenings and early mornings will be childfree for the first time for many many years........but if she is nervous on her own, of noises at night, a quick phone call to her father only across the road, can calm her fears......

Not everyone will be able to help out financially to the extent we have done, but we hoped that if we provided accommodation, which we could afford to do, having a large house, then it gave the children time to build up some capital to buy, or rent themselves, and so far our plan has worked, but it is due mainly to extremely close watch on our own finances and skilful money management by my husband, who can always find the money to fix cars and help out with the bills for them.......obviously there are things we can't have for ourselves..........but no foreign holidays or new furniture would be worth losing our children or grandchildren for........all our children work, they are not, nor have ever been on benefits........in periods of studying or between jobs they lived with us and we just upped our grocery bills...........

LA
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby BJS28 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:06 am

Thank you all for sharing your experiences with me especially at this time of year where it must be one of the most difficult times.

You have raised some important points......

We are a small family unit and due to health issues my husband and I have already been advised that we would not be accepted as kinship foster carer's. Another family member was prepared to put themselves forward but their partner would not support them and they have since seperated (not over this matter) and as they work and have children of their own, I don't think their new circumstances would be acceptable to the LA either. My daughter also put forward a friend from her church who is already a kinship foster carer (for one of her own family members) but the SW only visited for 20 minutes and ruled her out immediately. My daughter and her friend are contesting the report on this and we are awaiting to hear how this might impact on the outcome.

The biological father is not around and quite frankly, I am glad. However, my daughters' current partner isn't someone you'd want your loved ones with and he has his own medical problems and albeit, my daughter can't see it, she would do far better raising her son on her 'own' with our support but I don't see that as being an option at this point.

My daughter was treated for a condition in her early years which we have since found out was mis-diagnosed. We have since gone through her medical notes and found that her condition (which we believe she has now) was suspected in her teens but never followed up and the court appointed Psychiatrist has diagnosed something else due to her 'story telling' at the beginning of her pregnancy to the midwives etc. This alerted the authorities of her chaotic lifestyle. The courts will not permit a second opinion even if they had a correct diagnosis because and I quote "the courts lay down a timeframe of 26 weeks as it is a new born baby, therefore even if the correct diagnosis had been stated in the Pysch report it would not change the outcome because the therapy my daughter will need will take the proceedings over the timeframe"!!!

To try and put this in some context, I have been my daughters' translator for 25 years as she experiences difficulty in communication. She will get frustrated when she is unable to put her point/view across and some people will find this difficult to comprehend. Her condition is on the Autism Spectrum and medication is NOT required, it is about CBT rewiring her thought patterns on her behaviour and lifestyle. Due to her frustrations in communicating with some folk she has found it easier in some situations to fantasise about things and the LA see this as being a danger to her baby as they feel she would not be able to interpret whether there is anything wrong with him or not, and possibly not alert the relevant medical assistance when required. On the other hand, she may alert the medical assistance un-necessarily. I, on the other hand know that if she lived closer to us (which we have tried to arrange) would be able to support her daily along with other family members but the LA disagree. We only live a few miles apart now anyway.

My daughter doesn't drink, her use of drugs many years ago was her attempt at finding her own identity and that didn't work so she gave that up and she has recently completed a degree in I.T which I know she would like to explore a career in. Yes, it is fair to say that she has been a diffcult child to raise, but having taken off my rose coloured specticles, I know in my heart of hearts that she would be a wonderful mother, given the opportunity.

I totally agree that adoption is a permanent solution to a temporary problem but the courts have instructed this 6 month timeframe and we cannot get it extended under any circumstances. Unless there is someone out there who knows different. I would appreciate your thoughts.

I am concerned about the lifestory books etc as I am aware of files, letters etc going missing and also as you highlight, the adopters changing their minds once the baby is 'theirs'. I am very mindful of the seriously poor service the LA have already provided and I have addressed this with the relevant complaint department but I am aware that that won't change the outcome. We are extremely unhappy about the FC which currently looks after my GS but our concerns already fall on deaf ears.

If the inevitable happens, I sincerely hope there are some good adoptive parents out there who for one reason or another cannot have children and who will respect the wishes of the bm/parents.
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby Donotunderstand » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:23 am

There is a forum on Family Rights Group who might be able to give you some help

http://www.frg.org.uk/
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby maxi » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:05 am

Hi BJS28
I'm sorry to hear about the situation - its sounds complex and it must be very difficult for you all. Especiallly the attitude of the LA; in an ideal world you might have hoped that they would be more interested in arranging support for your daughter in the interests of the child being kept with its biological family, but sadly from what you say, this is not the case.

I realise I did not answer your original questions. My adoption happened many years ago, in a time where things were slightly different, so perhaps not of much help to you now:

(1) How soon did you find out, or told that you were adopted?
I think I must have been told when I was around 4years old. I don't remember being told, but I do vividly remember a library book about adoption, so I guess that was the subject being introduced and "being told".

(2) Were you given the opportunity to ask questions and when were you first able to research your bm/bf?
My a.parents were OK about discussing adoption and what they had been told about my b.mother, but I know not everyone was as open about discussing things back then. It was still one of those rather awkward subjects though, so it was not discussed in the company of others and was certainly not a frequent topic of conversation. I only told my close friends about it.

(3) What kind of things were in your 'life story' box (if that's the right title for it)?
I didn't have one. I don't think any adopted child did back then - it was not standard practicce as far as I know. I only had what my a.parents could remember about what they were told - a name, an occupation, and that she was not able to keep me as she was not married. This was not written down on any document that my a.parents had as far as I was aware.

(4) For those of you who wanted to meet your bm, how long did you leave it before looking for them?
I did not start looking until I was in my early 20s. I did not make the final push and actually contact my b.mother until I was in my late 20s, after I had my first child.
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby BJS28 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 11:34 pm

I am aware of the FRG website and have used it, both online and have telephoned their helpline for guidance. I found them extremely helpful at a time of sheer desperation.

Maxi, I appreciate you sharing your personal experience.

It leaves me wondering whether boys will be different to girls when it comes to looking for his bm/bf?

I would appreciate responses from persons who have had 'life story books/boxes' as I am at a loss to know what it permitted to be put in them and from whom. If this is a modern thing, perhaps that won't be possible?

What were people's reaction to being adopted? I guess the first reaction is abandonment but that is not always the case.

We will continue to fight to the very end and hope that we will have a good result.
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby Donotunderstand » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:01 pm

My daughters life story book was written by social services and has photos of her birth parents and siblings. It has a birth family tree and her fathers death certificate. It is written in a way for a youngish child to understand ie it starts with...... I was born at (name) hospital on (date) and weighed .... It tells when she came to live with us and why. The fact that birth mum approved our placement is noted and is reassuring for her.

So she has always known she was adopted and she seems to accept it. The fact that we are related to her and she is still within the birth family probably helps. I also think that the way the book is written helps. She knows she was not abandoned, rather that birth mum knew she couldn't look after her and therefore was very agreeable to her being adopted by us.

A lot will depend on the adoptive parents as to whether they are open about adoption and keeping in contact with birth mum. Even if social services recommend letterbox its quite common for adopters to drop this and you'll be told its in the "childs best interests". If that happens then birth family will have no option but to wait & hope that the child will want to meet them when they are adult.
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby ladyarcher » Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:56 pm

Wouldn't it be nice if at the age of 18 an adoptee were offered the information about their b.family.........not just sent it I mean, not forced to have it, but offered it in a quiet way as if this was the ordinary way of doing things..............probably with the offer of support while they read it, if they wanted that, or with someone in place to talk it over with afterwards if that was what they wanted.............and they could accept it then at 18, or if they preferred they could leave it, but always knowing that when they felt the time was right for them, they could get it without any of the hassle us older ones still have to go through now.......

Of course there would have to be protection in place on both sides, either to protect an adoptee who had been adopted for difficult reasons, which is more and more going to be the case now and in the future........but also to protect b.mother/parents who are often terrified of the dreaded knock on the door with no warning.......a gentle and comfortable easing of adoptee and b.mother back into each other's lives if they both so wish, would be far more preferable than the present system.......

LA.
born 1944 - adopted 1946 - sought, found and in contact with birth family
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby Donotunderstand » Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:22 am

During a recent communication with our letterbox co-ordinator I was told that once the adoptee reaches the age of 18 they will have the choice of continuing with letter contact with birth family through social services or they can make direct contact. They will have support whichever route they take. Presumably they can access their records at the same time. However, as in our case, the child/ren may take matters into their own hands and contact birth family through the internet beforehand. A lot will depend on what information they are given throughout their childhood and at what age they are adopted. As we are kinship adopters we have been very open about things, after all, it would be quite easy for a relative to let something slip, In a stranger adoption of a baby it would be quite easy for the adopters to not mention a thing.

I would advise the OP to make social services aware that letterbox contact should be part of the adoption but whether they'll agree to it is up to them.
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby BJS28 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:36 am

Well it's been along time since my last post and things have been stressful but I thought I would revisit to give you an update.
My GS is with his 'new family' and we are advised that they are curently in the process of completing the relevant paperwork to adopt him.
We completed our paperwork to ensure he had family medical history etc and was promised that letterbox letter would be here in March - however, March has come and gone and still no letters for either his birth mum or myself.
The adoptees have time to complete adoption paperwork but haven't got around to sending his birth mother a letter!!! That just tells me what type of family he's gone to and I suspect they'll tell him very little (if anything) of us in the future...........
I will be atteding the court hearing with my daughter for her day in court in the adoption process to support her and to meet the adoptees and hope I will have the opportunity to 'chat' to them about the gift of life which they wouldn't otherwise of had, and hope we can exchange favourable letters in the forth-coming years. Time will tell.
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Re: Urgent advice required from adoptees

Postby Donotunderstand » Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:19 am

Thanks for the update. A quick comment about the letterbox. I always wrote in the months agreed on but they would take much longer eg a letter written in July wouldn't reach me until September. I often contacted Social Services to ask if they had a letter for me and if they didn't they said they'd chase it up. I'm a bit confused about your day in court - is your daughter going to contest the adoption? I don't think you'll meet the adopters there although you should have the opportunity to meet them before the adoption goes through.
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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