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Infant vs Older Child - Your Input Please!

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I'm talking the pros and cons of adopting age 0-2 vs 5-7yo WAITING children, via foster care system. (NOT domestic infant adoption.) What thoughts went into your decision to adopt one vs the other?

by on Apr. 9, 2013 at 8:44 PM
Replies (21-27):
Lunch-Lady
by on Apr. 25, 2013 at 8:24 AM

I agree with admiring the foster families who stick it out. Our SOLE PURPOSE in becoming licensed as foster parents was to adopt. So while we went through the motions of supporting any efforts by caseworkers on behalf of birthmom, we were EXTREMELY opposed to the idea of her getting her child (NOOOO! OUR child!) back. She's got chronic problems and vices, and while we pity, love, pray for her -- we never once believed she could get her act together and be a good parent to the infant we were pouring our hearts into. To us, there are deal breakers... the laws all seem made to protect the birthparents, not the kids. Or, maybe, to protect the State from birthparents litigating and accusing!

I'm sorry, but it's one thing if a parent needs a little parental training or anger management classes. I'm glad there are laws in place that protect MY rights as a mom... However, if you leave a baby in a playpen with the puppy, with booze in its bottle, for the first year of its life -- then you should never be able to get your child back. That's a deal breaker in my opinion. (This story is a true one! Mom and dad took a few classes and had to pass a few drug tests over the course of six months and then got this baby back!!!) If you abuse drugs and alcohol and cigarettes while pregnant, and your baby is born with COCAINE in its system and an STD -- then that's a deal breaker. We just found fostering and risking and having to "cheer" for abusive and delinquent parents, to be more than we could handle.

I do think that many successful foster families manage to maintain the right kind of mindset, of "babysitting for the State". They are able to juggle the conundrum of love-them-like-they're-yours-but-don't-forget-they're-really-NOT-yours-so-be-prepared-to-give-them-back-to-people-you-can't-trust. And, I'm sure there are cases where mom and dad DO deserve to get their kids back, and the foster care system works well in that case. But every case I've EVER heard while we fostered, was appalling to me. That a judge would permit the children to return to their birthparents, after what most people would consider "deal breaker" kinds of abuse or neglect. That's my two cents anyway -- and the reason we want to adopt already legally free kiddos. We don't want to get back on that roller coaster!

judy2012
by on Apr. 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Quoting holland0226:

Actually it's more me, I can't seem to connect with her and want to hug her. She loves to be cuddly but I can't seem to want to with her. She'll hug anyone who lets her, I just find it annoying. I do have a bio child who I love to hold hands with and be snuggly with, but with our adopted daughter I'm having trouble connecting. I have gone to a psychologist and he says I may have some PTSD due to the trauma of going to her country and her not wanting to go with us at all, I'm just waiting for it to get better. At first I disliked her now I just find her annoying. I am trying to get over it and I do hug her and try to snuggly with her at night but I'm not feeling it inside, it makes me feel like a terrible mom. I pray about it often and try as hard as I can.


Love is a verb. Keep up the action and I believe the feelings will come. Will pray for you. I adopted an infant but I know from reading that adopting an infant or older child it can take time to feel that love and bond. I am sure she can be an absolute joy and blessing to your life. Hopefully someday soon you will be able to look back and wonder how you didn't have those feelings. :)
Mweddle
by on Apr. 25, 2013 at 3:44 PM

 I've done both.  It depends on what you are willing to take on.  My dd was adopted at 9 months and it was an incredibly easy transition.  However, she is by far my most difficult child.  Adopting a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and a 3 year old has had its challenges but as kids they are easier to parent than my now 6 year old dd.  I just feel like it depends on what you personally are called to do.  My son was the one I was most afraid about because he was 6 and thats scary.  He has meltdowns at times and he got in trouble at school A LOT during the first couple of months. We got daily communications or referrals.  I even had to make a trip to the principals office.  That was hard.  Our neighbors don't seem to like him because he scratched their truck (accidentally) and told him he wasn't even allowed in their house because he might break something.  Our daughter has never been treated the way our son has.  He is labelled ODD and ADHD but he is honestly easy and now that he has been with us for 6 months things have gotten easier and easier.  He attached easily. 

My friends adopted a 4 and 6 year old and they almost stopped the adoption because the 4 year old was incredibly aggressive (scratching to the point of blood on the mom) trouble at school, and explosive meltdowns.  You have to be ready to deal with this kind of thing.  Luckily you have this group which has been a tremendous help to me.

As scary as all that sounds the honest truth is that all kids have some issues (like I said, my dd who was adopted as a baby is the most difficult) Overall my experience and my friends has been overwhelmingly positive.  Also, its been AWESOME to not have to potty train again!  If I could do it over again I would do everything exactly the same.  These kids are amazing and I think that in a few years I might adopt an even older child. 

Lunch-Lady
by on Apr. 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM
1 mom liked this
Quoting Mweddle:
As scary as all that sounds the honest truth is that all kids have some issues (like I said, my dd who was adopted as a baby is the most difficult) Overall my experience and my friends has been overwhelmingly positive.  Also, its been AWESOME to not have to potty train again!  If I could do it over again I would do everything exactly the same.  These kids are amazing and I think that in a few years I might adopt an even older child. 

Thanks Mweddle! That is EXACTLY the kind of response I was looking for. One hears so many horror stories - and there are valid and true concerns - but I find myself combating all those horror stories when trying to persuade hubby and family that it is a viable option for us. We had done something similar when debating on race with adoption. We held no prejudices, but were afraid of what our CHILD might feel, being the only person of color in a sea of caucasians! But eventually, we came to the conclusion that ALL people ALL have issues. We might be too tall, pimply, overweight, parents divorced, anger issues, chemical imbalance/depression.... there's no prediciting how a child will react to having been adopted, being a different race, or ANY of the issues thay develop as we grow up and start assessing ourselves and our place in this world! All you can do is to try and give your kids the tools to cope with the issues they might face. So much depends on their own personality and how they as individuals deal with the traumas they've faced. Getting a child at infancy is no guarantee of anything. : )


raleyfamily
by Carla on Apr. 26, 2013 at 10:03 PM
1 mom liked this



Quoting holland0226:

Actually it's more me, I can't seem to connect with her and want to hug her. She loves to be cuddly but I can't seem to want to with her. She'll hug anyone who lets her, I just find it annoying. I do have a bio child who I love to hold hands with and be snuggly with, but with our adopted daughter I'm having trouble connecting. I have gone to a psychologist and he says I may have some PTSD due to the trauma of going to her country and her not wanting to go with us at all, I'm just waiting for it to get better. At first I disliked her now I just find her annoying. I am trying to get over it and I do hug her and try to snuggly with her at night but I'm not feeling it inside, it makes me feel like a terrible mom. I pray about it often and try as hard as I can.

I remember with Angel-Leah.  She came to live with us at two and a half.  She was VERY verbal and always telling me that she didn't love me, she only loved her REAL mother.  She was adament.  But she was beautiful and pitiful, and I knew we would keep her if she came up for adoption.  Which she did.  I had at that time, seven biological children and one other adopted child that I was WILD about.  I wondered if we should adopt Angel-Leah, if I loved her enough, like she should be loved.  She was so pretty, she would be so adoptable, would she do better if she had a younger mom who didn't have other children, and would adore her?

But I kept her, adopted her when she was four, and kind of had some feelings like you are describing.  But  like someone said, love is a verb, it's an action word, so I just kept taking care of her and nurturing her even when I had to force it a bit.  I actually remember one day she had her face turned up to me and I looked down at her blue eyes, and it hit me that we had made it - we really and truly loved each other in a mother/daughter way.  It's funny that I remember the exact moment, and the overwhelming love in my heart when I knew.  And it's never changed.

Now I'm doing that with my new 6 year old daughter.  she is so NAUGHTY and can make our days so miserable that sometimes it's really hard to give her the hugs and kisses she desperately needs.  But love is a verb, and I keep doing it, and I believe that someday I will have that same beautiful moment I had with Angel-Leah!!


Carla Raley, wife of Bill, mom of 12, foster mom of more than 50
Visit my blogs for stories of the life of an older mom raising a large family, foster/adoption and homeschooling
http://raleyfamilysfarm.blogspot.com/

http://bookreviewsbycarla.blogspot.com/



Tresmom10
by on Apr. 26, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Well after reading all the replies.I would like to give a hug to all the ladies who do not give up.The reward in the end is so worth it and you ladies are the true warriors.I am proud to be a adoptive Mom and part of this awesome group.
Mweddle
by on Apr. 28, 2013 at 11:31 PM

 wow.  I love this.  Brought tears to my eyes.

Quoting raleyfamily:

 

 

Quoting holland0226:

Actually it's more me, I can't seem to connect with her and want to hug her. She loves to be cuddly but I can't seem to want to with her. She'll hug anyone who lets her, I just find it annoying. I do have a bio child who I love to hold hands with and be snuggly with, but with our adopted daughter I'm having trouble connecting. I have gone to a psychologist and he says I may have some PTSD due to the trauma of going to her country and her not wanting to go with us at all, I'm just waiting for it to get better. At first I disliked her now I just find her annoying. I am trying to get over it and I do hug her and try to snuggly with her at night but I'm not feeling it inside, it makes me feel like a terrible mom. I pray about it often and try as hard as I can.

I remember with Angel-Leah.  She came to live with us at two and a half.  She was VERY verbal and always telling me that she didn't love me, she only loved her REAL mother.  She was adament.  But she was beautiful and pitiful, and I knew we would keep her if she came up for adoption.  Which she did.  I had at that time, seven biological children and one other adopted child that I was WILD about.  I wondered if we should adopt Angel-Leah, if I loved her enough, like she should be loved.  She was so pretty, she would be so adoptable, would she do better if she had a younger mom who didn't have other children, and would adore her?

But I kept her, adopted her when she was four, and kind of had some feelings like you are describing.  But  like someone said, love is a verb, it's an action word, so I just kept taking care of her and nurturing her even when I had to force it a bit.  I actually remember one day she had her face turned up to me and I looked down at her blue eyes, and it hit me that we had made it - we really and truly loved each other in a mother/daughter way.  It's funny that I remember the exact moment, and the overwhelming love in my heart when I knew.  And it's never changed.

Now I'm doing that with my new 6 year old daughter.  she is so NAUGHTY and can make our days so miserable that sometimes it's really hard to give her the hugs and kisses she desperately needs.  But love is a verb, and I keep doing it, and I believe that someday I will have that same beautiful moment I had with Angel-Leah!!

 

 

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