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Adoptive mom to many wouldn't do it again

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
Hi mamas,
I have not posted on this forum many times before, although I have read on here many times in the past.
I was recently talking to a mom from my church and she has adopted double digits of children including some babies and many older children and I was aking her for advice since DH and I have always considered adoption was in our future.
She said if she had to do it all over again she would not.

This struck me as so sad, but she had many reasons and I could really see her side and I was wondering if that was something any of you adoptive moms have felt/feel/relate to and why?


Thanks so much
post #2 of 46
I think I would fall over from exhaustion if I had double digit numbers of children, whether bio or adopted. I've adopted one child and hope to adopt my foster daughter who has been with me for almost eighteen months. I have no regrets.
post #3 of 46
yes, I'm curious what part she wouldn't do over again... surely when you've taken the time to adopt double-digits of children, it would occur to you at some point that it wasn't working for you and you would stop? There seem to be a lot of people in the Christian community who feel it is their duty to adopt, and I think that's a crappy reason to adopt, quite frankly.

everyone I've met (online) with oodles of children (funny how now the families I know IRL with 7,8 kids don't seem so large anymore, and our hopefully soon to be family of 4 feels quite compact, while it used to boggle my mind why anyone would have 4 kids!!) is quite happy with their choices -- I'm sure they have their days where they'd like to crawl under a rock and hide, like anyone with kids does, but I've never heard anyone say they regret their gigantic family...

so did she say what her reasons were? Or if she regretted any specific part of adopting so many kids?
post #4 of 46
I'd be interested to hear some of her reasons for regrets as well, to better understand where she is coming from.

My biggest regret in adopting is that i didnt do it sooner. I really wish i would have organized my life better so that i started adopting when my older son (who is now 12) was much younger, like three or four.

I regret not starting off w/ fostering instead of wasting a few years trying to adopt w/o fostering.

I'm currently fostering a baby the same age as my younger adopted son (1 yr old), and i can see he wasnt really ready, and perhaps i should have waited til he was 2 or 2.5 to add another child to the family...but thats not really a "regret" so much as an observation.

I have seen a few families online who grow their family very quickly, adopting a sib group of three or four and then six months or a year later doing it again, and i can see how a few years down the road you might wish you'd gone slower.


Katherine
post #5 of 46
I think a lot of older adoptive parents from generations when these issues were supposed to go away with enough love and attention are still hurt from the many issues they and their adopted children faced. Every family I know who adopted between the 1950s and 1980s has at least one adopted child who didn't handle their having been adopted very well. Almost all of these were closed adoptions until the child was an adult; one was a transracial adoption by a family who never really dealt with the cultural issues or issues adoption brings to the table in general and just assumed love would cover everything.

Basically, I think before there was a decent amount of adoption education, adoptive parents went into adoption VERY blindly, and as a result many of them have a bad taste in their mouths because the pain they have felt is real and the pain their adopted (and biological, if there were others in the home; it impacted them too, of course) children felt and feel to this day.
post #6 of 46
I totally agree, curliemama -- many adoptive families who were formed during the late 60's-early 80's era of "colorblindness" have had tremendous struggles. I have a very close friend whose sister was adopted transracially into a very white community, and their whole family has always been so hurt by anyone mentioning anything in terms of race, adoption, etc -- it was awkward as we went through transracial adoption seminars and read everything we could get our hands on to see that they handled (and continued to handle) the whole thing *exactly* how everyone now says NOT to handle it. This friend's sister is deeply, deeply wounded, and spirals out of control every few years, not to mention my friend and her sister getting deeply offended and wounded by someone at a picnic not believing that they were sisters, and having to have it explained to them that they are adopted sisters -- those little things that are sure to crop up, and just don't need to bother anyone if it's normalized, ykwim? Unfortunately for the kids of that era, adoption and race were/are totally taboo subjects... ah, the idealism of the 70's, eh? I'm sure our generation of adoptive parents (like all parents) will make our share of mistakes, but you really can never go wrong with open, honest communication from the very beginning!!

OP, any more insight into what specifically this mama regrets?
post #7 of 46
I, too, have had experiences with people who have had traumatic adoption experiences. When i first began the process, a couple of people i knew online were sooo negative about me wanting to adopt an older child, basically acting as if i was willing to "ruin" my current child's life without care. They both had grown up with kids added to the family (one had relatives stay for an extended time, the other's parents adopted older kids with issues)...this was during a time when agencies routinely kept the "bad stuff" hidden from families, when there was no recognition of attachment issues or FASD issues. Both felt that their childhoods were compromised by adoption.

I've also met people online who were not told the truth about their children and/or were not given any resources by their agency in helping their children, and their very damaged kids ended up basically destroying their families/marriages/etc. Some of those parents DO regret their adoptions, the cost was too great, though others still are glad they are parenting their children.

Katherine
post #8 of 46
No regrets here at all.

Now I'll have to be careful here because I'm afraid I might step on toes, so please take this with a grain (or twelve) of salt. I think that so many Christians have this "calling" to adopt (and I think that can be a very real thing - but I do think that it should be questioned), and then they do it in a sort of evangelistic way - as a ministry to save (in every way that that word is used) kids. I don't think that "saving" a kid is necessarily the best motivation, or rather, even a good motivation, for adopting because it can really lead to an unequal relationship between the child and parent in terms of what's "owed." And, if you've got a kiddo with a lot of emotional/psychological or even physical impairments or issues, one who's not going to "live up to their side of the bargain (namely, getting better, being healed or some such thing)," then there's a disappointment that could fester into real regret.

I'm not sure that I think double digit adoptions are a good thing. I mean, I think the heart is a big and generous place, but I do think there must be some limitations, not necessarily to love, but to be able to provide adequate emotional support for each child, particularly if they are an older child, presumably from foster care. I would seriously question anyone's ability to give everything to each and every child when he or she is only one of a dozen.

So, having said that, I wouldn't necessarily think that that woman was the best source of information regarding the value of adoption. I'm sure she could talk us under the table about the how's of it, but I doubt that her experience substantively informs most of ours.

Okay, get out the tomatoes and arrows - I'm waiting!!!
post #9 of 46
Wendy i agree with you. I check out certain sites where kids are being posted whose adoptions are disrupting, often international kids, and am surprised by kids who are being re-placed after just months home. I read one profile where a young boy was adopted from an African country along with several of his sibs, into a family with many young children, he displayed some sexual acting out and the post (written by the parent) said that he was "immediately removed from the home and has no contact with any of the other kids", and they were seeking a new home for him...while i know that must be a difficult situation, i wonder how one finds themselves in a place where they are adopting an older child from an orphanage with very little history info, into a family with young vulnerable children, and they dont even *consider* what they might do if issues crop up? That wasnt the only listing i read like that either. Another post was for teen sibs, adopted from Africa, and the children apparently werent willing to submit to the moral code of the household, and since there were many young children in the home, they couldnt allow the older kids to corrupt the younger.

From reading these profiles, written by the parents, and many more just like them, it does seem to me that there are SOME people adopting as a sort of evangelical calling to "take care of orphans" who are not taking the time to understand the many issues that may be involved.

Also, i bet there are families where women *birth* a dozen or more kids, not because they necessarily feel like they can parent that many well, but because they feel its a mandate to do so, and have regrets about having so many. Maybe its more socially acceptable if you adopt to say "it was a mistake" than if you give birth...i dont know.


Katherine
post #10 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffani View Post
yes, I'm curious what part she wouldn't do over again... surely when you've taken the time to adopt double-digits of children, it would occur to you at some point that it wasn't working for you and you would stop? There seem to be a lot of people in the Christian community who feel it is their duty to adopt, and I think that's a crappy reason to adopt, quite frankly.

everyone I've met (online) with oodles of children (funny how now the families I know IRL with 7,8 kids don't seem so large anymore, and our hopefully soon to be family of 4 feels quite compact, while it used to boggle my mind why anyone would have 4 kids!!) is quite happy with their choices -- I'm sure they have their days where they'd like to crawl under a rock and hide, like anyone with kids does, but I've never heard anyone say they regret their gigantic family...

so did she say what her reasons were? Or if she regretted any specific part of adopting so many kids?

She said that if she had her life to do over again she would not adopt. period.
She said that at first when she adopted the babies she loved it. So she did it again with toddlers and it progressed from there, over several years until she had double digits and it wasn't until even later that she started to feel the impact of her choices.
She said that they will never appreciate that she adopted them when they were not her race.
She said that they don't think of her as their parent, that they try eveything to get in touch with their parents and that they don't feel happy about the situation.

I, too wondered if she did it out of sense of service?

I can't imagine doing it and feeling that way about all the children, either. But she is such a nice lady, I wonder if she had realistic ideas of how it would be?

These were all foster/state adoptions btw
post #11 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
She said that if she had her life to do over again she would not adopt. period.
She said that at first when she adopted the babies she loved it. So she did it again with toddlers and it progressed from there, over several years until she had double digits and it wasn't until even later that she started to feel the impact of her choices.
she obviously never considered the impact of her choices to begin with...babies and toddlers are cute and sweet, but they do grow up, and it sounds like she never considered that this might happen, and they might turn into people with their own ideas about things...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
She said that they will never appreciate that she adopted them when they were not her race.
there is so much wrong with this sentence I don't even know where to start... why would they appreciate it, they shouldn't, and she shouldn't expect them to... just ick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
She said that they don't think of her as their parent, that they try eveything to get in touch with their parents and that they don't feel happy about the situation.
they might think of her as their parent if she acted more parent-like towards them, and less like they are stray pets... they have every right to get in touch with their parents, though with such an unstable relationship with their adoptive mother, if their birthparents are rocky, it might get ugly...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
I, too wondered if she did it out of sense of service?
I can't imagine doing it and feeling that way about all the children, either. But she is such a nice lady, I wonder if she had realistic ideas of how it would be?
in a nutshell, no, she had no idea how it would be, of how she made it this way herself through her unrealistic expectations, and I will never complain about adoption training ever again!!!

sorry if this sounds harsh, I'm sure she is a very sweet woman, but she was obviously woefully unprepared for adoption, especially transracial adoption, but that was pretty standard at the time -- I would, however, like her to consider the fact that it isn't her kids' fault that they have a crappy relationship, and she should get her hands on current adoption literature to see if she can possibly try to heal their relationship... that is, if she has any interest in healing their relationships -- it sounds like she might just be relieved when they are grown and gone. giving her the benefit of the doubt, though, you could suggest a book or two from the sticky on this forum... If nobody else suggests any I'll be back later with a suggestion, gotta run for now...
post #12 of 46
post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
She said that they will never appreciate that she adopted them when they were not her race.
Just... whoa. "Race" is not even a term I think is accurate; in fact, I thought it had finally been debunked. And she's expecting gratitude? I wonder if the tables were turned, how she would feel about such a statement.
post #14 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
Hi mamas,
I have not posted on this forum many times before, although I have read on here many times in the past.
I was recently talking to a mom from my church and she has adopted double digits of children including some babies and many older children and I was aking her for advice since DH and I have always considered adoption was in our future.
She said if she had to do it all over again she would not.
You have heard the expression 'too much of a good thing'? 'less is more'?

I think she overdid it, everyone has limits - one side of the limit you are happy, the other side is not so good.

I wouldn't worry about what she said other than to learn a lesson by her mistakes.
post #15 of 46
Thread Starter 
Thanks, you ladies have made me feel a whole lot better!

She really is a nice lady and I guess her story was woven so well when we were on the phone that when I got off I felt confused.

But I know you are all right, it is her, not anything more.
post #16 of 46
In her defense, the meme of "the grateful adopted child" was really strong in that generation of the triad, and even worse, most of the time people were told that "nothing was different" or "love can cure anything." And adoptees were told that if they wanted to seek out biological family members, that there was something mentally wrong with them, and I don't believe adoptive parents really were even encouraged to think much about why/how to handle things if their kids decided to search.

And I do think there is a finite limit to how many children an individual person can handle. I do think that some adoptive parents of that era, especially the people who really went to the extreme like this lady sounds like she did, tend to be people pleasers/helpers (can't say no) or crave the attention and accolades--especially from their spiritual community. Sometimes those families were idolized (kind of how some folks look at the Duggars, ect.) as being very very spiritual. That's a pretty powerful thing, and it's painful when it falls apart.

I don't think that it's "all her." The truth is that probably she was not as well equiped as aparents have the opportunity to become today. She probably was not encouraged to share or have anything other than positive emotions with anyone, especially if she was receiving a lot of attention and praise for "saving all those kids."

I do think that sometimes that can happen today (there are still folks that do mega adoptions, though I'd say that more people feel that they can be real/honest about some of the struggles that come with adopting or just having doube-digit kids.

So I would not discount her experience. I think with any kind of parenting, you WILL have moments where you think "WTF was I thinking?!?!!" And I wouldn't hold older adoptive parents to the same enlightened standard that we have today. It annoys me too, the language, especially as a biracial adoptee who experienced the tail end of the "you should be grateful!" era. But on the other hand, if you don't know any better, you don't know any better.

And her experience is a real one, and not totally uncommon. So I wouldn't blow her off or demonize her or anything. Aside from platitudes, she probably didn't get much in the way of support, and that can have serious impacts for some people.
post #17 of 46
Tigerchild is absolutely right, as usual -- are there any current books/resources geared toward that generation of AP's, who need to see that they were misguided (not to place blame, but just because it would probably go a very long way toward healing her relationships with her children, and help her children tremendously for her to apologize for her mistakes) so they can all move forward? I was thinking '20 things adopted children wish their adoptive parents knew' or 'Primal Wound' (though I've never read it, but have been meaning to, and now it's bumped to my #1 spot after reading the tble of contents) but is there anything more specific to her situation? Most books seem geared towards new AP's, but Tigerchild maybe you know of something the OP can suggest to this lovely woman? (I don't mean that in a snarky way, I'm sure she really is lovely )
post #18 of 46
Thread Starter 
When I said "all her" I meant that this situation is all her, she decided to do this and she is living her own feelings about it, it would not determine my experience, that's what I meant.

Anyway, I'm sure everything you have said is true, I'm sure she didn't have the right support, I'm sure there was a part that liked the accolades, she actually did mention that when she decided to continue after 8-9 she was doing it out of service.
post #19 of 46
When you look back a generation or two, you'll find a lot of "ick" factor...especially in how adoptive parents acted, how they were (or weren't) educated, and in how adoptees and birth parents were treated. Serious, serious ICK. And it makes it more painful, I think, to look into today's world of adoption, because a lot of the old problems haven't fully been addressed. They still lurk, and you still find echoes, or outright copies, of the same problems. Some parents still believe that race and culture don't matter. Some adoptees are still raised to feel grateful and to feel that they can only recognize one family as theirs. Birth parents are still looked down on, treated poorly, and condemned.

I wouldn't park this lady's experience or attitude entirely in the past. It's still around. I think a lot has been done to make sure more adoptive parents do better, but that doesn't mean all adoptive parents are listenting, or acting, or have the resources they need to make decisions that are best for children. Hang out on mainstream adoption boards and you'll still see her attitudes, even if they're cloaked in more PC terms.

ETA: Kitty, it's nice to see you here.
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by sisteeesmama View Post
she actually did mention that when she decided to continue after 8-9 she was doing it out of service.
poor kids
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