Getting off the Rollercoaster - Going for Adoption

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Another class, another breakdown

Always bloody crying, me. Probably not a good talent for someone who needs to convince a bunch of social workers that I would make a good parent of a disturbed child. But first things first . . .

I am feeling quite low – I have recently been going through quite a protracted process trying to get a new job. I am SO ready for a change, and the BEST job came up. The job was interesting and exactly suited to my experience. Hours were just 3 days a week and school holidays off too, (heaven to give up full-time stress) and in return I would only face a cut of about £200 a month, which R was very happy to put up with. He has been so supportive of my attempts to cut down my working hours. I would be so much more sane. But, as you have guessed, I didn’t get the post – beaten on the second interview into second place. All that work on the presentation for nought. I am gutted. In my head I had left my current job, gone through all the emotional stuff, and KNEW it was the right thing to do. So the phonecall last night, though lovely in many ways (she said I was actually her first choice, and she would like to keep in touch and really liked me) was still devastating. I did the oh-so-familiar waking up in the morning feeling OK, for a few seconds . . . till I remembered. I have certainly come through worse things, but it feels tough – having failed on the baby front, it would be nice to have a career success. Crap lives. Tears were had.

And on the adoption front:

Another class today. As I mentioned, we are fosterers and adopters all together, but the focus seemed more on the fosterers today – lots of talk about the insecurity for the child of a shorter-term placement etc. R and I are in fact the only couple there who do not already have children (the other couple looking to adopt are already parents of teenagers). I felt doubly inadequate – no children (inadequacy #1 in a world full of families) and no direct experience of bringing them up and knowing the ‘normal birth child’s developmental processes’. Oh weh. Oh inadequate me. More tears.

We started with attachment theory, and a very basic overview thereof. If I may summarise crudely, ‘lucky babies’ who get their needs seen to reliably by their carers, learn that the world will respond to their cries, and will smile back when they smile. They can influence what happens in the world, which is a good place to be. As against the unlucky baby whose needs are not met, who learns that the world is a dangerous, threatening, non-responsive place where s/he needs to take care of himself. S/he will likely switch off from attempting to get a helpful and friendly response, and learn to self-soothe in many inappropriate and ineffectual ways. The world is not a good place to be, and they do not have influence. And all that entails (lots, of course). And not only that, but once over the age of 18 months when the ‘reptilian’ part of the baby’s brain ceases further growth, there appears to be little a parent can do to reverse these fundamental negative attitudes towards the outside world and oneself.

I am not completely naïve, and none of this was new, but there is another consideration. In this very small county in which I (happily) live, there is no chance to adopt within the area, as there is just too much risk of adoptees eventually inadvertently coming into contact with a member of their birth family. (Undesirable). This means that R and I would have to adopt from OUT of county – and as other counties, being larger CAN find homes for ‘easy to place’ children within their own area, we would only get considered for the less easy to place – ie a little more baggage all of their own! Does this make sense? In short - R and I cannot expect a younger, easy-to-place child.

What can I make of this? Part of me says ALL of us are damaged, and we all cope in many different ways. Adopted children are all individuals, and I know I will not be an idiot parent and ignore all the basic advice.
(I have just been slightly scandalised by reading a story on an adoption web site about a parent struggling with an adopted 7 year-old. In spite of the fact he was clearly going through a really difficult time behaviourally and having problems at school they had decided to uproot and move to France. What? And then she even complained at the lack of support from their social services. Sigh.)

Anyway, the upshot is I am really keen to hear stories of anyone who has adopted children, maybe more than just a few months old, and who has had a POSITIVE experience. I know social workers have to give you a picture that includes all the worst case scenarios, so that you can’t claim to have been misled, but I need a bit of balance here!

(Oh – and next week is sexual abuse and dealing with allegations . . . that should be a laugh a minute).

Hey – I am still upbeat. Well, hanging in there, anyway. I'll have to get some of that shampoo ' No More Tears'. I wonder if it works?


  • Oh love, I'm so sorry you didn't get that job. Sometimes I think the universe conspires against us... Thinking of you x

    By Anonymous Meri-ann, at 10:25 pm  

  • Ugh, it sounds like a tough week all round.

    Maybe I'm kidding myself, but I feel like these classes must give you the worst possible impression, I am sure that real life has got to be easier. Yes, I am sure it will be tough but I'm not sure it will as tough as you imagine in your worst thoughts.

    I'm so sorry about the job, that's really really disappointing.

    By Blogger Thalia, at 4:05 pm  

  • Check out The Naked Ovary.
    Although she is a new mother--she's pretty positive and happy about the whole experience (daughter adopted at 15 months).

    By Blogger Alice, at 10:25 pm  

  • I'm so sorry to hear that you didn't get the new job. I hope that something just as wonderful will come along soon.

    Wow, those classes sound heavy. Like Thalia, it seems like they must be trying to prepare you with the worst.

    Fingers crossed for you!

    By Anonymous Nikole, at 1:06 am  

  • I'm so sorry that you had a rough week and are feeling down. I can relate to your desire for that new job with fewer hours, and I can imagine how disappointed you are feeling. You have had such a tough year. Also, I understand how some of the adoption issues can seem overwhelming at times. I wish I could hand you a tissue to dry your tears and give you a big hug. Try to hang on to hope that there can be brighter days ahead.

    There is a good blog written by an adoptive mother who adopted her daughter when her daughter was older, after her birthparents' parental rights were terminated. I think you might like it and feel reassured by reading it. Here's the address:

    Scroll down to the "Stuck with you" entry on November 7 and the entry below it and read those; I think they might be especially helpful to you.

    By Blogger Jill, at 3:46 pm  

  • Thank you for posting that. I appreciate your comments. I can relate to your experience, and I often wonder what my child would have been like.

    You may want to watch this. It's beautiful, but have tissues. Very powerful.

    "I Spoke With My Child"

    By Blogger DeeDee B., at 8:17 pm  

  • I just found your blog, must add I've had 6 m/c's also. Numerous failed IVF cycles and now am starting the process to foster to adopt/adopt in the county we live in also.
    I'm sorry you didn't get the job also... I look forward to reading your journey!

    By Anonymous KIMMER, at 3:13 pm  

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