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Birth children arriving after adopted children

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Hi everybody


I just wondered if any of you have had birth children after adopting and whether you could share some of your journey with me please?


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Hi


We had a birth child after adopting. She is now 9, our AC are 22 and 19. I cannot recommend it as a way of doing adoption, living with two traumatised adoptees with a young baby was tough- most families aren't protecting one from another like we had to do with ours. It's not ideal but we were where we were and managed as best we could with extreme challenges.


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Hi pear tree thanks for your response. Was your bc planned? Our Los didn't come to us with any attachment issues etc luckily as they weren't exposed to bf and had an excellent fc although obviously they have had some loss. A friend of ours adopted a few years ago and is now expecting having gone through iui to extend their family. We would potentially like a bigger family in the future but we had a really bad time with ss and aren't sure whether or what to do so I was wondering if somebody could share their experience with us.


Thanks!


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Ooh, interesting one...


I have my month old unexpected birth baby asleep on me right now. Adopted bigger ones asleep upstairs.


Ours two do have 'issues', plenty of them! Hopefully yours won't, but you never know what or when things might crop up.


Would I have 'chosen' to have more children..? Well, yes, in a different life, but no way with our two children. Pregnancy with tiny one was very anxious.


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sorry! Someone woke up and I hit submit too soon!


point being, we are where we are. Tiny is a real blessing. Time will tell what effect this will all have. I'm sure there will be positives and negatives.


Much more I could say, but very early days!


TML


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There's been some positives I'd say having pip, I'm so glad we had her and she was a blessed surprise. I was pretty unwell at the end off the prg and when the baby came we both spent time in hospital. The family helped us and we made the arrival of baby as much 'we are all having a baby' as possible. My older ones liked to help and really got an awful lot out of the baby toys. They did learn how to care for a baby appropriately. BUT the acting out massively increased with having a baby. It felt a big set of threats to them and their anxiety, rejection and controlling driven behaviours really bit. PTSD type reactions plus almighty wobblers was traumatic.

Both me and mr pt have started to make a new life with young pip. She's been through a lot more than most kids her age. It's not the sort of thing you'd choose to put a child through and I find the guilt around that tough going personally.

I'm not too sure how old your lo are but I'd humbly suggest that they will have iffy attachments because of those massive catastrophic early losses apart from their epigentics profile. These things may be a mild background point at this stage in life from your perspective but personally I would think these things will bite you all in future particularly with a new baby. SS take a dim view of having Bc after adoption.

They ( imo mistakenly )think adopters give up on AC in favour of Bc. I think they are WRONG on this as the sheer bloody minded determined hanging on I see in blended families defies belief. AC do have to move often much younger than they otherwise would but really it's that trauma underlying things that makes family life too hard for them to manage safely.

Maybe there are families that do this but I have met many families who have had Bc who held on and on really having held on too long to the detriment of everyone.


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We were always under the impression that it really wasn't ideal but our friends had some unexplained infertility and their lo has been really well settled. It's hard not to be thrilled for them and has left us wondering whether we should explore this further at a later point. It's not for now but obviously my age will at some point be a consideration in the next 5+ years.


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We had birth children then adopted. We felt under pressure to adopt and looking back were manipulated into through the use of counselling supplied by our agency. It had always been a dream of mine to adopt even after birth children.


I'm picking up on your comment that you had a bad time with SS. We now strongly suspect important information was with held from us about our adopted daughter. If that is true and we had known we would never have brought her into our home. A different SS has been so gullible and unprofessional that they as well as daughter have played a massive role in ensuring we are very unlikely to have contact with daughter again.


We are very fortunate that daughter hasn't driven one of our family members to suicide. I feel responsible for the huge damage she has done to our whole family. We are working through it but I imagine many people would not be able to.


Based on my experience I would say never mix birth and adopted children. It was like parenting two different sets of children under one roof. It's like two different sets of animals being put together that need different types of care. I can't quite express how it feel, but hope that comment doesn't cause offence


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As an adopted person myself I would also urge you not to underestimate the level of loss some adoptees feel


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I don't know anything of your situation or details of your los but you obviously have at least 2. I would suggest that if they are very young currently you really do not know how things will pan out. Issues that young children have can look a lot like normal development (all toddlers are impulsive and become dysregulated easily, for example) and tend to be relatively easily managed through parenting techniques etc. As they get older things become clearer and your control as a parent decreases.


Personally I think each adopted child requires a huge amount of parenting input over and above the norm and it can be hard even to balance the needs of just two children at times. We're 15 and 9 years in with our two and the jealousy they feel over the attention we give the other is still a fairly big issue here - they do get on ok compared to many, but there is massive rivalry very close to the surface that readily manifests itself.


I'd advise you to enjoy the family you have, for a number of years at least.


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I'm not convinced the lack of exposure to bps is an indicator of any future issues. Two of mine were removed at birth, placed as babies. One was diagnosed ASD at 7. One had little exposure to bps but still went on to collect two diagnoses. It's not just about what happens to a child after they're born. So much harm is caused whilst in utero and by their genetics.


I know of families who combine birth and adopted children but it hadn't been easy and huge sacrifices have had to be made - home schooling, relationships breaking down etc.


If your adopted children are still young then you just don't really know how things will pan out over the next few years. School can trigger all sorts of difficulties. Hormones. Puberty.


Here, the diagnoses started arriving at 6 but school exclusions started a little way before that. The past 6 years have not been easy - dla x 2, statementing X 2, special education, camhs, paeds, therapy, and all sorts of appointments - and they're still ongoing.


I guess there are families it can work for but I doubt it'll ever be straightforward.


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Lots of doom and gloom here. Understand that some people have not had great experiences but this is not exclusive to having adopted children. We know plenty of families who have two or more birth kids and have similar issues that people may jump on if one of them was adopted (rivalry, educational needs, exhausted and stressed parents). That is the nature f having more than one child! The most important thing is that you feel that your family is ready and stable enough to add another member. Dealing with siblings is of course difficult and newborns come with their own set of worries that you may not have had to deal with with your first. I think there will always be horror stories but your story won't be the same as others because your family is different. Most important thing is to make the decision based on where your family/children are at currently, definitely important to take people's opinions into consideration but as I have found, no one knows your child/family likeness do! Good luck!!


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Maybe you'd like to share how it's worked for you - having birth and adopted children, firefly?


I get what you say in that all families, regardless of how children arrived, may have issues of one sort or another. Any child with additional needs - birth or adopted - can place a strain on a family. What we're saying is not don't do it, but - given that we don't know the ages of the children here - it might be better to wait a while. Of course, if the children are in late teens bad have sailed through life, then clearly they're issue free!


However, if they're still young, it might just be better to wait and see a while.


It's not about doom and gloom. OP asked for experiences. That's what she's being given.


I do know families with both - quite a few - and I do know that there have been consequences. Some children can cope with a new arrival; others find it really difficult and things have fallen apart.


Be open minded but be aware of the risks.


How old are your children Turner?


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Hi. We had a birth child after adopting - actually 7 months after our AD came to us. It wasn't ideal but it is what it is. I wouldn't change it - I love both my daughters. However our AD who came at 19 months having lived in one foster placement from birth has significant issues. She demands 90% of our time and attention which is exhausting. Our birth daughter is a dream in comparison and the difference in their ability to cope with life in general is huge. Our birth daughter is often on the receiving end of our AD's anger. Our home can go through days of stress if our AD isn't coping. Often our BD is sitting in her room in floods of tears with what is going on around her. There's no doubt she often has to just get on with things while we're dealing with her sister. Our BD is 9 and our AD is 11. On the positive side at times they're great company for each other and our BD is very kind and patient with her sister. Our AD's issues weren't apparent when she was young - they've got progressively worse as she's got older. She has no diagnosis of anything. I don't think there's a right or wrong to blending families. I just think you need to be confident that your AD are manageable. Having a small baby in the mix with two other children is hard anyhow, but if you're dealing with trauma issues in the middle of it, then it'll be fairly full on.


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Think firefly is right BC can have issues. But in modern adoption there's significant trauma involved for all and that's impacting. Some have a bit of impact. Some significant. Some severe. It's therefore much more likely you will have children who have extra trauma related needs. My neighbour has a sister with awful mh issues. She's had heaps of troubles. So I know it's not only AC. But it is far more common in AC because of trauma but also the epigentics.

It's no picnic. There's a lot to think about and I don't see anyone here saying they regret having a BC.

Maybe I'm a bit sensitive but I find it hurtful when people say in ref to experienced, caring adopters who have been asked to share experiences get slammed for 'doom and gloom' by posters.


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I'm completely with you peartree.


As an adoptee (1960s, 6 weeks old when placed, loved by my birthmum but only allowed to be held by her for feeding) I have taken years coming to terms with just my separation from my birth mum( who I ideally refer to as my original mum). Before adoption I was not severely neglected. From a reunion with my birthmum I wouldn't say there was a history of mental illness. I'm pretty sure she didn't use drugs or alcohol while pregnant with me. Certainly my later siblings born from the same father don't appear to have any major problem psychologically.


I have never been on antidepressants but have had an underlying sense of isolation, struggles with identity, a background sadness. I've never had a problem with addiction. I struggle at times with comfort eating but I'd attribute that to the stresses of raising 4 children then the added stress of what I now regard as a very complicated adopted daughter. I have got that much more under control in the last couple of years. I've done well educationally. I've raised birth children successfully and have a good marriage. I've given back to society. Just my experience of a " easy adoption" has not been within issues to resolve over a long period of time.


Adopted daughter had experienced neglect and with hindsight possibly sexual abuse. By her own words she claimed to have seen things a child under 4 should not see. She has self harmed ( I never have ), she has lied and stolen compulsively ( I have never stolen apart from a biscuit from the tin from time to time, and then I felt appropriate guilt ). She doesn't have empathy. I have empathy and so do my other children. Despite us loving here she couldn't respond to love. My being an adoptee and atleast relating to some of her feelings wasn't enough to make her happy and balanced. The bits of therapy we got ( not specialised, " have a go" type therapy ) had no impact.


We have been through a living hell the last few years. The "doom and gloom" phrase creates in me a sense of condemnation. It trivialises my experience. It pushes me and my family aside as if we don't matter. It makes me feel defective as if other adopters are living a Disney life because their dreams of family have come true. There have been some Disney moments along the way but it's ended up like a car crash and I have honesty tried to figure out what I did wrong .


After a lot of soul searching I'd say I've made some mistakes but nothing major. I have concluded that daughter is completely beyond my help and any guilt for that is misplaced. If I had known back then what I know now I would not have adopted my daughter, despite still loving her. The fact is often adopters have very little idea of what they are really getting into and many later discover that information was withheld from them or that the confident SWs they trusted really don't know as much about the issues as first appeared.


Personally I would love to see gloom and doom terminology absent here.


Everyone should be able to tell it like it is from their experience wherever they are on the Disney- car crash spectrum. The best support I've had is validating and informative. It often comes when discussion can flow freely.


Getting off my soap box now


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Brilliantly put Nancy


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Me too. I'm personally pretty insulted that someone who doesn't know me can describe my life as all doom and gloom. It's not. As others who know me 'in the flesh' can attest.


Our lives are different, granted but actually we have a pretty good time and - so far, fingers crossed with a whole lot of input - we're not doing too badly.


Three easy to place babies turned out to be three less than easy children to parent but they're now between 11 and 16, they're all in school, all at home, none in therapy right now and we're getting by, happily on the whole.


Yes, two are ststemented, two are dx ASD, one is ADHD. One in special Ed, another hopefully joining him next year. Two on high rate Dla. I'm still a sahm. There's still plenty of time for it all to go txts up - I'm not naive - but I get really frustrated that my family could be described as doom and gloom. It's not. It's our reality and our normal.


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I dont think any family is a disney fantasy if people were really honest.

I have a bc with aspergers and believe me when he was a young child there were many carcrash moments !

I have also fostered for 13 yrs and am now adopting . Enough car crash moments to launch a mini series but i luv my life and wouldnt change it.

I hope the likes of nancy and donatella do not feel judged or minimised on here because i admire them and all the others who work so hard to meet their childrens needs (and there are many of you out there).

Thanks to all who share their stories and experiences on here i have found it so helpful over the years i have lurked on here.


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well said Nancy.


This issue comes up time and time again, doom and gloom, positive and negative, 'horror'' stories !! These are children we are talking about, My son has no where near the issues some adoptive children have but he has his fair share - ASD, learning difficulties, sensory issues, emotional issues. Yes its hard, yes its challenging, yes I'm shattered and a little bit stressed but he is also doing fabulously well in many areas of his life. Yes birth children can have these conditions, but its the added extras of trauma and loss which makes the difference with adoptive children.


As Nancy says, using the language of doom and gloom, positive and negative, creates the idea that there is a perfect Disney adoption out there and that adopters might 'escape' the worst cases if only they did x and not y and hit on some magic formula


Truth is its always a gamble, You might adopt a baby and its all ok. But it might not be. You might adopt an older child and be overwhelmed with issues. Or it might all be OK.


You just don't know. All people here are doing it giving the benefit of experience, alerting people to issues they might not have considered. We don't want people going into adoption with their eyes blinkered. Personally I'm glad I read and took on board all the doom and gloom. At least I was aware of what might happen. At nearly 5 years in as an adoptive family there has been only one behaviour that I was not expecting, and when I raised that on a forum, lots of people had experienced the same.


So all that doom and gloom prepared me. Doesn't make it any easier but at least I don't feel a complete failure as a mum because my son behaves they way he does. I've seen too many people go through disruptions because they thought they would be the ones who would escape it, they just weren't prepared and didn't understand what was happening.


That's really what its all about. Being prepared for what might happen. Great if it doesn't. Just be aware that it might.


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I have to agree with Serrakunda. A lot of people were rally surprised when I continued to educate myself about potential issues and the 'doom and gloom' as it has made me aware of what might happen. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have a son who has been doing pretty well up to the last year. With hindsight we should have gone with my gut and asked for deferred entry to school but he was academically meeting milestones and seemed to be ready for school when we applied 2 years ago. Now his social/emotional immaturity and the sensory issues we are sure are there are causing him to not be able to access the curriculum in year 1 - other than with his TA in an afternoon. Ok at times when he wandering around the classroom and not joining in he does take stuff in that his teacher says and yes reading and verbally he is right where he should be. His writing however is still virtually not there and his concentration span is about 5 minutes - he needs 1:1 support to get tasks done.


But having read these forums and accessed as much training and material as I can I know with the right support Sqk can reach his potential. Others have gone before me - indeed the school's first adopted child has considerably greater needs than Sqk. He is on the SEN register now and as the SENCO promised before the summer holiday we would see how it went till half term and then put the resources in place if needed. Hence his afternoon TA - only for a couple of hours at the moment but it helps and I am currently educating myself on the EHCP SEN code to see if Sqk could get that through social and emotional needs.


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No I don't feel that's true. I think it's hugely understating the differences.


With a birth child you know its genetics. You would have looked after yourself and the baby whilst pregnant. You wouldn't have taken drugs, drunk alcohol (presumably). Presumably your pregnancy would be happy rather than stressful with the thought of baby being removed. Presumably also no dv. No chaotic life. You'd know the mental health history. Your baby would have the chance to form a secure attachment with an attentive care giver from birth. You'd be attuned to his/her needs and would meet them.


That's not to say that some birth children won't develop illnesses etc or be born with conditions that may be difficult to manage. But the chances are lower.


Life is absolutely what you make of it. There are ups and downs. On the whole life is positive and happy here but equally enormously stressful at times.


So, in short no, there's no comparison!


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There are HUGE differences between AC and BC. AC have a whole other family/life that you may have no knowledge of; they have birth parents that aren't you; they may have other siblings that you are aware of and some that you're not aware of. And that's just the basics of where they've come from, let alone how they entered the care system and how they arrived in their adopted families. Someone else parented my LO for the first two years of her life and I will never know what really went on during those two years. What birth parent can say that about their child?


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You are dealing with trauma on a daily basis and you don't know how that will impact - your child does not understand why they do the things they do and feel the way they do - they cannot explain what has happened to them and you will not know much of it as no-one else will know (or say) - including in-utero experiences - you will not know the genetic influences until they may become clear later and may never know.


I had birth kids first - they were teenagers when we adopted - and it was hard enough for them. Many adopters become pregnant after adopting and they deal with it as that is what happened rather than a way they chose - I'm sure most of them are grateful they had their birth child but I'm not aware of any that chose to do it this way.


I think its more likely you would change your mind the other way round - having adopted decide not to have birth child - due to needs of adopted child / children. I think if you would like to do both why not have BC first? SWs are very good at picking up on any doubt you may have about forgoing conception the natural way (if that is open to you) and do not recommend this way round.


But whatever you decide I think you just need to go for it with your eyes open and make your own path in life - good luck with your decision!


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Hi Greensparkly,


No i would not recommend adopting and then having a birth child. If you want to adopt then please have your birth children first and then come back to it later. I think you need to consider carefully why you want to adopt - is it because of altruistic reasons or do you just want to be a parent? Most of us who go into adoption do it for purely selfish reasons - to be a parent (and to be honest this is the only reason you should do it in my opinion.)


I have two birth sons and an adopted daughter. My eldest bs was 5 1/2 when we brought our ad home who was aged 13 months. My bs is now 15 and my ad nearly 10. We adopted because of fertility problems and wanted to be parents again. My ad's birth mum was a drug addict and my ad was born addicted to crack cocaine. She met all of her milestones and for the first couple of years everything was fine. Then from about the age of 3 her behaviour started to go down hill. At 6 she was dx adhd and odd (oppositional defiant disorder). 2 years ago she was dx dyslexic and dyspraxic and we are now starting the assessment for ASD as we think she is on the spectrum.


When my ad was 3 years old i became pregnant completely out of the blue - my ivf doctor had told me that my only chance of conceiving was with donor eggs so becoming pregnant was a complete shock. My younger bs is now nearly 6 years old.


Parenting my ad is very challenging to say the least. Her problems dominate our whole lives and are at times completely overwhelming. So which of my birth son's does her behaviour impact the most? - well my younger bs. My older bs is able to go off and see his friends and he goes off for a week each year with my husband for a holiday. My eldest bs is able to escape my ad whereas my youngest bs isn't. My ad is incredibly immature for her age (most adopted children are and indeed children with adhd also tend to be very immature). She therefore assumes the age of my youngest bs. Although they are incredibly close there is a lot of friction and fighting between them as my ad will purposely annoy him (one of the features of ODD). She also cannot play - lacks imagination ( a feature of ASD) so she will follow his lead when playing which means taking whatever he is playing with off him and mimicking his play which annoys him.


My ad also cannot deal with any changes to her routine -( a feature of ASD) or being out of her environment. This means we can have her running around upstairs after bedtime screaming and shouting and refusing to stay in her room or bed and hiding behind doors etc in other rooms. The friends of my eldest bs understand this and deal with this very maturely when they stay for sleepovers. However, this means that my youngest bs will probably never be able to have his friends over for sleepovers. Also my ad's behaviour makes family holidays very difficult as she cannot deal with the change and so this year we are thinking of not doing a family holiday. Again this will not impact my eldest bs as he goes away with my husband for a week - but it will impact my youngest bs who won't get one.


Sorry this is so long - and sorry to give you my life story but i hope some of it is helpful. Please have your birth children first - have a big age gap and then come back to adoption if you still feel it is what you want to do. Parenting adopted children is incredibly hard, please don't underestimate that - and i haven't even gone into discussing contact and birth family waiting in the wings to make contact when your adopted child is 18!


best wishes with whatever you decide.xx


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Very eloquent waterfalls. I'm not sure all the training in the world can prepare you for the reality of parenting a difficult child. Two of mine are quite similar to yours - both adopted, not birth sibs, less then 2 years apart in age. One ADHD and ASD, one ASD but currently awaiting fasd assessment. Like you I also have a 15 year old son - adopted but quite straightforward. Like your son, he can get out. Has a good social life, friends etc but is still impacted by the issues our younger two have.


Right now I feel like I'm battling the system again. Education. Statements. Meetings. Head banging against a wall. It's interminable. And exhausting. And it does put a huge strain on family life.


Sounds tough waterfalls. You have my empathy, something my dd particularly might never understand!!


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thank you Donatella, it really means a lot.xx


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We thought of fostering after adopting two children seperately. Then we realised youngest would never cope with it. He struggles with intense jealousy of older one. Older one is physically bigger and stronger so can handle himself, but a younger child would probably suffer badly. As things stand at the moment we couldn't bring another child into the family Even if it was a baby, his occasional verbal blow ups would massively upset a young child.

I would agree it's better to have birth child first and wait till they are much older before adopting. As is evident on other post, plenty people adopt at older ages than have birth kids generally.


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Hi guys!


Just thought I'd add my side to the discussion as it is quite a different story to many others here. We have two children currently, our #1 came to us by adoption and then we had our #2 by birth. #2 was very much planned. We went into adoption knowing that there was no reason we couldn't have birth kids (obviously we had never done it so didn't know for sure!), but we knew that we wanted to adopt and we wanted to give the best years of our lives to parenting a child who had had a difficult start to life. We did want a bigger family than just one, but we went into adoption with the firm view that if we felt that our little #1 wasn't ready/settled/in a place to become a big sibling then we wouldn't have more. We always planned to play it by ear, depending on our little #1's needs. Some people may have differing opinions of whether we should have had a birth child so soon after adopting, and you are most certainly entitled to your opinions as all of our family structures will be different and you know what works for you, but we felt this was the right decision for us, our little #1 and our family.


Our little #1 is a protective, loving, sometimes-annoyed-because-they-don't-get-all-the-attention, funny, settled child, yes we have tantrums, yes there is trauma somewhere in there and yes, we deal with some things daily and there will be things to deal with later on, but we honestly wouldn't have it any other way. For everyone here who have only adopted or had bc then adopted and are experiencing difficult times, are probably doing a great job and I salute you, parenting isn't easy at the best of times! It's good that we can give a breadth of experience for people to make their decisions based on, but I don't think it's right to say someone should absolutely not adopt first because, we will all have to make that decision for ourselves based on what we know about our families/what we can cope with/how we will manage tough times (although we can never 100% plan this! Especially when your kids are both up at 1am having a whale of a time/or just plain wailing and all you want to do is turn their volume down and go back to sleep!) because for us it meant that we got some priceless time as a family of three, investing into our little #1 that we wouldn't have had in the same way if we had had a birth child first. little #1 will always know that they were the one who made us parents, something that #2 will never have claim on, little #2 got to live with us since they were born, something #1 doesn't have claim on. We are learning how to understand our differences and how they make us all feel. Little #1 is able to school little #2 on a world they could never have understood without our family structure. Sometimes, little #1 can't explain, sometimes little #2 doesn't understand, sometimes neither of them can explain or understand and sometimes we have beautiful moments in the car on the way home from Tesco of revelation and realisation and they thank God that the both got to be a part of each other's lives. I honestly believe that having those forming couple of years together as a family of three was so beneficial, and think that little #1 has benefitted so much from that time, so much so that they were settled and secure (as much as any little one is when they have to share their parents!) for when little #2 came. Don't get me wrong, they also bicker and take each others toys and both have melt downs because the other one took their hoola hoop, or because one of their toes is touching the other ones towel.


All that is to say that we had to really read our #1's personality/attachment style etc to know whether having any more children was right. And for many little ones, having bc after them won't be right for them. As someone mentioned previously, sometimes parents become pregnant after adopting and it's a shock, and they do the best they can (and probably do a better job than they feel they are doing because we tend to notice many more flaws in ourselves as parents than there actually are!), but in our experience, it wasn't a shock, we were able to carefully plan when little #2 was going to come (as much as you can plan these things!) and therefore we were settled ourselves with the idea too. As I said before, I know all our families are different and this may not be the way some decide to do things but for us, it has been great (and tiring and hard and all the other sacrificial things that come with being a parent! Sleep is my most missed commodity haha!) and if we had our time again 100 times over we wouldn't change a thing! This is not to say our lives are a Disney movie, I'm sure we'd be hard pressed to find any that are, but we are loving navigating all that it means to be the family that we are, and I just wanted to add another side to the coin.


Hope this is helpful in some small way GreenSparkly!


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But PaM, you have acknowledged that for some little ones, having a bc after them wouldn't be right for them. And that's one reason why some are suggesting it might be better to have bc first, if you might want both a birth child and adopted child ( there s also the body clock point of view !!!)

To be honest I think most people do what they really want to do, or are desperate to do, in adoption terms, though some do take advice into account then or later. Either it works out ok to some degree or other, or they regret it. We disregarded the statistics about older child adoption failure rates and made it through far worse stuff than sleepless nights, so we know things aren't written in stone, just advice, but worth being warned about as it probably helped us be more mindful about certain issues.


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