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Hello, for the past couple of months I have considered putting myself and partner forward for adopting a child. We already have an 8 year old boy who is ours biologically I'm 31 and my partner is 30 I would love to extend our family but I don't think I'm mentally strong enough to go through pregnancy. I have suffered depression and anxiety would that be a factor in not being able to adopt? After having my child I've always thought adopting would be something for us as we can give a chIld a loving home that needs one. Anyone going through this or any advice will be most appreciated ☺

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Hello, good that you are reading these boards to give you some insight into adoption. Depression and anxiety do not need to be a barrier to adoption but if you are saying you don't feel mentally strong enough for pregnancy then adoption is definitely going to be no less stressful and in reality probably a whole lot more so!

At this point I would suggest reading as much as possible and maybe attend an information session to give you an idea of the process and you can then chat to a social worker about your own personal circumstances which would give you an idea as to whether they would take you on now or they may suggest some time to get the depression and anxiety under control before proceeding. Whatever you decide best of luck with your journey.

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This might sound harsh, but I think if you feel you are not mentally strong enough to go through pregnancy, then you are unlikely to be strong enough to adopt.....its a very different experience of parenthood and many adoptees have significant challenges due to their pre-birth and early life experiences and you need to have incredible strength to get through....its tough as it can be an isolating and lonely experience to parent a child with additional support needs who may not be able to form a positive bond with you.

I am sure you are an excellent Mum to your son, but sadly love is often not enough for adoptees. My other concern would be the impact on your son as adoption can also be really tough on older birth children as the risk is the younger child's needs take over family life. Birth children can also become a target for the anger and rage that is common in adopted children.

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Thanks for that! I'm not prepared for pregnancy it's not that I couldn't cope with the child it's more the fact of actually being pregnant maybe sounds crazy but I don't think it is lots of people decide not to have their own children but go down the adoption route. I feel we can give a chIld a loving and stable home when they need it. Yes I would well imagine older children can go through different processess about a new child coming into the home but that would happen if it was our own and obviously a lot of families go through this. And yes I am an excellent mother to my son. I have my anxiety and depression under control after going through over 16 weeks of counselling last year. Maybe speaking to a social worker may be the best step to take for now

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I think adopting a child is very different to the experience most older children have of becoming an older sibling.... Adoptees tend to have far more challenges than birth children - they often have poor genetics (MH issues, physical conditions), they often have poor antenatal care (often drugs/alcohol use in pregnancy) and their early life experiences can leave them with attachment and possibly even trauma issues.

In terms of thinking about this, consider the following, how would you/your son feel about:

- a child who is violent towards him

- a child who demands your attention constantly

- a child who cannot cope in busy places (eg shopping centre, party, restaurant)

- a child who steals and lies

- a child who is destructive (sometimes targeting stuff that is especially important to another person)

- a child with continence and self care issues

- a child who self harms

- a child who finds it difficult to learn from past mistakes and repeats them over and over again

You are likely to find that an adopted child struggles with all/some of the above (mine ticks them all!)

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Sws tend to be quite risk averse so will question why you've chosen adoption over another pregnancy. It might be prudent not to say you don't feel mentally strong enough to go through another pregnancy. No idea what it was like but the whole adoption process is hugely stressful and will continue to be so throughout placement.

It's quite different having a newborn sibling appear in your home to having a fully formed, traumatised, possibly walking, talking, angry toddler or older child appear. It's likely that any child placed will have additional needs of one type of another - possibly undiagnosed which is a whole battle in itself.

I'd read about therapeutic parenting, in utero experience and it affects the child - particularly alcohol abuse, stress, drugs obviously. A lot of the children in the system have a poor genetic inheritance with many years of social care input and dysfunctional behaviour. This isn't to put you off or be negative - this is modern day adoption. It's not just about giving a child a loving home - if only it were - but it's specialist parenting to wonderful albeit tricky children.

Ring around - different agencies have differing views. You may also be asked to get some childcare experience - I know, you have your own child - but they may want you to get some experience of children who aren't without issues.

Good luck

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An adopted child will be nothing like your birth child; s/he would be a whole lot more complex.

It might also be worth mentioning that in 14 years of using these boards I have seen many marriages fail post adoption because the stress is too great, and a significant number of adopters who had never had MH issues develop them and need medication and therapy to get through the traumatic experiences their adopted children have brought with them into their families.

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I have not came into this lightly this is the main reason for joining this forum for an insight and advice on the whole process. I can well imagine that it is hard and stressful and I am under no illusions that this would be easy and I take my hat off to each and every one of you that have took the decision and courage to go ahead with adoption. Did any of you have children before adopting and how did that go were the children accepting?

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Yes. I have three birth sons, now 28, 24, 19 and adopted son 12. Have a read back through old posts on the 'adopters with birth children' board.

It's not uncommon for people new to the boards to find what experienced adopters have to say shocking or even unbelievable, but it for many adopters it's hard to the point that the direction of their family members lives have completely changed. There are adopters with birth children who will openly state that if they knew how difficult it was going to be and how tough on their birth children they wouldn't have adopted.

The thing is you can see your genetic inheritance, it's around you in your family. You know how you behaved, ate, drank, etc during pregnancy for the benefit of your and your baby's health, but when adopting all these are unknown quantities.

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Yes, my birth child was 8 when we adopted our LO. Adoption was something we always wanted to do and I'm so glad we did it. Have to say though that we got questioned repeatedly on our reason for adopting, during assessment and even at panel. Our bd copes well with the LO but she is hard work and some days pushes her to the limit. This is not normal sibling rivalry, our LO has multiple issues and our bd's life has been massively impacted by her arrival.

I recommend doing further research and attending an information evening. You don't have to commit at that point. I highly recommend that you don't mention that you don't feel mentally strong enough to go through another pregnancy when you speak to the SW's. There is nothing tougher than parenting an adopted child and they will almost certainly have an issue with that.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do x x

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I adopted and have suffered depression and PTSD. This was linked to 2 tragic and sudden bereavements. I was very open about it during the adoption process. During assessment the social workers really probed me about these events trying both I believe to understand whether I was mentally strong enough to cope with adoption and ascertain what impact my grief would have on children who have already experienced so much grief and loss themselves. It was unimaginably hard to revisit the trauma of my grief and talk to a complete stranger about a very personal and difficult experience. But the adoption process and caring for our special little people will tear open every wound and trauma you have ever experienced. Other's have eloquently described the issues our kids face and the monumental amount of baggage these little people will arrive at your door with. They have also outlined the enormity of the challenge being an adoptive parent. It is singularly the most amazing and rewarding thing I have ever done. I love my little man with all my heart and will do everything in my power to ensure he has the best possible childhood and best chance at fulfilling his potential as an adult. But it is extraordinarily hard parenting our children. My heartfelt recommendation to you is research, read (Sally Donovan's No Matter What and Duncan Elliot's Adopter's Heroes but Human - two amazing and very accessible books written by adopters) and ask questions. My very best to you and good luck x

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