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House moves/renovations

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Hi guys,


Sit tight, think I'm about to vomit a stream of consciousness here to try and figure out our best course of action and ask you wise owls a few questions.


We've been patiently (yeah right!) waiting 6 months from our last miscarriage to be able to apply to adopt and doing all the practical bits and pieces around the house, having a lovely holiday together, as well as having some counselling to help us process our losses and grief. All being well we should be able to register our interest and arrange an initial visit by late October. We went to an adoption open evening recently where a mum who adopted siblings spoke and now DH is very taken with the idea of adopting siblings if it's decided it's the best placement for them.


Now the issue is we only have two bedrooms. Our house is a good size, loads of storage, big garden and could comfortably house 2 small kids but they wouldn't have a room each. We spoke to a SW at the event and they said this wouldn't be a deal breaker. We're in the probably quite fortunate position that in our area there are far more children waiting than approved adopters and they're actively recruiting prospective adopters particularly for sibling groups so some of the rules are being relaxed a little.


DH has suddenly jumped into action and started talking about a house move or extension whereas I'd prefer to hang back a little and wait to see. It feels like a bit of a chicken and egg situation as we might not even be approved for siblings and the cost will be huge at a time when we really need to be saving money. ( I suspect part of my initial response of annoyance is that I suggested this yonks ago and he poo pooed the idea and now we've had a role reversal!)


My gut instinct is telling me to hang fire, start the process and then if/when the right kids come along who can share a room we make do and after a couple of years we move once they need a bit more space or extend sideways. (Obviously putting in an awful lot of work to prep them for the move/renovations) DH wants to move house now which would delay things and potentially have a huge impact financially. To me it feels a bit like putting the cart before the horse! We might only be approved for one and then we'll have delayed things and accrued debt/increased our outgoings for no reason.


Obviously I'm not asking anyone to make the decision for us but just wanted to hear of other people's experiences of moving house before/after the adoption assessment process as I want to be able to weigh up the pros and cons of each option and currently we're just working with a hypothetical situation so would be great to hear from you guys.


Thanks so much if you've made it this far through my waffling!


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I think your option is the better one especially considering the extra delay and financial implications. You also have to consider how you would pay the increased mortgage when one of you is not working and you would need to be flexible about how long you could manage with only one salary. To be honest I think this might be a greater concern for social workers than having ample accommodation, especially if you are considering more than one child. When our children's SW came to visit us for the first time they also visited a couple who had many spare rooms "that they wanted to fill with adopted children" (SWs words) but they chose us - who had no spare rooms as a better match. We were approved for 2 when we had 2 teenage daughters and my mother in law living with us and only 3 bedrooms (though MIL slept in a downstairs room) We are a mixed race family though so there was a shortage of adopters for a direct match. In the end we were considered the right match for a toddler and it was agreed we would be considered for her younger brother then a baby but still going through the legal processes. AD was place in January and shared a room with my eldest daughter and AS was placed in July and shared our room - he was 14mths by then and had shared a room with his foster parents too though AD had a separate room in foster care. We then went on to get a loft extension the following year. All this disruption took place with the children living there and was not a problem. We had looked at moving but it would have been impossible to find a house with all the things we needed (including downstairs loo and bathroom for MIL) within our price range especially as I had stopped working by then. I have not worked (except part time for my husband) since due to the needs of our children so I am glad we made this decision and were not bound by financial pressures to make other choices.


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Thank you, that's really really helpful. Think DH is still processing it all a little whereas I've been preparing and reading up since before our last miscarriage (a tick box for me so we knew we'd tried every possible medical intervention before making adoption our number one priority, DH was fully anticipating the fairly tale ending of a healthy pregnancy and new born) so think with a lot of enthusiasm he's trying to get his thoughts and plans in order albeit with a scattergun approach! Also, he's currently reading one of the Sally Donovan books so is now in the mindset that once our child/ren arrive we will never be able to make any changes to our life or routine ever again!


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Hi Wishmeluck,


We live in a two bed house also and are looking to adopt siblings. We were told be our social worker that we would be able to adopt same sex siblings as the second bedroom is big enough. However, our landlord (we rent) has now said he wants to add a bedroom for us so we have more space for the adoption (he really is a great landlord and very supportive) so we are also weighing up the options of waiting to get the extra bedroom or simply pushing on as we are.

Best wishes,


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Wow! What a fabulous landlord! It's such a hard decision isn't it? Would you be contributing to the cost? I guess it's a great investment to increase the value of his property and helps you out no end.


A loft conversion is an option that we could consider. I think I'd ruled that out as when I was small my room was on a different floor to my parents and I found that quite unsettling...I was never a great sleeper, nightmares and bedwetting and didn't sleep though properly until I was well into junior school and remember being too frightened to get out of bed to go to my mum for comfort as it meant a trip downstairs by myself. To be fair I was a complete wuss (and experienced a trauma tic event during the night aged around 6) Also discovered as an adult I have a sleep disorder which is easy to treat so that was probably a factor!


Would you guys be staying where you are long term? Sounds hard as you don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth and at the same time don't want to risk stressful upheaval during the assessment process xx


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The children could share to start with then as they got older you could move to the loft extension yourselves (when done) if you felt that was better - you would know them better by then to help you make that decision. Some children of course you would not like to be on a different floor from anyway! I think even mixed sexes can share when little without it being a problem. When I was a child I was moved into a huge bedroom along a bend in the landing - I used to share with my brothers - and far from appreciating the move I never liked that room - it was too big and isolated (not really just seemed that way) - I was convinced it was haunted! So its not just moves to another floor that a child can find hard!


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Hi,


my thought would be to save the money and do not do the work. We had lots we could have done to the house but didn't and are so glad we kept the money, OH took 2 months of work unpaid when AS came home and I am still at home 15 months later (though I hope to go back to work part time soon). AS is doing really well, and that time was crucial to us is establishing attachment. Children are expensive, and ours tend to be more expensive just in terms of support etc. that you may need to pay for (sounds awful but when we did need a bit of help it was so much faster and less stressful to pay for it our selves rather than try and access through official channels, and that speed made a huge difference in early intervention).


Something else to consider, 'your' child may come without siblings at the moment, but given the nature of birth families it is not unlikely that in the future siblings may come along that you can/could consider, so do think that by going for one now it means you rule out a larger family.

Good luck.


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For me, I wanted all of my ducks lined up before applying. I changed jobs, moved to a bigger house, saved up etc. In your case it sounds like the consideration has got to be whether it is financially viable? Will it put you under financial strain? For me, the additional cost was only £50 a month on my mortgage and that is still only £350. So it was possible. Like you've alluded to, renovation and a house move can be quite stressful for children and parents so that's a definite plus for doing beforehand. I originally wanted siblings but ended up deciding on 1 with the chance of a future sibling. Would it be so bad to have a bigger house than required? I mean kids come with a lot of gear ha ha! To be honest I think either option will work!


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One thing to consider is that moving will add stress to your kids - settling in to a forever home (which for them might not just be about you, but also school, friends etc.) and then moving could be traumatic. it depends on age , I guess. We thought about moving house for a while, for work reasons, but have ended up with a commute, rather than upsetting the kid's lives, who were mid primary and early secondary at that stage. They both say they are much happier this way. Moving house as a family is a much bigger deal than moving as a couple. But good luck - whatever you decide! Hx


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Maggiemoo, yes I think it's the financial implications I'm worried about. We're okay financially and as we are could comfortably afford the cost of children (and a little less comfortably afford for DH to stop working if needed after adoption leave) but I worry that if we do have only one income then the extra cost while relatively small would have a big impact.


Haven, I think that's DH's biggest worry and one I agree with, that a house move could be very unsettling for adopted children. Think we're going to have to write out the pros and cons of each option and hopefully it'll help us make a decision.


X


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The sw will want to do a thorough assessment of your finances. I needed to have savings to cover me during adoption leave (but I'm single) So it's very wise to make sure even if you move you can be comfortable. Good luck!


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Having gone for a sibling group, I'd say stick with Plan A and adopt one at a time.....


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Personally I would stay where you are and adopt one to start with.


It's possible (though not definite) that a sw would place two childen in a family where they had to share a room but a. It might mean you lost out in a match compared to a family who could offer separate bedrooms and b. It might not work for the children who would do better with their own space.


Secondly, adopted children are often very demanding to parent and benefit from lots of attention - much better imo to get one child settled first and then see how you feel about having another.


As for moving house - we did this a few years ago - our second child had then been with us around 4 years. The stress and upheaval was all ours frankly - we only moved locally so they didn't need to change schools or anything. Our older child complained about missing our old house a bit but the youngest wasn't bothered at all - it really wasn't a problem although of course it wasn't early on on the placement of either - but then the years do have a way of slipping past quickly when you have a family.


Re loft conversion. We had one done at our old house after having children - they work via access to the roof so it wasn't hugely disruptive. We had further extensive work down downstairs later too. Sw may well not want children to sleep on a different floor from the parents though and the children may not cope with that either.


Obviously if you do plan to have more than one child, whether separately or together, then moving makes sense for that reason but if it's not a good idea financially, then perhaps it's better to stay put and see how life pans out. It has a way of not working out the way we expect anyway and, while later changes might not be ideal, a house move in a few years time wouldn't be a disaster.


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Like Bop suggested, we adopted one and then a second later when he became clear that was right. ds1 needed to be the only one for a few years and then demanded a brother ( which was also what we wanted ! )

But seven years on from our younger child coming here, he still gets unsettled at the idea of even moving locally. In the early years he needed to be close , fortunately his bedroom was right next to ours. We have a two bedroom house , and we had stretched our budget to even get that! We had to get a bank loan each. to afford to convert the attic ( which ds1 moved into and loves being up there ) before we could apply for a second child. It was stressful and hard work paying the bills, till that was paid off, but massively worth it as we now have the family we wanted and two super kids.

I would be tempted to ask the social workers opinion ( we had a good one at this stage ) and factor that into the mix. They will know what family finders will feel about such stuff. But do what you feel is best for your own situation.

Best Wishes

Pingu


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You have a large house, I am sure with a bit of creative thinking you can divide one bedroom for two. A good way is the wall with a high bed what is deskspace on the other side for the other sibling. And if possible do that twice. You can get inspiration on youtube, I ones bumped into this large family in the usa, if they can do it with 6 you can do it with two and create even more privacy. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LUvCfVm2XRw

I have that holiday child who stays 8 weeks a year, I created a loft in my son's bedroom with stairs and a little door. My son sleeps under the loft so there is minimal contact.

You might have to put your ultra king sized bed in the small room to divide the master with an extra door and wall. Still much cheaper than moving, you might be able to do it yourself.

Having two children seperately adopted as single parent, I think it is up to you or you want sibs or not. My advise is in the case you have experience working with special needs children go for it, if you need to google terms like mental handicap, asd, fas, add, arnd, etc, start with one. Good luck! if you put some pictures on one or other photo site we can think creatively with you how to create two bedrooms. I bought a one bedroom house with two children, it can be done.


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If it were me then I would stay put and adopt one child to start with. Then just see where life takes you as a family.


We adopted AD aged 5 and about 5 years later we adopted her biological brother (who wasn't even born when we adopted AD). In between times we moved house locally (our #1 criterion in choosing our new house was that AD would not have to change primary school). AD was fine with the move - part of the deal was that she got a bigger bedroom. She talks fondly of the old house but settled in to the new house pretty much immediately - we made sure that her room was decorated first, which probably helped.


Part of the reason that we moved was because we didn't feel that our then house could accommodate two children and we were toying with the idea of adopting again (in fact the house move was to remove a barrier to making a decision - while the house was too small we could dither our lives away).


We're all different and I don't think that there is a right or wrong answer here. You'll make a decision and life will meander on from that decision in whichever direction it goes. Your child or children could be fine about moving or anxious about it - you can't possibly know this yet as you don't know them. But if you do decide to stay put and move later or extend your existing house or whatever it is then by the time that you come to make the decision you will know the child or children and can put strategies in place to make the transition as "safe" for them as possible.


Good luck with your decision.


Peahen.


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Apologies for the radio silence. Had a few days leave and now back in the real world with a bump!


Thanks for all these really thoughtful responses. They've given us lots to think about. We've been talking about it loads. First thing to do will be seeing a mortgage advisor to see if it's even an option. I think DH is also coming round to the idea of extending and my thinking on loft conversions is shifting a little now I've heard others have done it and it worked well


Thanks again Smile


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We had a 3 bed roomed house with a large garden on the outskirts of a village and wanted to adopt either 2 or 3 siblings. If placed with 3 children we where going to extend the house.

2 years after our 3 children where placed we decided to move rather than extend. Much has we loved our house we decided we needed something more practical.

Finding time to do the gardening was difficult, the children fought in the car on the way to school and most of their friends lived in the centre of the village.


The children now have a 10 minute walk to school, we have a small garden, but it overlooks the park\rec (my son has ADHD so needs somewhere to runabout) and their friends are close by so it makes life easier.


2 of our children didn't have any apparent problems with the move but one was very unsettled for a few months before and after.

It would have been less stressful to move before the children where placed, but I am not sure we would have chosen a house that meets their needs as well as this one.


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That's such a good point! What we think our future hypothetical children might need may be the opposite of what we actually need. Smile


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And what you actually think you want might not be what you need in reality! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dtGBAYiZPqM


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Yes I think the ADHD park thing would be hard to predict - we live 2 mins walk from the local park which is also 2 mins walk from the primary school - so ideal for children to walk round and would always meet friends from school for a game of football ( without pre-arranging it) With the garden - pre children you are likely to think a big garden is a must too - they are better off playing football in the park if local enough to do so and safe to leave them as they ruin the garden with football


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Thanks Pluto, am at work so will watch the video later. You make a really good point though. I doubt very much the picture in our mind will be the same as what things look like for us in the future.


Sofia...that's another pro on the list for staying where we are then! We live in between two huge parks! Our garden is average size and nothing much grows due to being shaded unless it's early morning!


One of the big things DH has about how he wants to parent (pre-considering adoption too) is that he'll never ban ball games in the garden! His parents entered their garden into shows and as an only child he remembers trying to find a way to have fun alone in a garden full of prize winning flowers and plants he wasn't allowed to play near!


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Sorry...safia...autocorrect fail


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Ah - he may change his mind about that! especially if he's the only parent in the neighbourhood who allows ball games! But yes - I agree in principle with his priorities


Also that explains why so many people spell my user name incorrectly!


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Hahaha! I know! I think the parents we hope to be are probably miles apart from the reality!


It's been really useful to think about how we were parented in more depth recently. It's clear our parenting was poles apart and that we need to meet somewhere in the middle! My childhood was so child centred that it was a shock to the system to learn I wasn't the centre of the universe when I got older! His childhood was all about falling in line with the adults and fitting round their needs. Funny you should mention being the only house with ball games allowed! It was alway my house/garden the entire neighbourhood congregated in. I didn't realise my mum wasn't a child minder until I was about 8! (I went to one in the holidays from being very young so assumed that's why our house was so full of over kids! My mum was like the bloody pied piper!) Looking back it drove my poor dad nuts!


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