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How quickly should I return to work after adopting?

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Both my husband and I work very fulfilling jobs and get a lot from them. We are currently considering adoption but one of us will have to return to work very quickly and the other probably within 3-6 months. How realistic is this?


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3 users have supported this.

Not very realistic, do not underestimate how needy those special needs children are (all of them are special needs at least the first few years), not to compaire to mainstream children. I would think at least one of you needs to work part time for at least a couple of years. Ofcourse depending on age and problems the child has, many do not deal well with child minders, it took me 12 years to have a child free weekend, one to respite the other a weekend course, they're 11 and 17.


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3 users have supported this.

It’s not realistic and in reality you’re going to struggle to be matched - particularly if you also add that you intend to use breakfast and after school clubs. Yes, even if you intend to adopt a school age child!


Read the boards. Find out about the sort of additional needs many children in the care system will have. Read up on trauma, attachment, fasd etc etc.


So many adoptees - mine included - struggle with school, let alone after school and breakfast clubs. It’s entirely probable that one of you will be expected to take up to a year off. You say your partner wants to return ASAP? How soon and why wouldn’t he want to spend precious time getting to know his child?


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4 users have supported this.

My local LA requires minimum of 9 months adoption leave for main carer and minimum of 4 weeks for additional parent (2 weeks introductions and 2 weeks at home) for 4yo and under (except for very hard to place children). However, most adopters of the highly competitive under 2 age group with no diagnosed additional needs now seem to only be chosen if offer 1 year adoption leave and return to work part time or stay at home parent.

I still have not returned to work, 3.5 years in!

Best to call a few adoption agencies and see if any would take you on with limited adoption leave. You can then plan from that.

Good luck

G


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7 users have supported this.

In my experience, having options is key as you never know how things will pan out. My AD doesn't get on with after school club so I pulled her out and had to make up my work time elsewhere. I also didn't want to stick her in too many summer clubs (even though the summer holidays are soooo long!) as i) she was exhausted from school, ii) I wanted to spend time with her and iii) it's her holiday and a time to wind down and relax! Don't underestimate how exhausting hyper vigilant children find school. Have some Plan Bs and Cs just in case the child you're matched with can't cope with clubs etc. And in terms of taking time off - the more the better to establish a strong bond/attachment, particularly in older children who are likely to have experienced lots of change. I have a fulfilling job but parenting my daughter now definitely is my most fulfilling job!


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6 users have supported this.

If they the child is very young, you are competing with prospective adopters who are willing/ able to stay home. If the child is older, s/he needs every minute they can get with you. They - and you - need to catch up on the years without each other. Adopted children are much more needy than birth children. It is a different ball game.


One of my daughters was 6 when she was placed with us and who is doing very well socially and academically, has complained many times to me that she feels she doesn't have enough time with me. School days are long. She finds it comforting to know that I am at home, because she is so worried about loosing me. For the first couple of years she woke us up every night, because even a night was too long for her to be separated from us.


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3 users have supported this.

You need to show that you can manage as much of the care as a couple and not rely on outside care, one of you have at least 9 months preferably 1 year is best, as others have said our children are complicated, our daughter loves after school club where she is with other kids and toys plus she gets fed. Put her in one of the activity clubs and you are setting her up for a meltdown. She like school club on a Wednesday and a Friday as they have pizza on Wednesday and movies with popcorn and hotdogs on Friday.


Like many parents we juggle childcare and to say it’s an ongoing nightmare is an understatement, our daughter has some difficulties but she does not have severe problems so can cope.


As others have said plan for worse case and see how you can do, we decided on an older child as she would be at school so gave us some flexability for us both to work.


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5 users have supported this.

Our AD was 19 months at placement she's now almost 3. I am self employed and thought because I could go out to work in the evening and wknd when my partner is home I'd be able to go back after about 6/8 months. It didn't happen! AD has been home well over a year now and I've only just started working around 5hrs on a Saturday. She was classed as very easy to place with no serious issues but after about 2 months it was very clear that she had quite significant attachment issues. It's hard to understand the damage that can be done to a child so young until you live with it and experience it every day. Our AD struggled to bond with my partner. She would play with him and called him daddy but he couldn't bath her, put her to bed, get her up. Even as far as handing her food or drinks she couldn't cope with anyone doing that other than myself. Things are progressing now but I will not be able to work full time again for the foreseeable future. Some may have forced the issue and used the 2yr funding for a nursery placement to allow going back to work. But I could see daily how much she struggled without me and decided that it wasn't worth it. My biggest wish for her is that she grows up able to handle her emotions even though realistically I do believe she may always struggle with this.

I know all children are different and this may not be the case with a child you may adopt in the future but it's best to be prepared for worst case scenario because you will not know until you get to know your child.

We have a lot less money and in all honesty I've struggled with post adoption depression I think due to the difficulties and also being at home so much but things get better all the time. But all that aside our daughters well being and happiness comes 1st and I wouldn't change things for the world.

Good luck on your journey


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3 users have supported this.

Hi


My husband and I do both work full time; but I only returned to full time work last year and have a very flexible job that allows me to incorporate school activities, very supportive local grandparents and I can buy additional leave to reduce my hours during school holidays . DD now 10 was placed as a baby and I took fourteen months off and returned to work part time just before her second birthday. I very gradually increased my hours: DD has some additional needs but enjoys the afterschool club and has a very good and understanding child minder. You would ideally plan for one of you to have a year off and accept that person might not be able to work again full time. Someone else who used to post on these boards adopted the same time as me from the same LA. Their child, also placed at under a year, couldn't cope with child care and they had to totally rethink their work plans as their child needed one parent at home. You probably won't actually know what your child will able to cope with long term until after they are placed, especially if you adopt a very young child where all of their needs may not be known. I hadn't ever planned to work full time again; my work has essentially "evolved" as DD has got older and I have an supportive employer and flexible employer which has made this possible. Equally if DD needs more support in secondary school I accept I may need to change my working hours again. Good luck with whatever you decide.


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4 users have supported this.

I took 14 months off and then returned part-time (3 days one week, 2 days the next). On the days when I work my husband usually works from home but obviously cannot look after a boiterous 5 year old and a very clingy 7 year old and get any work done! So we have an after school nanny who picks the children up, brings them to our house and they have a drink and a snack and a play with daddy for half an hour before the nanny takes over and looks after them and cooks their tea, with daddy upstairs in the office who can deal with emergencies. Only sometimes is the nanny in sole charge but they are so used to her now that she generally has things under control. We had a one month handover period before I went back to work to make sure it was all ok.

My biggest fear in life is our nanny leaving- we struggled to find anyone who wanted such short hours (we pay her 3 days a week 3 til 7 but she usually leaves when I get in about 6ish- we just needed a safety net in case DH or I get caught up.) They occasionally have to go to breakfast club but to be honest they cope with that well and see it as a sepcial treat as they get to have waffles for breakfast and play on the school computers!

A childminder wouldn't have worked at all- they (especially DD) cannot relax in other houses- they even still struggle at my Mum's and they see her all the time. I have to stay at playdates (not that we have many) and limit them to an hour and a half otherwise things spiral out of control. We use a holiday club in school holidays but it is at the school and we limit it to 2 days a week 9-3, then the nanny and my mum do what my husband and I can't. It does mean we don't get much time off as a family of four- DH and I don't get masses of time off together as we need to 'cross-cover' each other.

I don't know any adoptive parents who can all work full time and use 'normal' childcare... I'm sure there must be some out there but I think you have to assume it won't work like you plan! I thought I would work more than I do, but it was obvious quite early on that we had to have a different plan, and this set up has worked for us for nearly 2 years now.


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3 users have supported this.

I think most people would consider 3 - 6 months very quick !


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I went back to work after six months, lasted about three months and left - and I was only doing 11 hours a week. Ours were school age when they arrived but they needed a lot of input, so it was pretty much impossible to do things like housework or shopping after school or at weekends. Adopted children generally have much higher levels of need than "average" kids due to genetic, in utero and early life difficulties.


DH did work full time but was very involved at the weekends and in the holidays he would take time off and we'd use holiday clubs. He also needed to use a few days leave for us to have some time alone without the kids....


When I was younger I was very career orientated (and did very well), but always said I wouldn't have kids (at the time birth kids) until I was prepared to compromise on my career - in my eyes parenting is the most important thing you can do and especially for adopted kids they need to come first. If you are not prepared for that, then maybe you are not ready to adopt just yet.


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3 users have supported this.

I'm afraid it doesn't sound very realistic. The reality is that even adopted children that are considered straightforward are totally different from birth children in their needs and you will probably find that you have to sacrifice a lot to give them what they need in order to heal emotionally. And please don't think that the younger the child, the fewer the problems - that's simply not true! Even the most 'straightforward' child will be in no way straightforward….


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I have just gone back to work after having a year off. My son was 10m when placed with me. I’m a single adopter so didn’t have a choice but have gone back part time. By the end of the 12m I was desperate to get back to work/ to have that routine again, to earn money, to have adult conversation and use my professional skills. It’s been brilliant and my little boy has coped really well with 3 days of nursery. However, I am so glad I took a year off- i feel like me and my son truly got to know each other and have built a strong attachment. I think you’d struggle to get approved if your intention is to only take a few months. What would be the reason for this? You’re legally entitled to take it? The child becomes your absolute priority (or at least should do!) that’s not to say you can’t have your life too, but their needs are top. They need yoU to help them overcome their experiences but also the massive move to a new home. It’s huge for them and they need their main carer around for as long and as much as possible.


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To be very honest, it's not just unrealistic, it's unfair I'm afraid.


Your child will need a stable, consistent and above all present main carer.


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4 users have supported this.

My husband and I both work full time but it's not easy! We have an 11 year old BD and a 3 year old AD. AD was placed at 14 months. In our LA they like the main carer to take the full year adoption leave and the second parent to take a minimum of four weeks (two weeks intro, two weeks at home). I negotiated my adoption leave to 10 months. I had 10 weeks of annual leave to take in 5 months so I used this to go part time when I first went back. I'm sure they only agreed to the reduced adoption leave because of this and the fact my LO was difficult to place!

What I would say about your job being fulfilling is that there will be nothing quite as fulfilling as being a parent. It becomes your whole life and social services will want to see that your priority will be the children. We are very lucky in that our jobs are flexible which mean that we do a lot of the childcare ourselves. Obv BD is at school full time. AD attends a small pre-school 3 days a week.

It's not just the day to day things you have to think about though and sometimes plans go by the wayside. It turns out our LO won't be able to attend the local school - it just won't meet her needs - and the school that will is a bit of a drive. I know this sounds minor but our children need picking up at the same time 30 mins away from each other.

I also never anticipated how many appts there would be. BD developed epilepsy during the adoption assessment and AD has suspected autism. BD has 3 consultants and AD has 8 professionals involved who all have seen her in the last year, usually more than once and sometimes weekly. Also has TAF meetings 6 weekly. Thankfully our employers are very understanding but I feel so cheeky as I am constantly asking for time off!

Another thing to mention is a lot of people who offered help when we told them of our intention to adopt are now not able to help. Not surprisingly, people are scared to look after a child who might have a seizure and stop breathing and our AD is very difficult to look after. So we are now down to just our mom's who help us. Neither of our dads can cope with AD for longer than a nip to the shop!! Even if there were more people to help, AD would not cope with it.

My husband and I never go out and I can't see that changing any time soon.

I think you just need to consider all the eventualities and how you would manage if they occurred. E.g. If you can't go back to work, if they have special needs. I would also take the full adoption leave if you can. These kids have had the worst start in life and their world is turned upside down when they are placed with us. The least we can give them is some time to settle before we rush back to work xxx


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5 users have supported this.

Something to possibly consider (bear in mind we haven’t started the process yet) is the fact that priorities will and do shift once AC come home. I love my job and DH hates his so if we’re lucky enough to be accepted the plan has always been that I’d go back to work and he will go part time/give up work. My thinking is starting to shift on this as I’m wondering if, with adopted children at home, I’ll be able to keep up the same level of momentum, energy and passion for my work? I’m also thinking about how exhausting we both find our jobs (neither work 9-5 and DH works at night through the winter) I’m changing my thinking to this being a complete life style overhaul rather than children being an ‘add on’ to fit in to our current life style. I guess this is something that probably gradually dawns on people with BC whereas with people who adopt their children have to plan and predict for every eventuality in advance!


Just food for thought for you really xx


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Nothing shorter than a year. Honestly it isn't easy. Our children are amazing. We went through a lovely honeymoon period of a few months, then the fan became terribly dirty. It was hell. All the awful behaviours you read about came out. They were aggressive, controlling, paranoid, disruptive, picky eaters and manipulative. That would have been around the time you were thinking of going back to work. Since then we've done a lot to calm them and now the outside eye wouldn't be able to tell the difference between our kids and 'normal' birth families. But it has taken a lot of energy and we have both shown signs of secondary trauma. Touch wood we are out of the woods for now, but who knows what delights puberty will bring.


Give yourself a year. It ain't a luxury, it's an absolute necessity.


Good luck xxxx


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Can I ask what age you are thinking of to start with?


I took 12 months off with my first, placed at 27 months old, then went back to work part time while he was at nursery/pre-school. TBH going back to work was like a holiday compared to the intensity of being home with my son as I couldn't go to the toilet without him even when hubby was home for over 2 years. Every time I left the room, even saying where I was going, caused a major tantrum, he was glued to me or so it felt. When he started school we started to see more issues, during infants he wasn't so well behaved and I did the walk of shame daily and then he turned into Mr Compliant at school and exploded at home. By then we also had a younger child, placed at 14 months, who suffered terribly separation anxiety from me. My son's trauma triggered with the arrival of his sister and it became very clear early on he should have been an only child. I had to give up work, I had appointments, meetings, phone calls, paperwork, emails etc to do daily and for over 18 months I had a meeting with a professional either with or without my son every day of the week. 6 years on I haven't yet been able to return to work and it is unlikely I will be able to while he remains at home. I was very career driven and loved my job and it is something I miss but the stress of my son's trauma and its affects on the rest of the family was/is too much. I now support my husband in his career which often involves going away to work, he couldn't do the job he does if I was working.


According to our therapist, the relationship I have with my son is down to the hours I put into playing with him in the first year of him being home, I literally sat on the floor and played for months, everything was focused around him, his needs, filling the gaps and building trust. Over 9 years in and he still struggles with trusting adults, his inner working model of the world and adults was so badly damaged as a baby, he has rejected his dad and finds his sibling a massive threat through nothing they have done other than existing and getting in his way of having all my attention.


You may wonder why I've told you this rather than just saying you need to take 12 months off...basically, you need to give yourself and your potential child the best chance at the very start by taking as much time off as possible but also remember that a lot of the real issues don't surface until children start school and then adolescence throws a whole new set of problems into the mix. There are many adopters that go through the earlier years quite happily and then BANG, all hell breaks loose at the start of secondary school onwards. The uncertainties are huge and so you have to be open minded and extremely flexible to adopt a child.


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4 users have supported this.

Hi Karate101. Everything above seems normal as an adoptive parent. I don't know any adoptive parents who both work full time (although some do exist). I struggle to do my part time (12 ish) hours a week, and keep the house, my husband, the kids and myself in order and relatively sane. There is just not enough time, and the only respite I get has to be during school time.


I just wanted to say that once you have kids, your perspective on work changes - I think that is the same whether you have birth or adopted children. Whatever you think now, children become the number one priority in your life, and what once seemed fulfilling will begin to get in the way. My job is has always been my vocation, and I'd happily give it up today if I could afford it.


As others have said, keep reading and learning about the needs and issues surrounding traumatised children.

Good luck x


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