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      26.07.2010 09:06
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      we need a new system in place

      In this throw-away society we live in today, where everything is classed as a disposable commodity, it is of little suprise to discover that this train of thought has now infiltrated the world of parenthood.

      Society has changed so much over the past few generations, from having the stigma of having children outside wedlock, to now children as young as 12-13 having their own children.

      I know of couples some who are unable to have children, and some who can who just want to give a child who needs one, a home. The adoption process however is so labourious. It is not a case of people needing an incentive to adopt, it is the actual process that puts people off. People who want to adopt have to literally jump through hoops. Now I fully understand that in this day and age there must be certain criteria prospective adoptive parents must meet, and checks, however I find it ludicrous that to actually ahve a child there is no requirement involved. Anyone of any state of mind or position can have a child and then expect someone else to pay for it, to look after it, even in this day and age the horrific stories of abuse that are constantly on the news in light of the baby P case are ever prevalent, yet a stable couple struggle to 'rescue' a child and give it a better home.

      In my opinion, the whole adoption process needs simplifying and something needs to be introduced to stop 'just anyone' having a child at the taxpayers expense because they cant be bothered to use contraception. With the benefits system the way it is, and so many going to women expecting who already have children, it is little wonder why so many young people have children for the sake of the benefits they can receive. Why should the tax payers pay for that?

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        31.03.2009 13:31
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        One of the best things anyone can do

        Hi

        When I was 8 some 31 years ago I was adopted by a couple unable to have children of their own. I was adopted along with my older bio brother. At that time for a couple to take on 2 boys so old was rare and indeed they used to attend meetings where they would share their experiences.

        In all that time, being adopted has never been a stigma to me. I am not ashamed, I am better off for it. I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had the undeniable love of two of the best people you could hope to know.

        Being so old when adopted meant that my parents didn't have to tell me or my brother we were adopted. We were there at court when it became real! My brother has issues re his birth mother, I don't exactly know or understand what they are, but for me I never ever wanted to meet either Bio Mum or Dad... Bio Mum broke all but a handful of bones in my body before I was 6 moths old so why would I want to meet her? According to my medical history... which reads like a horror story, I once had "injuries consistant with being thrown against an open door". The person who could do this isn't the sort of person I want anything to do with.

        So adoption, the process as an adoptee was fine. I lived in a childrens home, wasn't fostered, and knew nothing different so to go to a family (after asking every adult we ever saw to adopt us) was heaven. Own bedroom, toys, nothing done in groups of children, not having to have the mentality of looking out for oneself was liberating and I felt like I was "home" the day we finally left the childrens home with only a black dustbin liner of possessions.

        For my parents, it was a different matter. Two years of probing by social workers, doctors etc. Then they get 2 energetic boys with personalities of their own. One woman once asked my mum if she was ill as we quite frankly wore her out in a very short time! And this is where adoptive parents differ from bio parents. There is no 9 months waiting for baby to arrive. There is no child growing "into" a family, its there, walking, talking, wearing you out and with baggage from a previous life the new parents had no knowledge of or control over. Its this that makes adoptive parents special. Their willingness to share what they have with someone elses children and to love those children as their own.

        So here we are 30 years later. Had issues, like most adoptees, but I think they were minimal. I never rejected my parents, I wasnt an awkward child (who wants to be sent back???) and aside from a few learning issues \ settling in issues early on - new school, new family who wouldnt - things worked out well!

        After having one child of my own in my first marriage, my second wife and I are now in the long, intrusive and laborious process of adopting.

        We are different to most. We can have children, well I know I can and I know my wife can conceive. We just haven't tried together. First we want to adopt. It's my way of giving back and by no means do we not want our own child, we do, we are just going to adopt first - if we can. It's our choice and should the powers that be deem we can't we shall try for our own as we would have anyway. We just want to give back to society if we can

        We want a girl under five and that stems from my own experience and current situation. As we have a 9 year old boy, his feelings have to be catered for so to ensure he doesn't feel replaced (we have him at weekends). We are choosing a younger sister for him to be big brother to. He has one half brother, 1 very older step sister and 2 older step bros so a little sister will be different. In addition to that consideration, we would like a younger child because when I was adopted I was already me. My parents didn't really get to mould my personality... they say "give me the boy at 7 and I'll show you the man at 30". We want the 7 year old to have some of our influence.

        Off subject slightly but very relevant but being adopted is tough enough. To be adopted by a different race of family makes things even tougher. Other children can be and often are very cruel so I believe its correct to ensure adoptees are placed within their own ethnicity.

        I am now seeing adoption from the other side, I will post back with the outcome!

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          20.10.2008 14:14
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          .

          Little update - Thanks to those of you that have nominated this for a crown, you'r personal messages have been nice!

          Adoption, which way do you look at it? The mistake that is going to a better place? The mother who didn't realise motherhood was such a tough job and wants her old life back? The thought in the back of the mothers head for the rest of her life that she gave her creation away and the thought in the innocent child's head for the rest of their life that "what did I do wrong?" Yes, that child is me and that could be the thought in my head. This story may get confusing, but I will try my best to get it out.

          Way back in the late 1960's there was a married couple, Mr and Mrs Marshall. They wanted children but with every pregnancy followed a miscarriage. All they wanted was to be parents and give their children lot of love. Unfortunately this was not to be and the conclusion came that Mrs Marshall would never carry a child. Their long to have children never went away though and they decided they would adopt. They went through whatever process they had to do and at the end of it they went to the children's home in Edinburgh to get a child or children. They ended up picking 4 children to adopt, all of similar ages 8 years old and under, the youngest was 4 I think. 2 boys and 2 girls. They had been living in the home for a while now since their parents had gave them up. So they adopted them and became their carers.

          1 of those children was my mother.

          So the 4 children grew up. Mr and Mrs Marshall done a good job of bringing them up. Mrs Marshall was a total home maker, tea always on the table, bath times and bedtime stories and Mr Marshall worked hard to keep his now extended family so they could have the odd little holiday and the luxuries at Christmas.

          In 1979 all the children were all still living at home, but things with my mother Valerie was not going well with Mr and Mrs Marshall. Who really knows what was happening, I don't as I wasn't there and no one wants to talk about it. Anyway Valerie decided to leave home and get her own place. Then the rumours started - Valerie was pregnant at aged 19. Was it true? She said no, so they believed her. Although the weight was going onto her, she still denied it and then she disappeared for a bit.

          She was pregnant and I am that baby.

          Fast forward a couple of months and the Marshall's had tracked Valerie down and she admitted that she'd had a baby girl and her name was Leeanne. The Marshall's asked if she needed any help or needed them to baby sit some time to let her go out and so on, as this was potentially their grand daughter. Valerie said no and they left. Again the rumours started again that Valerie wasn't coping and she would palm Leeanne off to her neighbours to watch and sometimes Leeanne's babysitter was a Great Dane dog, while Valerie went out for a few hours. Again the Marshall's tried to offer help, but again it was refused.

          When I was 5 months old the Marshall's got a phone call from Valerie's neighbour that sometimes babysat. Valerie had offered them Leeanne to keep. The neighbours were roughly the same age as the Marshall's - early 40's and were happy to take care of the child, but thought if Valerie was going to do that, then it would be better if her grandparents were the ones to take care of me. So they went to Valerie's house and no answer, however they heard a baby inside the house, which was I. The neighbours had a spare key, so they opened the door and found me lying on the floor up against my babysitter - the Great Dane dog. So the Marshall's waited the few hours for Valerie to come home and find out what she was up to. She admitted that she would rather go out than have to deal with me and she was going to give me away, or do "something stupid" It was arranged that the Marshall's were going to take me and raise me as their own. However on any paperwork it was left that Valerie was my mother, so the Marshall's didn't really have any legal rights.

          Fast-forward to 1987 and I was a happy 7 year old. Lots of friends, lovely dog and a good mummy and daddy. Some nasty person at my school said that my mummy wasn't my mummy, so I come home and said was I was told at school. This was the time I was told I was a very special girl, I had been chosen and I had lots of love. I remember feeling hurt and unwanted, but things just muddled on. After all there was nothing I could do to change things and it sounded like I was in a whole better place.

          They usually say that children that go through adoption and so on maybe tend to rebel or that but I don't think I was that bad. I started to have a few ciders at weekend with my friends at aged 16 ½, but I think that's the norm anyway and I was no different. Unfortunately I made a few mistakes where boys went. I was sometimes looking for love, as I felt a bit unwanted and boys were happy to be nice to me, but this didn't last forever. I met my now husband in 1997 so I've put the past behind me in regards to the others.

          In 2005 I got word saying that my sister had been looking for me. It turns out that after giving me away Valerie has given her next child away. My sister was born 14 months after me, so chances are Valerie was pregnant with my sister as she was getting rid of me. As soon as she had my sister I think she gave her straight up for adoption and she was placed with a family. So she was done by the official way. It turns out the Marshall's already heard that Valerie was pregnant again and offered to take my sister in and raise us both tother, but again Valerie denied it and adopted my sister out before the Marshall's knew. I now work in the same place my sister works and although it is a large place and she is on a different shift to me we bump into each other now and again. We went out for a meal together with our husbands, and it's not that I dislike her, but I'm used to being alone in this world with no known relative that I am not sure how to handle the situation. It's now been over 3 years and we've not bonded at all. I should want to I guess, but it's a lot to take.

          The problems I face is that when I'm asked if any of my family have any heath problems and so on I can never answer, as I will never know. Also when I got married I was told I had to put my parents details on the marriage certificate. I said that they weren't my parents and the Marshall's were. I was given an address to write to and state why I wanted the Marshall's on it, as they had never legally adopted me and was told the department of births marriages and deaths would make the decision and their say was final. I promptly got a letter back from them to say they accepted my point and I was free to state the Marshall's could go on the certificate as carers. After all I didn't want such an important document with the names of people I hated on it?

          It turns out that Valerie gave away my sister and myself and went on to have another 5 children, who she kept. Myself and my sister think we have the same dad, as we both used to have a slight turn in our left eye, that as corrected by glasses and that was from our dad's side, but we don't know any of the history.
          So is adoption bad? I've had a good enough life so far. My job is good and it pays well. I have a great, supportive husband, my "family" is normal, in short life is good and I may not have had any of that if I had stayed where I was. It's hard to think what if, as I may have landed a better job and so on, but life is alright how it is just now, so maybe I was saved. I do get down sometimes though and wish I knew at least 1 blood relative (not counting my sister). I often feel I am so alone in the world and unfortunaly it is up to my husband to hold me sometimes and let me get some tears out.

          I can't change the past; all I can do is work on the future.

          Thanks for the read/rate and thanks for sparing the time to read about my life.

          God bless

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            04.07.2008 18:52
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            Adoption- a socially much neglected, and yet honorable choice

            Adoption is a strange process these days. Apart from the odd rich and famous couple 'rescuing' the worlds underprivaledged babies, and raising them in bizare opulance (talk about a culture shock!, adoption doesnt seem to be a fashionable option for the average man. Is it because IVF has promised many previously 'infertile' couples the answer to their procreational prayers, and now other peoples babies just arent good enough for them? I tend to see people who adopt now as virtual saints, because despite the options open to them (fostering, IVF, surrogacy), they are making a permanent commitment to kiddies who were rejected for some reason or other.


            Adoption is a tough option, I think. With fostering, you are funded by the state to care for children in your own home. Some people make virtual careers of fostering endless streams of kids, and do quite well out of it financially (Im not denegrating their work though, Im sure many do an excellent job keeping kids out of the institutionalised care system). Adoption is just a different level of commitment- you are in effect the childs parent, and you take sole responsibility for that infant as a natural birth parent might.


            I actually believe that whilst handing your baby over to adoption agencies was seen, in the past, as an honorable, if not inevitable decision for some people, it is now frowned upon. I would think that you would have to suffer some stigma for such an action- its mad to think that a woman choosing life for her child, but handing it over for adoption might be seen as callous, and yet women who abort their babies are pretty much seen as the norm, and accepted now. A weird world we live in. I think although it would tear me apart to be seperated from my baby, I think Id rather endure that pain than abort it. Someone who opts to have a baby adopted out knows that one day their actions might return to haunt them, and an adult may appear on their doorstep demanding an explanation. Maybe this is why abortion is preferable to some people, in some cases- the memory of carrying a baby will linger, but no real, tangiable life will want validation or acknowledgement in the years to come.


            There is one thing about the adoption debate that continues to annoy me- the race issue. The idea that ethnic minorities are the only ones who can legitimately raise ethnic children. Im sorry, but this kind of thinking beggers belief really. Kiddies need love, to be brought up in a household where they are adored, cherished, and valued for who they are as a person. An afro-carribean baby may well benefit from some insight into their cultural heritage, and wherever possible the adoptive parents should educate the child in this. However, for people to suggest that white parents cant understand what its like being a black person in todays society is a meaningless statement- of course white people wouldnt, but they do know what it is to be ostracised by ignorant people in society. We all do to some extent, and its a learning curve that all humans go through irrespective of colour, race, creed, or religious faith. What makes me question such peoples logic is would they therefore condemn a white woman who marries a black guy and has a half caste baby? If the guy leaves the family home, does it mean the woman cant raise her coloured baby? Hmmmmm, dont even go there, because if you follow that logic through to its conclusion, such people are seriously suggesting that a mother cant love and care for her own baby if it doesnt share the same skin colour as her. Comments like this do not help society, and only perpetuate a divide that ethnic minorities quite rightly fight against anyway.


            I accept that maybe Im being controversial here, but Ive never understood the race issue. Colour of skin just doesnt mean anything to me- it seems ludicrous to me that something so irrelevant as skin tone rules us as people so much. Babies need love, and anyone who can show them that in a stable and happy home gets my vote!

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              11.09.2007 18:44
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              Adoption should not be forced on anyone

              I have not heard of anyone in Britain offering their baby for adoption for decades. This must be because it is now acceptable for an ummarried girl to keep her baby. I have heard of British couples adopting babies from abroad because apparently there are very few babies for adoption here. Older children yes, but not babies.

              But what of this scenario? What would you advise? This is something which I have been asked my opinion on by friends of a pregnant girl.

              The young girl who is pregnant is from a country where having a child out of wedlock is totally unacceptable. Not only that, but they are also very racist. The girl is black, her boyfriend (who has now deserted her, surprise, surprise!) is white, so the baby will be mixed race. She is so worried that the baby will be much paler than she is when it is born and everyone will realise its parentage.

              I must admit I was quite shocked when I heard about this narrow minded thinking. Perhaps it is because I remember 30 or so years ago when a pregnant girl was either rushed to the altar or was forced to have her baby adopted. And if the child was mixed race (or half caste as it was called then) that was even worse. So, yes, it came as a big shock to learn that there are still countries in the world who have these attitudes even now.

              Anyway, back to the girl. Her baby is due in January, she is so confused and having the child adopted had never occurred to her, but now she is being pressurised by her peers that this is the best option.

              When she first realised she was pregnant and told her boyfriend, he made it known he was not interested and persuaded her to have an abortion. She couldn't go through with it, this was against her beliefs. Now, as the pregnancy has progressed, she has come to love her unborn child, even though the boyfriend has disappeared from their lives.

              Being from overseas the girl is here studying and not eligible for state support for her baby. She has to finish her studies or pay back her fees. How on earth is she going to manage? That is what her friends are asking. Most of them are students too, so they are not able to help financially, but they are giving her lots of moral support.

              My first concern when I heard was whether the girl had been receiving proper ante natal care, which thankfully she has taken seriously. But what about the birth and caring for a new baby? None of her friends have had this experience so they cannot advise her.

              Returning to her own country is not an option at the moment as she is too scared to tell her parents about her pregnancy. But someday she will have to return, possibly with a baby. She could tell them she had got married in England and the father has died or divorced her, one friend suggested. But others seem to think she should have the baby adopted.

              This is a girl who has come to love her child even before it is born. She would make a wonderful mother, but people in her own country would ostracise her if she keeps the child. But how would she cope with having the child adopted?

              How does anyone cope with making such a decision? It is breaking my heart thinking about it. There must be an alternative surely? But then I remember how things were here in the sixties when an unmarried friend of my sister's was expecting a baby. Hushed whispers from shocked neighbours condemned her. The father was married already which made it even worse as he couldn't be forced into marrying her and when she announced she was keeping her baby, people were astounded.

              Then of course when the baby arrived, everyone admired it, babies always win people over. They also praised the mother for coping so well on her own. Nowadays it is acceptable in Britain for unmarried mums to keep their babies, so acceptable that it is almost an epidemic.

              Ah, but these are single mums who get help from the state or who have jobs they can return to when the baby has arrived, taking maternity leave. Yes, of course, it is a struggle financially but they have some income. Not so with the young girl I am concerned about. From what I understand from her friends, she will not be able to receive any kind of benefits and as she is a student she can only work part-time. Then there is the question of childcare and the cost of all those things that babies need. If she can continue with her studies, when she qualifies she will be able to make a good career in a well paid profession and able to support her child. But that is in the future, what happens in the interim?

              The baby items are being donated by well meaning relatives of her friends, or bought secondhand, so she will at least have the essentials. I feel sure there will be creche facilities at college, but how is she going to feed and clothe a growing child with hardly any income?

              However, let me return to my original problem - would it be best if she had the baby adopted? I truly believe that we can only present her with the pros and cons on both her options, but I know it will be heartbreaking for her if she has to give up her baby just because her own country has such outdated views.

              We may condemn single parents in this country for having so many children, but anyone is entitled to one mistake (contraception is not 100%). Surely a mother should not be ostracised because she keeps her baby? Nor should she be made to part with her child and then spend the rest of her life thinking about it.

              In years to come both mother and child will probably wonder about each other, as we know happens in cases where they trace each other. A friend of mine had her baby adopted in the sixties, none of us knew she had even had this child until he traced her a few years ago. She told us her parents had ushered off to a home for unmarried mothers and when her son was six weeks’ old she had to hand him over for adoption. No choice, no counselling, nothing. She had brought disgrace on her family and nobody mentioned it afterwards.

              Is this what must happen to the girl my friend knows? I sincerely hope not, but the decision must be hers at the end of the day. I only hope someone can advise her properly on making this decision.

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                21.04.2007 15:31
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                Adopted vs blood - what's the difference

                Last night I was reading the paper in which an editorial article had been written about a woman who found her birth mother at the age of 55. The article itself is not relevant in this instance, but the paper's introduction to the story is. In the opening paragraph the journalist refers to "the first time she met her real mother."

                This isn't the first time I have heard or read about biological parents being referred to as the "real" parents and unfortunately I am fairly certain it won't be the last. Celebrities and their children will forever be reading articles about themselves where the distinction between the families' natural children and their "adopted" children will be made repeatedly. Think Angelina Jolie, Calista Flockhart, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise and their children to mention just a few. Each time adopted children are referred to as such or compared against "natural "members of the family we are setting these kids apart from what is perceived as normal society. It suggests that these children can't possibly be loved or accepted in the same way as natural children. It paints a picture of victims who should be pitied and I for one as an "adopted child" have never felt like a victim.

                I was adopted, at a young age to a fantastic family. My parents, who couldn't have children themselves have given me all the opportunities any child deserves and I am thankful for them every day.

                When I woke in the night crying as a baby, my "Adoptive" mum and dad comforted me. When I needed stitches in my leg when I was 6, my "adoptive mum" fought back her tears and the urge to run away as I screamed in pain and stood by my side holding my hand. On my birthdays my "adoptive parents" went to great lengths to throw me fantastic parties with homemade cakes and hand sewn loot bags. When I struggled with maths in school, my "adoptive parents" sat up tutoring me for hours at night without judging me. When I decided to move to Britain at the ridiculous age of 18, my "adoptive dad" took me shopping to make sure I was properly prepared and spoke to me in his wonderfully understanding tone giving me advice and telling me how much he loved me. I return home each year to my "adoptive parents", now bringing my own children with me, and I am at home - with my family - my parents - my REAL PARENTS.

                I am, by all accounts, one of the lucky ones. I have an incredibly open family and I have always known I was adopted. People can't believe I don't remember being told, but all I can remember is knowing that I was special because my parents chose me. I was never sat down and told this serious piece of news - I just always knew. I once read a quote in a book which I thought was perfect. When asked about her childs' adoption a mother responded "you grew in my heart instead of my tummy

                It was 6:30 in the morning although I couldn't tell you the day or even the month for that matter when I got a call from a woman with a strong Canadian accent asking if I was Alison. I could hear her voice shaking as she spoke. I must have sounded quite rude to her as I was on my way out the door to begin my 2.5 hours journey to work and was totally ticked to be bothered at such a ridiculous time (I don't do mornings well). I forgot all about work once she told me her name and explained she was my birth mother.

                There are so many misconceptions about how you are supposed to feel when reunited with your birth parents, but each child and parent deals with it in an individual way. For me, I didn't feel much of anything - just numb. Although I had always held her in high regard for taking the brave steps necessary to ensure I had the best start in life possible, I never really gave my birth mother too much thought - She may have crossed my mind occasionally on my birthday and obviously after the birth of my own children. I was perfectly happy with my REAL parents and unlike some, I never felt anything was lacking from my life.

                We have never had the teary reunion TV specials are made of and if I am honest, I don't want to. I am glad to have contact with her but my life is full of people who I love and who love me, including beautiful, kind and tender parents. I am not looking for another one.

                I was of course intrigued to learn about a side of me I hadn't known anything about. I was most curious to find out about brothers and sisters I had floating around. My birth mother, a confirmed lesbian (was my birth that bad??) had not had any other children and my birth father who she won't speak about had three. He didn't know about me then and still doesn't. If I am honest, once I discovered there weren't any siblings I could form any relationship with, I lost interest. We never spoke again although we write and email each other every couple of weeks. It is a struggle really to fill a page when I write because despite our blood connection we have little in common, in fact, I am not sure I would even like her very much if it weren't for a sense of responsibility I can't seem shake.

                When I heard from her that morning at 6:30, my first instinct was to call my mum and tell her. My REAL parents have always been supportive and encouraging and I felt after 23 years of being there for me they had more than earned the right to be included. More to the point I couldn't think of anyone else I wanted to share my news and talk about it with. My parents took it in their stride. I am sure it brought up insecurities and concerns but as they have done all my life, they put that aside to support me. I think they have appreciated my involving them and I hope it has gone some way to reassuring them of their position in my life.

                I have always been perfectly comfortable with being adopted and as such have been open with people around me about it. I get such a kick out of watching people's faces when I mention my adoption. It is hard for me to understand why something that is 100% normal to me can be so odd to others, but sure enough, as soon as they hear the word adopted, there is an awkward silence and their faces freeze. You can see their minds rattling with a million questions they want to ask, which I am happy to answer. Inevitably, they always start by asking if I want to meet my "REAL" parents.

                I accept this with good humour as I can appreciate people can be naïve when presented with subjects they know nothing or little about. Journalists and news broadcasters however cannot be let off so easily. In a position of supposed impartiality and responsibility it is imperitive that they take more care.

                Although I have been lucky and am confident in who I am, there is a stigma attached to being adopted. These journalists are being irresponsible in encouraging the stigma to be considered acceptable. Adopted children deserve the right to be a part of the family and shouldn't have to justify their position. There is no shame in being adopted. Labelling children in any way is a dangerous and hurtful game to play which can lead to feelings of isolation and low confidence, not to mention bullying and teasing. Surely in this day in age, with families now being so diverse and so far removed from the traditional nuclear family we once knew, the media should know better to be more sensitive and thoughtful in their approach.

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                  08.01.2007 04:37
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                  my story of adoption

                  When I was 18 I became pregnant. I didn't feel ready to be a mum, didn't feel I could go through with an abortion, and having separated from the father a few weeks before, felt very alone and scared for the future. My Mum and Step Dad sat me down a few days later and told me how much they loved me. They said that they had been thinking of a way that would allow me to have a life, and offer stability to my unborn child.

                  (My life before this moment, had been a very up and down one. I became a carer at a very young age helping my Mum (then single) raise my brother who has Cerebral Palsy. From that point I became older than my years - protecting him from others taunts, helping him learn to walk, talk etc. We were both also abused sexually, mentally and physically by our natural father which definately had an impact on my whole childhood and adolescence).

                  My Mum and Step Dad asked me how I would feel if they adopted my baby - allowing me to have as much involvement as I wanted - but without the responsibility.

                  I thought long and hard about it. Would I still be able to push her in her pram? Could I feed her? We talked lots about it - and although it is hard to put into words, it just felt right.

                  The final decision was always left open until my baby was born.

                  While pregnant, my Mum and I went to social services to find out what the process was - to allow my parents to adopt my child. This was not a pleasant experience. To cut a long story short, it was a fight. It was a fight to convince these people of what I wanted. At one point a social worker knocked my door. My natural father had heard of what we were trying to do and expressed his interest in adopting my unborn baby, the social worker told me that as my father was in a 'better financial situation', he would have a better chance of adopting.

                  Molly was eventually born, and eventually adopted by my Mum and Step Dad. She is now nearly 13. Every year she gives me a birth mother card, has known since day one that she came from my tummy but that I loved her so much I gave her a Mum and a Dad.

                  I understand that Social Services had a job to make sure I knew what I wanted, but at the end of the day I knew I wasn't ready and it was a fight to get them to listen to me. It was a massive decision (not taken lightly) that would have an impact on the rest of both our lives.

                  My reason for writing this is I feel there is too much judgement and criteria on adoption. Money being one of the criteria that is attractive. My parents didn't have much - but they had love - it was good enough for me. And to consider a man who had abused me - because he had money, didn't smoke, wasn't overweight - I feel is disgusting.

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                    14.12.2006 12:57
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                    Difficult Christmas memory on our story of adoption.

                    Where to begin --- hmmmm, I am not sure so I will just write what comes to mind and hopefully it will help. This is really the first time I think I have ever put some of these feelings down in print even though it happened some time ago now. Sorry in advance that this might be a big long!!

                    First, my wife and I are both from big families and so when we married we decided right from the beginning that we wanted a big family as well and settled on the number 5!! About 3 months after we married, my wife became pregnant with our first but about 4 1/2 months into the pregnancy began to develop some problems. One night we thought she was or had lost the baby so we went to the doctor for tests, etc. We were surprised to find out later after all was said and done that our first was actually a twin and somehow my wife's body had rejected the other little one for whatever reason. The doctor said it was a rare thing to happen, but we were still thankful that we still had one of the babies AND he has just turned 16 (WOW -- do I feel old -- in fact, that is almost enough to get me upset -- LOL)

                    Since then we had 2 more boys and all three have been a huge help and a blessing in our family. We have great times together and I ONLY wish they wouldn't grow up SO FAST!! So, by our reckoning that made 4 and still no little girl in sight. Problems with the last child meant no more children naturally so we finally came to the conclusion adoption would be our route.

                    We have some very good friends who have adopted several siblings, but we were happy if we could just get one little girl and so began the process of getting mountains of paperwork done, screening processes, social worker visits, etc. During this time, we were working in conjunction with an adoption agency in the USA (which shall remain nameless).

                    Before long, we had been given some profiles to look at and promptly fell in love with a young girl who while she was about 8 or 9 was really about the size of 4 or 5 year old. She was from Russia and had health problems that would take alot for her and us to overcome. We were confident that we would be able to move forward after much discussion with others and alot of good and wise counsel.

                    We signed the papers stating and began calling "Lydia" our daughter. Looking on the internet, we began looking for plane tickets and just waited for the day that we would finally be able to go over and hold her in our arms and bring her to be a part of our forever family!!

                    The appropriate out-of-country fees were paid, etc.. We received photos, videos, and little mementoes that we put together for the day when we could take trips down memory lanes with our daughter once she was old enough to fully understand all that had transpired. As "Lydia" was from Russia, I felt that I needed to learn more than the small amount of Russian that I already knew and hired a university tutor and began cramming my head full of Russian verbs and vocabulary!!!

                    Then the week of Christmas 2003, we received a phone call while we were out that said that unfortunately the adoption agency had decided to let another family adopt our soon-to-be-home daughter "Lydia"! We tried calling them back, but by the time we came home it was too late they were gone for the weekend. My wife was almost inconsolable and I was not far off myself. Life seemed to be crashing around us and I wondered how to tell friends and family about what had happened.

                    Well, Monday came around and we were finally able to get ahold of the director. Over the weekend, they had made the decision to leave things as they were and our emotions took another rollercoaster ride. Being quite upset, I wondered whether threatening some sort of legal action might give them a wakeup call. I opted not to do so and hung the phone up with the confidence that "Lydia" was still coming to be our daughter!

                    1 week later to the day, we received an email this time saying that a friend of the director was going on a trip to Russia again and adopting a friend of "Lydia's" and that she would bring back additional information for us along with photos and another video. Sadly, the trip was more than that -- it was for the purpose of adopting both "Lydia" and her friend!! The greed of a larger fee and a few other aspects from a USA couple robbed us of a little one. It took another couple of weeks though to find out what really was going on and by now our emotions were a wreck.

                    By contract papers signed and money paid, "Lydia" was ours and it was only due to the dishonesty of the agency that we have never been able to hold her and care for her. I still have her file and pictures that I have looked at more times than I can remember.

                    There are some good memories but also painful memories that always seem to be resurrected at the Christmas season. As it has done for the last three years, we will remember our fifth child, a beautiful blonde girl who went to the wrong home all because of greed and dishonesty. One day we may still be able to go through the entire process of adopting again and bring a daughter home, but "Lydia" will always hold a special place in our hearts! I hope that she is being well cared for no matter where she may be and that she is happy for we would wish for nothing less for her.

                    To the memory of a special little girl --- Thanks for reading and may each be blessed with a wonderful Christmas!

                    One day maybe, we will be able to go through the process again and provide a forever home to a little girl.

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                      19.04.2006 13:50
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                      a different adoption story to the norm, look forward to hearing your comments x

                      I have decided to write this review, because I have a very different adoption story, a lot of other reviews seem to have implied that an advantage to adoption is to give a child a loving home who does not already have one. This is where my story is completely different, I was already born into a loving home, but then got taken into another loving home.

                      I was born in Thailand to my now legal Aunt and as a child I suffered a severe fit. In Thailand in 1984 the country was a very different place to the one it is now, medicine was no where as good as it is now. I was taken by my family to an old lady in the village who was a "witch doctor", who eventually cured me, and claimed that the reason that I suffered from a fit was because I was born to the wrong family. I was destined to live a "better" life than the one I was born into, if I was placed with a "better" family then I would no longer suffer from fits.

                      Because of the Thai culture and belief system and lack of real medical knowledge, my birth mother decided that this was indeed the best thing for me. By coincidence, my birth Aunt was looking to adopt a child as she could not have any children of her own, my, now, mother was by Thai standards living a privileged life, she was married to a westerner and living in Hong Kong working for the Thai Consulate, so I was given up to my Aunt when I was a couple of months old, and off I went to live in Hong Kong.

                      A year or two later our family decided to move to the Philippines and my younger sister arrived, she has a completely different story to mine. We adopted her from a local orphanage and my sister and I have always been under the impression that we do not know who her birth mother is, but I recently overheard my Dad and his friend talking in the pub and have discovered that my Dad had tried to find my sister's birth mother after they adopted her and surprisingly enough managed to track her down and unfortunately she wanted nothing to do with her. I have not told my sister this and I never will, as it is a cruel thing to know that your birth mother wants nothing to do with the child she has given birth to, luckily it seems that my sister has no intention of finding out where she came from as she is happy with the family that she has now.

                      I regularly saw my real parents when I was a kid, we used to visit home every school holiday, so three times a year, and I guess that my situation is a little strange as I still have the same biological Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts on my Moms side of the family that I started out with. My parents never tried to conceal the fact that both my sister and I were adopted and we were told as soon as we were old enough to understand, but for some reason we never told people around us.

                      I remember once telling a friend when I was younger and they obviously told their parents, and it came up in conversation with my parents, and I remember that my mother was livid with me for telling, but I had never seen it as a secret, it was just something that never came up in conversation. I think that it was more for my mother's sake, I guess she wanted everyone to think that we were her children and that she had given birth to us, I guess not being able to have children as a women is really hard to deal with psychologically, I suspect that she probably felt as though she was a bit of a failure as a women as she had been unable to conceive and give birth to children of her own.

                      As I have grown up I have always been really open about the fact that I am adopted from my Aunt and don't find it difficult to talk about, I feel that it has made me who I am today and that I really appreciate everything that I have got, as I have been really lucky and have always been given everything that I have ever wanted and have been blessed with the freedom of a western society to become who I want to be and do what I want to do without having to answer to anyone but myself.

                      My birth mother has had two more girls with my birth father, so I have 2 sisters who are completely related to me by blood, and I really do feel like they are my real sisters and not just cousins, I worry for them when things are not going well, unfortunately we do not keep in touch much, as I can not read or write Thai and they can not really read or write english, but things are sent between us, such as small gifts, paintings they have done for me etc.

                      As I have gotten older, I have found it more and more difficult to go home and see my real family, ever since I can remember my birth mother has always been really emotional when she has seen me, which is understandable, her first born child has grown and she missed most of it, when I was younger this didn't effect me as much, but I guess as I can understand the situation more and more it has become more and more emotional for me. I could never imagine giving up a child, even to my sister.

                      The last time that I went to Thailand was this time last year, when my sister was married in an arranged marriage to someone she didn't even like. It was the most emotionally draining thing I have ever done, as I feel like it should have been me there and not her, and I should have been there to stop it from happening to her, I know that she is miserable and has never even slept in the same bed as her husband and she refuses to leave the family home and go to live with her new husband. I feel that if I had not left Thailand then maybe she would not have had to put up with all of this. Thai culture is very different to western culture, and you are expected to respect the wishes of your family and just do as you are told, you would never dream of standing up to your parents and telling them that you did not want to do something.

                      I am thinking about going back to Thailand again soon to see my family, I want to take my boyfriend out to meet my birth family. Although I do not see them or communicate with them, I still want them to be part of my life, and they are, and I know that they love me as much as my adopted family do, the only reason for the lack of communication is the language barrier, I can speak the language, but can not read or write so letters are out of the question.

                      My sister on the other hand does not speak about her adoption, I am not sure if she has ever told anyone. I am lucky as I look so much like my adopted mother, as we are so closely related, so people are never really curious, but my little sister looks nothing like us and people are always confused at how we are related, which she must find difficult at times, but she never really lets it bother her. I have noticed though that she is a lot more sensitive to racial comments than I am, and when people ask where she is from, she always says that she is Thai and not Phillipina, which tends to create even more confusion in cases where people are more familiar with Asian features, and can tell if you are Thai, Malaysian, Chinese or whatever. I think this might be because she herself doesn't know what she is, and unfortunately this is not a subject we ever speak about so I can not give you any of her views.

                      I hope that you have enjoyed reading my story and that not all children that are adopted are unwanted, sometimes they are really wanted, but for reasons of religion and culture they are given up - which is the hardest thing a mother will probably ever have to do, see her child happy, and know that it is not with her and that she is missing massive, important chunks of her child's life - I look forward to hearing any comments.

                      Oh, I almost forgot - I have since found out that approximately 1:3 infants suffer an unexplained fit before the age of one.

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                        13.04.2006 11:05
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                        A very happy experience

                        This will not be a review giving details of how to go about adoption or any of the technical details. This is a personal story of adoption and how wonderful it can be.

                        I was born to a mother who, for some reason which I haven't been told about, could not cope with a child at that time. I have no resentment towards her, in fact I am grateful that she found it within herself to give me the chance of a better life.

                        My parents had had a baby that died and could have no more children. They were desperate to adopt and when they got the call that there was a little girl for them they were overjoyed. Ten days after my birth I was taken from my natural mother and placed with my parents. I really don't think that I could have had a better life than the one my Mum and Dad have given me and I am so grateful to them for taking me.

                        Being told that I was adopted was not something that was sprung on me, I was always aware. One day when I was about 3 I was watching TV with my Dad. We were watching a programme about animals and there was a foal whose mother had rejected it so it had been passed on to a surrogate mother. While watching my Dad said to me that this had happened to me, I had been passed onto another mother, who loved me very much. At the time I doubt I really took in the meaning of what he was saying, but other than this time I don't ever remember having to be told that I was adopted, I just knew. Knowing that I was adopted never bothered me, in fact I was quite open about it. I used to tell people in school and the teachers would always look a bit surprised that I was so open about it! If people ask me about my family history then its usually one of the first things that I tell them.

                        I've never had any wish to contact my birth mother. I know where I was born and I know her name but that is enough for me. My parents have given me everything that I need and all the love that I could ever want. I am so happy with the family which I've got that I don't feel the need to go searching for another one. I think there is also the fear that my birth mother will not want any contact with me after such a long time.

                        Other people close to me have experience of adoption as well, with good points and bad points. One person I know was not told that they were adopted until after their adoptive mother died, when her father told her by mistake. This is obviously completely the wrong way to handle it. Always tell the child that they were adopted, that they were special because you chose them, because they will find out and they will always resent you more for not telling them. I know another person who found his birth parents. His adoptive mother had died and so he decided to find his natural parents. He was lucky. His birth parents were overjoyed that he had contacted them and now he feels like he has two families. He is now as much a part of the birth family as those who were not adopted out. However, this case is unusual I think. For the most part contact with your birth family is awkward. Those who have given up children often go on to get married and have other children and don't really want there lives disturbed.

                        These days it is harder to adopt because there is not so much stigma attached to being a single mother or teenage mother. People who adopt generally adopt older children who have been permanently removed from their parents. Older children are more difficult to handle, but I believe it can be just as rewarding to take on an older child as it is to take on a baby.

                        As for my parents, they are so glad that they adopted. They have found it very rewarding. Without the adoption process they would have remained childless and this would have been a tragedy as they have so much love to give. I cannot say what would have happened to me had my natural mother kept me but I really don't think that my life could have been any better than it is.

                        If you're thinking about adoption there are a few points to remember. It can be very rewarding but it can also be very challenging. There is always the chance that the child will use the adoption against me (something along the lines of 'you can't tell me what to do, you're not my real parents'). I've never said anything like this but I can imagine how hurt my parents would have been had I said anything like it. Adopting older children can be much more difficult as they have been aware of different situations and will find it harder to adapt. Always tell the child that they have been adopted becuase it is much harder to explain it to a 16 year old than a 3 year old. Try and be understanding that some children may be curious about where they came from. My father has always said that if I ever wanted to find my birth mother he would help me. I think that children are far less likely to reject you if you are understanding about this, rather than trying to stop them finding their family. Children are not allowed to contact their birth parents until they are 18, so they will be old enough to make an informed decision.

                        Overall, I think that adoption is necessary and worthwhile. There are some stories of bad experiences but in general people adopt because they are desperate for children. These people have so much love to give to a child, they just need a chance. I think that there is far too much red tape for people wanting to adopt, with some waiting 2 or 3 years, but I understand the need for checks. My own experience of adoption is nothing but a happy one. I am proud of the fact that I'm adopted and this is important, children should not be made to feel that's its something they should keep secret. I love my parents and could not imagine better ones.

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                          09.03.2006 20:54
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                          Adoption is not a product. You can not rate it.

                          I'm 28 years old now. I was adopted when I was 8 months old. Here is a story about two of the most wonderful people in the world. My Parents.

                          Imagine that you are a 14 year old girl who's pregnant. Scared to death of raising a child all by yourself. Imagine the day that you bring that child into the world. Every mother expects their child to be perfect in everyway. Imagine how you feel when your child isn't. Imagine that there is a list of things wrong. Your child has a cleft lip and palate that is one of the worst they've ever seen. Your child was born 6 weeks premature and weighs less than a bag of sugar. Imagine them telling you that this child will probably die.

                          So at 14 years old you do what you think is best. You have them adopted.

                          The adoptive agency held little hope that this child would live, not to mention actually find a home. There are few people out there who would take this child.


                          Then a couple who had already adopted one child, a little boy, recieved a phone call from the agency telling them that they had a little girl recently given up for adoption. They were told all about her.

                          This couple walked into the hospital where she was kept took one look at her, and all they could see was a pair of big blue eyes looking back at them. They vowed that that would take her home and care for her. With no thought to how hard it would be for themselves.

                          Those two people are my parents and I am that little girl. My parents went through everything with me. Operations, speech therapy.
                          I learn't to talk, my cleft was so bad they told my parents I would never do it. My parents never left me with out anything. They fought long and hard for the best treatment. Often enduring countless critisisms from Doctors and Nurses. They taught me to stand up for myself and were responsible for my passion and confidence in life.

                          When I was 15 and my brother was 17 years old our family was hit hard again.

                          My brother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia.

                          My parents were devestated. I remember that time as if it were yesterday. Now the tables were turned. Instead of spending all their time in hospital with me. Now they were standing by my brother. Fighting for treatment, making sure he was looked after. For 7 years they fought the battle along with him. Eventually he found medication that suited him and began to lead as normal a life as he can.

                          Perhaps the story of my life is not the best advert for adopting a child. What are the chances of adopting a child who has a severe congential defect and another who goes on to develop severe mental problems?

                          But what would have been mine and my brothers chances with out it?

                          It was never hidden from us that we were both adopted. We always knew. Our parents told us that we were special. I know that some people disagree with telling adoptive children that. But why not?
                          Every child born into a family is special, and even more so when that family never imagined that they would hear children playing in the garden, or hear someone call them Mummy or Daddy.
                          Adoptive parents are special also, and people forget that. To give unconditional love to a child that is not biologically yours is a gift from God. If you have it in your heart to do it, then you are truly a special person.

                          I am 28 years old and my brother is 32. Neither of us has ever contacted our natural parents. We do not have a missing part of our lives. We have had a wonderful life.

                          I have had two sets of the most wonderful parents in the world. One who loved me enough to give me a home, a family, love and support all my life. And another who loved me enough give me the most wonderful thing ever.... my Mum and Dad.

                          I give THEM 5 out of 5.

                          Adoption is not a product. You can not rate it. it is different for everyone. I have no idea of what the process involves. It is a choice. A way of life that you choose. I hope that you will choose the right way for you.

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                            09.03.2006 12:34
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                            why adopted i did and would not turn back time

                            Hi there well I will start of by telling all about why I addopeted a child and what I had to go through
                            In the year 1996 after three years of marriage and no children I was finial told I could most probably not have children, so myself and my husband of then decided that adoption was the answer.
                            We phoned up social services who put us on waiting list for a course to see if it was what we really wanted the days dragged and finally about 6 months later we had our course witch was a six Saturday in a row course witch taught you all about adoption becoming parents how to deal with loss and separation witch I though at the time was odd but when you think the child you could be giving a home to could be from a home where a parent had died or they could have be separated from family members and rember it well.
                            After our six Saturdays of learning about adoption and being a parent we decided yes it was for us and ask what to be done next we were then given a social work who come out and assessed us which was on a very personal note they ask questions about your love live extended family and if you have a police record we passed all this and two couples who we had to ask were called to be corrector references they were asked all sorts of questions about us and if they thought we were ideal people to adopted two children which what we wanted , well that worked out for us and the easement went to panel where professions from social services and medical professions decided that we wear ok and could adopted this all took a year and by now I was so desperate for child but with none in our age range in the aria I though I would go out of area so I got in touch with adoption uk who sent out what I called a baby catalogue I know sad but it was just like one full of poor children wanting homes this book was called adoption uk in there I saw so may children rang so many people but I was always to late then I spotted a sweet smile rang the number and was told I was ok she was still not placed and that some one would come see us.
                            After three weeks of waiting a social worker for my daughter rang me said good news you are short listed from people that we think the child would be suited can we come see you please I jumped about cried and said yes so the following week two social workers come out spoke to us gave us some paper work on the child to read as she had some baggage I mean (problems) and that they would ring us in a few weeks to see if we were still interested in the child I read and read my husband read and read we talked and talked more talking than we had ever in out married life
                            We decided that it was ok we could give this sweet child with our with out the behaviour problems our love and attention so when we had the call and said yes we want to continue we told ok there are three couples and we go to panel now with the foster mother and other professions to decided which couple would be best suited to the child after a long two weeks of waiting a call I sat there waiting then the social worker said good news we have decided that you would be the best parents for the child I could not talk I had to pass to phone to my husband I was crying with happiness I was hopefully going to mum at last.

                            The next part of the adoption was easier we were sent an invite to meat the foster mum of the child she then told us more about the child after a few meeting we able to meet the little girl we longed for she was lovely I can still rember her first words to us were hello I got mucky hands then she asked her foster mum who are they friends she was told but on our third visit to her she asked us are you going to be my new mum and dad we did not know what to say so left it at that and for the social worker to explain after six visits and taking the sweet thing out she came to visit us by now she knew we were applying to adopted her to be her mum and dad she was 4 and even though she was mentally delayed by two years she know what was going on we had seven more visits before the call come to say ok it has been decided to place the child with you we went to London collect our new little girl it was tearful day as the person she looked at as mum for the two and half years was saying bye to her for a while but not for ever as we keep in touch this is where the loss and separation part of the course came in handy mind you we had a lot of support from social services after a hard few weeks of steeling in our new little girl went to a new school this where we found out being a new mum and dad was hard as the sweet little girl we had was hand full she bite ahe kicked and hit other children and we were called to the school so much and blamed being told we were no good as parents this upset me as I had only had this little child with me four weeks before she had to go to school she new to all sorts and I had phone for help I rang her social work who come down and spoke to the school and ourselves it was also thought that it was now in the Childs best interests to be statement at school so she was after a year living with us our social works told us you can apply now to legally adopt this child we applied to the courts and a date for hearing was set may 1998 it came and we dressed up smart when to court not knowing what to expect we sat down questions were asked and were told to please wait while the magistrate and secretary left the room they returned with good news you are now proud parents you can have been accepted you are the new parents of the child we all cried at this even the social workers .
                            After two and half years we were now parents with no social works there to help if needed but we were now parents of a lovely little girl we went out with our social workers to celebrate the news that was the last time saw them now it is 9 years later and we are all doing well even though me and my husband broke up and I remarried and had two children of my own my little chosen one is doing well and is growing up to be a lovely caring girl she has done well and is now only mentally delayed by months so please don't think its all easy sailing its not but adoption is a very rewarding thing to do and there are children out there with love needed I would do it again even though it was a hard two year to begin with

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                              23.08.2005 14:44
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                              Adoption is not the only option

                              For the last week there has been huge media coverage about taking two children off their parents only to adopt them out and ban the parents from seeing them until they are 18 years old.

                              Social Services is blamed for ''grabbing them off their parents'' and the parents are naturally bereft.

                              This is a huge issue, one which it is difficult to make a decision on as I sit watching it evolve on television and reading emotive headlines.

                              I feel huge sympathy for the parents who feel they are the right people to bring up their children and when hearing them interviewed it is difficult to know what the problem is.

                              BUT, I am not on the team of experts who have spent months making assessments, one would hope, after a long period of time working with the parents.

                              Being slow, seems a bit harsh: there are some people who may be classed SLOW; nature prevents them from having children - I think that if they go through a rigorous exercise to see if they should adopt a child and it is deemed they can, they should be allowed to.

                              I guess it would be a dreadful job being a social worker and playing "God",so as a community, all we can do is hope that, on this occasion they have got it right. While you can feel huge sympathy for the parents, at the end of the day Social Services are charged with the responsibility to look after the child's best interest.

                              This is a diverse issue, and sadly there will be no way of knowing if Social Services are right to take the two youngsters away from loving, caring parents.


                              Because, as the parents won't have them in their home, we will never know if they would have nurtured them safely as the years go by.

                              Adoption is a personal choice, but in this case the parents have had no choice. It is a tragedy. It is a travesty of the parent's rights but a case of what is best for the children and I, from the outside looking in, have no idea if the Social Services have acted in the best interests of the children.

                              One thing for sure, there will be no winners in this case - only losers. My heart goes out to the parents while I feel I have to trust the intentions and professional decisions of the Social Services.

                              For me, if it is a ''done deal'' and the children are not allowed home to their rightful, natural parents, well I can just hope and pray whoever is chosen to adopt them allows them a safe, homely, caring and loving environment - it's not always the case when people adopt children!

                              Final word, perhaps a better ideal: if the parents really are not up to nurturing the children, couldn't Social Services arrange for foster parents to look after the children and let the real parents have regular, weekly access- then the children would be in full knowledge of who their parents are and not have the awful drama of meeting them when they are 18.

                              Sadness overwhelms in in this issue.

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                                19.07.2004 01:22
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                                Some might think I?m not qualified to write about adoption as I, personally, was brought up by both of my natural parents. However, my family is a bit of an odd one, to say the least? My younger sister and I have the same natrual mum and dad, as my parents got married seven months before my birth (for years I believed I was born two months early, it was only when I questioned how a premature baby could weigh nearly ten pounds that the truth came out!) However, this was my mums second marriage, and she already had two daughters. The eldest of these she and her then husband had adopted as a baby when they were just married, as they?d been told by doctors that they?d never be able to have children naturally? They then went on to have a daughter together. Still, when they split up and my mum remarried, my natural dad adopted both girls and brought them up as his own. So, you see, that although I personally have never been adopted, I grew up in a family full of adoptees, and it was a perfectly normal family life for me. Of course, thirty to forty years ago when my mum adopted my eldest sister, it was much easier to adopt a baby. The natural mother was a work colleague who for reasons beyond her control was not able to keep the baby. Basically, my mum said that she?d like to have the baby, they signed a few forms and that was that, once the baby was born her friend went back to her own life and my mum came home with the baby! Nowadays this would never happen, adoption laws are much stricter! Also, the days of single motherhood as a taboo are long gone, thus there are far less babies available for adoption. However, there are still far too many older children desperate for homes and families in this country, it?s a sad fact that most people only want to adopt babies. Still, going back to my own situation, there was one thing that my par
                                ents got absolutely right from the very beginning. My sisters and I all grew up in the knowledge that some of us had different parents from the others ? the word ?adoption? was one that we knew before we had any conception of what it actually meant. Somehow, it made us stronger as a family when we were old enough to understand the actual meaning of adoption. I can honestly say that I love all of my sisters in exactly the same way, the ?adoption? issue simply isn?t an issue at all. It never even crosses my mind that two of my sisters have different natural parents, why should it? It doesn?t matter one tiny little bit? They are my sisters, and I love them, end of story? Still, I?m aware that my situation is different to many. The whole adoption scenario was all over and done with well before I was born, so life like that was natural for me. However, both of my older sisters feel exactly the same way, so I would still repeat that I feel that honesty is the best policy wherever possible, when it comes to children and adoption. I find it hard to imagine how dreadful it would be if your parents decided to wait until the child was old enough to understand what adoption meant before telling them that they had been adopted. Or even worse, you still hear tales in Womens? magazines about adopted children who only find out they?re adopted after the death of their parents? How could you ever feel secure in your own head again, knowing that everything you?d grown up believing was wrong, and even worse, the people you trust most above any others, had never been entirely honest with you? Then, there is the unnecessary pressure on the family to keep the adoption ?secret?? No, it is far better to be honest with both adopted children and any natural siblings from a very, very young age, in my opinion. What can be gained by the deceit, anyway? As a child
                                my eldest sister was friends with a girl who?s teenage cousin had been adopted by her parents, yet the parents had never told her. The cousins were very close, and one knew the secret, but couldn?t tell her cousin that she had been adopted. This family also fostered a couple of teenage boys, and the adopted daughter was often horrible to the boys, telling them that they weren?t really part of the family, like she was? My sister lost touch with both girls, so I don?t know if the parents ever told her she?d been adopted, but can you imagine how she would feel if they did??? I can, and it?s really not pleasant? There?s another aspect of adoption that I think is very, very wrong too ? the practice of telling children that they are ?special? because they have been adopted? Imagine if my eldest sister had grown up believing she was the ?special? child, then her younger sister came along naturally, despite all the odds. Suddenly, she?s not so special anymore. Personally, and this is only my view, I don?t think that you should be telling any child that they are better than anybody else. It?s my opinion that all children are brilliant, and that adoption, fostering, step-parenting or natural birth are just different methods of having children ? all with the same end result. Of course, I?m not suggesting that you should be criticizing young children, either, just that you shouldn?t feel the need to boost the ego of one child in this way anyway. If your children, however they came in to your family, know that they are loved and wanted why would they even require these assurances in the first place? And if they asked, then wouldn?t it be better to say something like ?yes, you?re adopted, but that doesn?t make any difference to me. I love you because you?re wonderful, just like your sister?. If a child is old enough to question the adoption issue, they?d be able to understand this answer, a
                                nd the reassurance that they?re loved in exactly the same way as their sibling is surely healthier than believing that they?re ?special? in some way. Personally, from my own family experiences, I think it is far better to treat all children, whether adopted, step or natural, in exactly the same way, with no obvious favourites or different rules for different children? Though of course this is far from easy! But it?s not so difficult to reassure all children that they?re loved and wanted, regardless of how they happened to enter the family unit. In this society of step families, single parents and joint custody, the tradition family unit is almost in the minority, anyway. Then, of course, having adopted your longed for child there is always the temptation to pour all of the feelings you?ve been building up for so long into giving your child the best of everything. This doesn?t just apply to adopted children, but anybody who feels the temptation to spoil their child. Basically, don?t give in to temptation? By all means give your child all of the love and attention that they could ever require, but lay off buying every toy in the shop ? for one thing your family will probably buy you most of them anyway! Believe me, your child will be emotionally richer for a ?more cuddles and less toys? approach in years to come. In my experience it is also very important to be open with an adopted child about their natural parents. Difficult, I know. My own mum found it extremely hard when my sister became a teenage and wanted to meet her natural mother. As it turned out, they looked like each other, but had little else in common. My sister still loved our mum and everything worked out fine. My mum and dad did exactly the right thing, in my opinion, putting the needs of their daughter and her wish to meet her natural mum before their own needs and worries. The idea of an adopt
                                ed child desperate to find their ?real? mum seems ludicrous to me, anyway. I know that my sister, at least, sees our mum as her real mum ? the person who brought her up, kissed her better when she was hurt and told her off when she was naughty. The other lady was just someone she?s related to that she hadn?t met before, almost like a distant relative. My sister never really developed a close relationship with her birth mother, although she did get to meet her half brothers and sisters, who she hadn?t even known existed before. In my family, my two elder sisters have a closer relationship with each other than with my younger sister and me. Personally, I?m closest to my youngest sister, who just happens to have the same natural parents as me. However, this has nothing to do with our parentage, and everything to do with the fact that we shared a bedroom for the vast majority of childhood. We were partners in crime, if you like, and because there?s only eighteen months between us, we have a lot of the same friends too. However, I don?t love her more then my other sisters because we have the same natural parents. I believe that this is largely due to my parents attitude as we were growing up. The adoptions weren?t an issue for them, so it never crossed our minds that there might be a problem with it, or that there were any differences between us. I love all of my sisters, and I believe they all love me, whoever actually happened to have given birth to us all! I hate to summarise this opinion, as I wanted to end on the happy note above, but I do think it?s essential to hammer home my main point! Honesty + Openness + Love = Successful Family Live That goes for all families, but especially adoptive ones. I know, I grew up in one!

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                                  04.06.2002 16:09
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                                  We had really struggled as a family. My daughter was seven when her dad walked out, her brother five with mental and physical disabilities. Then the man I was to marry came into our lives and things got better, we had a daughter but, when she was six years old, meningitis and septicaemia struck her down and there was no hope. We were all given strong drugs so no family members would catch it. She got better but we were all left depressed from the shock. As I bought my purchases from one check out in a local supermarket my eldest daughter was serving on another, eyes red. She tearfully called across to tell me she had done a pregnancy test and it was positive. I said, 'oh' and went out to look for a lone star...she had not had a boyfriend for weeks and weeks...she had not been out for weeks and weeks. I got home and asked my husband if he wanted the good or the bad news (I must have bought something cheap that day and thought it was good), he - typical man - jumped straight up and asked what I had done with the car! I told him my news, he looked around our bombsite of a house, shrugged and said that one more would not make any difference. Once home from work, we encountered an emotional time from my daughter. She had grown up far too soon after her dad left, he had abused both children sexually, she had to help me with her brother. News of a forthcoming baby horrified her, she just knew she could never cope with a child yet could not kill it. Once again, it was my husband who, after much discussion and many tears, suggested that we adopt the baby - that way we would all know where we were, the baby would have security. It seemed to be an answer. I found out the law then my daughter approached social services. The immediate response was, 'no, you can't.' Duh!!! I knew the law. Then we met a social worker who whispered in front of my daughter's swelling tummy, 'but the child would need t
                                  o know you were it's mother.' Another Duh!!!! In seven months, despite many requests, my daughter never received counselling, or saw anyone in fact, except midwives. She was hammered in all directions from people who knew what we were going to do, except those of the older generation. She would be told how wicked she was, how it was her duty to keep her child. She asked what they would say if, some months after giving birth, she was up on charge for killing her baby because she could not cope...what would be thought of her then? She knew the choice was always hers, that until she saw and held that baby she could never know and may feel better able to cope, in which case we would help her. 24 painful hours of labour and I stood at the bedside of my big girl while my baby girl was born...little Molly baby. I asked if my emotional, happy, big girl would like to kiss Molly, the response was 'Urg, no! She's got pooh all over her!' I knew then that we were all doing the right thing. I held Molly up to the window and, at minutes old, told her that she was such a wanted, loved and lucky girl, that she had two mothers and two fathers and how treasured she would be. Molly's dad wanted her terminated but was pleased when given the news of our decision. He has opted never to see her, it would hurt too much, we respect that. She has photos of him. From the off, social work opposed our adoption application. A process that should have taken five weeks, being of blood relation, it was almost a year before a social worker knocked our door telling us my ex-husband was wealthy, had a big house and as much right to adopt our little girl...even though he had abused his own. Until the Court Recorder came out to speak to my eldest daughter, 15 months after Molly's birth, no-one in authority had even questioned her, let alone given counselling. The Recorder was horrified at social work's attitude
                                  and immediately got Molly appointed as a Ward of Court, giving the Recorder's report and decision precidence over social work. A social worker did not even bother to attend court. We were congratulated by the judge for the way Molly was being raised in full knowledge of her background. The adoption was granted. Every Mother's Day Molly gives her Birth Mum a special card, she makes them herself these days...she is 8 years old. At school when they made cards this year her teacher was really touched when Molly asked if she could make two and told her why. If I will not let her do something she says she wants to live with her 'sister' because she bets she would let her...we all laugh. Married with two young children of her own, my eldest daughter is now beginning to confuse her 2 year old by relating Molly's story, so he will grow up always knowing that she too came out of his mummy's tummy. Molly has been told by the daughter of a religious neighbour that her sister is a very evil and wicked person for giving her away. But Molly knows she is a very loved and dear child. She would like to meet her birth father when she is older but she has watched East Enders. She understands that, like Jamie, her father did not feel able to cope with a child and, like Sonia, he would probably want to see her all the time but be unable to cope if he did. Our experience all along has been that we are a totally well-adjusted, albeit mad, family who love each other dearly and have the ability to sit down and talk and be honest with each other. It is other people who have tried to create the problems but we are strong and united and very, very happy. If you or anyone you know are faced with such a situation as we were eight years ago and are told you cannot adopt your grandchild, get back to me...sometimes people just do not know what they are talking about. P.S. It was, seemingly, the
                                  near-loss of one child that created the other...the tablets for prevention of meningitis stopped the contraceptive pill working. Everything has a reason eh?

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