Adoption question

Amy - posted on 08/08/2011 ( 11 moms have responded )




When considering adoption, is it ok/normal to question the childs "background"? What I mean is, if you know both parents do drugs etc & the child was born addicted is fair to wonder if that child will have more problems? I feel guilty that this is a part of my concern but at the same time I am concerned because we just found out this information


Tamara - posted on 08/08/2011




As a birthmom, I felt totally comfortable sharing any and all information that they wanted to know. They have every right to know the childs medical history and any possible health problems

Jane - posted on 08/10/2011




@Amy - Have you met the child for enough time that you can tell if she seems to be a normal 2 yo or not? Having raised a child with issues I can spot toddlers who are going to need extra work from 20 paces with my eyes closed (just joking - but folks at church love that I seem to be able to cope with "difficult" children with no problem). If she feels too passive or too active compared to other little ones, then she may need some extra parenting skills. Also, a lot of these little ones have never had limits set at all by parents, etc. It takes energy, persistence, and consistency, but you can make a change in their perception of allowable things in a relatively short time.

Anne - posted on 08/10/2011




When we adopted, our (private) adoption agency gave us all the medical records they had on the baby. They told us not to feel guilty if we turn her down. They want the "match" to be perfect for both sides. Our adoption worker was happy that we wanted to be informed and asked a lot of questions.

Tina - posted on 08/09/2011




You have every right to be concerned. some babies have more issues than others. There is not much research out there for children exposed, and I have looked for any options to find out more information. I have two adopted children with meth, marijuana, and opiate exposure. There are times when I just say what have I gotten myself into and other times I just know this is the right thing to do. We have night terrors, extreme temper tantrums, and some minor inappropriate sexual behavior. I have had the youngest since birth, but her sister I got a year later and she was almost three. We can only speculate what happened to her while she was in her bio's care and we are coping everyday with other minor issues. I really would not change the fact that these two beautiful angels have been brought into my life. I would certainly change the circumstances that they were put under to get here.

Jane - posted on 08/08/2011




As an adoptive parent I understand your concerns. The agency we went through was very good at helping us sort out what mattered to us. Nonetheless, we did take on a child who has turned out to have some problems we wouldn't have expected. However, we are coping with his difficulties and enjoying his talents. He does go to counseling and he does have to take medications to stay on an even keel. But he is our son and we love him.

It is always okay to learn about things that might affect the child's development because these will affect your whole family for years to come. There are families that are better prepared to deal with a child that may have these sorts of problems than others, and if you worry that you will not be able to cope, then now is the time to raise these questions, not after the child has been placed in your arms.

From my experiences with adoption as well as what I have observed of the foster system, sometimes well-meaning social workers will talk themselves into leaving such information out because they so badly want to create happy endings.

A friend of ours recently accepted two foster children, a 12 month old and a two year old, into her home to live with her own children, ages 13 months, 3 hears and 4 years. After a series of difficult events that put her little daughter at risk, it came out that the 2 yo had been sexually abused but the state worker believed ("hoped") he was too young to act on it. Wrong! She subjected this whole family and the two children to the pain of a disrupted placement because she did not reveal the child's background.

If a child is born addicted to drugs the child can indeed have some difficulties in life. In addition, the personality traits that lead some people to become drug addicts, such as depression, impulsivity, and bipolar disorder, are genetically linked. That means your adopted child may need help in learning how to cope with such feelings without resorting to drugs or alcohol. It is quite possible to raise a child with this sort of background to be a happy, healthy, productive adult. But it works best if you know what to look for and how to help the child develop well.

I know another family who adopted fraternal twins who had been exposed to drugs. One child has grown up into a fine, responsible man. He had his problems in his teens and was actually given a choice of jail or army by a judge. He chose the army and it was the best thing that ever happened to him.

OTOH, his sister has not turned out at all well, and continually makes very bad choices. Both children had the same exposures and came from the same birth parents but one turned out well an the other didn't.

You can't predict the future of an individual baby, but you can guess that a child exposed to drugs before birth will probably have a few more difficulties than a child given "perfect" prenatal care.


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i think that it's normal to want to know about a child's history if you are going to adopt them, but having a parent or parents with issues doesn't mean that the child will have those. They are more likely to have it than a child who isn't born to those parents, but how you raise them plays a more significant part in how they turn out, unless the parent's addiction caused developmental problems

Amy - posted on 08/11/2011




Unfortunatly I really can't tell :( I had a boy & boys & girls are so different lol in some ways she seems fine but in other ways she seems to have some issues ( such as slamming her head on the floor multiple times when frustrated). We really havn't had much time with her though as she is not in state yet.

Amy - posted on 08/10/2011




It is so hard :( we have been working on getting this little girl (about 2yrs old) for a few months & now we find out about this & in some ways I am now very worried about if this is the right thing but the "mother" part of me feels guilty that I feel that way. I have always believed everyone needs love & a home but I am worried about how she will be health & mental wise & I have an 8yr old boy that I also don't want to have his world turned upside down. Thank you all for feedback!

Kate CP - posted on 08/09/2011




I'd be concerned, too. Caring for a child who has addiction issues because of their parents is hard. You want to be prepared for anything.

Tara - posted on 08/08/2011




I think it would be totally normal to question the child's background if you are adopting. That is often the best/only way to find out if the child you are adopting may need extra care/love.

That said, my husband's brother and one of his sisters were adopted as babies. My BIL has mild FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) and was a good baby/child growing up, no problems. My SIL's birth mom was an alcoholic as well and she grew up with some anger management problems. Since my MIL was aware of both issues when they adopted the kids, she *could* have used that information to ensure the kids got help. She didn't, but that's an entirely different issue.

If the child you are adopting has something like FAS, or drug addiction from birth, or the possibility of a congenital disease (like Parkinson's) it is best for both you and the child for you to know that going in - that way, you can use that knowledge to help you as your child grows up - you will know what support groups to look for, what doctors you may need to see, etc.

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