Adoptive parents: Would you do it again?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by BusynMember, May 28, 2019.

  1. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Im just curious how you feel.

    I would not. No matter how much we did to show Kay we loved her, I don't think she ever felt she was really a part of the family. Yet I loved her as though Id given birth to her. I get it on her part,but then again I don't.

    Just my thoughts.

    She is hoping to one day locate her birth family. This should not hurt me. Its normal. But it does hurt. Maybe it would not hurt if we were close.
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    A difficult and heart wrenching question.
    We’ve had great difficulties and still do with our adopted (now adult) child. I know many others in the same boat. I’m not sure any of the marriages survived with the exception of my own (knock on wood and crossing myself).
    I worry about the future. For her and our bio child (also now an adult).
    To say it’s been extraordinarily difficult, taxing, life changing and so forth would actually be an understatement. Many times I lost my faith. I’ve been hurt health wise, financially and in every way.
    It has taught me to be more compassionate and accepting, less judgmental.
    But, the pain of it all has been monumental...and continues to this day.
  3. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Me too.

    I know few people who have had a smooth close relationship with adopted kids.
  4. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Hi Well my marriage has survived for 34 years.... and still going strong. I have two kids, both adopted. My relationship with my daughter is very good and we are close. She is an amazing young woman and doing very well. I dont think her being adopted has hurt our relationshpi at all.I think she wants to meet her birthmother some day and that is fine with me and I will totally support her in doing so.

    My relationship with my son is much more difficult because of various things he has done and his drug use.I have thought at times our lives would have been much easier if we didnt adopt him. But I also think all that we have been through has made me grow as a person.... and I dont want him out of my life so I cant say that I wish we had not adopted him. I do wish I knew what I know now...because I do think we were not prepared for some of the issues that came up.

    I also keep in mind what a therapist told us when my son was stil lin high school. He said we were a protective factor for my son and I believe that is true. I think our love has made a difference with my son and I am not sure hed still be alive if he had ended up in the foster care system or with a different kind of family. I dont feel my son and I are close but I have hopes that some day that will change but I am accepting it is what it is.

    And I actually think it would be good and possibly healing if my son met his birth family.

  5. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    My daughter was adopted from a foreign country. We were so excited and happy to meet her and bring her home to her eager family.We loved her so.

    I was very naive and so was my husband. We thought that if we loved her it would be enough. And although we knew that we could possibly conceive chiildren, it was not going to be easy and we didn't care if we did or not. She was enough.

    In time we gave birth to three others and did not love them any more than we loved Kay. But Kay felt differently about us than we did her. She was a constant challenge. Often she yelled we were not her parents.

    We love her. I dont know that we are sorry we have her. But we would not advise others to adopt without reading much about adoption and getting counseling first. There are issues above and beyond parenting a biological child when one adopts. We need to know them first. I think.
    Last edited: May 28, 2019
  6. Gettin' Older

    Gettin' Older New Member

    We were young and naive when we adopted. No one suggested counseling to advise us on future psychological issues we would face. We were unprepared for what we had to face and simply put, our deep and abiding love for our daughter was not enough. She has become an adult and has estranged herself from us as well as the whole family. She changed her name so we can't find her.
    Would I do it again? Definitely not without proper counseling first. We have learned the hard way that sometimes love is not enough. Our hearts have been so broken because of her.
  7. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I hope in the future I can say I'm glad we adopted our granddaughters. But, if some one asked me today, I would probably say no.

    They are 19 and 21. The 21 year old has been diagnosis with ADHD, anxiety and depression as a child. Then ODD, mood disorder and finally bipolar. The 19 year old had anxiety and depression, then ODD, then self harming, drug addiction, including meth by age 16. Hell of a ride.

    They are both out of the house now but not really adulting. They both gravitate toward quick relationships that are not healthy. I believe they both have some form of attachment disorders.

    I always felt like something wasn't right, but we never really got the help (oh how I tried!) they should have had.

    I can hope for improvements in the future, but right now, we are just the people with a house that holds their stuff while they think they are adults. Neither holds a job for very long... Couch surfs... Etc...

    I am detaching more and more, as I realize they only call if they need a ride, or are hungry, or crash here on rare occasions. They know we won't give them money...not even for birthdays, but we will buy them basics, like shoes, toiletries when a gift giving time rolls around.

    This is not how I dreamed things would go. We were so active with the girls! We did children/family theater, active in church, volunteered together. Four summers we lived out of state so we could volunteer as a family. It's like they turned out like bio mom, our xdil. Her own parents won't have contact with her...

    Last edited: May 28, 2019
  8. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I never met Kay's birth family and it wont be easy for her to search in the country she is from. But I hope she finds somebody related to her by blood. She needs to in order to feel whole. I am not even sure that will do the trick, but I hope so.

    I believe our personality traits, even motivation, can be partly from our biology. Kay is different from the rest of us in every way. Her talents and interests and even loudness is very different from us. We dont care, but she always saw her siblings as snobby and boring because they are studious and not partiers. She has told me she feels like we don't understand her or accept her.

    This makes me feel guilty. I truly do not understand her the way I get my other kids. She is right.

    I have no doubt that Kay will estrange from us except for if she needs money or shelter. Or if she needs a temp break from her abusive husband for a few days. That is the only time we see or hear from her. It is heartbreaking.
  9. Beta

    Beta Active Member

    Wow. This is the question I wrestle with a lot. I'm still not sure if I would do it again. I realize now that we were very ignorant and naive. We knew that Josh's birthmom had used drugs and alcohol during her pregnancy (we didn't know that there was a chance of Bipolar; that information came only two years ago), but we naively thought that if Josh were physically healthy and intellectually normal then that was there was to worry about. All we had to do was love him. I have to say that the best years of our lives were when he was a baby through maybe about nine or ten years old. He was okay as a teen, not rebellious or in trouble, but he developed a more negative minded, critical attitude that he had not had before, but still okay. It was only when he graduated from high school and went to college that things slowly began to go downhill. The last seven years have been hard. So, to answer the question--I'm not sure. I'm not sure that the few years we had that were joyful and fun were worth the years we have ahead of us, or at least what appear to be ahead of us. I've come to realize from reading many of your posts here that having adopted kids is definitely more risky and love does not solve their problems. If I were doing it again, I would want to be counseled on possible problems and not just blindly go into it, thinking that love would conquer all.
  10. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    A little bit different situation, but—

    I had an adopted sibling and five step-siblings that had previously lived years in foster care, and they made our lives infinitely worse with all their drama and chaos. I didn’t have a normal childhood because of them.

    On the other hand, I am extremely close to one of my step-brothers. Closer than my bio siblings, even.

    If I was able to choose, I’m not sure which way I would go.
  11. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    We dont really always know if the kids are healthy. Many seem healthy but have hidden problems such as brain injuries from exposure to alcohol and drugs in utero, inherited mental health issues that the parents did not disclose or had no treatment for, sexual abuse that they don't remember (the brain tends to "forget" trauma, but the subconscious remembers), and other less obvious at first glance issues.

    I was told that most adoptive parents tend to be more educated and academically successful than the children they adopt, which for some can be greatly disappointing. Many inherit the tendency to become an addict.

    Kay pretends she doesnt care, but I am sure that she is very jealous of my other children and their academic and athletic successes. Paradoxically she did not utilize her great musical and artistic talent basically because she was disinterested in school after high school and wanted a very easy job until she quit working entirely. She had so much potential which we fawned over as a child and teen, but it never went anywhere.

    Thats so not like the rest of us.
  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My experience has been like Beta's:
    As far as regret I adopted my son. No. If I did not have him my life would have been a hollow thing. That is the bittersweet thing. He is the center of my life. When all is said and done my life has been my son. And with him living in a shed, the way he does, what does that say about my life?

    Luckily, I think about life somewhat like tl.
    That's interesting what Busy said, that adoptive parents tend to be more highly educated and academically successful than the children that they adopt. I always assumed any child of mine would follow a path similar to my own. Not that they would become either successful or go to college, but that they would aspire. The would want for themselves. And my son does not. He is highly articulate and curious, we are very like in this way. But aspiration he has none of it. And that perplexes me and worries and saddens me.
    I was like the rest of you. I thought my love was enough. And for a long time it seemed like it was.
  13. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    I adopted my son when he was 13, so a bit of a different situation. He is a piece of work- anger issues, alcoholic, all kinds of problems- except when he is with me. I've had very few problems with him even when he was a teenager, other than having to go to the hospital when he has been in accidents. He and I have had only a few arguments over the years and he is 36 now. He is the funniest person I know and brings me great joy. He never expects me to fix his problems for him and is always extremely respectful to me. I worry about him a lot because he drinks so much it has had a negative impact on his health and I know it will get worse if he doesn't stop. I worry that I will bury him. But I can't imagine my life without him. I would adopt him all over again, even with all the worries he brings. I love him as if he is biological child. In fact, when people find out our history and they start doing the "you're a hero for adopting him" b.s. it really ticks me off. I don't think of things that way at all. To me he is truly a family member.
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Eliza puts into words what I could not. My problems with my son come in large part from over-identification with him, the inability to see him as separate from me, my hopes, my dreams, my worth. What Eliza says reminds me of this. Somehow until my son left my home when he was 23 I was able to see him and what he did in a way that was separate. Now it's hard. I am not sure exactly why.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Yep. I thought that all I had to do was love her.

    It’s interesting. A few related...but somewhat misc thoughts...

    I think personality might largely be genetic. And I think there is some scientific backing that many surprising things are formulated in gestation...while the birth mother is pregnant. Even food likes and dislikes. Soooo...if bm was angry, scared during pregnancy that could be an issue. Plus, all the genetic possibilities that are unknown and likely more influential than most of us thought.

    Also, these kids are sometimes in “preemptive strike” mode. Fear that parents or relatives will reject them so they reject first. Test test and test some more. Breaking boundaries left and right and voila...they get their wish. I don’t think they are thinking clearly. It begins a no win vicious cycle. One can love unconditionally , but if someone is boundary-less...eventually adopted or not...boundaries will have to be enforced like it or not. Or one might have to love from afar.
  16. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    But even if we think of them the same as if we had given birth to them, they often don't feel the same about us. I was over the moon about Kay. She was loving when very young and this slowly changed as she grew older. Until we are where we are today when I am almost locked out.

    Honestly, as she hit her 20s, Kay became almost disinterested in us unless we bought her something. We became her safety net and not much else. When she gets really mad she calls my husband and I by our first names.
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    That sounds very difficult and sad about Kay.

    However, to be honest, we are in almost the same boat. I just treated our daughter to a mani / pedicure. She squeezed eyebrow services out of me. Huge bill. We gift her these things for holidays or if she is under the weather. Her grooming can be terrible so we do it largely for health reasons. Then she called and wanted $10 to go out with friends. She has an allowance based on her disability income. We said no. She started screaming. We still said no. She calls with these requests 6.5 days a week as she can’t seem to budget and/or feels entitled. WTH? She rarely (like ever) calls with anything but a money request of some kind.

    As a side note... we are saying no a LOT If we don’t, she will spend her food money and then be out. We have informed her we won’t help her be irresponsible and if she spends her food money on silly things she very well might need to use the food bank.
  18. Gettin' Older

    Gettin' Older New Member

    YES! Our daughter started calling us by our first names also. I couldn't understand that kind of disrespect. It hurt so much because it demonstrated her distance from us as her parents. I am just realizing there were so many signs that she didn't feel about us the way we feel about her. I thought she was just being sassy, when in fact I think now that it was more telling than I was willing to accept.
  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My son will do that, too. Call me by my first name. It cuts like a knife, and makes me mad too. But I think non-adopted kids do this too. I think they do this to get a foot up over us. I think it's defensive rather than coming from a place of uncaring. I think they often feel very vulnerable and inadequate and they need us very much and don't like that one bit. They try to pull the rug out from under us because better to make us feel bad that that feel so. In psychology this is called displacement. Putting your discomfiting feelings into somebody else.
  20. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    My other kids got mad at us too, but NEVER would have called us by our first names. Thats unique and to me it shows a lack of bonding as well as a lack of respect. I burst into tears the first time she did it. I remember her smirking.
    Last edited: May 29, 2019