What to say...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by JJJ, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    An old friend and her husband suffered infertility and have just finished the classes to do foster-adopt. I haven't heard from her in years (they moved to Texas 6-7 years ago). I just got an e-mail from her saying that husband and I were their "inspiration" through it all.

    The thing is, had I known how hard it was going to be to raise abused children, I don't think we'd have done it. I love my kids and wouldn't give them back but it has changed our lives and our future in so many negative ways.

    I'm trying to remember back to those pre-adopt days. Would I have listened? Would I have understood or is the lives we live with our difficult children something that requires you to walk a mile in our shoes to truly get it?

    Do I try and tell her what she may be in for?
  2. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    I think in this case she's left the door open by telling you that you were an inspiration. Yes, I would tell her that while you think being an inspiration was flattering - HERE is what it has been like the last 6-7 years that you lost touch and wish her a better time of it than you have had.

    I don't know ANYONE that started out adopting and thinking that they would save the world that wouldn't sit down with you NOW and have an open heart-to heart about "IF we had it to do over again."

    You're not discouraging her = you're informing her.

  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    That's a hard one to know. Her experience may not be the same as yours. I think I'd thank her for the compliment, but let her know that the journey did not end up the way you thought it would because of your childrens' history. Hopefully hers will not be as difficult as yours has been. We just never know... even with our own bio kids. We just never know.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I haven't been in those shoes, but I have always been a single parent and have asked myself a few times if I would opt to raise difficult child myself if I'd known what I know now.

    I think I would let her know that there have been a lot of unexpected hardships and strains and so forth. It might be preeferable to have this conversation on the phone instead of via email. I don't know if I'd go so far as saying "I wouldn't do it". That is for them to decide and they might disregard all your advice if you go that far. But, telling her about some of the problems that can surface is certainly reasonable.
  5. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I don't think that I would discourage her, but I would let her know that it's a hard road and let her know that when she does encounter problems, you might be able to help advise her.
  6. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    That is a hard one. We have a friend who adopted from China and we were around for the whole process, we were pretty honest, due to the friends I have here.
    But we were also honest about how it is with our own children.
    I was also honest about how it was with being adopted my step-Dad and him raising me alone. We were both G'sFG so in my case it was both!

    Then again are any of us ever prepared, Stepparents, biological, adopted? :)
  7. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    It's weird that you have this post up today as for some reason, I was just thinking about the whole process earlier.

    In our case, we went through a private foster/adopt agency (We'll call them S) and they, for the most part, dealt with the CPS people from difficult child's originating county. S gave us all the information they had on difficult child but what they had was received from CPS. CPS, on the other hand, wanted difficult child off the books. He was the last child from this family to be adopted, he was a handful and they wanted to be done. We didn't get nearly the information we should have, especially as first time parents. We were clueless.

    Personally, if I could go back to the days when we were looking at information on various children, I would have LOVED to have someone like you there with me to tell me what some of the terms meant and how to read between the lines on the descriptions. Granted, I could have done some research but I was Miss Pollyanna and dreaming about how our life would be with our new child, yes it would be hard but we could do it and it would all work out fine with a loving child, blah blah blah blah blah. Plus, it was the same thing for us....infertility and then the excitement of FINALLY becoming parents. Looking back, my bubble was in major need of being burst.

    Those of us who have adopted in this manner know that there ARE kids out there who are good kids (as in relatively no issues). But...we also know those are few and far between. My advice to you (especially since she initiated contact with you on the subject) is to tell her that you are happy for her and offer to explain the terms and such to her. Maybe something along these lines (Actually this is what I would tell her)

    That's so exciting for you and your husband and I know you'll be wonderful parents! I remember those days and how confusing some of the terms can be so don't hesitate to call me if you have questions. In my case, I wish I had had more information on my son before we got him and knew more about his issues and mental status. I don't know if we would have "picked" difficult child had we known the extent of his issues. It's not that we don't love him but I think I wonder sometimes if we were the best parents for him. At the very least, had we known the extent of things, we may have done some things different. Yes there are foster kids out there with no mental illnesses or major issues but not many. Most of these kids either have so much emotional baggage or mental illness that it is a life long struggle to get through life. At the very least, I can tell you what some of the terms mean and what the child's description says inbetween the lines.

    She may or may not get it or truly believe you but at least you made the effort. She really needs to know the reality of adopting this way so she can go into it with her eyes wide open. For me, I wish I had someone in my corner back then. At least now, if we do it again, we know what to look for in the wording. If you have any questions, PM me and I'll give you my number.
  8. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I don't think it really has to do with adoption. If you have the conversation, I'd just remind her that it's a **** shoot with biological children as well. Wherever, however you have a child, you need to understand that they don't all come out golden. They don't have a Walmart return policy.

  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I have to agree with Abbey on this one. There are no guarantees with adoptive children or bio-children. It really is a carp shoot.

    I think a short note back congratulating your friends and a thank you for her compliment is enough, as well as your best wishes. Perhaps you can put something simple in there about your personal experience being somewhat more of a trial than you had expected and then offering your telephone information if she has any questions or concerns you can help with.

    But after 7 years? I don't think I'd be opening up about all the hardships to her at this point. If you want to, become reacquainted with this person first and feel her out a bit. She may not be in the right frame of mind to hear what you want to say; the concerns you want to express.
  10. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Um yeah :hammer: what Abbey said too. It really is a carp shoot with having kids in whatever manner you "get" them. husband and I are a perfect example. husband's mother is severely schizophrenic. She only has 2 biological grandchildren and so far neither one have shown any signs of mental illness. But, you just never know. Then again, you could have a "clean" family history on all things mental and physical and still have a child with mental illness, hearing loss, blindness, missing an arm....whatever. I didn't mean to come across as it being just foster/adoption kids but I do think your friend needs to have an idea of the reality of things.