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»  Canada Adopts!   » Getting Started   » Adopting out of birth order

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Author Topic: Adopting out of birth order
HappyParents
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posted 04-05-2011 09:55 AM     Profile for HappyParents   Email HappyParents     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
As *most* of you remember me, I'll just save the long story :-) We adopted our son 5 years ago last month (hard to believe it's been that long). We are now interested in adopting a sibling group of 2. I have a question for any of those who may have gone down this road before. What are your thoughts and experiences around adopting out of birth order? Jake is now 6. We are interested in adopting a sibling group of two, one of which is almost 8, the other just turned 9. Many of the articles out there say it's not a favoured choice, that there are a lot of pitfalls so I was interested in hearing from any of you who may have some experience in this area. Many thanks.
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mama4life
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posted 04-05-2011 10:48 AM     Profile for mama4life   Email mama4life     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Of course, I remember you. It's nice to see you posting again.

I know it might not be a popular opinion, but I don't agree with adopting out of birth order, especially when the new children are of an older age and have probably experienced more than most children. Because there are two, they most likely have a tight bond, and your son might feel left out and triangulated.

Add in possible attachment issues or RAD. It's hard going through that with one child, two would be that much harder.

We always wanted our oldest to remain the oldest. In our case, our oldest was the first grandchild on both sides, and that's special. We wanted him to maintain that.

We did, however, choose to adopt a child who fit in between our two children at the time. Our oldest was still the oldest, and our youngest was still the youngest.

I don't mean to sound all negative, but it was hard.

Do lots of research. There's so much to consider when you are already parenting a child or children.

Good luck with your decision.


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HappyParents
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posted 04-05-2011 11:14 AM     Profile for HappyParents   Email HappyParents     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Thank you for your reply. I know it's a tough decision. We want to do the right thing, and we are reading lots. There are some psychologists that say it can be a very beneficial thing - that often a younger, stable child can help create the bond within the family. In J's case, he's a very engaging, very confident boy. He lacks no social skills, and we know him to be very adequate at problem solving. Having said that, we still want to do the right thing LOL. :-) they are on par academically, and socially. There are no "outward" signs of distress but we know it's bubbling under the surface. They've done well in foster care. We have spoken to J about this, and he is excited, although we know that would likely "wear off" as soon as they had a disagreement :-) If you know of any good resources or anyone who may have done this with success, we'd love to hear more!
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mama4life
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posted 04-05-2011 11:43 AM     Profile for mama4life   Email mama4life     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
You might want to head over to adoption forums.com

There are many on there on the special needs board who deal with attachment/bonding, etc. It's a great resource.


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StarryEyes
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posted 04-05-2011 04:57 PM     Profile for StarryEyes   Email StarryEyes     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I am watching this with great interest. Thank you for bringing up the subject. We are waiting for child 3 and would like another boy that is under 4 - our two sons are 4 and 4.5 I have been asked about older than.... but part the deepest part of me says to keep it younger. For them, but for me and for the future child as well. I get more time like I did with my two sons when they first came home.

Still I have no firm firm opinion, I'm still waiting and will deeply consider the communications here.


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HappyParents
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posted 04-05-2011 07:06 PM     Profile for HappyParents   Email HappyParents     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Here's an interesting personal experience on adopting out of birth order. This is what I'm looking for, just some experiences so that I can get an idea for "the other side" of the debate.
http://thevoiceofadventure.blogspot.com/2007/08/adopting-older-child-adopting-out-of.html

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mattise
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posted 04-05-2011 10:43 PM     Profile for mattise   Email mattise     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
We have not adopted out of birth order yet, but have had long term foster placements out of birth order. The one thing that stands out in my mind the most is that it depends on the individual children. Our oldest daughter could care less what children are in our home, but our middle dd can not stand older female foster children. It seems to have a lot to do with what is time older children go to bed etc. I have noticed that if the children are closer in age and have the same rules etc. Things actually run more smoothly. Making sure that everyone has adequate space for themselves and time with mom and dad that is just for them. We would also never bring dangerous children into a home with younger children. So knowing a lot about the sibs experince with other children is important. We had a foster to adopt placement breakdown because we were not given adequate information about a sib groups past. Over all we have had many positive experinces parenting out of birth order and would adopt out of birth order. Currently we have a foster to adopt placement that has given us 3 children that are very close in age, an infant, and a much older teenager.
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HappyParents
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posted 04-06-2011 09:52 AM     Profile for HappyParents   Email HappyParents     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Thank you for that response. It seems the more I read, the more I am hearing that the older the child is, the more the risk decreases. There's a lot of discussion around toddler and youth differences... that toddlers don't fare so well, with older or younger children coming in. But the older the child is, the easier the transition. However, I've read some stories where the transition hasn't been the best experience. Anyone else that has experience please feel free to jump in with your thoughts. Would love to hear from you.
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mama4life
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posted 04-06-2011 10:18 AM     Profile for mama4life   Email mama4life     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
The big concern for me would be with the ages of the new children. If you weren't parenting a child already, then your focus would be entirely on the new children, but coming from someone who has brought in an older child with other children in the home, I can tell you, it's hard, very hard. I had no idea it was going to be as hard as it was.

We had read so much on adopting an older child and attachment parenting and bonding. We were very careful to spend equal amounts of time with all our children separately and as a family unit, and it didn't matter. Our older child felt a huge resentment. My two year old had no issues with our new child at all.

Our child was in an excellent foster home, and I think they might have been seeing some signs of attachment issues, but didn't really know what it was.

Children with attachment issues learn to cope very well, but when they are placed in a home where they know it's forever and they start to feel comfortable, that's when you will notice most of the behaviours. It's all about control.

A friend of mine from another adoption site just disrupted an adoption with a little guy. Everyone in the family was devastated, yet they felt a huge relief when the little guy left. Her other children were really affected. That's why it's so important to do the research that you are doing, speak to a psychologist who deals with attachment disorders, and any professional you can think of before you make the commitment.

I'm in no way trying to dissuade you. I have no doubt that older child adoptions can work...we are living proof. It just takes a great deal of extra hard work. Knowledge is power, and the more you prepare yourselves now, the better it will be for everyone.

I believe that all children deserve to have a warm, loving and caring family.


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HappyParents
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posted 04-06-2011 12:15 PM     Profile for HappyParents   Email HappyParents     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I don't read your comments as a dissuasion at all :-) I know you're trying to provide me with your experience, and that's great. It's very appreciated. We want to do what is in the best interests of everyone. We don't even know yet if these children will be matched to us. It could be that others may also be considered. So this is really just about educating ourselves to the issues before the decision is made so that if we are chosen, we have an opportunity to say "we know this, or that", etc, and then analyzing the issues as it would or could affect our family, so this is all good !! :-)
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HDWB
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posted 04-07-2011 09:54 AM     Profile for HDWB   Email HDWB     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Not to come in on one side or the other – I’ll just share our experience. We did kinship foster care with a 15 y/o when our DD was 6 ˝. Our DD adjusted fine – was thrilled.

Our kin had issues with our DD from day 1. How close our DD could sit to her, constant criticism of our DD’s behaviour – to her face with a “just kidding” and big smile at the end. Criticism of how we were parenting her, of her friends that came over to play. Meetings with social workers about our DD at the request of our kin, etc. Over time, DD went from a happy secure kid, to a kid who at night would cry and say she no longer wanted to be part of our family. She had no defense to our kin – she was so young, our kin so much older and experienced at this stuff. The constant monitoring and defense by us on her behalf was exhausting. We couldn’t leave them in a room alone together.

Believe it or not, our DD does not have any behaviour issues and our kin really quite likes her. This was all about control, triangulation as a means of control and picking on the easiest target – a kid. How that kid felt about it really wasn’t a factor in our kin’s mind – she needed to behave that way.

So, considering out of birth order, I would say be sure there are no attachment issues! How to tell that is another question. My kin presented as such a together kid – even I was amazed by her insights and abilities. Even experienced foster parents who took her on respite could not see it. No one but us and her worker understood. She was operating in survival mode and that creates a whole different set of priorities and behaviors that can be hard to see from the outside.

Not to discourage anyone - just a caution and some insight as to how issues can play out. Luckily it was a "foster" placement so we had support throughout and could transition her in a positive was to her new home (and stay in touch). It would have been horrible if it had been an adoption that we had to disrupt.


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kenzie_dark
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posted 04-07-2011 10:16 AM     Profile for kenzie_dark   Email kenzie_dark     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
We adopted out of birth order, although our biological children were quite a bit younger when our oldest son moved in. They were 1 1/2 years and just over 3 years. Our oldest son had just turned 9.

We were less concerned with the fact that he was older, then in ensuring there was a sizable gap between him and our then oldest child. Going with the belief that children of 9 and 3 would need different kinds of attention and would feel it less as a competition.

Our deal breakers when being matched with an adoptive placement were always safety. And this has not been an issue.

I found that our youngest child adapted the easiest. She doesn't remember a time before her brother came home. Our now middle child had some issues, an increase in attention seeking behaviours, but actually less then when his little sister was born. He really likes having an older brother to play with. Our oldest son has adapted well, but I'd say it was over a year until he really FELT that the younger ones were his siblings in truth. Now they really are brothers and sister.

One nice side benefit of having younger children in the house when adding an older child. It's allowed him to play at a younger age level without feeling ashamed about it. He can play kitchen, babies or dinosaurs whenever he wants. He's got the built in excuse that it's for the little ones.

We're expecting a baby this spring. I'm hoping my oldest son will also get a chance to see how we would have parented him if he was a baby when he joined our family. And get a chance to learn to be nurturing and see what baby love is like!


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HDWB
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posted 04-07-2011 10:53 AM     Profile for HDWB   Email HDWB     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Kenzie_dark – thanks for putting your story out there to show the positive side. Attachment issues and FASD – I’m always of two minds about posting. On the one hand I don’t want to be negative or to discourage anyone from pursuing a match that might just be wonderful. On the other hand, adopting a child who has needs in those categories without knowing about them (as it is not always obvious until later) can be tough on the child, adoptive family and/or can even result in adoption disruptions, which is something that just breaks my heart if it could have been prevented by preparation and education.

Older children need adoptive parents the most and positive stories are so important to hear. You mentioned making sure that safety was not an issue. Was there any particular way in which you were able to do this with your oldest son? Just out of interest/curiosity myself and maybe useful information for others, but no need to reply if that is too private of a question. I probably shouldn’t even ask – I might be tempted to try an out of age order adoption again myself!


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kenzie_dark
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posted 04-07-2011 02:13 PM     Profile for kenzie_dark   Email kenzie_dark     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
To be clear, I don't want to minimize the concern, or indicate that there weren't risks involved. Sometimes I think we were just lucky! But for us it was the right decision.

Our risk mitigation strategies involved doing the best that we could to get the information ahead of time and putting measures into place once our son entered our family. Safety was a major concern, and when/if we adopt again will continue to be so.

For any of the profiles we were reviewing, we reviewed the history and paid special attention to red flags of aggression or sexual acting out. We choose not to pursue several children who while may have been perfectly safe, had some red flags that concerned us.

One we were matched with our son, we spent a lot of time talking to people who knew him, and especially to his foster family. He was the oldest child in that home, along with their younger children. We talked about his relationships with them, how he handled anger or frustration, and what kind of violence he may have been exposed to. I can not overemphasize how important having a good relationship and open information from his former foster family has been.

When he moved in, we moved slowly. He was in his own room, and our younger children shared a room. (They had always shared a room, with the intention that we keep an extra room open for a potential adoption placement.) We monitored play, and used our baby monitor to keep an eye on things. The kids rooms are all across the hallway from us, and my husband is a light sleeper.

We also started with monitored "play" dates with neighbors. Nothing obvious, but I'd go over for tea while he was playing and keep an eye on what was going on and how he was interacting with the other children. Even today, I'll pop over to see the neighbors while he's there playing, and keep in close contact with them about any thing that seems off or an issue.

As we're more comfortable, our boys now share a room. And our daughter has her own room, with plans to share with the new baby. We've got two more unused bedrooms that we plan to use if/when we adopt again. And as we have more children in the house, and more needs and concerns, we'll be even more "picky" about what we can handle and the precautions we put into place.

We were ready for more issues, had bought door alarms, had thought about safety plans, etc, but fortunately hadn't needed to implement them.

We continually talk with all of our children about aggression and appropriate ways of dealing with anger. (It's normally the younger, biologically related, ones that end up in the brawls.) Our oldest is actually terrified of any physical confrontation. From an early age, we talk about sexuality and use the right names for body parts. We emphasize that it's ok to ask questions, and that they have the right to control who touches their bodies.

We ensured that all of our children had quality Mom & Dad time by themselves. That was and continues to be the hardest for us. It's forcing us to both be actively involved in our kids activities and means that often our lives revolve around the kids. But we enjoy it (at least most of the time).


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mama4life
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posted 04-07-2011 02:45 PM     Profile for mama4life   Email mama4life     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Great post, Kenziedark.

It's great to know beforehand what you can or cannot handle. For us, we knew we couldn't parent a child who was sexually abused or a child with FAS or at risk for a serious mental illness.

My hubby works in mental health and deals with adults who have FAS, schizophrenia, etc., and it's very stressful. Dealing with that in his job and then dealing with these issues within our own family would have been too much.

Having supports and a system in place prior to placement and knowing what to do should a situation arise will make dealing with a rough situation that much easier.

For us, I now know that dealing with attachment issues was hard enough, and I can say without a doubt that I could never parent a child with RAD. But, that's okay.

I'd rather be honest with what type of child I can parent, than to accept a child into my home and have to disrupt because of inaccurate information in the child's file or not having done the research beforehand.

And, even after doing all of that, it's still a leap of faith.


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HappyParents
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posted 04-07-2011 03:48 PM     Profile for HappyParents   Email HappyParents     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Thank you all for the responses. Amazing stories! And the baby monitors thing ... great idea!!!! :-)
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kenzie_dark
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posted 04-07-2011 03:50 PM     Profile for kenzie_dark   Email kenzie_dark     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
"And, even after doing all of that, it's still a leap of faith. "

Isn't that just a short definition of all kinds of parenthood.


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HDWB
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posted 04-12-2011 09:21 AM     Profile for HDWB   Email HDWB     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Kenzie_dark - thanks. That answered my question perfectly and I think you hit on key points for anyone else pursuing the adoption of an "older" child. I'm really wowed by the careful way in which you transitioned your son.

Like Mom of 4 said...knowing what you can handle is so important. First adoption we were open to anything, 2nd adoption we had to take into consideration what our DD could also handle, plus with our teen experience we found out that DH just cannot deal with attachment issues. Others can, and do it beautifully.

Kenzie_dark - Hope those other bedrooms get filled when you are ready


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TimbitGrrl
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posted 05-04-2011 03:40 PM     Profile for TimbitGrrl   Email TimbitGrrl     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Thanks for this great discussion. We have a 2 and 4 year old and are on a waiting list for PRIDE/homestudy so it won't be another couple years before we can even look at what age we can adopt. I wondered a lot about the birth order and everyone has made some really good points. We were open to older children but I think we'll keep our oldest where she is--she is also the first grandchild and loves being the big sister. I can see a lot of value in adopting and maintaining the birth order. I appreciate everyone's experiences--it really helps those of us who are new to learn and understand a lot more about the process and what to expect.
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kenzie_dark
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posted 08-10-2011 09:43 PM     Profile for kenzie_dark   Email kenzie_dark     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
bump for applegirl
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applegirl
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posted 08-14-2011 01:45 AM     Profile for applegirl   Email applegirl     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
what a great thread! KenzieDark - I really appreciate you bumping for us. You've given us a lot to think about, and perfect timing too - because we start our assessment on the 25th of August - I'll be sure to talk through a lot of this with our SW.

I like the gentle, careful way that you brought your family together. We will certainly take your advice concerning safety very seriously when it comes time to review profiles.


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