Lightning struck 3 times and we have had 3 successful infant adoptions (after an initial two failed ones). Call us crazy, but I think we are going to jump in the game again for a 4th child. This time, we are interested in going the foster-to-adopt route.
My question is about birth order. We have ages 8(boy), 5(girl), and 1(girl). The oldest two fight all the time but the oldest is extremely caring with the baby. She is his little jewel. Our oldest is also high functioning autistic. I don't think we would adopt anyone older than our oldest and probably not older than our middle (she has a bad case of the middle child blue right now). But what about adopting someone older than our youngest 1 year old? I know the foster care system can have a lot of kids with sexual (and otherwise) abuse issues. But how much of a concern is it with kids this young? If we go into this requesting a child 5 or younger, how wise do you think that is?
My take on it is that every child is different and you have to treat them that way. You have to wait to see what the situation brings. My wife, however, read a long time ago about always keeping birth order and this proposition makes her nervous. If we insist on keeping birth order, we'll obviously have to wait a few years to even start the process. But if not, there seems to be a nice little gap between the middle and youngest.
My wife is a stay-at-home mom who is amazing. She has a degree in psychology and has worked for years with special needs children. She is also fluent in American Sigh Language. By the time we finished a home study, the two oldest will be in school. I have a government job that allows me to get home at a good time. We have the attention to give. I just want to make sure we protect our children, especially the youngest.
Last update on December 10, 7:49 am by taterman.
The problem is your younger child won't be in a position to protect herself. And no one can watch someone 24 hours a day. Not trying to discourage you, just being realistic. And I adopted 4 from foster care without first doing homework or coming on this site. If you get a child who's had multiple placements, chances are that child will have more severe psychological disorders. Getting mental health treatment is tough once a kid is adopted. If you decide to do the foster to adopt route, both you and your wife need to be prepared that you'll have to be extra vigilant.
I know this is an old post, but I want to comment anyway, for anyone who has the same questions that you have.
First off, even babies, toddlers, and preschoolers get abused, emotionally, physically, and, yes, sexually. It's disgusting, it's horrific, but it happens. The abuse can occur from parents, siblings, relatives, foster caregivers, day care workers, etc.
And children who are abused sometimes become abusers. After all, the people who were supposed to love them and care for them did those things, and that is what they learned as normal. So, even surprisingly young children can become bullies, can make scary threats like, "Some night I'm going to sneak into your bedroom and stab you with a knife", can try to engage others in sex play, and so on.
Some children who have learned that adults aren't to be trusted, because they tend to hurt you or leave you, also develop attachment disorders. In their most severe forms, where a child fails to develop a normal conscience, attachment disorders can cause even young children to do things like harming other children, harming animals, setting fires, stealing scissors or knives and threatening their parents with them, and so on. Severe RAD is not common, but it does happen. And, unfortunately, you may not find out that the child has severe RAD until you bring him/her into your home. In many cases, social workers don't find out about it, because they don't have enough time to monitor foster homes, while in other cases, they may be a little too eager to make placements, and gloss over things that a prospective parent should know about.
Some children also are born with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, because their birthmothers drank during pregnancy. While many alcohol-exposed children do just fine, some wind up with a variety of deficits, including poor impulse control. The child who is extremely impulsive can inadvertently bring harm to himself/herself or to others. And, again, you may not find out about the alcohol exposure until the child is in your home and something just doesn't seem right.
As a result, if you plan on adopting a child older than your youngest child, you should think very carefully about whether you can provide 24 hour a day supervision, at least for a month or so, till you determine that he/she is not likely to pose a threat to that youngest child. And you should remember that, even if a child wasn't abused, doesn't have RAD, and doesn't have FASD, he/she may not have learned behaviors that work well in a family. He may grab a child's food because he experienced food insecurities. He may knock a child down to take her sweater, because that's what he did in his foreign orphanage, where there wasn't enough warm clothing. He may scream words that would make a sailor blush, and that your toddler will quickly imitate.
I'm not saying that people should NEVER adopt out of birth order. I'm just saying that most social workers don't recommend it, because of the potential risks. If you want to adopt out of birth order, try to get every possible scrap of information about the child that you can, before you adopt him/her, to determine whether there has been abuse, neglect, a severely impoverished situation, or a terribly dysfunctional family situation. And talk with your social worker about strategies for keeping your youngest child safe while managing to maintain your sanity and your relationship with your partner, caring for your older children, and integrating the newest child into your family.
Sharon recently posted two articles on this topic, one from the perspective of an adoptive parent, and one from the perspective of an adoptee.
Adoptive Parent:
As you said in your original post, it's obviously going to come down to your unique situation and the child's unique situation, but it's definitely something you'll want to be cautious about. As the adoptive mom said in her article, "When it came down to it, we went with what “felt” right to us. We prayed long and hard about it and decided to adopt Lilly."
I do find it interesting that the number 1 concern presented in the responses above is sexual abuse, and that's the numbe 1 pitfall identified by the adoptee, who was, horribly, molested by an older adopted sibling.