As an adoptee, and social worker, I am always interested in reports related to current trends, and today I saw the news suggesting a drop in adoptions due to IVF. Having experience of this within my family I know IVF is often a first choice for those seeking to stat a family, and one I would personally recommend over adoption.
When a close family member asked my advice on adoption, should their IVF fail, my advice was to proceed with caution. Whilst I believe adoption is preferable to a child languishing in the care system, farmed out to a multitude of foster placements that may break down I am also aware there are major issues for adoptive families, due, I believe to the changes in reasons leading up to adoption.
In my case I was adopted because it appeared my mother had an extra marital affair which resulted in becoming pregnant with me. She was divorced by her husband , who also gained custody of their young son, and my mother was basically chucked out of the family home. She did not have the means to care for me in terms of a home, cash or family support and her only option was adoption.
I think circumstances leading to adoption today are far more complex and involve problems such as mental health issues, substance mis-use, domestic violence and child abuse. These along with the knowledge gained from neuroscience means that some of the children who need to be adopted have far more complex physical, emotional and psychological needs than I did, and thus require adoptive parents able to cope with whatever this might bring.
Research suggests those who do choose to adopt a child today can face multiple difficulties. A survey last year found over a quarter of adoptive families in crisis, and requiring additional support. Even with additional funding for therapeutic services the number of adoptions that break down, resulting in a child being removed from a placement, have risen in recent years, despite government attempts to tackle the issue.
Adopting a child meets many needs, that of the parent and the child, but adopting a child who has been removed from a parent does not come problem free. Whilst parenting any child is never easy, parenting an adoptee is a multi layered experience which requires the blending of love and therapeutic skills and knowledge to support recovery from childhood trauma to prepare the way for adulthood.
It’s not easy, and I admire those who decide to adopt, but many need more than my admiration, they and their children need real longterm support. Maybe if the system was able to provide more support for parents adoption might be viewed as a equally viable option to IVF?