Adopting with MS

Eve and Marcus are a married couple just considering adoption. They have some concerns and wonder if you could share your own experiences and advice…

adopting with ms

We’ve been married 5 years now and in that time we’ve discovered that Eve has Multiple Sclerosis. Infertility issues have led us to considering adoption, but we’re not sure whether to proceed or not.

We really want a family, we think we could offer a lot to a child, but we’re worried that Eve’s health might be a sticking point for any agency.

At the moment her health isn’t too bad – she has good days and bad days but is managing. We’re also just about to buy a house that needs a lot of work doing, so should we wait until the work is done (which could take years) or, knowing the process can be lengthy, should we make our initial enquiries now?

If you have any advice for Eve and Marcus, please do leave a comment below and we’ll make sure they see it. And if you have your own problem that you’d like to share here, please do contact us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com.

7 thoughts on “Adopting with MS

  1. Suddenly Mummy

    Hi Eve and Marcus! My personal feeling is that I’d certainly make initial enquiries now. You’d have chance to discuss these things before you have to commit to anything and I can’t help thinking that it might be better to actually talk it over with them and know where you stand rather than put it off and be constantly wondering. I don’t know enough about multiple sclerosis to really say whether it would necessarily be a sticking point, although it would certainly be a talking point – they will probably ask a lot of probing questions about what you can do and how you would manage in x/y/z situation – but again, it’s probably better to just make enquiries and ask – it’s not something that’s going to go away over time so there’s really nothing to be gained by delaying. The process will take several months, minimum, but once you’ve started, you can slow things down if the house is taking longer than you thought. The social worker will be able to help you set priorities as far as working on the house goes as well. I have several friends who have considered fostering and adoption but felt that they wouldn’t be approved for one reason or another – all those who actually pursued it were eventually accepted. Their various issues affected their matches, but they weren’t rejected outright. For instance I know a couple who felt that they would surely be rejected as the husband is in his early 60s now, while the wife is in her mid 40s. In fact they have been told that they can proceed but will be asked to consider slightly older children. I think it’s worth making the enquiry and perhaps asking somebody if you can just have an initial conversation to discuss your situation and get their take on it all.

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  2. rh

    I would echo Suddenly Mummy in saying it is worth starting initial enquiries now. We were a little concerned about some health issues with me but other than saying only one child it has not really been a problem. I have a little more knowledge about MS as my Aunt has it and like you Eve has good days and bad days. She copes pretty well and refuses to let it stop her doing anything. Basically provided you can talk about what you would do if with the social worker and have plans in place then I am sure you would be fine. It is worth making those initial enquiries and explaining your situation as you should get some good advice from the agency I would hope.

    Slowing things down midway through is fine – we have been forever told to put a break on things if we need time – yes the government what things speeded up but social workers also want things to be right for you. I would say go ahead make enquiries and see where it leads you.

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  3. Anon

    I don’t want to sound unduly negative but I am going to write from a chid’s POV as my mother had (and still has) MS. It did have a destabilising effect on my childhood and I became very anxious. It also affected my relationship with my mother, and not for the better. I was constantly worried she would die and I developed a hospital phobia which I still have. Obviously this is just me, and I was an anxious child anyway, It won’t affect all children the same way. I am just talking from my perspective. I am still very close to my mother but I sometimes withdraw and disconnect from her from fear of losing her. Ironically, of course, she is still alive! Thank goodness.

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  4. Three Pink Diamonds

    Hi Eve & Marcus, I would echo what Suddenly mummy and rh have wrote.

    I would add that LA’s prefer people to be living within the same area for 2 years so they know the area/community – however each LA and agency has their own criteria and some are flexible with it so I wouldn’t let that put you off.

    It may be a good idea to look after a niece/nephew or friends child for a weekend to build up evidence that you are able to cope with a child’s needs/demands etc.

    It may also be an idea to read other people’s blogs/stories about what life is like with an adopted child – again to evidence that you are researching into it all and the Social Workers can see that this is a decision that is well thought through (I’m sure you are not thinking of anything else at the moment).

    They will want to speak to your hospital specialist/G.P about your health, so it maybe an idea to speak to them first and gain their view on your health and ability to look after a child, so you will know what information they will be sharing in advance.

    Adoption UK have advice boards that prospective adopters can use, I use/used them and found them helpful, it maybe that someone else with MS can give you their personal account.

    I wish you all the best in your journey.

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  5. Alison Bates

    I know someone who has m/s for a number of years. She has not had to adopt any children but she has had three of her own, and one has dyspraxia and another is autistic and goes to a special school. This mother is greatly helped by having a dog from Canine Partners. It is amazing what she has achieved, also with great support from her husband. Yes, she has her bad days, but from what I have seen of her, I would say anything is possible if you put your mind to it, and seek the appropriate help and advice beforehand.

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  6. B

    I am both an adoptive mother as well as a child of a parent (my dad) who had multiple sclerosis. My experience growing up with a parent with MS was one of confusion. I didn’t understand what was wrong with my dad or why people were always asking me how he was. He was diagnosed when I was 6-months old and in a wheelchair by the time I was 3. We never talked about his illness or what it meant or what the medications or hospitalizations or endless doctor visits were for. I was often scared he would die…and still held this fear when I went away to college. This is the only part of growing up with a parent with MS that I would change. Had my parents been age appropriately open with me about what any of it meant I think I would have been more well adjusted and less anxious. All that said, the rest of my experience was amazing. My dad may have not been able to teach me how to throw a baseball or drive a car, but the things he taught me about life…determination, strength, quiet optimism, empathy, compassion, an appreciation that I really could do anything I wanted, how to really laugh at the simple ironies in life, and how to live in spite of not being able to walk or feed himself goes far beyond.

    I can only speak from a child’s point of view, but I know my mom held the majority of the parenting responsibilities as well as caring for her husband, the house, yard, and everything else full time. It was hard on her and she was too exhausted to do much fun stuff with us. I get it now, but it was hard to not feel rejected sometimes as a kid.

    I’m sure you have already considered all of these things, but I just wanted to share my experience. I don’t want any of it to be a deterrent AT ALL, but rather a window into how your future child might see things/feel and what might help them to understand.

    As far as adopting, I would say to go for it. I wouldn’t wait until house upgrades are made. Adoption waits can be long and home repairs are neverending. 😉 Maybe consider a lawyer or center who specializes in independent adoptions. These types of places do not tend to have restrictions (judgements) on age, health, marital status, or lifestyle choice as long as you are able to pass a home study and show you are able to care for a child. Best of luck to you with everything!!

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  7. MSAdoptiveMom

    Hello, and some of my own research and I ran across this website and thought it would be good to comment. I have no idea where you are in this process or if you had decided to adopt but I feel that it is necessary to speak from a different angle. I am an adoptive mother of a sibling set (currently ages eight and seven) that we brought into our family nearly 3 1/2 years ago- with three other children (21, 19, 14). I am also a 47-year-old woman who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis nearly 20 years ago. The angle I will speak from is how this has affected my progression.

    Having just had this conversation with my husband tonight, I feel it’s very fresh in my mind to let you know the stress of adoption and how it can have an effect on your health. Children who are in the adopted system are there for reason – meaning that they were either taken from their homes or they were given up willingly. This has a huge impact on them and generally leaves them with some minor to major behavioral issues. Our two adopted kiddos are fairly well-adjusted but as their birth mom took drugs while they were both in utero, they have behavioral issues caused by no fault of their own. This is not something that any of us have any control over nor does the system always alert you to these facts. As I am a stay at home mom, I deal with most of the day yo day issues on a very regular basis. Over the past three years my health has declined pretty rapidly from the stress of parenting to the point where walking has become an almost unbearable thing to do. Prior to 3 1/2 years ago, my health was great. With multiple sclerosis, I felt very blessed to be able to run, hike, ski, play at the park, kick a ball with my kids, skip, jump, go to the beach. Unfortunately, these things are not quite as doable any longer. I share this here because I think it’s important to understand the role that stress plays on multiple sclerosis. I also feel it’s very important to understand the role that adoption plays on stress in parenting and marriage. I share this here because I would never let my younger children nor any of my older children know this. I can fake it pretty well here at home day to day, but I believe it’s important for those in the multiple sclerosis community and the adoption community to understand the role of parental health, stress, marriage, and adoption.

    You may be asking yourself whether my disease would have already taken this route anyway? I cannot answer that question. But what I can say is that there is not a day that goes by where I wonder the same thing. I have a strong faith in the Lord and believe that all things are possible through him, however, I also believe it’s important to be wise and cautious in decision making.

    Whatever road you took, I pray that things are going well and that you’re staying healthy. Do all you can to take care of yourself and be your own advocate – much like when an airplane loses cabin pressure and the airbags fall, you are to secure yours before helping the person next to you. Be sure to get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and stay as active as possible.

    Please understand that this is not to cast a negative light on adoption at all. I am a huge advocate of adoption and believe it is a wonderful thing. However, in some cases it might not be the right choice. I cannot say this for you nor would we change our course. We strive to love all of our children and integrate our family as a whole. What I do believe is important is to understand how all of this works together.

    I wish you well,
    MSAdoptiveMom

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