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

6 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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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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