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Would this offend you?

mondkmondk specializes in Geriatrics.

I belong to many forums because there are so many pieces of me floating around. Anyway, as we just adopted a baby last year I belong to a huge adoption forum.

Someone there posted that they were having trouble deciding to adopt this certain baby due in a couple months because his mother had been diagnosed bipolar. They were afraid the baby would wind up with it and they didn't feel they could handle a bipolar child.

Now I took great offense to this (doesn't help that I'm bipolar) and replied to their post that the chances of passing this on to the child is like 15% and how would they know if any other baby whose birthparents were healthy might not wind up with bipolar or other illnesses, mental or physiological. They ended up refusing to adopt the baby. This completely incensed me and just goes to show there is still a lot of stigma out there where MI is concerned.

Someone from there PM'ed me on the site and tried to explain to me that all prospective adoptive parents have the right to take on what they feel they can handle. All I can think of though is that little baby who is being judged by his mother's illness.

Am I "right" to be offended? Should I have handled it differently or tried to educate the posters that agreed with them (about 25 agreed and about 7 supported my take on the issue) or what else could I have done or said...this topic comes up a lot in adoption I've noticed, quite sadly too.

Any input appreciated!

Blessings, Michelle

UM Review RN specializes in Utilization Management.

I would not take offense. Every parent wants a perfectly healthy child.

While we all realize that "perfect" is not going to happen, only the parents can decide what type of "imperfection" they can deal with.

For instance, the doc wanted me to have an amniocentesis when I was pregnant with my son to test for Down's syndrome. I refused, my rationale being that if my child had Down's, I was having him and keeping him anyway, so it didn't matter if I knew beforehand.

AprilRNhere specializes in RN- Med/surg.

I think it's very honest of them. If they took the child, knowing they couldn't handle it- then every mood swing that child has they'll wonder and blame on a possible illness. That wouldn't be healthy for anyone. They weren't directing it at you- just knowing their limits.

Congrats on the baby. We all know no child is perfect. Some things don't come to light until later in life and others never show up even though we know they are there. I think perhaps there has been some movement in the de-stigmatization (if that is a word) of MI if you were able to get a baby. Hold on to those thoughts.

That family may have passed on a beautiful, ""normal" child. On the other hand if the child did have MI, I am glad they did not take it, if that was their attitude.

I have Bipolar Type II. Probably all the females in my family have it. Only my daughter and I have been formally diagnosed. I am not too offended. I am left handed. You know sinister, hand of the devil, etc. There are still people who think I should have been changed while it was still possible. I did not ask for either one of these conditions. I have learned to take care and not take personally the ignorance of others.

Perhaps left handedness or buck teeth, or fill in the blank... would not have been perfect for them either. Maybe the baby is better off without them.:twocents:

To answer your question, no, it would not offend me.

I might be saddened or frustrated that the couple could be making their decision based on false information or flawed understanding, but taking offense--I don't think it would even occur to me.

We don't know much about these people. They could be paranoid dark-agers having a knee-jerk reaction to anything less than perfect. Or maybe one of them grew up with a family member with untreated bipolar disorder and now has a boatload of bad memories. Maybe they're reacting to distorted media versions of bipolar disorder that highlight the most sensational aspects of the condition. After all, someone taking their meds and managing their illness wouldn't make for a very interesting Lifetime movie.

I'd much rather see a couple recognize their limitations and say they don't think they could be fair to such a child than forge ahead with all their doubts and end up with delayed or diminished bonding because of their fears.

And think of the child. If even the possibility of bipolar illness would compromise the relationship, the child would be better off in a family where there wouldn't be such a shadow hanging over them all.

Ideally, a couple like this would take their reaction as an invitation to learn more and investigate any ghosts from their pasts so that they could find freedom to go ahead with confidence. But, barring such efforts, if they can't give their all, they should back away and let someone who can take the little one.

canoehead specializes in ER.

If they passed on a beautiful normal child, good for them- the child will get parents that love him/her with all their gifts and flaws.

DDRN4me specializes in pedi, pedi psych,dd, school ,home health.

Congratulations on your baby!

I think that the baby who didnt get adopted will be better off. I see too many kids with mental illness due to their parents issues and their upbringing (or lack of parenting and love) than genetic.

hopefully this baby will go to two parents who will love and cherish it with or without a MI hx.

J_PIERCE_823 specializes in Home health, Nursing home, ICU Step-down.

Thats just not giving a child a chance. I would never neglect or reject a kid cause of an illness. I guess if those are the type of ppl they are though, then their loss. They really could be missing out on a wonderful chance.:no:

Liddle Noodnik specializes in Alzheimer's, Geriatrics, Chem. Dep..

Am I "right" to be offended? Should I have handled it differently or tried to educate the posters that agreed with them (about 25 agreed and about 7 supported my take on the issue) or what else could I have done or said...this topic comes up a lot in adoption I've noticed, quite sadly too.

Any input appreciated!

Blessings, Michelle

Hi Michelle, put it this way: Would YOU want to have parents that took you in, feeling that way about you?

Better a family that, knowing the risks, would take the baby anyway and love him/her no matter what.

Most of us don't get to choose our parents, be glad this little one has some say (in a way)! :)

Jules A specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

Hi and congratulations on your baby!

If I were you and had bipolar I would surely be offended however as others have stated so eloquently I also believe it is best that prospective parents recognize their possible limitations in advance. I work in Pediatric Psych and the sad truth is that almost all of my kids with Bipolar or Schizophrenia do have a parent or close relative with it also, sigh. Not that it is the end of the world or means that particular child would have it of course but it is definitely something to consider, imo.

Michelle,

I cannot say I know how you feel, I haven't adopted a baby. I know that no matter what problems my two children and grandchildren might have had, I would not have felt I couldn't handle their situation. I was raised to believe that God will show us a way, and he hasn't abandoned me yet.

We all want perfect children, mine aren't, my mother had five, none of us were either.:clown::jester::devil::nurse::devil:

Years of nursing, seeing all situations with children and/or parents, my tongue is sore from biting it. I have heard grown children say " I just cannot handle mom or dad " and I think of how those parents stayed and took care of them, I want to choke some of them. The same goes for parents who have to 'get away' from children for awhile. I did not work with my first, my second I had to work. They went everywhere I went. My mother had to ask me if she could keep them a day or night, I never called and told her I needed a break.

Children do not ask to be born. They deserve to have love, understanding, nourishment of their bodies and minds. They do not deserve physical and/or mental abuse. If parents feel like they can't handle a sick baby/child they may not treat them kindly, therefore I would rather they not have one at all, their own or adopted. There are people God knows that will take any baby, no matter what they are or may turn out like. :saint: Unfortunately we can't just pick them out of a phone book under "great parents or caregivers."

I feel why you are upset about a posting to your comments. A year or so ago I posted a comment on an amputee forum, the person who replied was not that same one, she posted to me that she hated people who were racist, which many others did not see the comment (which I said I made to my husband) as a racial slur. I am a 'bullheaded Taurus' and gave it all to her on a reply. She was a highly educated woman, I am a high school dropout who got my GED then went to nursing school. My feelings were hurt, but I got over it after I replied back to her.:smokin:

The great thing about forums is you never have to see the person you may have a conflict with. Say what you feel and never answer their comments. It usually makes THEM mad if you don't answer.:banghead:

I hope you can find peace with this problem. As it has been said "Don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff." We need many more people like you in this world.:saint:

God Bless you!

:twocents::yeah::bow:

Babs0512 specializes in Med surg, Critical Care, LTC.

I would't be offended. People are entitled to their opinions and decisions - even if different from yours.

You are, however, correct that there is still prejudice with regard to mental illness everywhere - even in the health care field where we should know better. We've made some strides, but we have so much further to go.

I feel bad for the child they passed over, hopefully he/she will find a family that doesn't require "perfection" as an adoption trait. There is no such thing as a perfect child, equally true for parents, none are perfect.

Try not to be too sensitive about your illness. I have MI too, and I just try to blow off the ignorance as much as possible.

My grandson is 1/2 black. My daughter is white, her BF black. Anyhow, after my beautiful grandson was born, I began to pay closer attention to comments people made with regard to race and prejudice. In short order, I realized I was driving myself batty "defending" my innocent grandson from those who will never even know him. So I said a prayer, and "gave it up to God" Now, I let God handle my worry over this.

So, I know how you feel, but you've got to grow a bit thicker skin. We live in a country that allows for freedom of speech. I suggest taking the higher road, don't be drawn into an argument with an ignorant person, you'll only feel worse.

Blesses, Babs :redbeathe

It occurs to me that in judging this couple as shallow people who wanted a "perfect" child, we may be guilty ourselves of wanting a "perfect" couple.

We don't know that they were holding out for perfection. We only know that they didn't feel equipped to voluntarily take on this particular child with a family history of bipolar disorder. This doesn't mean that they wouldn't have risen to the challenge had such a child been born to them or that they couldn't do the same if they took in this kid. It only means they didn't think it was the right thing for them to do at this time.

If this child were being passed over for something cosmetic or it had treatable medical problems that the couple just didn't want to bother with, maybe a case could be made that they were unrealistic in their expectations.

Mental illness is not so straightforward. There is much we don't understand about it, and, in many cases, treatments are controversial and come at the high cost of side effects and other fallout. Many folks with MI are able to function well and live healthy and productive lives. Some, however, are not. In this society, we allow and expect people with seriously impaired thinking to make decisions that require a sound mind. In the name of reversing the horrible treatment that MI people used to have inflicted upon them, we are now required to let illness dictate the choices of such vulnerable people, even if they chose differently when they were well. This can prove devastating to those who care about the ill ones.

I don't mean to hijack the thread. Only want to point out that it's easy for us to look at this couple and decide they are selfish and uncaring. Maybe they are only trying to be realistic about how much they have to offer.

As the mother of an adopted (now adult) son with mental health issues, I would urge anyone considering making such a move to weigh their options carefully. Our son was five years old when we got him as a foster child, and we knew much (but not all) about his conditions. We had to think long and hard about making a lifetime commitment to him. Although we did go ahead and adopt him and we love him very much, his life has not been easy for him or for us.

I would much rather see a couple like the one the OP mentioned count the cost and perhaps walk away if they don't feel up to the job than forge ahead out of some sense of moral or social obligation and fail the child in the future.

The reality is that not everyone is equipped to deal with every challenge. That includes the kids who are born to us. Families can fall apart when the stress is greater than they can manage.

I don't think it's wrong for some people to be able to provide more than others. It is what it is. In a Hallmark world, every family would be able to meet the needs of every wanting child. In the real world, we all have limitations and finding a good and lasting fit is more important than proving how noble and selfless you are.

I hope this child finds just the right family and that the couple finds the child that was meant for them.

suanna specializes in Post Anesthesia.

Offended? No-you can't let the ignorant and down right silly people in the world have that much impact on you. These people may be waiting a very long time to get thier "perfect" risk free child. Considering thier perspective on things, and thier appearant lack of parenting/coping skills you can bet that 14 years after they get thier child (if they ever do) they will have one interesting teenager to deal with- they may have been better off seeking a child with a PiPolar diagnosis- at least that can be managed. Out of control teenager syndrome is almost impossible to treat once it begins. I'm thinking they be checking thier own mental balance by the time they are done. I just pity whatever child they raise.

neurorn6 specializes in ER, ICU, Neuro, Ortho, Med/Surg, Travele.

Well let me see, mother in law who was schzo, sister in law who is bi polar, husband who has bi polar tendancies, nah. Life is too short. Bottom line, education is the key. When my daughter was acting out I spoke to one of my shrinks and he gave me tons of information including stats on the possibilites of mental illiness r/t genetics.

Live and let live. We all have to live with our choices. Sometimes we need to remember that we have to walk in our own shoes first and then walk in someone else's. We don't always know all the pieces involved in a person's or a families decision making process.

Anyway, good luck with the newest member of your family. Lots of love and kisses go a long way.:yeah:

Jules A specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

it occurs to me that in judging this couple as shallow people who wanted a "perfect" child, we may be guilty ourselves of wanting a "perfect" couple.

we don't know that they were holding out for perfection. we only know that they didn't feel equipped to voluntarily take on this particular child with a family history of bipolar disorder. this doesn't mean that they wouldn't have risen to the challenge had such a child been born to them or that they couldn't do the same if they took in this kid. it only means they didn't think it was the right thing for them to do at this time.

if this child were being passed over for something cosmetic or it had treatable medical problems that the couple just didn't want to bother with, maybe a case could be made that they were unrealistic in their expectations.

mental illness is not so straightforward. there is much we don't understand about it, and, in many cases, treatments are controversial and come at the high cost of side effects and other fallout. many folks with mi are able to function well and live healthy and productive lives. some, however, are not. in this society, we allow and expect people with seriously impaired thinking to make decisions that require a sound mind. in the name of reversing the horrible treatment that mi people used to have inflicted upon them, we are now required to let illness dictate the choices of such vulnerable people, even if they chose differently when they were well. this can prove devastating to those who care about the ill ones.

i don't mean to hijack the thread. only want to point out that it's easy for us to look at this couple and decide they are selfish and uncaring. maybe they are only trying to be realistic about how much they have to offer.

as the mother of an adopted (now adult) son with mental health issues, i would urge anyone considering making such a move to weigh their options carefully. our son was five years old when we got him as a foster child, and we knew much (but not all) about his conditions. we had to think long and hard about making a lifetime commitment to him. although we did go ahead and adopt him and we love him very much, his life has not been easy for him or for us.

i would much rather see a couple like the one the op mentioned count the cost and perhaps walk away if they don't feel up to the job than forge ahead out of some sense of moral or social obligation and fail the child in the future.

the reality is that not everyone is equipped to deal with every challenge. that includes the kids who are born to us. families can fall apart when the stress is greater than they can manage.

i don't think it's wrong for some people to be able to provide more than others. it is what it is. in a hallmark world, every family would be able to meet the needs of every wanting child. in the real world, we all have limitations and finding a good and lasting fit is more important than proving how noble and selfless you are.

i hope this child finds just the right family and that the couple finds the child that was meant for them.

thank you so much for sharing your first hand insight, without it people are just refereeing from the cheap seats, imo. your son is as lucky to have found you as you are to have found him and i hope life is kind to him.

i would guess that many people have never seen the most severe outcomes of mental illness, fetal alcohol syndrome or being born drug addicted. the worst cases can be devastating for families physically, emotionally and financially. sadly it is naive to think that love and a safe home is enough is some cases.

suanna specializes in Post Anesthesia.

It occurs to me that in judging this couple as shallow people who wanted a "perfect" child, we may be guilty ourselves of wanting a "perfect" couple.

We don't know that they were holding out for perfection. We only know that they didn't feel equipped to voluntarily take on this particular child with a family history of bipolar disorder. This doesn't mean that they wouldn't have risen to the challenge had such a child been born to them or that they couldn't do the same if they took in this kid. It only means they didn't think it was the right thing for them to do at this time.

If this child were being passed over for something cosmetic or it had treatable medical problems that the couple just didn't want to bother with, maybe a case could be made that they were unrealistic in their expectations.

Mental illness is not so straightforward. There is much we don't understand about it, and, in many cases, treatments are controversial and come at the high cost of side effects and other fallout. Many folks with MI are able to function well and live healthy and productive lives. Some, however, are not. In this society, we allow and expect people with seriously impaired thinking to make decisions that require a sound mind. In the name of reversing the horrible treatment that MI people used to have inflicted upon them, we are now required to let illness dictate the choices of such vulnerable people, even if they chose differently when they were well. This can prove devastating to those who care about the ill ones.

I don't mean to hijack the thread. Only want to point out that it's easy for us to look at this couple and decide they are selfish and uncaring. Maybe they are only trying to be realistic about how much they have to offer.

As the mother of an adopted (now adult) son with mental health issues, I would urge anyone considering making such a move to weigh their options carefully. Our son was five years old when we got him as a foster child, and we knew much (but not all) about his conditions. We had to think long and hard about making a lifetime commitment to him. Although we did go ahead and adopt him and we love him very much, his life has not been easy for him or for us.

I would much rather see a couple like the one the OP mentioned count the cost and perhaps walk away if they don't feel up to the job than forge ahead out of some sense of moral or social obligation and fail the child in the future.

The reality is that not everyone is equipped to deal with every challenge. That includes the kids who are born to us. Families can fall apart when the stress is greater than they can manage.

I don't think it's wrong for some people to be able to provide more than others. It is what it is. In a Hallmark world, every family would be able to meet the needs of every wanting child. In the real world, we all have limitations and finding a good and lasting fit is more important than proving how noble and selfless you are.

I hope this child finds just the right family and that the couple finds the child that was meant for them.

Such a long post to be quoted twice but I had to respond. Anyone striving for a child needs to realize that the challanges of bringing up a kid are extreme, with the rewards being just as grand. To out of hand dismiss a child because there is a remote chance they may hae PiPolar disorder may have been an honest apprasial on thier parts of thier parenting abilities. I just feel if that is going to be too great a stretch of thier coping skills they need to reevaluate if they can handle parenting on any level. The average child will offer you challanges that make BiPolar issues seem like a day at the park.

Such a long post to be quoted twice but I had to respond. Anyone striving for a child needs to realize that the challanges of bringing up a kid are extreme, with the rewards being just as grand. To out of hand dismiss a child because there is a remote chance they may hae PiPolar disorder may have been an honest apprasial on thier parts of thier parenting abilities.

A child who has a parent with bipolar disorder has more than a "remote chance" of ending up with the condition themselves. Estimates range from a one-in-six chance to a one-in-three chance of a child with one bipolar parent having the same disorder. In addition, as many as one third of people with bipolar disorder choose not to have biological children because they know firsthand what it is to live with the disorder and hesitate to pass it on to their offspring.

Add to this that bipolar disorder is often coupled with substance abuse issues (people who know something is wrong with them frequently try to self-medicate), and you will see that the challenges connected with this condition are many.

I just feel if that is going to be too great a stretch of thier coping skills they need to reevaluate if they can handle parenting on any level.
It seems as if you are saying that unless you can manage a child with a (possibly severe) mental illness that you may not be able to handle any sort of parenting. That's like saying we shouldn't allow people to hike and climb in any mountain range unless they're prepared to tackle Everest. Many kids have manageable mental illnesses, but there are some for whom success is elusive and fragile. Their circumstances test every relationship they have. It isn't wrong to look long and hard before jumping into such a commitment.

The average child will offer you challanges that make BiPolar issues seem like a day at the park.
After decades of being a parent and foster parent to many kids as well as years working in child and adolescent psych, I have to say that this statement does not ring true with my experience. Bipolar kids have needs that range far beyond those of "regular kids." Often, they don't understand what is happening to them. They only know that they want to be like everyone else and they aren't. Like any adolescents with chronic health problems, they don't always agree to take their meds, and because they want to feel better, they frequently fall into substance abuse and risky behavior of all kinds.

In our case, (and potentially in the case of this young couple) we had adoption and attachment disorder complications as well. But even without these side issues, bipolar kids can be troubled and intense in ways that test parents to the max.

To say that the average kid will offer challenges that make bipolar issues seem like a walk in the park indicates an extremely atypical form of bipolar disorder--one that I have yet to run across. There might be seasons (or sometimes just moments) of relative tranquility, but I would never call living with bipolar disorder a walk in the park.

I don't mean to paint a totally bleak picture. Our son is a beloved family member, but we all--he included--carry scars from his growing years. We drew closer, but some families do not.

Would we adopt him if we had it to do over again? Yes. But I can't find it in my heart to feel judgmental toward a young couple that doesn't jump in with both feet.

I hope the child in question has a life ahead that is mentally safe and healthy. Barring that, I hope he or she will be placed in exactly the right home where the marriage is strong enough to weather adversity, the parents are tenaciously committed to finding whatever help is necessary, and the siblings are capable of great patience and compassion.

suanna specializes in Post Anesthesia.

reply to rn/writer "A child who has a parent with bipolar disorder has more than a "remote chance" of ending up with the condition themselves. Estimates range from a one-in-six chance to a one-in-three chance of a child with one bipolar parent having the same disorder. In addition, as many as one third of people with bipolar disorder choose not to have biological children because they know firsthand ........."

I never intended to belittle what you have gone through in managing a child with special needs. I am sure every child is unique. I just see bipolar disorder as a managable condition. We are not talking about schizophrenia- with a loss of contact with reality, or MS/MD CP with profound often progressive physical needs and complications. Even Downs- despite all we know we have little impact on the long term outcomes. Children are such a precious gift. The oppertunity to adopt is not readily available for most couples. My wife was unable to concive with me- my daughters are step children. If I had the opportunity to adopt a ahild with a 1 in 3 chance in having a medically managable mental illness- especialy one I was forwarned about and could intervene earily in their development if the need arose, I can't imaging turning down that chance to love and nuture a child. The post sounded like the couple wanted a guarentee of a perfect, illness free child. It's thier choice- I can't argue with thier decision, but I have a hard time understanding being unwiling to consider this child just because of a chance they may have a treatable medical condition with every chance of a unimpaired, happy, productive life even if the condition occurs. My wife has been diagnosed as BiPolar, I have one granddaughter with Downs, another with ADHD. I wouldn't trade any of them for the most "perfect" child in the world. They are great just the way they are and if it takes a little more effort to help them through it seems like a small price to pay to have them in my life. We will have to agree to disagree- I respect your opinion and always enjoy your posts.

Jules A specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

I just see bipolar disorder as a managable condition.

It's thier choice- I can't argue with thier decision, but I have a hard time understanding being unwiling to consider this child just because of a chance they may have a treatable medical condition with every chance of a unimpaired, happy, productive life even if the condition occurs.

Please do some research on BiPolar because in my experience it is rarely a "mild, manageable condition". There are definitely people like your wife that easily find a medication that helps them and that they are willing to remain on who can live a happy, peaceful life but there are many others that really struggle.

My wife has been diagnosed as BiPolar, I have one granddaughter with Downs, another with ADHD. I wouldn't trade any of them for the most "perfect" child in the world. They are great just the way they are and if it takes a little more effort to help them through it seems like a small price to pay to have them in my life. We will have to agree to disagree- I respect your opinion and always enjoy your posts.

I commend you for your attitude and agree that the kids in my life that some people might consider less than perfect are the most special however as a nurse who deals with this first hand 5+ days a week please take my word that we are not talking about needing "a little more effort to deal with". There are many cases with bipolar disease where medication, love and support are not enough to keep these children and their families safe. :(

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