What am I called?(99 Posts)
First day of intros - only 1 1/2 hours but I think it went well and included a kiss from DS and DD giving me a pile of her toys to bring back with me which seemed like a really good sign!
However - I don't know what my name is. FC, SW and DD's therapist are all calling me Banana, to and in front of DCs. As in, 'show Banana this', 'Banana will be back tomorrow'. Therapist has done DD a chart of the intros plan and on every day there are parts with 'FCs name' and parts with 'Banana' written down. When I met FCs we talked very briefly about me being called mummy or mummy Banana, but it wasn't discussed at the intros planning meeting. FCs are first time FCs and LAC SW is new to adoption - my SW isn't but is on holiday. Don't know about the therapist.
I'm not sure if I'm over thinking it, or expecting too much for a first day, I just feel uncomfortable with the adults calling by my name to DCs I think. I know DD has talked about me as her 'forever mummy' but I'm being called by my name by the adults to her. Today she showed me photos and keepsakes from mummy and daddy and of course I'm not going to push her to call me mummy if she doesn't want to, but am I wrong in thinking the adults concerned should be having a go at referring to me as mummy to her?
Sorry if this is a bit muddled, I'm trying to process. Thoughts please.
IMVHO I think it's best to bring it up now and explain, and not just let her stay silent. If she thinks BM has chosen not to send her cards, she will probably feel very upset and rejected, and might infer that she's unloved/unlovable etc
I'm glad her birthday went well though, sounds lovely
I've tried saying 'Are you expecting some more cards darling?' but she said no. Do you think I should overtly ask her if she's aware birth family won't be sending cards? Or I could ask the wet SW, or the therapist I suppose.
She talked at the park today about her cousin - when we have the daily 'when I'm older I can find' talk it's always mum, gran and this cousin she mentions - I dropped in that he doesn't know our address. She said she didn't know what I meant so I explained the postman needs to know our name and also our house number, road, town to bring our post to us. But then it was after this later at home that she wondered if the postman had been yet. I'm not sure what she understands, she's clearly got the 'when I am as old as (name of FCs daughter) I can find mummy, granny and cousin x' so she knows she can't do that now, but maybe she hasn't understood or hasn't been told they don't know where she is.
Quick update - we've had a good few days, I think. By which I mean we have had much shouting, screaming, crying, tantrums, slamming doors, and telling me I am disgusting. But we also had some hand holding, smiling, having friendly conversations and after a fairly epic screaming and crying episode (while SW was here), mine and DDs first ever sitting on my lap cuddle. Also we spent a little time at the park with a friend of mine, and for the first time DD interacted with me while there was another adult around - up to now she has rejected me strongly any time we are with another adult. DS and the cat are mystified by all the noise but I think it's going okay overall!
Glad to hear it Banana. Have been watching this thread and feeling for you and DD. No wise words to offer other than the well worn and trite - hang in there
Banana Glad things are all going. Can I just ask, is your DS a birth son or did you adopt him before or have you adopted DS and DD at same time? Sorry for confusion on my part.
Keep up the good work.
Sorry should have explained DD and DS are full sibs. I am aware I really only post about DD, her needs are so much more 'present' but DSs are there too of course. He has had quite a different experience as he was removed much younger and has no conscious memories of living with birth family and had security with FCs etc. All of the birth family's guilt tripping etc has been laid on DD presumably as she is likely to remember it (as well as all the memories of the things which caused them to be removed), whereas DS is too young. DS has his moments - a few days of just being really furious and shouting NO at everything, plus daily throwing things in temper and spitting out and throwing food, plus he is very sensitive to noise - but he is able to seek comfort and express his needs in more 'straightforward' ways DD can't.
Today I feel like I'm getting into a shouting rut. Need to find ways of addressing DDs need for control better. Sometimes I feel like I do it right but other times I end up shouting at her after 6+ times of asking reasonably, and it feels like it's what she wants? I know I know she's trying to recreate a familiar situation of raised voices etc and there's definitely an edge of excitement for her if I raise my voice. I just lose my patience sometimes. Work in progress.
Is there a familiar parenting book you can reread to help you? When I'm losing patience with our bd I go back to 'Unconditional Parenting' and it helps give me a focus and a bit of a mantra (in a 'repeat in my head' way) and that invariably helps me stay calmer.
How old is DD? Can you also find a way to say 'I know you think I'm going to shout but that is not going to happen - we're going to sort this out together'
Banana thanks for explaining.
Last year I did a parenting course called Family Links Nurturing Course, which uses a book called The Parenting Puzzle.
I am just about to complete our parenting course for adoption (I am post panel but pre matching!).
The course last year was fabulous and the adoption parenting course usesd lots of the same stuff.
I know it will sound like a cliché (and I am not yet a parent to a child who has been adopted but I am mum to a pretty demanding 8 year old birth DD)....but can you in your dealing with DD take your time? I know with me and my dd it is often when we are rushing, when I need to do something like get her ready for school, church or an outing etc that she winds me up by taking ages! She lies on her bed and says she is getting ready when she is not etc etc. It is because I need to be there by a certain time and am stressed I end up shouting.
I hate me shouting! It is not who I want to be! I am sure you feel the same. I hope you will find a way not to shout as it often (in my experience) escalates the situation rather than defusing it.
Could you just (when she starts shouting) go down to her level and tell her in a really soft voice what it is she needs to do and remind her once it is done, whatever it is, there will be enough time for... TV/play/a trip to the park/ a go on her bike/ some junk modelling with cereal boxes, some craft to make a little item of jewelery, some painting, sitting down to enjoy an apple cut up just the way she likes it/or a drink of ice cold orange juice/or a game of dollies or trucks or pets or whatever.... etc etc
Before you laugh heartily, no I do not do that all the time. I forget. I shout. I often threaten rather than offer... Unless you get ready now there will be no TV after school etc etc.
I am really telling myself this is what I should do!
You are, I am sure, right that she is recreating, or attempting to recreate, her previous family life. I am guessing for many children taken into the looked after system there may well be little of the good positive family you can offer with things like time together, trips to the park, rides on a bike, healthy meals and drinks, and fun games of dollies or trucks or whatever.
So you are showing her two new things, the things she will not get (shouting, chaos, frustration) and the things she will get (calm, peace, treats, normal healthy food and normal healthy play). I am sure eventually like most of us she will choose the good stuff and you will be much calmer.
I am sure you are doing a great job.
At those times when you feel stressed, please do not allow her bevaviour to destroy your calm, not having to go anywhere too quickly and not having to do anything to too tight a schedule will make it easier. I know it is hard to get to school on time, we are late all the time! So I really am not an authority on anything at all, but I know what I aspire to, and wanted to share it.
All best wishes, Banana.
PS you mentioned control. Just an idea but if you want to allow her control let her pick which treat she wants, or which thing from a list of good choices you approve, like go to the park on her scooter or her bike, have an apple or a peach, make up her squash herself or let you do it, have a pasta salad or a sandwich in her packed lunch, play with the trucks or the dolls. Don't give her too many choices at one time.
I am not sure if this will help or not but I do it sometimes.
Today, with a list of chores for me and DD, I did give her options to do stuff in between the chores. Either to get them all done in one go (she is 8 so I am guessing a bit older than your DD) or to break up the chores with fun stuff. She chose the later and so she did some gardening, room cleaning and home work interspersed with the trampoline and the TV. She actually enjoyed the gardening and again there were choices as she chose which implements to use and which jobs she could manage. I was on hand to help and I think we both found it more fun than we were expecting! (I normally hate gardening!)
Italian thanks for your posts, lots to think about. I try to offer DD choice but not too much - usually between 2 things, and I say yes to any reasonable request eg to play a particular game etc. Also I try to ask reasonably several times, then pose it that DD is choosing the outcome - so for example we've gone in her room to get dressed and if I ask DD 6 times calmly to come and get dressed, and instead she continues to bounce on the bed, I say 'ok I see you have decided you want to get yourself dressed today, ok DS and I will go downstairs now and you come when you're ready', then she will say 'no no I want you to get me dressed' (usually with shouting or crying) and then she'll let me get her dressed. i don't know if that's right or wrong.
Interestingly, today DD requested a star chart - she had previously done star charts at FC (and was rewarded with cash ), but FC said that once contact with birth family reduced, DDs behaviour improved so much they didn't need the star charts and stopped them. I hadn't expected to do it however DD wants to do one and wanted to spend our special 1 to 1 time today making it. For her goal to work towards she chose the activity we did for her birthday treat - which she scowled through on the day and has often since has claimed was rubbish
Today my unwanted shouting has been more for DS. At FC the children ate without adult supervision and consequently their table manners are appalling. It is really grim having chewed up food deliberately (and accurately) thrown at me every meal time, and it's really hard to ignore when it's going everywhere and on everyone! Hey ho.
Oh yuck food thing sounds bad [non-jusdgemental but symathetic face emotion] .
You sound like you are doing well to cope. But hang on in there. Is it an attempt to get your attention?
If I can suggest, I expect you do it already, watch out for any good table manners and praise them to the hilt!
We do the scary sky now (thanks to Family Links Nurturing Course and the Parenting Puzzle book). Basically a piece of A4 black paper and some start stickers, we gte plain gold r silver and sometimes coloured ones, especially the metalic coourful ones and even some with shooting stars on. She gets a star for anything we think is good, e.g. nice table manners (DD's are pretty bad), staying in her own bed at night, etc. She can also 'award' us stars for good things we do. Once the stary sky is full (e.g. pretty much covered) she gets a treat, which is usually a trip to cinema, swimming or a small toy. It could easily be a park visit or other free place or trip to local charity shop for a second hand toy if cash is tight (we used to give lots of smaller gifts or rewards when she was younger. Now she is 8 we usually make it one big reward, usually about once a month.
It has helped for us. The3 trouble is to remember to do it! Also with stary sky there is no sense of failing to get a sticker for a certain day as the stars are random all over the paper. The paper can be displayed or not and no visiters need to know what it is about.
Yes the food throwing is grim! I do praise good behaviour, but it's a fine line as DD gets jealous if DS is praised and then her behaviour deteriorates, but if I praise her she usually rejects it.
SW visit today - lots of platitudes about how she knows how I feel as she is a (birth, 2 parent family) parent and how it's all normal. Patronising and annoying, and hugely unsettling for DD who spent all afternoon absolutely howling with tears about everything under the sun, including the fact she was winning the game we were playing! Then DS joined in so we were all quite damp.
I ordered the parenting puzzle book from the library today, hope it is useful.
It is a great book but is not specifically for families of children who have been adopted. I am not yet an adopted parent so no idea how 'normal' this situation all is, you are totally right it is not normal for birth children. Most birth children seem to have totally crap table manners (paraphrasig from what a professional said about my daughters school at lunch time) but by thath I mean not using knives and forks and making a mess etc. This does not include throwing food. I am afraid I am not sure how you tackle that one, would it help to start a thread with that as the subject and see if experienced adopters can help?
How old are they? PM me if you would rather not say.
Of it was my birth child I would probably say, if we can get through a whole meal with no food throwing (from the older one, work on her first) then we will go to the cinema, the park, watch a DVD this afternoon etc. It really does need to be a pretty instant reward. However, with your DD there is maybe more going on so what is it all about? Has she had a situation in past where not fed properly? Is she rejecting your food because she has been seperated from birth mum? Would it helop if you had a simple salad and she helped to prepare it? You could then say something like, as are making this lovely meal with me I hope no one (at all) will be throwing any food. And maybe make it fun like they can make their salad items into a face on the plate and you take a photo of the face and put it on the wall?
Just ideas. Good luck.
Oh Banana I wonder about therapy, for the kids, is there any on offer to help them adjust? I remember in our parenting course they talked about allowing the children to act younger and kind of regressing a bit to heal some of the feeling associated with the move to a new family. I am not sure if there is any help on line with this, if you find any please do share it because I am sure it would be useful to others too.
All the best.
If they were toddlers there would be advice
But I could not find anything for older kids. Do they serve themselves from central bowls or do you serve them? Maybe the kids serving themselves would help them to feel better about what they have.
Food throwing was actually quite minimal today! It's all in the mix, so much has changed and is changing, they (we) are doing so well really. DD isn't really eating huge amounts at mealtimes at the moment even though I'm only giving stuff I know they like, but they both eat plenty of fruit as snacks so I'm not too worried they're not getting enough. I always take DD to do food shopping, so she can see I will always provide food, and that I will get stuff she likes. Am trying to keep meals less stressful as I know they find it stressful to eat at the table as it's strange to them, they were used to eating off their laps in front of the tv. SW has agree to make a CAHMS referral for DD as her 'life story therapist' is useless and I suspect not remotely qualified in therapy. Hey ho.
For food issues - there was a book published last year called "Love me, Feed me" which is specifically about food issues in adopted/fostered children, and how to solve them. I've not read it (yet, it's on my wishlist since I want more insight into my girls food issues), but it has really good reviews - literally nothing below 5 stars on Amazon and people saying it really helped their kids. Might be worth a look?
CAMHS referral sounds good, really hope that leads to something helpful for you all. Wouldn't be surprised if the life story stuff is useless, sadly
To me, it sounds like you're being a great mum and doing brilliantly
Well done Banana I am sure you are doing a great job.
Thanks, really weird few days with ups and downs and a few moments of thinking 'what am I doing?' which I'm sure is normal! Today DD asked when she could have a cuddle, but then decided she didn't want one - progress of a sort. Met with school again yesterday, they were very accommodating and we have a plan to start DD very gradually starting with a visit in late November, and they are happy to adjust the plan once we see how things go. I feel very lucky in the school so far, their attitude was brilliant - I questioned whether DD going in so little for a long period would impact on their attendance figures and the head said it might after a while but that wasn't important to her as DDs welfare is what matters - hurray!
Love that head, great attitude
And yes...absolutely utterly normal!
Yay Banana go girl go!
It is normal Banana, you sound like you're doing brilliantly! I was a complete wreck for weeks when DD joined us - like you, DD and DS are full siblings, but he was placed as a baby and she was a bit older. It was an utter nightmare but it has come good in the end (touches wood). That school sounds great. Wishing you and your little ones all the best xx
Thanks all - for the last couple of days I've had a real 'how am I going to get through today?' heartsink moment every day after breakfast. Yet after bedtime, despite the hitting spitting tantrums etc, I sit down and think 'that was a pretty good day' so I think it's going okay. This morning we went to the library and on the way back stopped for DCs to splash in some puddles (in wellies bought by grandma for that purpose!). For the first time DD was happy to let me take a video on my phone - til now she has scowled and hid from cameras - I suspect she may have been told not to take nice photos by birth family for some reason. I was so happy to get a few minutes of them laughing and enjoying something so simple and felt like we were having a nice family moment rather than feeling like a negative shouty nag, which I have been feeling lately. For a day which I didn't have high hopes of when it began (with DS waking before 1am), pretty good going!
Have been following your story, Banana- so glad the school are doing the right thing. Sounds like you made a good choice
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