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Childminder/Friend about to adopt - how best to offer support?(5 Posts)
Our childminder for DS and her husband have been trying to conceive for a number of years with no success and are now almost matched with a 2yo boy for adoption. Our childminder is taking a couple of months off work as they settle as a family. My DS adores his childminder and her husband and is just a month younger than the boy they will adopt and I am hoping the little lads will be able to be good friends in the long run but am wondering how best to support the settling process in it's early days...do I offer to meet up at soft play etc with my friend (childminder) and their adopted DS for example? Or do I/DS stay away whilst they all bond and settle? I don't know any specifics about the circumstances that the child is coming from other than he is currently in foster care. All of this is quite new to me so hopefully I've not said anything insensitive above though please tell me if I have!
What a nice friend you are to ask about this.
This is all just my personal opinion, please someone else contradict me if necessary!
The new family will need time to settle in together as a family. You may need to wait to meet him, but be sure to say you do want to meet him at the right time, and if appropriate you and your friend could get together for some 'girl talk' when he is asleep before introducing your two little men! She may wish to chat about stuff without him around and just to relax and it may be helpful to do that if you and she wish, before the kids meet.
Your friend may well appreciate a cooked meal brought round just as other new mums do. We had this, and we have done this in our church and toddler group for new mums.
Your friend will almost certainly be advised that a soft play place may be over stimulating for a new child at first, too many people and too much going on! It may be easier at the right time to introduce your little boy to hers at a quieter spot, low key. Either his house or your house or somewhere very gentle like an out door place (weather permitting). Try not to add pressure by voicing to the children that they will be or become great friends, they may not like each other at first, but will probably become friends gradually.
You won't know about the child's previous family or life and your friend will hopefully have been advised that the story of this little boy's life is his story and not to be shared with anyone else. She may choose to explain some things he does or does not do or does or does not need, e.g. he may shout when worried, or go quiet when worried, he may need space, or he may need hugs etc. He may interrupt to get attention and whereas with a birth child you would say 'Wait, mummy is talking!' With a new child who has joined the family by adoption she may need to give him her full attention, as one might with a screaming new baby.
Good luck, I am sure you will be very supportive and your boys will learn to get along fine.
PS If you can please do give her a card to congratulate her on her son, maybe not a new baby card, but a special adoption one or a suitable blank card with simple wording and/or a simple gift for her (flowers) or for her son (a book) or whatever seems suitable. That is what happens when people have new babies and people who adopt will be just as likely to love some subtle TLC.
I was told to go into lockdown and not introduce anyone new for as long as possible. I lasted about a week. I was going crazy. Offer to meet when they are ready and when you do just make sure you go through the parents for anything.. e.g. if you're giving your son juice then don't offer it to their lo because he has to learn to trust them to provide for him.
In the short term I think a text or call every couple of days works wonders. And the offer to pick up some groceries when you do your shop. Practical things.
Italian and crazee thanks so much for coming back to me with your thoughts...
- We are having an 'adoption party' with a few other friends for her (similar to a baby shower but age/adoption appropriate obviously) and there will be cards and gifts to help make the occasion feel special. We are also making a scrapbook similar to a 'first year baby book' but for her to record some of their 'firsts' together as a family which she will hopefully like.
- Your comments on the soft play are so helpful - I hadn't even thought that it could be too much so will have a rethink about some quieter activities/places we might all do together...but as you say after they have had some bonding/settling time first.
- Since our DC are similar in age she has already asked advice on a lot of practical bits and pieces as they prepare for the child's arrival...clothes, bedding etc. Having said that they are a fab couple who have looked after so many friend's children over the years and she has been a nanny and a childminder which has given them quite a lot of experience...though having a new 'permanent' member of the household will no doubt be a huge joy but have it's challenges as well I'm sure!
- Your comments (and other's I've read) regarding discipline etc as part of the settling process are also interesting and I'm sure difficult to navigate in the first few weeks/months as everything settles.
Thanks so much again for your thoughts!
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