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.
When my good friend adopted she and her husband were referred to by the children (and presumably everyone else otherwise they'd have been confused) as mummy and daddy. Which was obviously quite weird for them, but when do you start being 'mummy' if not when you're introduced? Sounds wrong and i would query it asap.
I was called Mummy all through introductions. The SW and FC would all address me as Mummy in front of DS.
Seems odd to call you by your first name.
I was called mummy from the beginning ds didn't say for a while but he was a lot younger 20months. My friend who adopted a older child her mummy then her name.
I waa also called mummy from day one of intros. Certainly sounds confusing and I would definitely question it
How old is your DD again?
I was introduced as 'Lilka' not mum to my daughters, who were 10 and 7 (DD2 turned 8 part way through intros). I also introduced myself as Lilka in the book I gave them before intros.
I think you'll be fine, and I guess this is going to follow the same pattern it did with DD2
She called me 'Lilka' the first few days, then changed to 'mummy Lilka', for the rest of intros and a few weeks after she came home it was just 'mummy'.
The change to 'mummy Lilka' was led by the foster carers. The change to just mummy was all her own choice - I felt it was going to happen very naturally in a few weeks because she was already using the word mummy and I waited for her to be ready. One day she just stopped using my first name.
It wasn't confusing for her because she understood that all adults have first names as well as titles. So she was fine with the concept of my first name being Lilka and me being called mummy as well
I think with your DD, especially because she knows you as 'forever mummy' I would ask the foster carers to refer to you as 'Mummy Banana' in her presence. Once she starts calling you mummy Banana it should be a natural change to mummy once she feels comfortable. As long as she understands the concept of all adults having first names it shouldn't be confusing for her
Also, does your DD call her birth mum 'mummy'? My DD2 did so if I had been called only 'mummy' at the start she might have mistakenly thought her birth mum was coming to visit and then been disappointed or confused. That can be another good reason to do a transition of names
Thanks all, it was such a lovely/strange/emotional day that I wasn't sure if I had hold of the wrong end of the stick in terms of what is usual, or if it's because FCs and SW aren't experienced in adoption. DD is almost 5, and obviously calls FCs by their names - I suppose what I felt especially in seeing the chart the therapist had made, with the FCs name and my name, was that it made it seem like I am another FC? That might be me projecting my feelings, I'm sure it wasn't the therapist's intention. I will try to get a quiet moment with FC tomorrow and ask if we can try 'mummy Banana'.
DD was shy and wouldn't be in the room with me when I arrived. By about 45 minutes later we were in her bedroom alone together and she was piling her toys on her bed for me to take home. She helped me carry the bag to the car and put it in!
Sorry x post Lilka, DD referred to birth mum as mummy to me today, and showed me her photo and a drawing they'd done together at contact; when she spoke to the therapist on Monday she called her 'old mummy'. I'm more than happy to be 'mummy Banana' for as long as she wants. I was just a bit taken aback and unsure that the adults weren't referring to me as that. If DD doesn't go for it that's okay, I do want the adults to do it though I think. I think it makes it less likely DD will call me that if the adults don't.
It makes more sense to me now knowing that your DD has had recent contact with her birth mother.
My DCs were only 10 months and had only had contact a couple of times so they had never really had anyone known as mummy before me if you see what an mean. DS's birth mum uses her first name when writing to him and has always done so.
Sounds great My DD1 hid behind furniture when I came the first day! Took her ages to come into the same room as me and then she went behind the sofa in there!
I do agree the adults should start using 'Mummy Banana' at least, given her young age. However I don't think your DD is old enough to fully understand the difference between an FC and an adoptive family yet - she will with a bit more time, but for now I don't think you being called your first name is going to change what she thinks about what's happening to her.
I hope I can be a reassuring example for you - what she calls you these first few days can change very easily, and at her age she should transition to mummy pretty easily whatever you are called in introductions
Angels yes contact with birth mum has been very recent. Goodbye visits with various members of extended family only happened last month.
Yes it is reassuring thanks Lilka. Back tomorrow hopefully she will talk to me again!
Another one here who thinks 'Mummy Banana' is the way to go.
We used this for our intro books, but the (very experienced) FC referred to us as Mummy and Daddy straight away.
(Birth Mum referred to as 'Mummy X'.)
Hope all going well.
Update - I raised the naming issue with FC when we were alone today and she took it on the chin and said she'd be aware of calling me 'mummy Banana' from now on. Had a lovely day, some times of rejection when FC suggested I do things for DD which FC would usually do, but lots of playing together and although she hasn't called me 'mummy', I did hear her say to FC 'I'm playing a game with my mum'
However, a new day brings a new dilemma. DD showed me some photo albums from birth family: baby photos, photos with captions of mummy, daddy, auntie whoever etc. Okay. However, one has written on the inside cover something along the lines of ' from your nanny x, with loads of love until you come back to us again'. Now DD can't read yet but she will be able to, and I don't want her to read that. However, she's already been given the photo album. I'm kind of impotently cross - it shouldn't be me pointing out what the professionals involved should be calling me, and it shouldn't be me having to say this isn't appropriate and shouldn't have been given as it is, but that ship has now sailed. Suggestions please?
We have a few of these things with messages etc from birth family.
We have a treasure boxes for our two. They have one which has stuff like soft toys and keepsakes etc. These are stored in their bedrooms but on a high shelf so that they have to ask us to get them down so that they can look at them with us.
Other more sensitive stuff goes in a storage box that we keep separately with the intention of showing to them when they are mature enough to deal with the contents.
That's a shame, yes the professionals shoud have said something to you at the very least. It should be obvious the issue with this
I have lots of the same kind of stuff for my younger two, including both photo albums and loose photos. Also presents etc
I agree with Angels
What I did for my DS, was to gather the uncaptioned/loose photos into an album and caption some of them myself. Then he has photographs, but appropriate ones, whenever he wants to look at them. There's also the life story book, which I made myself with things passed from SS, containing a couple of photos and a family tree.
The things with 'granny misses you very much' etc written over them (including a little album/scrapbook) got put away safely. I've told him that I have other stuff but told him that it's for when he's a bit older. He's not at all interested
(I didn't do that with DD2 who had most things freely available to look at, but that was different because she was older. I think the approach you take with your DD would be the younger child approach)
Okay thanks guys, Its seems there is free access to the photos in FC but hopefully at home we can have the appropriate things around and the less appropriate stuff put away for later.
Glad the intros are going well. It is such am emotional time.
It is fortunate that dd can't read yet and hopefully by the time she is able to read the captions she will be more settled, and you may be able to put that particular photo album away.
Our older two girls were given a bible each from grandparents with " until we meet again " aspartame of the inscription. This was actually nice and reassuring as we have a good letterbox relationship with them.
Continuing to think of you this week.
Sorry guys, need to catch up properly on what's been going on with everyone, I've been in a hotel for some of intros with no wifi! I am now mummy - DD both talks about me as mummy, and calls me mummy to my face . FC has been an absolute star, so supportive.
The longer the intros go on, the less I think the professionals involved have a clue though - FC questioned her SW about giving DD the photo albums and was told she had to do so. DD's therapist has also told DD she can have them in her room and look at them whenever she wants to - that is my decision, not the therapist's, and although I would never stop DD looking at birth family photos when she wants to, I do not want them in her room where she can look at them by herself, I feel she needs support for this, and I feel the therapist has stepped outside her remit by saying this. She has also told DD she can have something and got her excited about it, which DD is going to have, but not immediately. Not good.
Another question (sorry) - did anyone else find the stress of intros coming out physically? I'm not sleeping, have a cold, have thrown up twice and started randomly shivering this morning. I definitely feel like it's not a genuine illness, I think it's the stress of being in a strangers home for hours every day ( as lovely as they are), all the emotional stuff to process plus long hours of driving, coming out as physical symptoms. It's really weird. I hope everyone is okay and will catch up properly soon I hope!
So glad she is calling you mum.
I totally agree that the professionals do not have a clue. I remember when we adopted our first two girls twelve years ago, the SW said, I had to stop her having a bottle of milk for comfort and so many other dreadful things.
Remember you are her mum, you make the decisions, go with what your hart is telling you.
I went against so much advice, but looking back now I am so glad I did.
You will soon be home, just the two of you, you can lock the doors and enjoy being her mum.
Oh, and yes, I felt so ill. tired and emotional during intros. It is so draining, so don't forget to look after yourself too. X
I'm glad intros are going well and you have got the name sorted.
I agree you need to trust your instincts - if something feels very wrong it probably is. Some stuff is just different to how you would do it and you just need to suck it up until you get DD home (eg jammy dodgers for a snack at 9am )
And do look after yourself! I didn't get physically sick, but I was sooooo tired!
When do you hope to be home with DD?
I'm so glad to hear it's going well and you are now 'Mummy'
Sorry to hear you aren't feeling well though. Intros are stressful and exhausting even if you are really happy all the time. I certainly felt exhausted, anxious and a bit sick at times. Look after yourself as much as you can
I completely agree you have to trust your instincts and do what you feel is right
How long are your intros going to be?
Thanks guys. I'm just trying to accept feeling crap physically is how my body is dealing with the anxiety and stress. When we are together it's lovely and I feel much better physically, it's only when I get up, the drive over and then after I leave that it kicks in! Re photo albums you're right, I need to do what I feel is right. It bugs me though, both the FC and I think it's wrong but the 'professionals' don't see the issues when it seems so obvious to me. Not too much longer now - day out with grandparents included today, days at home together Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday is the review meeting then just a couple of hours at FCs, then Thursday morning we come home!
Glad to hear that everything is going well Banana, hope you're feeling better. I found being in someone elses home really draining too. Hope the transition home is going well.
Hope everythings going well Banana
In 36 hours time you'll be on your way home/home already!!
DD keeps asking 'when is Thursday?' - today I can say 'it's tomorrow!' . At home all day yesterday just back to FCs for bed - grandparents were here some of the time as my mum stayed in the hotel with me and drove back with us in the morning, then my dad called over in the afternoon. Little bits of defiant behaviour from DD yesterday at home, which I'm taking as a sign she feels a bit safe to do that? DS was pretty confused to be bathed, put in PJs then driven to FCs last night! I'm so looking forward to being home, not long now.
Good luck Mummy Banana!
Just wanted to say I was horribly ill during intro's (not helps by living in a hotel room in a foreign country!) - I realised that it might be stress/exhaustion when after treating myself with Medised (its all I had!), the only thing which actually helped was a hefty dose of vodka and orange! And I don't usually drink...
Good luck for tomorrow - the first day of the rest of your lives. Looking forward to hearing how it goes.
I bet you don't sleep tonight either!
First night I had DS I woke up every 30 mins and had to check he was breathing! Couldn't believe I finally had my sticky hands on him!
Would be nice if you can have a honeymoon stage but you just have to keep reminding yourself that its a marathon not a sprint.
Best wishes for tomorrow.
2 at once is tough, especially to start with, but it is worth it in the end!
Remember you only need to be good enough, not perfect.
Good luck for tomorrow
Intros is very stressful on the child and throws up a lot of big emotions, so I would expect a bit of defiance and other behaviours, especially towards the foster carer. It's the only way they know to communicate 'I'm struggling'. And yes could also be a good sign she's coming through any initial fear of you and is feeling a bit more comfortable. Enjoy any and all good behaviour whenever you get it. whether it's honeymoon good behaviour or not
Wishing you good luck for tomorrow
I was dreadfully ill onwards the end of intros and for the first week that DD was home - it was certainly the stress coming out!!
I hope everything goes well.
Will be thinking of you tomorrow.
All the best for tomorrow Banana!
Thanks all - yesterday DS had a broken night's sleep and was very overtired, and when I got to FCs DD had been saying to her that she doesn't want to go. When we were driving back the night before and she was fed up of being in the car, I said after today we only have to do this drive once more and she said 'won't we go to FCs house after that?' and I think that's when it dawned on her in a more real way that having a new house and mummy means not having the FCs. Yesterday she was a bit tearful over little things and you could just see she's sad and scared to be losing the carers she knows . Intros are so hard, and I think she's found it hard to see her toys and clothes stripped out of the FCs house, as much as she has enjoyed piling them in the car! Yesterday she said 'we haven't got many toys to play with here now' and I told her that's because all her toys are at our forever house waiting for her, which she liked. I just want her to feel like it's okay to be sad and miss the FCs.
Been up since 4am, excited but also feeling the losses this process brings for the child. I just hope the new to adoption SW doesn't faff around this morning, and we can rip the plaster off and go.
Glad things are better. Not long now
I just wanted to say that when we were doing the intros with dds (where the FCs called THEMSELVES 'mummy' and 'daddy' and us by our first names for the week :-0 Although I suppose dd2 was only 14 months ..... but I hated it) I developed an eye twitch. I'd never had it before in my life, but I was so stressed it just appeared from nowhere, and lasted all week. It disappeared when dd2 was safely in our home, I'm glad to say.
We keep dd2's 'box' in our bedroom - she knows she can access it at any time, but like you OP I prefer to be there while she is still quite young, in case she has questions or needs support. We too have some pretty strongly worded and emotionally charged letters from birth family, and I am keeping those for when dd2 is a little older.
Good luck with everything x
I have experienced this from all sides. Please don't deny them of their memories n past or underestimate their bonds. It will be hard work but they will grow to love you and accept you as their parents
Hope today went well, Banana.
I remember about a month after DD was home with us she had a mega sob-a-thon: she was absolutely inconsolable, and clung to me so tightly. We think that she was basically grieving for her old life with her FC as the reality of life with us sunk in. So expect a few more ups and downs along the way
Hope today went well It will probably stay very exhausting for a while, but hopefully over the next few days most of your other physical problems will go away.
I told my DD's I knew they were sad, it's normal and ok to be sad and cry/etc when you leave people. That I thought it was sad as well. And they could come and talk to me anytime they needed. The grief is something you just have to go through and time will make it better. Are you planning any future contact with FC's, like a post placement meeting or long term card exchanges etc?
Banana - it's so stressful both mentally and emotionally, I had the worst cold ever during our intros. I also lost about a stone in weight in 2 weeks coz I was all over the place emotionally and couldn't eat. Don't worry, all completely normal! Look after yourself though as you're about to go into the hardest part, when you get home it's tough - amazing and worth every minute though, of course.
Re; photos and other stuff from her past, you decide what's best for your child, let your instincts take over and if you think your LO shouldn't have something, then that's totally up to you. We had all sorts of bloody nonsense while we were in the process and we learnt (the hard way) that once you become a parent, you know what's right for your child, so stick to your guns.
Good luck, it's the best thing ever, it was so hard but every single time I see my 2 gorgeous munchkins, I thank my lucky stars that we found each other.
I'm not an adoptive parent so probably shouldn't even be on here but when I read your OP I failed to notice that your username was Bananaketchup and thought the SW's were actually calling you "Banana". I was really upset for you and annoyed that people would call you by such a ridiculous name until I realised that I was being a numpty and you meant they were calling you by your first name!
I am having a brainfail day. Very best of luck with your dc's!
I've always wondered why you paired Banana with Ketchup - do you eat Banana/Ketchup and if so does it taste nice? Have to admit, Ketchup on Banana sounds pretty damn grim to me!!
Hope things are going well. I'm sure you are probably too tired to contemplate coming online right now, but do update us when you finally get a few minutes. All the best to you and your lovely DC's
If you are allergic to tomatoes, you can make a ketchup with bananas. I remember reading this in a health food shop.
"you can make a ketchup with bananas" - but why would you want to?
Well quite Kew! Ketchup made of bananas sounds even grimmer than ketchup on banana <sick face>
Seven hope we don't make birth parents feel unwelcome here. It's nice to get support and encouragement from everyone, non-adoptive parents included
Everyone is welcome here, apart from spammers, hairy things who live under bridges, certain MP-who-shall-remain-unnamed and people who tell us that we're parenting our DC wrong, or that we stole them or something stupid. So not everyone then. But nearly everyone
Apparently it tastes nice. I have never made it, mind you!
Lilka, thank you for making me feel welcome. To be fair, it's not that I wouldn't feel welcome but apart from knowing some lovely friends who have adopted children, I would hesitate to blunder in and start giving my advice when my own experience has been raising my children from birth ( and sadly losing one along the way) and have no experience of say, taking a toddler from the age of two and bringing him/her into my home. I know what my own two year olds were like, of course, but they haven't been through what some of your children have been through and I wouldn't presume to think I knew enough to comment most of the time.
And being a bereaved parent, I have experienced people who say well-meaning things to me and others who have lost children but who can't really have a clue what we've gone through. And I don't want to be That Person who barges in and says something well-meant but stupid to another group of parents.
Seven no they weren't actually calling me Banana, that'd be extremely weird! The username is because I've got one of those bags made from recycled packaging in the Philippines, made of packaging for banana ketchup, and it just tickled me. I don't even like bananas!
It's fab to be home, I feel a lot better already although also pretty knackered - days now start at 5.30am! Am trying hard to stick to the FCs routine for mealtimes, bath bed etc to promote feeling safe and secure, but haven't quite worked out how to find time to cook proper food yet. Both DCs are also fascinated with talking to me while I'm in the shower or getting dressed which takes a bit of getting used to! Luckily my mum turned up this afternoon and DD loves her (and rejects me for her, but I'm mostly okay with it cos it feels like she needs to test me that way), which gave me a chance to peel and cook the veg for dinner so that helped. Also DD likes washing up (novelty cos FC had a dishwasher) so we do that together but it takes a lot longer and is a lot splashier than if I do it myself . We talk about FC, DD asked if she is allowed to ring and I said yes, but she hasn't wanted to yet. I've told DD I have spoken and texted to FC, so she knows it's okay to talk about her and miss her.
It's hard work and I'm tired, but I love the little moments when DD wants me to cuddle her on the sofa or DS plays with my hair when he's tired. If this is a honeymoon okay, I'm just going to enjoy it.
Sounds like you're handling everything really well
I suggest cooking meals in batches. Cook enough for 2 nights, feeze or fridge half of it for the next day. Eating the same thing 2 nights in a row will not hurt and will give you a break. I also cooked meals at odd times of day and kept them in the fridge to be reheated at the right time
The little moments are so important. They still are to me now. Enjoy them
Congratulations on your DD.
I just wanted to say, please don't feel your DD is "testing" you by rejecting you for your mum, she won't know which way is up right now. It could be as indiscriminate as that your mum's face (or item of clothing, or perfume, or voice, or hair) is more reminiscent of her FC, or someone else who she has felt safe or happy with in the past. I don't automatically think "testing" as such. Obviously I don't know her however.
I also wanted to echo Faeries comment upthread - "I have experienced this from all sides. Please don't deny them of their memories n past or underestimate their bonds. It will be hard work but they will grow to love you and accept you as their parents". I too have experienced this from the point of adoptive child. I felt that my adoptive mother struggled to get over the fact that our birth mother, and extended family (although estranged) had a connection to us that she didn't and couldn't ever have (that of blood ties).
My sister and I were young (I was 5 1/2) when we were adopted but I still remember having to call adoptive mother "Mummy" and it was puzzling because I already had someone I knew as "Mummy" (birth mother) and also I didn't know how to explain to school friends, neighbours, shop people, teachers, Brownies, etc that I had two Mummy's and which Mummy I meant when I said Mummy. My birth mother had a red coat so for example I might see someone wearing a red coat and tell them "My Mummy has a red coat like that, I mean, Mummy who I used to live with not Mummy who I live with now". Or I might tell a school friend "Our cat is called Snowy, that's the cat at Mummy who I used to live with not Mummy who I live with now, she has a dog called Ben". It's not intentional to talk about birth mother but connected details can just slip out.
I also knew when my mum (adoptive) was deliberately hedging on things like photos and letters and details as I got older, ("Maybe later", "I don't know where they are right now", "We'll have a look after the weekend" etc) and I found it annoying. Now I am a mum myself, I can clearly see both sides of the story, that she loved us like we were her own blood daughters, which was lovely, but that photos and letters of our birth family were an unwelcome reminder that at the same time there was and is no getting past the fact she was not our birth mother.
Again I don't know what if any is helpful from this but I guess I just wanted to add that Faeries comment touched my heart because that's how I feel too. I know each case is individual but I just wanted to...throw my experience in from the other side, as it were. That birth mothers and families are often seen differently from the point of view of the child than they are to everyone else.
All the best to you and DD, you sound like a marvellous & caring parent xx
So glad you are home.
I'm a little confused, have you just adopted a son and daughter or did you already have your son? I thought you were adopting a little girl, probably missed reading something.
Hope things continue to go well. As Lilka suggested batch cooking is a good idea, also a slow cooker is good to use, especially if you have a bit of time in the morning to throw all the ingredients in.
Glad it's all going well. I remember DD (who was 10 mo) going to my mum, and seemingly preferring her to me. It clicked - she looked a bit like DD's FC.
I would second batch cooking, slow cooker etc. I don't know I'd have managed to cool proper meals. Our first weeks were baby ready meals for DD (i should have had shares in Ella's Kitchen!!) and whatever we could manage to throw together for DH and I whilst utterly exhausted!!
Wishing you the best of luck
HeyJudith (and by extension Faeries) - if its any consolation to you the preparation for and common practice around adoption today is probably significantly different to what it might have when you were adopted (unless you are exceptionally younger than the average mumsnetter!).
Airbrushing out of birth parents would be rare these days and certainly on my prep course a lot of focus was spent of how to talk to your child about certain things like birth parents. I think most people these days would expect a child as old as five to take some time to transition to "Mummy" via (as people have suggested "Mummy Kewcumber" if necessary.
I don't know many adoptive parents who need to "get past" not being a birth parent - most of us have had to take some time after failed fertility treatment before even being allowed to apply for adoption and when you add the time the approval process takes, most parents are well over the lack of birth child. Although I must admit there are days I totally forget that DS has not been with me forever but I don't try to airbrush out his birth mother at all. In fact I would give my eye teeth for him to have some contact (although that isn't possible).
I don;t know if that reassures you but I can tell you the adoption has evolved quite significantly over the last 30 years.
Of course we're not perfect and certainly I look back at things I wished I'd done differently.
Not sure if I'm in the right frame of mind to answer re 'airbrushing birth family'. DD has been angry and defiant and rejecting all day, which is completely understandable, but hard to live with. Upthread you may have read I have lots of photos etc from birth family, including an album with 'until you come back to us' written inside, like I'm an unpaid FC babysitting til 18 when the 'real' family will reclaim DD. I've also got DD innocently telling me that her 'old mummy' said to try to find her as soon as she knows how to work a computer. Birth family have also taught DD nursery rhymes and things and changed the words to identifying details about the birth family, in the hopes it will make her remember names, addresses etc so she can find them sooner. And I deal with that by saying yes, you can find your first mummy when you're 18 if you want to, I will help you, and by encouraging DD that it's okay to miss her birth family and FC and to talk about them. I am tired and vulnerable and unlike the birth family who can be as selfish as they like, I have to and will put DDs needs first and support her with her history and her wishes. So please help me by not assuming I will try to end her connection to birth family, I will not.
Someone upthread said maybe my mum reminds DD of someone in her past, you may well be right. Or maybe her birth grandmother was less frightening or more of a security figure than her mum, or maybe it's safe to try out pushing me away when my mum is there as in her birth family it was mostly mum and grandma who looked after DD so maybe she feels most safe to show how she feels when both new mum and grandma figures are around. Whichever, it's something she needs to do and I need to let her really.
Thanks for the batch cooking suggestions, I am not a natural cook and am learning a bit! My lovely mum has made and frozen some stuff for us, so that'll help til I get my eye in. As well as the more challenging behaviour, DD has been a gem today as she is every day. Poor DS ran into a table to add an injury to the horrible cough he's got, and burst into tears, and she was so sweet with him. Apparently when she's a grown up she's going to be a doctor, go to work on the bus (not in my car cos apparently it's disgusting), and help people get better
"I deal with that by saying yes, you can find your first mummy when you're 18 if you want to, I will help you, and by encouraging DD that it's okay to miss her birth family and FC and to talk about them"
All quite right Banana, though hard to deal with - the most important thing at this stage is to promote bonding with you and your family not to be dealing with how to tackle issues of birth family (I know you may have no choice with DD being old enough to remember).
I would add that its important IMO to anchor yourself firmly even in the discussion of birth family by adding "because I will be your mummy forever now" to "I will help you". I would stop singing the nursery rhymes (if you haven't all ready) or switch back to the normal words because she's going to have access to her file at the appropriate age and its really not fair on her to have that hung on her so young. I am sympathetic, particularly if grandmother had no choice about the adoption.
"I am tired and vulnerable" its so hard isn't it - being the bigger person and doing the right thing for your children despite how you feel at times. But you're doing brilliantly so far.
Nobody's assuming anyone is trying to end connection with birth family or airbrush birth family out. What I was saying (from my personal experience only) was that as time went on my adoptive mother felt so increasingly close to us that she found the concept that we had a birth family increasingly odd, whereas we didn't. It wasn't to do with training, or not having a birth child - it was just that in time she found it a bizarre concept that someone else could have had a hand in mothering us in any way because she felt 100% like our mother. So short term (in the first few years) she was perfectly great re our birth family situation - but the longer term (a few years on from that) the birth mother and adoption date was more and more in the past for her and it became increasingly harder for her to attach any current relevance to it. That's all I was trying to say about that.
It takes a lot of time for a child to adjust to changes, I know everyone knows that but children can apparently accept and then regress, then accept, then regress on a situation. So if DD calls you Mummy, then Banana, then Mummy Banana, even weeks/months on, it isn't deliberate or consciously testing you in the way that an adult knows of as testing. It's almost the same as learning to ride a bike or use a toilet - she will get it, then she doesn't, then she does. Please don't feel rejected if she is fantastic with you for weeks and then she wants nothing but your mum for a week - it isn't a reflection on you, it's just her finding her feet and part of the learning process. Don't be surprised or too upset if (for example) she cries for her FC out of the blue after X amount of happy months with you - it's not that she wants to actually go back, but just her coming to terms with things gradually and in her own time. It's not a sprint, it's a walk for life, hand in hand with your DD all the time in the world for things to flow naturally. I know you know this but I thought it might help to hear this from an adult adoptee's POV, just to have in mind for the future. Keep in mind the bigger picture all the way. All the best xx
Sorry I threw my toys out of the pram yesterday . I'd had a day of well meaning family saying how well she's settling, and saying I'm being negative if I point out how early it is to think that. Then DD refused to go for a wee before bed, and I snapped at her and she cried. I felt like a war criminal for making a scared little girl cry and I came on MN and snapped at other posters as well, sorry. I do appreciate people taking the time to post.
Hey Banana, feel free to snap away at us here!
DD has always got on very well with my parents. Sometimes almost better than me and DH. We think that a) they remind her of her FC, who were a similar age; and b) they aren't a "replacement mummy" to the one she already had. It must be so frightening for a little one to go to a new family practically overnight, no matter how well planned and executed the introductions.
And although you might have snapped at DD, show me a parent who hasn't, and better that she went rather than wet her bed and get distressed from that.
Hope today went well
You will have bad days and ALL of us snap sometimes - that ultimately doesn't matter - in fact it just makes you a normal parent. A normaal adoptive parent too.
Have some try and catch a few minutes rest, and tell yourself how well you are doing. Look in a mirror and tell yourself what a good mum you are
Okay day today, some lovely moments and some 'I don't want you leave me alone' moments. I had to post in response to Lilka's saying 'tell yourself what a good mum you are'. At dinner I told DS off for throwing food and then followed that up by snapping 'what sort of face have you got on?' for good measure when he sulked. Which resulted in DD saying 'maybe he's thinking you're a bad mummy' in such a baleful voice that I laughed instead of crying. It's still making me smile now . Didn't get any but there was and also a cornetto once they'd gone to bed!
A post bedtime Cornetto! Awesome!!
By the way, the other thing you might notice is saying things your mother used to say... (sorry, don't know what the cure is for that!)
DD wanted to be a baby today - as in, have me rock her. pretend to change her nappy, had her evening milk in a bottle, had me pretend her bed had cot sides. I usually leave DD in the bath while I get DS dried and today I did it the other way round. When I was drying her (while she was being a baby) I dried her toes and she said 'nanny usually counts them' so we did that a few times and she loved it. I felt sad because it made me notice I dry DS after a bath but DD dries herself and I felt sad I'd not made the effort to do that sooner cos it was lovely. It's just the reality of me being outnumbered by them I know. And by bathtime I tend to be a bit ... depleted. And also up til now she's not seemed to want my help but then maybe that was because she was afraid to ask in case I said no? She pushes me away if I put my arm round her or most affectionate gestures I think she just finds too much or confusing, but it reminded me I need to always offer.
First SW visit tomorrow, we'll see how that goes!
That sounds wonderful My girls have both really benefited from babying. Giving a 12/13 year old DD2 bedtime hot chocolate in a baby bottle (she went through a real 'baby' phase then) was an odd experience at first but was really therapeutic, and helped our attachment. Hope your DD also finds being babied comforting and helpful
It's very normal to alternate between rejecting affection and actively seeking it out. Keep offering and doing what you're doing, she will probably need lots of time till she feels comfortable accepting your hugs and kisses.
Also its completely normal to be very depleted by bathtime. If you aren't completely shattered you're doing fantastic IMHO!
Hope the meeting tomorrow goes well
DD found SW visit hard. She cried and cried, ostensibly for a toy but she was still crying long after she had it. I think it just brought up too much for her for SW to be here. Also I find SW really wet, she just really ineffectually says 'oh don't you want to talk to me' (answer from DD - NO!) 'oh that's rude DD, you can't speak to people like that...' (DD starts up crying again) etc etc, very wearing and just generally disruptive. Sigh. Also she asked me to make sure I have both children registered with an optician by next week - seriously? Who does that? And when on earth does she think I have time to be ringing opticians when the children are awake?? SWs seem to live on another planet.
Optician?! Seriously - do they have an eye problem? DS has been with me nearly 7 years and he's never been to an optician yet. I didn;t even know they had to be registered I thought you just turned up and booked an appointment if you think its necessary.
Banana stumbled upon this thread, have no advice or experience to offer. Just want to say that you sound like a really lovely mummy. Best wishes to you all.
I remember SW visits well...only too well! I didn't have the same issues with respect to birth family etc because my two were orphaned (DH and I were family who then adopted them) but we had our own issues. I have vivid memories of the early SW visits that resulted in tears/soiled underwear/aggression on the part of DD, plus the anger/frustration/panic attacks/fear from DS. Their SW had the subtlety of a sledgehammer and the compassion of a nuclear bomb - her response to DS talking about his parents was to tell him that his parents didn't interest her and he needed to grow up, think about what was important and answer the questions she asked without more tears. She did huge amounts of damage to both dc, but DS was older so remembers more of it - he never felt safe when she was here.
All you can do is support your DD, comfort her when she's crying (if she'll let you) and maybe have a special treat for after future SW visits so there's a positive bit after (I used to talk to DS just before a visit, tell him who was coming and that we would have xyz after she had gone) but that does depend a bit on how good your DD's association is.
The early days are hard, good luck and stay strong.
Kew seriously, register with an optician, by next week. Under age 5, and no known eye problems. Neither of them can even read to read the sodding chart! I also thought you didn't need to register you just booked an appointment when you need one - that's all I've ever done.
Dashing that is very kind thank you. I am doing my best to be as good a mum as I can, sometimes I think I'm doing okay and sometimes I think I'm doing really crap!
Andro your SW sounds much worse, that's appalling. I can so see DD telling SW 'we have a treat when you go' but that's not going to stop me trying it!
Tomorrow is DD's birthday. Not sure if it's going to be overwhelming for her. I've tried to make it nice but not too OTT - birthday tea and presents with my parents, aunt, uncle and 2 cousins. I've asked everyone else not to send presents but if they want to send a card to put a photo of themselves in it, so she can see who it's from cos otherwise it's just a load of cards from strangers. I have a feeling either it'll be too much and she won't cope, or I've been overcautious and she'll be disappointed there isn't more fuss (I think FC and birth family at contact went well overboard at birthdays and xmas). Whichever, I dare say I'll be in the wrong at least some of the day, but hopefully she will have a bit of a nice time.
We ended up putting a complaint in about her, we received an apology and she received training and supervision.
WRT your DD's birthday, don't be afraid to remove her for a while and have some quiet time with just you (maybe a story for example) if she seems overwhelmed, under the circumstances I'm sure your family will understand.
Hope dd has a very happy birthday.
You are doing well, one day at a time, one foot in front of the other.
Happy birthday to your DD
Hope it's been going well
'You can't speak to people like that'?
To a child who's just been adopted from a social worker?
Banana sounds like you are doing really well and working hard to get the balance very good, lovely bathing and drying toes story. All best wishes.
HeyJudith Lovely to hear your perspective.
DDs birthday went pretty well, I think she was happy with her presents, she was a bit stressed when attention was on her eg didn't want to blow out her candle, didn't open any presents she was given until they were left on the floor and they'd been there at least half an hour and my mum did it with her, refused to have any photos. But she liked her presents I think and had fun playing with her 2 cousins.
Several times since she has checked there is space for more cards on the shelf, asked if the postman has brought any more cards - I think she is wishing/expecting something from BM but won't say Cards aren't part of our contact agreement and I will try to explain this to her.
Thanks for posts it helps!
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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