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Feeling like I need to remove myself from the situation!(27 Posts)
Oh just one of those days so I thought I'd post to you lovely lot.
DH is home for the weekend again (has been last 3 weekends). I feel I'm going insane!
It seems on the Sundays of his returns (no idea why Sundays just feels that's what is emerging!) DS just isn't himself. More grumpy, whiny, trying to get reactions out of me using DH etc. For whatever reason this doesn't seem to happen on the Saturdays?!
To try & prevent it, when DH comes home I've been ensuing DS & I still spend quality time together (yesterday's was watching DVDs / playing with his toys in a den we built whilst DH watched footie!) as well as baked cakes. As I sense it's him not liking his return despite loving playing with DH. I also laugh & smily happily whenever they play, to show that DH is not to be used to get a reaction out of me.
But he just ends up relentless with it! The hard part is DH doesn't see it half of the time / doesn't think we should make an issue out of it!
It's just little things like whispering so only I can hear that he wants me to move, or going "LOOK I'm doing this/cuddling daddy" in a 'over pleasing 'voice' he has.
But I can only ignore it sadly so long before I end up becoming moody, sometimes (shameful :-()
Please can someone advise if I'm doing something wrong here! When I sense he's anxious I become anxious. It's to the point I dislike DH sitting close to me as I feel it all started this morn when DH popped his leg on mine while all 3 of us were watching TV (possibly wasn't but that's all I can think of!)
Aside from this, which has been an "issue" since day one, DS is settling lovely, we are beginning to have a lovely relationship.
Any help/advice is much appreciated!
(Sorry I have rambled / if it doesn't make sense!)
I am not yet a mum to a child who joined the family by adoption so please ignore me if you wish to!
It may well be a competition thing because this is what he experienced in life before. Please do not say anything identifying.
So for example if DH put his leg on you or hugs you maybe DS feels 'Oh no I will be pushed out', because that is what happened before (if it did etc, or maybe it did not but he felt it did).
It may be a sign of something else so I would leave lots of chances for him to talk about stuff.
When he whispers 'I am hugging daddy.' I would say 'Good, I love to see you and Daddy hugging."
There can be daddy and ds hugs, mummy and ds hugs, mummy and daddy and ds hugs etc. And sometimes there will be mummy and daddy hugs, but because he maybe feels jealous keep it quick and low key.
If he says he wants you to move I would either ignore the words or just say, 'This is my home, I am staying', and 'I want to be with you and daddy' or something and quickly change the subject. Whatever he says e.g. but I don't want you to be here, I would just say something very light and simple like, I am here to stay and I love you both.
Try and stay calm. He may be testing the water, to see if he can make you go, because if he can that will maybe prove to himself you do not love him or that he makes people leave and it's all his fault. I have no idea, I am just guessing.
So try and shake it off, it's about him. It's not your fault and if you accidently start it by showing your hubby some love try not to worry.
Personally, I would not be overt together but occasional signs are normal and you may be able to increase when he is more secure.
If you feel strong enough I might be tempted to say when he says something mean, do you want to tell me why you say that? But be careful, what he replies may not be what he truly feels and you may divert a lot of energy answering things he does not really mean. It might be easier and safer to say, 'Is there anything else you want to tell me, you don’t need to but maybe can if you want.'
Bless you, you sound lovely.
It must be tough for you and ds to have your hubby/his daddy there some of the time and sometimes not. Is he in the army or some other service? (Don't say which, I will just say army for them all!) I wonder if other army families can offer appropriate support and suggestions of how they cope, for children who join families by adoption and for kids in general. NOT that you will copy them or it will be right to do so but it might just offer ideas of how to manage family life with a dad who is there sometimes and maybe full on some of the time and just not there other times.
I’m not saying it is not adoption related, I am just saying it might also be about his having a dad who is not around all the time and then around a lot for a period of time.
Thank you Italian, great words as always :-)
We / I have tried so many of those things. Ignoring it, showing that I love daddy/DS time together, asking him why, which never goes down well as he just completely shuts off (he does this about other questions too, such as what did you do at school today?)
I think one of the hardest part is DH not realising it! Or thinking I'm over thinking it. I end up feeling crazy! But in the main we do just carry on as normal not making issues out of it.
You make a good point re his previous situation, as this is something I also thought it could be. Without saying too much, put it this way birth fathers return (partly) in the end resulted in the breakdown of his "previous life" - if you will?
Although he was very very young so I am not sure how much he would actually recall? If this is something he senses or completely unrelated. He spent most of his little life in FC & not in that situation.
I think the hardest part for me is not knowing, sensing there is something but not being able to say what / help him come to terms with whatever it may be (if anything at all!)
Do you think he's worried that Daddy will leave and not come back?
Can Daddy give him something 'special/important' to look after for him while he's away (reinforcing that he will return)?
We wondered that but we sense it isn't, as DS talks to him on FaceTime everyday (yes he's in forces), & most of the time DS isn't really overly interested! He has a very special bear which was passed down & all of DHs things are in the house. But it could perhaps be an element of this, but it's not something DS has ever said "when is daddy coming back", whereas if DH is home & I pop out an hour DS has asked when's mummy coming back etc. This has got less overtime (almost 5 month in) but he does still ask.
We feel its a "mummy thing" but we just don't know what.
Hi Buster, I haven't yet adopted but a friend adopted a 5 year old girl around 12 months ago. Although both parents were present, mum was a sahm, and their daughter did similar sounding behaviour - whispering to dad, using a baby voice etc. Like your DH, her dad didn't think it was that bad, didn't notice it as he didn't see the comparable behaviour during the day. They never fully got to the bottom of the "why", but the behaviour seemed to persist as long as the parents didn't both agree it's presence (even though they didn't discuss in front of the child). In the end, the dad agreed that dispite not "seeing" it, he would agree with mum that the behaviour existed and was a problem. They agreed a small visual code when mum felt the behaviour was present and dad would respond appropriately (e.g., would say clearly that we don't whisper to each other - we speak so everyone can hear or ask mum to step in to join a game or just show affection to each other). The behaviour hasn't vanished but is much diminished and mum feels like the behaviour is acknowledged and taken seriously.
I hope you don't mind me butting in with an opinion - it just rang some bells for me as my friend also mentioned a tone to her daughter's voice that she felt wasn't the everyday one and it drove her barmy!
Good luck and very glad that all is going well for you all.
Thank you for that Pru, yes the voice also drives me nuts! That sounds good to me I will discuss it with him when little ears aren't around. I suppose it's not that DH doesn't think it exists at all, but it really doesn't bother him so he doesn't notice it (prob as it isn't directed at him!)
As we speak I've came upstairs for 10 for a break, boy, definitely one of those days!
I know that feeling Buster and i have not even adopted yet!
I hope things work out well. Remember even if your partner cannot see it or experience it, he should understand how it makes you feel. Most of all, as well, I feel you may need to ride out this storm, take breaks, find strategies, I am hopeful for you it will pass and it is early days.
Good luck. Please do talk to us, we do understand.
Hi Buster. Although I'm a single mum I do get a glimpse of this with dd when her uncle comes to stay. He's just left after a fun weekend with us. While he was here I got almost zero cuddles, she pushed me away, and told me tonight that she loves me but her uncle is her best ever love. She also tells me this about her grandparents.
Uncle has taken her to buy a present for me / organise dinner for me / buy a card for me. It works quite well because they get their secret squirrel time doing it but he involves her in planning something nice for me so it is not excluding me even though I'm not present. Does that make sense?
I did have to have words with uncle about undermining me in early days (he dotes on dd and spoils her terribly) but I'm guessing you and dh present a united front so that probably isn't an issue.
I was adopted at 18 months. I think it is naive to think that your son won't remember what happened to him previously. He may not be conscious of it, but he has experienced the loss of his first family. Consequently, he just needs lots of love and reassurance. Even though he is little, he may sometimes just be testing things,just to know that he is loved.
I wouldn't neccessarily see him whispering or being a bit difficult when Dad is around as such a bad thing. It might be best to try to ignore it, rather than highlighting it. Rather than seeing him as being a bit manipulative, perhaps just recognise that he may be feeling vulnerable and frightened. I think there is a danger of the adopted child being a bit of a naughty outsider.
I think it takes far longer for an adopted child to settle than people realise. Small children really can remember subconsciously what has happened. Please contnue to be patient. I used to refuse to cuddle anyone, which is not that surprising after being in a children's home for a year and a half. My parents saw this as a rejection and then rejected me. He has far less control of his emotions than you, so please just keep loving him.
I recognise I might sound judgmental, but this behaviour is likely to pass in time and he will see that you continue to love him, which will make him feel safer.
I meant being percieved as a naughty outsider, not that he is naughty. It is obvious that you love him, what I meant was to keep on doing what you are doing, being patient and loving, even though it is hard.
Does post adoptive support exist? I think it ought to if it doesn't. Is there anyone that you can speak to?
I know it sounds odd, but sometimes I think kids try to wind you up for attention, largely because they love you! My daughter does it.
It will take time for trust to develop.
Thank you ScandinavianPrincess (what a beautiful name) for sharing your experiences. I am so sorry to hear of your parents rejection of you, if you are willing please do share more about how we, as adopters and prospective adopters can do a good job of making our little ones feel loved. It is sometimes hard to receive rejecting behaviour (I get it sometimes from DD, who is birth child). But you are totally right, we are the adults and need to rise above it, even if it is hard. Because, as you rightly point out, they are finding it even harder to make sense of things.
Thank you both for your comments, I agree with that it is a frightened / anxious feeling he must have, & I just wish I could make him feel secure at those moments when he's feeling that way. Like some sort of intervention to calm him down almost.
I do ignore it in the main, we never raise it as a problem & I just openly allow him to see how happy I am they love to play etc.
DH has left for work again now, so I had a lovely long chat with DS, hopefully in a way that both gave him reassurance & let him know I am here / he can feel anyway he likes.
I drew several faces on paper, happy, sad, confused etcetc, and said to him "DS should we play a game? This is so mummy knows what was your favourite parts of the weekend so we can do them again!"
So this went on "when we built a den together" "when we baked cakes" "park" etc all happy faces. "When daddy comes home" he pointed to confused, so I just explained oh of course it must seem that way, sometimes he is here sometimes he isn't, but we both love you very much. He struggles to tell me how he's feeling, so I really hope this helped him tonight, & at least now I know on some level it is confusing him for whatever reason. I personally believe its a combination of all kinds of things, but it all seems to point to the need for attention, my focus will be to try & manage that so he doesn't get so overwhelmed by those feelings.
I really appreciate your comments, & like you have said love & support will hopefully help him through this until he is more settled
Oh on another note last time DH came home he picked up his most prized ted to play with, DS took it off him & gave it straight to me to look after, this was a bit of an eye opener as he is very very attached to the teddy.
Yes I agree Italian it is very lovely of you to share your experiences, & I am sorry of their rejection.
it is good to hear 1st hand the feelings he may have from that point of view. Thank you very much.
I am seeing it from the other side though and this is a place where you find support, so I may be being rather unfair.
I remember feeling very anxious from a young age. The environment I was adopted into was tense to say the least, so that didn't help. It is possible that many adopted children feel frightened and haven't achieved the sense of security many children have. I think being adopted into a consistently loving home can alleviate this anxiety.
I suppose the problem the poster has is also their husband not entirely agreeing with or recognising their point of view. Having support and feeling supported is important for all parents. I think we all feel undermined when someone doesn't see something as a problem that we do. It seems really unfair.
Good luck with your adoption and thanks for your kind words.
Buster, just been thinking and I wonder if every time dh leaves your lo perceives it as a loss? Our los have had so much loss in their lives already. Then it might get taken out on you (sorry.. need a better expression but blinding headache is stopping it). Sort of "I'm grumpy at you for bringing daddy home then letting him leave again". Probably a weird good sign that he sees you as primary care giver who is responsible for him.
Buster it sounds as if you are doing fine actually. You are recognising and dealing with things as they come up. It is understandable that you are anxious. It is also allowed! and just keep doing what you are doing.
Crazee that was something I didn't even think of to be honest, but yes it could well be. Something to consider. Ah thank you ghostsinthecanvas :-)
Scandinavianprincess - I think I am slowly starting to get DH on the same page as me, even if he doesn't always notice it / bothered by it, he has agreed to trust my instincts on it so we can both work together when I believe little man is feeling anxious.
Thanks all again
I was recommended the book "building the bonds of attachment 2nd addition" by one of you kind mums, I believe it may have been Italian? If so thank you for this recommendation it has thus far been a great & eye opening read! Infact none of my housework or gym has been done today while lo is at school as I've been glued! Oops.
For anyone who has read this, in relation to my above situation, how would you personally try to apply this daily? For example, our DS does not (at least on the surface) have control issues in the form of anger like the little girl Katie in the book. But he does use forms of control in other ways, such as choosing to ignore certain questions, sometimes completely shuts down, as well as using DH as a tool to gain reactions. Without an obvious "outward" "behavioral problem" I suppose in the traditional sense? How could I apply PACE effectively??
I am struggling to get out what I mean, as well as what I can do day to day to support him, I try & stay as empathetic as possible. But what kind of tools should I be using?
I do a lot with DS, & I am not sure if that is part of the problem, esoecially when DH returns. I suppose I am facing an element of guilt on behalf of his BM, that he deserves all of these "fun times" as well as my upcoming return to work meaning we will spend slightly less time together.
I am forever worrying I do not do enough, despite knowing deep down we have done so so much in the 5 months he has been here. I feel I need to better construct our days so he doesn't just "expect" it to be all fun & games? As when I return to work I will have no choice but to carry out usual day to day activities which do not always involve play.
As you can probably sense the more I read the more confused I become & start to doubt myself & my parenting.
But if any of you have any experience of a child who on the surface does not display "behavioral problems" if anything more regimented to requests, & how to further understand those children on a deeper level I would really appreciate it.
I am sorry if a lot of that doesn't make much sense! Processing a lot of information!
I live with an angel. Its hard. Consistency. Boundaries. Quiet voice. Humour, humour and humour. Recognise your frustrations and trigger points. Walk away. You cannot realistically keep doing activities. He has to learn to entertain himself and to enjoy his own company.
Do you realise you said you worry that you are not doing enough and that you worry that you do too much.......
just pick one
As for understanding, there are a lot of good books on attachment. Dan Hughes is great.
Course I mean doing activities all the time. I am not suggesting he be left to his own devices all the time should reread before posting!
Can you tell my angel is home? Better get on.
building the bonds of attachment 2nd addition - not me Buster. I hate reading books and really struggle to finish them! I have read one parenting book recently and bang on about it endlessly! It's called How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk.
BUT if you recommend building the bonds of attachment 2nd addition I will consider it!
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