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I thought i was prepared..(34 Posts)
But it's much harder than I ever thought.
I've hesitated before posting here but really do need to offload so here goes - my new son is lovely, funny, smiley and adorable. But he is also hard, demanding, emotional and tiring. And I am wobbling all over the place while trying to cope.
It's only been a few days and I'm exhausted! Am I just rubbish and completely not cut out to be a mum - maybe I'm bloody infertile for a reason!
My boy is trying so hard and doing so well - first couple of days, we slipped into his routine with no issues. But for the last few days, he has had some meltdowns and I can't comfort him. I know that he wants his old life back with his foster family and I feel like it's my fault he isn't happy. We keep reminding ourselves about the depth of change he is experiencing but I feel like a fraud. Bet his foster mum would know how to make him feel safe and secure. He looks at me with real anxiety sometimes and I don't know how to make it better. I feel guilty.
Sorry to just offload - I just needed to get it out.
Firstly stop comparing yourself. Every mum feels like this at some point and it is a massive learning curve. You sound like a lovely caring mum. Give yourselves some time. It is very early days and I promise you will just get used to being tired!
You're not rubbish, I promise. What you're doing is really, really hard. You've flung yourself into parenting at full speed, at least newborns stay where you put them! And you're parenting a traumatised child who has lost everything they've known.
Be kind to yourself. I bet you're doing great. One day at a time and it will get easier, I promise.
With birth children I felt like that for the first few weeks. Just survive, it will get easier.
I'm not an adopter but I do hover here.
I felt exactly like this with my birth son.
Felt inadequate, felt like I couldn't comfort him, felt completely overwhelmed.
You have this x100 because you are adopting - cut yourself some slack. I'm sure you're doing a great job - of course it will take time to get to know eachother, it will happen.
Congratulations to you on your gorgeous new son.
You know what, I thought I was prepared too, but really, its impossible to be totally prepared because nobody knows exactly how a child is going to react and respond to situations until they are in it.
It is very early days so my advice to you would be to try and relax.
The most important thing is that he grows to feel safe and secure with you, the rest will develo from there onwards.
Try to contain where you're at so that he doesn't pick up on your stress or anxiety. Easier said than done I know, but do your best not to overthink things and enjoy being around him.
I'd actually say that it could be a positive thing that he's had the odd meltdown; newly placed children often conform and behave very well but its once they feel safe to have the odd tantrum that they do.
Finally, keep up the good work, from what you've posted it really does sound as though you are doing very well, far better than you are imagining, certainly.
Prumath, I have 3 birth children (8,6,5) and there are many times they react in a new way and I don't no what to do. That isn't 'rubbish adopter', it's 'normal parent'.
Pru - I came to the conclusion that any amount of preparation would never have been enough. You will be doing great, but it's so new and so overwhelming.
After two years I still sometimes feel like I don't know what I'm doing and how I should handle meltdowns. I would certainly agree with just trying to relax and not be perfect.
It's not your fault - there is no blame here. It will take time for him to settle and for you too.
I felt utterly drained and exhausted for the first 3 months - and still have the occasional afternoon when I find myself clock watching and wanting bed time to come round quickly as I need a bit of time to myself.
It is hard - and I wonder if it is harder than having a new born baby - because "all" you have to do is feed, change, bathe and put back to sleep - and they can't move around and you get some downtime.
It was a shock to my system when DS came to us nearly 8 months ago. Exciting, emotional, happy times but also exhausting. The only way I could cope was by going to bed shortly after he did - and I was often asleep by 8.30pm or 9pm.
It goes get easier - just take one day at a time and don't be afraid to call on your support net work (one day I felt so frazzled that I called DH at work and asked him to come home - it was 11am and I knew I wouldn't get through the day. I was lucky I could do this and have only done it the once. I then went to bed for 3 hours and felt a different person.
Nothing can prepare you... I understood the theory of you can't take your eyes off them fir a second, but the reality is quite a shock isn't it?
You will probably be doing far better than you are giving yourself credit for.
It does get easier .... But it's still the hardest job in the world , and the most rewarding and important
You are both learning about each other and you will find your own routine that works for you and some stress busters (I take dd to a local free soft play area just to get out sometimes, it's small enough for me to be able to keep an eye on her fully and enjoy a hot coffee, plus shelves it and it wears her out!)
It's does her easier, I promise
Oh me too! Still in intros and agonising to see how much distress LO's in, with such difficulty accepting comfort from anyone in the meltdowns. Sharing your scared and unprepared feelings, and sending you massive solidarity hugs
Our son was exactly like this at first. Nothing I could do would comfort him. He would go very quiet and always looked worried. It's now been 5 months and the change is amazing. The other day he fell asleep in my arms on the bus and today did the same with my hubby on the train. He's also lost that permanent look of worry.
It does get better, it really does. Even though it's still early days for us (if you'd told me before I'd be calling almost half a year early days I'd have laughed) it has got so much better in that respect. I actually feel like their mum now and not just some stranger who upsets them. Hang in there, you're doing great xxx
You are not rubbish prumarth and you weren't infertile for any reason other than a bit of your body not operating in the correct way to conceive! Your son is lovely, funny, smiley and adorable and you have just been flung into caring for him as a young child without the gradual process from babyhood. Anyone would find that hard! Take your time and once you begin to bond you will be able, instinctively, to comfort him.
Please know that almost every adopter goes through this. We thought the same as you, that we were ready. Don't want to be a downer but be ready. This may only be the beginning. For us it got much much worse before it got better so try not to use up all of your reserves now. Go easy on yourself and keep on caring for him.
Sweetheart; that's not adoptive parenting, that's just parenting. It's just that you've been launched into it without any preamble of early newborn days (when even then you can't always comfort them). You will be fine, I promise.
Nothing to do with adopting. I have that at least once a week with both DC (both birth DC) and they're 2 and almost 5. Recently my brother was critically ill and my mother nearly fell apart with the anxiety and stress of not being able to make it all better, and the guilt of wishing it was her and not him.
The feelings of not coping and guilt are proof that you're a mother now. Congratulations!
I don't mean to disagree with other people but parenting an adopted child is not the same, regardless of what other parents say. The trauma they have suffered in the past and the trauma they are suffering because they were removed from their foster carers has no comparison. And they will never be the same. There will always be something that sets them apart and means that you may have to parent differently.
But you are not alone. Lean on you family and your friends but remember that you know your son best. No one else can tell you how to parent your child. Remember that there are people out there (on Mumsnet, Adoption UK etc) who know what it is like to parents an adopted child and can give you above that you may want to take on board. We are here to help.
Hang on in there - it is so hard at the beginning - I kept finding myself in floods of tears for no apparent reason as I was so scared of failing a little child who had already been through so much. You are getting to know each other and some things just take time - every time he sees that you are there for him when he's upset will build a little more trust. Every time he has a meltdown you'll figure out something else that works or doesn't work. If you have a good social worker don't be afraid to ask for advice - I tried every parenting technique in the books when my little one was having meltdowns and then finally called my social worker when nothing worked - she gave me a load of really good advice about how to handle it because she knew his history and knew about adoption. If you haven't got any adopter friends in real life it's worth trying to find some as they will just get the utter bewilderment and panic you are feeling (I asked my SW to put me in touch with people she thought's i'd get on with).
OP, have you spoken to the FC? Have a chat about what has worked and what didn't, what strategies she found helpful.
Dont forget that you are used to your own space and time, and now your are entertaining this new chap and desperate for it all to go well. DOnt be so hard on yourself. ALlow yourself some time - there is no big deal taking your child to softplay or to the park or even plonking him in front of the TV for half an hour.
My advice is to not try and be too structured in the day, dont set yourself up to be a child entertainer 24/7. Start encouraging your son to play independently with his cars/sandpit etc.
Id also invite a friend over, just so you can have an adult conversation while he plays.
Does it help to remember that your aim is not to make it ok for him? It's not going to be ok for him for a while yet. So if that's your aim you'll fail every time. You just need to show him that you are there for him, that it's ok for him to be sad/angry/hurt, that you aren't going anywhere, that you are calm...
I can't imagine that you are doing anything else but that at the moment. Be kind to yourself, parenting is bloody hard at the best of times and these are not the best of times. But it'll be better, probably sooner than it feels right now.
Hoping to be in your situation very soon pru so fingers all very knitted up for you
All 3 times I've had a child come home, I've quickly become exhausted and feeling overwhelmed with emotion and the physical effects on tiredness/stress (especially with DD2 and DS, purely because they were more exhausting to be with/try to entertain or contain!!). It IS a humungous shock to the system, and feeling like you are now is common for new adopters. The good news is, for me routine and time to get to know each other made a real difference (it certainly helped me feel a bit more confident).
It's absolutely not your fault that it's a struggle at the moment. You've only just met each other, and your lovely son isn't a baby either, which makes a huge difference.
Do you have supportive family/friends close by who might be a help?
Thank you everybody, it means a lot to get all your support. I think I just needed a safe place to vent - in real life I'm supposed to be living on a cloud, excited by my getting everything we've been dreaming about. In reality I am shovelling in chocolate to cheer myself up, covered in spit (his, not mine!) and my ears are literally ringing from the crying - I'm actually sitting here while he sleeps and I keep hallucinating that I hear his cry as its all I have heard for days!
Patty, I know you are coming to end of intros - I'm holding out my hand for you too. Don't hesitate to shout if you need support.
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