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Anyone around? Struggling a bit here...

(45 Posts)
Lillyludge Sat 01-Nov-14 19:45:26

That's it really...
6 weeks into placement and mostly it's going well, but I'm feeling quite sensitive and not reacting with my usual patience.
I'm sure you'll all say it's normal to feel this way this early in...

Lweji Sat 01-Nov-14 19:47:52

I have no experience of adoption, but what is wrong?

Lweji Sat 01-Nov-14 19:51:00

Also, I felt like not reacting with patience the first night I spent with newborn DS.
I suppose it comes with the territory of parenthood. smile
They do push our buttons.
We need to find coping mechanisms, again and again as they keep pushing boundaries.
I have always found that new milestones came with difficult times adjusting for both of us. Until we settle again.

Lillyludge Sat 01-Nov-14 19:55:53

Basically I'm not handling toddlerhood as well as I did last time!

I know it's only been 6 weeks but it's so...well... -full on when you go from your old life to suddenly have a toddler around 24/7

Quitelikely Sat 01-Nov-14 19:59:13

Have you got other dc? Is this your first? How old is the dc?

Lillyludge Sat 01-Nov-14 20:02:09

I have a 6 year old and now an 18 month old.

nothingcomestonothing Sat 01-Nov-14 20:06:00

Hi Lilly, regular lurker but infrequent poster here. I've a DD 6 and a DS 2, home just over a year - I am a single adopter. I remember feeling just shellshocked early on in placement. Intros hit me like a hammer and tested me in ways I hadn't anticipated, and then straight from that I was suddenly alone with two scared strange children, while struggling with my own overwhelming feelings about it all. I made loads of mistakes, did loads of things I never thought I'd do, and sometimes just tried to hold on until my mum came round cos I was just so tired, anxious and overwhelmed! And by many standards I had a honeymoon period and easier time of it than lots of other adopters do.

I am not the world's most patient person, and have shouted far more than I'd have thought possible - not advocating that btw, just saying it has happened. Also early on I sometimes felt like I'd regressed to feeling like a teenager - it was like DD was a mini stroppy teenager and I became one too! Quick to offence and over sensitive. I had a proper go at my dad who had done nothing more unreasonable than bought me a stair gate when I didn't want one - I somehow turned that into him both criticising me as a new parent and completely not understanding the children, and ended up telling him to fuck off and slamming the phone down!

So you are right, I am going to say it is normal. Don't know if it helps at all. We all struggle, and we want so much to do our best and get it 'right', both for our own sometimes difficult journey to becoming a parent, and for the children who deserve so much better than they've had so far, and that's a massive pressure. Please be kind to yourself.

LadyRubyPenhaligon Sat 01-Nov-14 20:06:00

No experience but wonder if it's a bit like when you have your second baby and you think it'll be a doddle as hey you've done this before. But then dc2 arrives and they're not like dc1 and the things that worked for her don't work for this one and it comes along and hits you because you just aren't expecting it to be a slog this time around. So six weeks in you're tired from stressing about is he/she ok and tired from trying to make sure your other child is ok and adjusting to all the changes etc and overall you realise that you've moved on so far from this stage and toddlers push all the buttons anyway. So here have a hand to hold because if it's anything like I've described above then I know just how you feelgrin.

Lillyludge Sat 01-Nov-14 20:21:09

LadyRuby thanks for the hand hold. I didn't expect it to be the same this time around, as I knew that parenting an adopted child brings up lots of different challenges...as well as all children being unique! I didn't question my own qualities though. I thought I'd still be patient and calm, but instead I find myself getting annoyed when LO tries to turn the oven on (for the 50 millionth time!)

Nothing, I'm a single adopter too. Your story sounds familiar! My eldest seems to be coping quite well...spends half the week with ExH so gets a break from new sibling. Unfortunately I don't have any family nearby, and have only just been "allowed" by SW to have a friend visit briefly once a week, so I am feeling the weight of responsibility firmly on my shoulders!

auntybookworm Sat 01-Nov-14 20:23:55

No experience and didn't want to read and run.

All I can offer is look after yourself, I know it is hard but find a few minutes to do something you like, to re-set you even 10 minutes will help.

You are doing a better job than you think. i am sure this is normal and wiser more experienced people will be along soon.

I am sure I will be on here for similar reasons when we are placed.

Lweji Sat 01-Nov-14 20:38:30

instead I find myself getting annoyed when LO tries to turn the oven on (for the 50 millionth time!)

I would too.

What have you done about it? Are there any punishments? Or could you put something that protects the hob from the child? (my solution for DS and the washing machine dials)

silverlinings79 Sat 01-Nov-14 20:57:54

Hi Lilyludge smile Exactly same timeframe here and yes there have been a few moments where my patience has slipped! And I too thought that I knew the way I wanted to parent and nothing was going to change that -not factoring in that by tantrum 3, with no break for 10 hours to even go to loo in peace, let alone drink any drink while actually hot, that when both of my new little bundles of gorgeousness want to climb up to stir the hot pan at the same time, after them fighting over who could help with every other thing I've just done for 10mins, I might eventually snap a little at sheer frustration and safety panic! I'm quite honest with them though and will say sorry I snapped but mummy would be so upset if you hurt yourself and I got a little worried, sorry, if mummy says no it's to keep you safe. Appreciate that works well with our LO's but may not with everyone.
I have been speaking to friends who are parents though and they assure me no parent is perfect and I'm being way too hard on myself, as does our sw, so I will send the same message to you and let you know, you are not alone! smile

nothingcomestonothing Sat 01-Nov-14 21:05:21

As a single adopter you need that adult support. I know I know, funnelling, not exposing them to loads of new people etc etc, but they need you to be coping first and foremost. It sounds like the SW is thinking of the children's needs, but maybe not seeing that you have a need there which must be met, if you are to be able to best meet their needs. Can you have a friend round after the DC are in bed? Just for a cup of tea/ shoulder to cry on/to fold your washing while you lie on the sofa (I did all of these). I am so lucky to have my parents locally, I have huge respect for what I think of as 'proper' single adopters (especially those of us with more than one DC) who don't have that. Sometimes knowing the cavalry is coming is what gets you through, and couple adopters have that (I assume/hope) but we don't, so you need to be able to access it somehow.

Jamfilter Sat 01-Nov-14 21:07:48

Oh flowers to you! Single adopter here too, and the claustrophobic intensity and panic of those first weeks is awful. As another wise adopter told me at the time "Dig deep. This will pass. Breathe."

No more complicated advice than that, because actually at this stage, breathing is hard! Toddlers are hard. Grieving, displaced, traumatised toddlers are extraordinarily demanding - and there is only you there to respond to their needs. It gets better. It gets a lot better, I promise.

Re the isolation - my SW felt my sanity was more important than "pure" funnelling. For the first few weeks I had a family member come for an hour every day to talk and keep me company. They barely interacted with LO, but that hour gave me perspective, reassurance and a structure while everything else had been thrown into the air. If you can, talk to your SW about what you need to help you stay resilient - if that's a bit more adult company (carefully handled, and not involved in caring for LO), then do what you need to do. You need to take care of yourself brew

silverlinings79 Sat 01-Nov-14 21:10:47

oh, and let's not underestimate how hard it is, even if you have done it before, to not have been eased in from babyhood. Babies come with a lot more sleepless nights etc. and their own challenges but your muscles have time to build, your eased in on puke and nappies via baby milk and they take their time to get mobile and get into things and the type of attention they need changes over time.
Adopting a toddler....everything at once lol!! Even when your mind knows what is about to hit, your body doesn't!!

P.s. stickers for listening work a treat smile

slkk Sat 01-Nov-14 21:11:29

Don't worry. The six week mark was the hardest for us and we had a full week of lo screaming from morning til night. It ended in me bursting into tears at the children's centre stay and play but this helped as they then told me about a local adoption support group. But it did get better. I think that maybe about 6 weeks is the time lo realises the move is permanent and there is no going back? Don't worry about losing patience over things like oven - we had to understand that lo had had things one way for 3 years and had to learn new boundaries - however roads and oven etc are safety so lo needs to understand that you are serious. We had exactly the same issue. However a few months on it is like a different child and life is so much more peaceful. Do try and get out, you will go stir crazy at home and look for ways to meet people. I have dsc who spend half the week with us but our lo found the change in routine of the holidays very hard so I wonder if half term has affected your lo. This week was so much better than the summer, not perfect, but so much better. So don't worry. Things will improve. And you are human not a robot. Good luck.

Lillyludge Sat 01-Nov-14 21:12:02

Lweji I can't get anything to cover the dials...the only option would be to put a gate across the kitchen. However, I'm a bit reluctant to do that due to LO's background history.... I can't really use 'traditional' punishments (e.g., time out) either as they're not recommended for adopted children.

It's not that LO is particularly difficult though...in fact I think my eldest was more challenging in some ways! It's more about me....it's more that my coping mechanisms aren't as good as I'd hoped. I need to find the patience to repeat what can and can't be touched, as many times as necessary, until LO gets it...

Lillyludge Sat 01-Nov-14 21:23:50

Aah cross posted with lots of new messages!
Thanks everyone. It is good to hear that about the 6 week mark.

I'm not doing strict funnelling...I am getting out and about with LO, and try to "accidentally" bump into someone every day in the park or cafe wink
I have had a couple of friends round after kids are in bed too...but still...

Kewcumber Sat 01-Nov-14 21:45:24

Of course we're going to say its normal. Because it is. Doesn't really help though does it when you're going through it.

After DS came home someone asked me what the biggest shock of becoming a parent was "I'm nothing like as good a parent as I thought I'd be"!

Forget "accidentally" bumping into people. If you are finding it hard to need adult input every day. My advice would be to just minimise their interaction with LO and don't take them too many places with children so they are limited to interacting with you.

I found 18months to 2.5 yeard the hardest because you really can't leave them alone and it rushes up on you so quickly when you don;t have them from birth and you really don;t know what kind of discipline they are used to or how confused they are etc.

Stick with it - it does get better and do whatever feels easiest to get through these difficult early days.

Devora Sat 01-Nov-14 22:51:38

Huge sympathies from me. It is hard, hard, hard in the early weeks - to me, just felt like a bad babysitting job that never came to an end. I felt resentful and irritated a LOT of the time.

I promise you it will get better.

Kewcumber Sat 01-Nov-14 22:54:06

Oh yes yes the babysitting thing.

I was so miserable at one point I thought I would never be happy again... and when my mum came over to look after DS so I could go out for an hour I wasn't happy without him around either. Doomed I tell ya, I was doomed. (But not actually as it turned out)

Kewcumber Sat 01-Nov-14 22:54:48

It's been 8 years tomorrow and I wish I had known how it was all going to work out, then I would perhaps have been able to enjoy the early days more.

Italiangreyhound Sun 02-Nov-14 02:26:05

Lillyludge I am sorry it is so tough and totally know how you are feeling. We are six months in and it took a while to get better. The first couple of months it was terribly hard.

DS (3, now 4) and DD (10) argued a lot and fought!

I can only reassure you it is all normal and I am sure it will all get better.

Personally, if you are worried about the hob and your kitchen has a door, I would keep it shut. Our doors are quite stiff and ds struggles to get them open so I would imagine a toddler would find it harder to open the door. Not sure if that would be a better option than the gate.

I would be tempted to try and get your older child on side to entertain little one during the prep time for meals, maybe even a touch of bribery for them! I also use the TV a lot more than I would like to!

I had ds at home and was told not to go out too much etc etc but after quite a short time I was going spare! So social worker OKed me going to local toddlers group where ds just played alone and only really interacted with me but where there were hot drinks, cakes and adult conversations! it truly was a lifeline for me.

Good luck.

Italiangreyhound Sun 02-Nov-14 02:29:07

I should say now ds does interact with the other kids and the Toddler group leader and also with the mums he knows. The toddler group is linked to our church but is open to anyone and costs just £1 a session. It is a lifeline. I also found the local children's centre run a drop in and I took ds swimming with a friend and her baby. The kids did not really interact and I was totally doing everything for ds but just being out of the house was a nice thing.

MooseyMouse Sun 02-Nov-14 07:24:43

I have older birth kids and adopted a boy of one. I hated the early months. I thought we'd ruined our lives with a little guest who wouldn't go home. It's a horrible feeling but very common.

(My friend Jane who is an adopter and I were discussing a new adopter who has just had her child placed:

Jane:"...and they're all doing really well"
Me: "What do you mean? They're really ok?!"
Jane: "Yes. They're delighted. It's incredible"

We then went on for ages about this super-human adopter who took to it all straight away while Jane and I both thought the first months were like drowning.

I'm 18 months into the adoption now and I love my little boy and it's growing all the time. I wish I'd felt sure in those early months that the happy feelings would come because it would have helped me feel less scared.

Toddlers are very hard work and, with a birth child, you already love them before they turn into a toddler. When you adopt a toddler, you're handed a mobile, vocal, opinionated, tantruming, grieving child who you don't know and don't yet love but you're trying to parent them as if you love them. It's very hard.

Well done for being honest about how you feel. I think there's a bit of pressure (unintentional) from non-adopters to deliver a fairy tale. They want to hear "The second I laid eyes on him, I fell in love. He's completely settled in and he can't remember his old life at all. My life was missing something before he came along".

I was asked several times by acquaintances whether I loved my new son as much as my birth kids. Inside I was thinking "I don't love him at all" but I smiled and said I did. People also kept saying "I bet you can't imagine life without him now" when all I used to do was imagine life without him.

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