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First 6 months: am I being stupid(21 Posts)
We're in stage 2 - so it's moving slowly but steadily. Friends and family know our plans - and we're now trying to give them a heads up about how it might be in the first 6 months. This is not easy. I feel like we're not being listened to or dismissed. It's starting to get me down.
Firstly everyone wants to know when. When will we go to panel. When will we get a child etc. We explain that it's kind of fluid and we don't know ... and then they ask again next time.
But it might be this year. So no we can't book a big holiday in the summer. And then I feel like screaming at people thinking that's a hardship for us that none of us are being abused or frightened or hungry or hurting so yes actually I'm pretty chilled about it. And no I'm not being cruel to birth ds.
The first 2 weeks will be in a kind if lock down - noone randomly dropping in. Just us, creating a safe place - perhaps a trip to the park but perhaps not. No we won't be a having a party...
Then begin to think about creating a daily routine over the following 2 weeks before dh goes back to work. Then spending 6 months intriducing family/friends at our house in short bursts. Going to groups we can leave quickly. Keeping things calm, in a boring routine, no weekend trips, no hols. No rushing off to do "treats"like theme parks etc.
And that means that if there's a major life event going on (birthdays/ weddings) I'll have to miss it. I won't want to but no I'm not risking the mental health of my new child just to be present. So unpurse the lips, and thanks for the suggestion the social workers won't know but I'm not just ticking boxes here. And even after 6 months everything won't be fixed and yes even if we get a young one they will still be traumatised.
And relax. Good to vent. I think I'm being realistic but starting to doubt myself. Am I being overly cautious? Or worse am I not actually fit to adopt cos I'm letting this get to me?
I think you're quite simple amazing.
You know what you're doing, you're not being stupid at all.
I completely understand your frustration, it sounds like someone is being very disrespectful and short-sighted. But you do need to let it go. There could be a lot more of this to come and you'll need all your energy and calmness for your new son or daughter. So for them, I would practice some meditation techniques, be firm and Let. It. Go.
I have no idea about adoption but I think that's fucking NUTS.
You know your own mind op. You will know what is best for your new wee one (however big) and nobody should be dictating anything.
All the best.
People drive me crazy.
Janenest my experience has been the opposite. Everyone accepted we would need to do things differently etc then the minute we were linked with a 6 month old they all thought it was poppycock! It's been a real battle I could have happily done without having to constantly argue my case.
Sorry Jameme it spellchecked it and autocorrected to the above for some bizarre reason!
You are not being overly cautious . Your main focus for the first year or so is making your child feel safe and bonding with him / her. The consequences of disputed attachment are very serious and its YOU who will be living with them for the rest of your lives.
So your second counsin twice removed will have to deal with the fact that you won't be attending her wedding abroad. Although you might be able to go to part of it if it's local and your kids are happy to stay at home with DH /DP ( if you have one ) . But it depends
Other people don't understand this. This includes some social workers and teachers . That's why many adopters spend lots of time here venting with others who DO understand . And it's totally to normal to be upset and frustrated by this.
I've also found that parent of kids with SN are quite understanding too - even if their child's needs are very different they get the whole " difference " thing and also accept that kids can have invisible problems and that they are not fixed aftre 6 months or with " love " or " stability " .
No you're not being overly cautious, thats pretty much how it goes. But don't forget that this will be difficult for you as well, and you and your partner will really need some down time, especially in the first few months when it's so intense, so I'd try to gently point them in the direction of some literature, e.g. Sally Donovan's new book, 'the unofficial guide to adoptive parenting.' And keep your mind open to some social events, you could well be craving adult company a few months in.
And I'd also add that developing a thick skin to all the well meaning guff that people unaware of adoption issues spout will prove essential in the future. Most people just don't get it, before we adopted, we didn't get it either.
Jameme I have no idea why, it's stupid iPads for you! It constantly changes "have" to "gave" since when is have not a word!
I think you're right with older children when they're actually there it's easier to see the effects. The whole baby thing is because people don't remember what happened to them at 6 months but I try to explain that what did happen to them forms how they are now. Especially about him bonding with us, because he's settled so easily with us they're all "well that's good he's fine" then I point out if he is that easily attached to us after a couple of weeks how will that effect the situation if others like friends and family become involved? Will it lessen the attachment to us or will he transfer it to others. They kind of get it but it's so frustrating.
We are about at the same stage as you. We have had similar conversations with friends. Frustrating isn't it !
Especially the comments, 'when you are a parent you will think differently children are more resilient than you think' and 'that's just the SW wanting you to jump through hoops, they won't know if we all meet the baby in the first few weeks' and 'when you say you are introducing family and friends slowly, you don't mean me do you? I am going to be so excited and want to come round'.
We asked LA if they could deliver family/friend training. They liked the idea and ran a compressed prep group session one evening. My parents went, not expecting to learn a lot but are now our advocates spreading the word. For some reason people listen to them more than us! Other family members and a friend are attending the next session.
We are not disclosing when our approval pannel is. Although tempting we want time to process the outcome ourselves before sharing the news. We are giving a vague we expect to go to pannel before Easter.
Likewise we are not telling anyone when linked, we are waiting for matching pannel approval.
When people ask me the same questions I try to deflect, thank them for their interest tell them I will share news when I have it and steer the conversation back to them.
Not sure any of that helps but I do share your frustration
Just to offer a slightly different point of view, it might be that the child you adopt will be ready for things more quickly than you are expecting.
I'm not an adopter but I am a fosterer, and I have had 2 children with me for just over 6 months now. In that time they have met every single member of my (quite large) family, they have been on holiday to stay with me and a relative of mine, they have been on lots of days out and they have been to 2 fairly big family events. It obviously really depends on the children but these 2 were totally ready to do these things and, without wanting to blow my own trumpet, they have really thrived over the last few months and have enjoyed becoming part of the family.
So yes, absolutely take things slowly if that's what you and the child need, but be open to the possibility that they might be ready for more quicker than you are expecting.
Go broken record on them. Just say the same message again and again.
"I don't know." "I don't know when I will know." "It's a whole big unknowing thing!"
And then let it go.
It is not about social workers, it's about the little one and you and they have no idea yet what issues there may or may not be.
Also, unless a wedding is looming on the horizon I would not discuss it or worry about it. If a wedding or a major family party arrives one of you can choose to go, hopefully, with or without your birth child. Just depends where it is, as Kristina says.
You absolutely don't need to be pressured into doing things before you are all ready. You don't have to say now that you can't do anything at all for six months, you can see how things are going
Deep breath and wine
Kitsandkids that's a reasonable statement to make however I would say the key difference is fostering rather than adoption. With fostering you don't want to create those lifetime attachments. Our little one was in a very busy foster household and went out to lots of family and friends etc however I still feel it's impietant he focuses on getting securely attached to us before he sees lots of new people in his life to dilute this. He met my parents very quickly simply because of the timings of him being placed but we held off on letting them hold him and they certainly won't be doing any of the care stuff for a significant amount of time.
Thank you so much for the responses - i'm feeling much much calmer today. It's brought home that a) getting stuff out really helps and b) made me realise that I am actually quite gutted that I may have to miss these events. They are of huge importance in my dh's life and there's no way i wouldn't be at his side otherwise. I've been quite stoic and matter of fact because that's just how it has to be. Possibly in trying not to look like a spoilt child (by wanting it all, wishing these events were next year) I may have given the impression to others i 'm not bothered. Need to redress that.
C) it's easy to forget how much you've learnt. I've been lurking on this site for so long - I really have to rack my brains to remember the times when I went "oh really, gosh I didn't know". Maybe I have to be as patient with others.
And just a small nod to KristinaM and Lilka - I think you've played a massive part in my preparation. Whenever I say something that I've picked up from you guys I get huge nods of approval from our social worker and lots of furious scribbling in the notes. Sometimes I feel a bit of a fraud. Thank you.
My only sibling got married about 6 weeks after DD came home; abroad (where she lives). I was sad about it, but didn't go, and everybody understood (well everybody who mattered).
But the SWs and other 'professionals' appeared terribly surprised! They made 'wow, the sacrifices you are prepared to make for DD' - type of remarks. Which in turn surprised me!
Just an aside, as you mention you have a child already, our 'new' DD orientated herself according to DS' behaviour. So when we introduced someone new, if DS was open and confident and relaxed, then DD found it much easier to relax around that new person as well. But when DS was shy and clingy, then DD didn't react well to the new person at all. So what really worked well with us was to prep new people to initially interact only with us and DS as previously. Then when DD had observed that these were safe people (as by DS' behaviour), she didn't mind / was much less wary of being introduced to them.
Also one insight that really helped me in the early days, was that DD would be observing and learning from how I interacted with DS. That these observations would be part of learning what a mother-child relationship is like/should be like (at least in this family). And that therefore it was important that I continued giving DS attention and cuddles and meeting his emotional needs. Before I had this insight, I felt terribly torn and felt I should be focusing on DD exclusively (making me feel really bad about failing DS), and whenever I did pay attention to DS it made me feel I was failing DD. After I had that insight, I was able to let go of much of that tension!
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