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help appreciated(5 Posts)
Hi I hope everyone has had a great Christmas?
I was hoping I could pick your collective brains for your advice/options please.
My eldest dd came to me last night wanting to have a chat. She was wondering how or what I was going to tell her sister (my youngest dd) about why they were adopted. this is a long way away as most of you know my youngest is just a toddler, but its worrying her.
Obviously i will tell the truth in an age appropriate way, coming from another tummy etc. but how much truth ultimately?
My eldest is worried about her finding out the whole truth about her (dd1s) early life especially, in her words she doesn't want her sister to 'even have stuff like that in her head.' Or have her think of her differently.
Goodness know I don't either but she's going to have a lot of questions and without the awful truth I can't explain why she can never have any contact with her bm. (This is court ordered, no letterbox no nothing is allowed even if bm wanted it which she expressly didn't)
On top of this there's the issue of bm continued drug use etc during her pregnancy.
I'm suddenly feeling slightly worried myself. If anyone has any thoughts or resources they could point me towards I'd appreciate it.
I agree it is hard. There is just over 5 years between my daughters.
Youngest was 2.5 when placed, and we mentioned adoption with her regularly from the off. She was developmentally delayed at the time, so was more like a 2yo or younger. Even just 'we are so glad we adopted you' or 'when you were growing you didn't grow in my tummy, you grew in X's' is enough to start with. I sometimes used to do her story in the bath.
So first and foremost, make sure you are mentioning adoption if you aren't already. It is easier to mention it when they are young as you get used to the words and there is never any big reveal.
We started out with birth mum couldn't look after you and sister properly, and then over the years added detail when she was old enough and ready to hear the info. There isn't anything massively distressing though.
If there was something like, e.g. sexual abuse, I would start with 'didn't keep big sister safe' then later move to 'X used to hurt sister' and then only way later (age 10 or even older) 'X used to touch sister in a way that wasn't right'. Also some stuff could maybe considered 'private' for big sister, and thus details never shared with sibling whilst growing up.
Mama I totally agree with sanders it will be much easier for your younger child to understand and process, and less harmful for her, in the long run, if she knows everything in an age appropriate way.
The fact your older daughter says "...she doesn't want her sister to 'even have stuff like that in her head.' Or have her think of her differently." suggests to me that it might be helpful for her to have some specialist counselling in how to talk to you or her sister about this.
It is important your youngest knows how serious this is, in case she is ever contacted by birth mum.
It's also important that your older daughter continues to grow and to know that what happened to her was not her fault, it does not say anything about her as a person, just in case she is feeling in any way it reflects on her or how people will see her.
I think (I don't know but I think ) others will not look down on her and think differently about her because of the actions of others.
It is true some weird people may think differently about people who have had a difficult start in life, been victims of neglect or abuse, but the fact some odd people have odd reactions doesn't mean that most people will, or that anyone has the right, to have an odd reaction.
In some ways I do think maybe it is right that your older daughter is warned to only reveal bits of her life to those who it is safe to do so with (e.g. some boyfriends in the future may not be able to handle the info, some may even use it to their advantage etc) so your dd needs to know who she can trust with this information, IMHO.
Of course, your younger child should absolutely be a person who can be trusted with this information but only in an age appropriate way and only as much information as she needs to understand the situation fully. If your dd wants to keep some things private I think she should be allowed to, as long as she doesn't then internalise things and leave herself with no one to talk to. All our children will have much longer relationship with their siblings than with us, in the normal course of life, so her sister will be her friend, on hopes, and it may well be best her sisters knows her story early and accepts it in an age appropriate way. Just my opinion. I'm an adopter but ds had a relatively easy start, loved but not really cared for and I still have not fully told dd (birth child) the details because it is his story to tell. But with your kids, to some degree, they share a story background.
Many thanks for replying much appreciated
I apologise there's a huge backstory here. My eldest is 18 had years of intensive therapy, counselling etc is now happy, healthy and even has a boyfriend. When she said not wanting things like that in her sisters head she meant she didn't want her to even know things like that existed, she is scared her sister will feel it damages her as my eldest did for a long time. Sadly we are dealing with severe abuse and court proceedings.
I am using the services of a clinical psychologist (dd2 was born addicted) so will ask their advice, I just wondered if anyone here had been in a similar situation? Or could recommend any resources?
How much truth is such a tricky concept, we all know truth is best but there's truth and then there's truth that will do more harm than good, the lines so blurry.
I have told dd2 that she came from another Tummy, i talk very openly and casuallyetc but I don't think It means anything to her at the moment, she was placed in my care the day she was born and has never known any different, other than inutero.
It feels a bit like I'm borrowing trouble but I want to be prepared as best I can.
From your update I would still broadly stick with what I suggested before, but I have no experience in this area.
i.e. Hint at the truth in an age appropriate manner. You don't need to go into gory details ever, but at some point, probably in teens, she will probably at least need to know that there was sexual abuse as well as drug addiction (which is easier to talk about earlier).
I think the opposite method, of keeping it entirely secret then a 'big reveal' later, or worse an 'accidental find out' could have a dramatic impact and a shaking of foundations.
But as I say, I have no experience of this, so could be talking rubbish.
I think you could reassure big sis that you wouldn't even hint at sexual abuse for quite a few years, and only when little sis is old enough to already be aware of such things.
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