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Adopting DDs half-sibling

(4 Posts)
picklerock Wed 20-Jan-16 13:40:54

We are in the process of being assessed to possibly adopt DD's half sibling who is currently in FC. DD came to us at 8 months, is 2 and has a slight development delay that means she is pre-verbal amongst other things. She has settled well and is very bonded to both me and DH. She doesn't attend nursery and would be at home all the time with me and the new LO. Life is good, really good, right now.

Whilst we have only just started the assessment things will move fast if we are approved and if the court grants the placement order. The LO is likely to be about 9 months if they do come to us.

We have considered this decision carefully and feel in the long term it is the right thing to do for all of us, despite being slightly petrified for the short term esp for DD but also for the new baby who won't get our exclusive attention like DD did.

I think I'm just looking for general advice from adopters who have been here e.g.

- what can we do to best prepare our DD (whilst accepting that we actually never really can)?

- What did you do or with hindsight wish you'd been able to do to focus on attachment with the new LO when your attention is necessarily split?

- How can we best help DD through the early days (she is very mummy-centric at the moment)

- What help did you get or do you wish you'd got from your support network etc etc.

Sorry this is so vague, just any advice or tips are much appreciated. Thank you!

Italiangreyhound Wed 20-Jan-16 16:59:42

Congratulations and well done. I hope it all goes well picklerock.

Our situation is a bit different as dd was 8 when we started the process and 9 when ds came. DD is our birth child but I really don't think that makes a lot of difference in terms of what you are asking except that an adopted child may accept change less well to a birth child, so you need to be extra careful in helping her manage that process,,, but the fact she came to you so young and the fact she is still very young might be in your favour here.

Here is what we did that worked well...

1) Talked to dd about it all and we were honest. We said all along it would most likely be a boy of three because we felt he would be (and he was) and we knew dd was interested in a baby boy or girl of 6 (neither of which were very likely due to dd being 8 when we started the process and the fact that there are not that many babies in the system generally).

2) We got dd out of any habits we felt would be unhelpful, she was still coming in our bed at night (she was a bad sleeper) and we were delighted she managed to stop this before our new little one (a boy of three, nearly four) came and he has never slept in our bed. They both come in the bed in the mornings and it has been good, he is a much better sleeper than dd ever was!

3) We tried to de clutter which was helpful.

Here is where I cocked up!!!!....

1) I passed on hand me downs from dd to ds (high chair, apron etc) without asking or even telling dd. She found out and she was very upset not to be asked. I really feel that handing down items in adoption situations is not helpful unless the older child agrees. Lots of items are not expensive if you buy second hand and if you sell on things then you can make money. It may sound stupid to sell a chair and buy a new one etc, and if you can avoid doing that then great. But just be aware it was a big issue for us and still is when DD feels 'her' things have been taken by ds. The fact she is a girl and he is a boy and there are almost six years between them doesn't seem to come into it! DD has some autistic tendencies and this may make it worse. I think dd's concerns were, and are, that we love ds more than her (we don't!) and that by giving him her treasured stuff' (any of her stuff) we were proving that! We try to love and show our love equally.

2) I think I sometimes assumed because ds was very calm and behaved in quite a 'normal' way, all was fine and that there are not any 'issues' - but as time goes on I feel there may be issues and we are continuing to seek post adoption support to help ds address these, or for us to address them to help ds.

3) We failed to really de-clutter!

grin wink smile

That's just a snap shot of our life, if any of that is helpful, great. Our situation is very different from your situation because of the ages, and the fact our ds is not a birth-related of our dd and dd is our birth child but, as I say, I am not sure that is the major factor - it is finding out what is important to your dd and how to manage her concerns, if any, as time goes on.

As your children will have one birth parent the same and one different, they will have slightly different stories and this may be a challenge, helping them to understand it all, one may find it easier than the other so you may need to feel your way in terms of how you manage any memory boxes etc, they may want to treat this whole aspect of their lives differently.

I do hope someone with a closer situation to yours will be along to advise.

All the best.

WeLoveLego Wed 20-Jan-16 23:59:30

Hi pickle rock,
I have three young children, and we're soon to be joined by the sibling of AD.My AD is also 2.
Firstly I'd suggest looking on some of the other mumsnet boards too re.toddler gaining a sibling as they'll be lots of tips on there about how to manage your new young duo, and how to best prepare your daughter for sisterhood in that sense. I'd recommend reading her 'when I met you, blue kangaroo', it's a good book for helping LO navigate her feelings, expectations about becoming a sister.
I wouldn't recommend talking too much to LO about becoming a 'helper' when baby arrives, as she might feel this event is 'a role changer' . You don't want her to feel her current role, position in the family, is going to be undermined.Try to emphasise instead how she can choose what to play with baby, how her special time with you will remain. Depending on her age, she might soon be ready to drop her midday nap. (Around 2 and a half usually). I've found that getting baby to nap for two hours after lunch leaves a fantastic couple of hours to play intensely with the older child. Plenty of face-face interaction time playing jigsaws and board games, reading, doing theraplay activities together has worked well for us in the past between d2 and d3 especially.
I've lots of tips along those lines if that's what you're after?
Feel free to PM me!

cantthinkofannewname Thu 21-Jan-16 11:20:59

Our two are around the same age gap as yours and DC2 was smaller when placed (removed at birth and without going into enough details to out ourselves placed within a couple of months). We did not honestly prepare DC1 at all because it was all very uncertain and last minute but we did have some sibling visits with FCs at a point when we were certain enough to say "this is your baby sibling and soon they will be coming to live with us". In fact it was long distance travel/staying in holiday cottage near FCs that unsettled DC1 most. DC1 is now pretty good with DC2 (well, apart from the odd thump) and says "I talk to DC2 in X's tummy" and other heart melting things.

One thing I highly recommend is one to one time with each child, swapping off parents. I feel the bond with each of you is more important than the bond with each other, which will change and grow anyway.

We have also gone for an extra day in nursery with DC1 for bonding with DC2 and naps for us, the 2 year funding was vvv helpful for that. Now that DC2 is more mobile and active we are also adding a bit of time for DC1 (who is nearly starting school so needs Mummy time before that happens) without DC2 (and it means DC2 gets used to a bit more time in childcare, as I'll probably up my hours to be a bit closer to school hours, when DC1 starts school. )

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