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Adoption anxiety appearing(4 Posts)
Hello - a bit of background first if I may. I used to post on here about 2 years ago can't remember my username or the email so I'm starting a fresh.
We adopted a little girl 18 months ago - 9 months after registering with a va. She is brilliant but boy has it been a journey. She settled in fairly quickly but adjusting as parents was hard. I'm not a good mum it turns out. I'm trying hard to be less me and a better mum but by all accounts I love her immensely and she loves us too. She is my world and all my negativity is annoyance at myself and not her at all. Although she is nearly 3 so there are tantrums too haha. She is a happy child and everyone says so, she's never had a bad word said by nursery staff she is such my good girl.
However. The last few months she has been increasingly naughty. I know this is not a well liked words but saves me digging out the thesaurus. Tantrums are more frequent and unexpected. Most of this I chalk down to her age and we get on with it.
However part two. We went on a weekend break last minute then came home for a few days, celebrated a year since she was adopted through the courts with a nice trip to a restaurant, then we went on holiday for a week. She was pretty bad on holiday. We chalked it down to tiredness new place etc. We did all the things we usually do on holiday (we have been on 6 breaks of varying sizes and forms in the last 18 months) like have a picture of home, FaceTime with my aunt who looks after our dogs, talk about how many days we have left til home, talk about home and her dolly we left in the car seat to collect when we return etc. But something was up.
And here's the punchline. She's been talking about being adopted a lot. She's not 3 for a few months so I'm not sure she gets it at all. But this morning she spoke to my mum on the phone and said "mummy and Daddy adopted me" out of the blue. Then After she said to me "daddy married mummy then I adopted them" and a few days ago she talked about it all day.
Long winded story over. What shall I do? We have always talked about the adoption with her but not in great detail - just the way I would expect anyone to talk to a almost 3 year old. We want her to be aware of her birth family but I don't want to confuse her too much right now.
Does anyone have any tried and tested books or YouTube videos or points I can reassure her?
We didn't realise she was anxious about it too much til now and I know that might have been presumptive of us but like I say she's a happy clever soul and we aren't stuffy or unloving she's loved completely.
Oh god I realise I went on about being a bad mum I think I'm just having a bad week ignore that bit.
I don't know that I have much to offer that is useful but I just wanted to say I have been where you are and it is hard, please try not to beat yourself up, it gets better / easier / you get used to it. You are doing the very best you can and you clearly love your daughter, you are not a bad mum (but I know we all feel like we are from time to time!).
In my experience - I am nearly 4 years in - any change, no matter how small it might seem to us, can have a massive impact on behaviour. My LO (6) started displaying very challenging behaviour (for her) when there was a change of staff at school. It took me weeks to cotton on to why she was suddenly acting out. I don't have any magic tools for overcoming it, but lots and lots of reassurance helped, plus allowing her to revert to baby like behaviour at home(being picked up and carried around the house, being rocked and sometimes spoon fed like a baby, watching 'babyish' type programmes on cbeebies that she'd previosuly grown out of) really helped her to feel more secure and her behaviour improved.
With regard to talking about adoption, you are doing absolutely the right thing in being open and honest about it, 3 year olds have very little grasp of what the word actually means and fwiw my LO used to tell me and various family members and anyone else who'd listen that she went to the café to choose her mummy (because that's one of the things we did during intros). I think she thought you could get a mummy along with a latte! Now she's a bit older she understands a bit more, understands that her BPs couldn't look after her (says this herself on the rare occasions she brings it up) and knows that SWs helped to choose a new family for her who could look after her. She is fairly matter of fact about it all. I found 'The Family Book' by Todd Parr a good book to read with her to gently introduce adoption as being one of the ways a family comes together. I did buy some other adoption story books from Amazon (think i got one about a rabbit called something like the Teazel's baby bunny) but she wasn't very fussed by them.
A good life story book (mine from my daughter's SW was appalling and utterly useless) has also been really helpful. I made one for DD using a scrapbook from a craft shop and typed my daughter's 'story' (based on what I knew and the CPR) out for her and stuck it in, in short segments, in her book along with photos, pictures (of BPs, FCs and loads and loads and loads of photos from when she first came home), cartoons etc to make it bright and appealing. Over the years we have added to it with photos of significant events, updated hand prints, school photos etc) We call it her 'if I'm ever worried book' and I used to tell her (and then she began to tell me - about aged 4) that if she was ever worried about things changing she can just look at her book and know that we are a family forever.
I went to a good training session on life story books (sod's law it was after I'd written mine and I came away thinking 'I wish i'd put that in'!) run by Joy Rees. She has loads of resources online which might help.
Can't advise on books but our holidays always seem to trigger discussions about her adoption. DD is 5 and talks about it at a level I would never have anticipated. We have always talked about it starting with age appropriate books at a year old (including Teazles's baby bunny).
Over the past couple of years she has asked a lot of questions and raises it when leat expected! I am honest with her - I don't explain why she couldn't stay with birth parents beyond "they couldn't keep you safe".
I also indulge in babying behaviour when she wants it - rocking, baby talk and singing lullabies. All seems to provide reassurance.
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