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A few questions and a bit of hug please(29 Posts)
So today is our family day and I should be feeling happy but instead I am scared. Very scared. Little has been home for 2 years and is 3.4. We love her and she loves us. All good, right? This should now just be like plain sailing until teens.
This is my real problem though and I really need some advice. She has been going to a nursery full time for 4 months. She cries at drop off most days but is happy and is enjoying it 30 seconds later. I believe this.
Two things have happened recently that make me worried. We were invited to a class birthday and she said she wanted to go, we went. It became very clear that people were trying to be her friend but she wasn't bothered. Socially she looked behind other children, although she was the youngest there by 3 months.
Today was the nursery singing and my husband and I went. She clocked my husband and that was it, no singing, just sitting on his lap. She likes the carers at nursery but I sometimes wonder if they like her. They often seem to dismiss my worries about things.
Do I pull her out of nursery? Is this normal three year old behaviour? I can't see the wood for the trees here. Am I just feeling overly emotional because of the day? How can I help her with all of this?
Also, as an aside, is family day always bittersweet?
Any advice greatly appreciated.
Your opening para is not my experience. "plain sailing" was not something we were ever led to expect from pre-adoption training. After 2 years I would absolutely have said DD loved me (and she did!). But that did not mean she was secure, or that her needs were getting smaller. If anything, more needs were emerging all the time as she grew able to express them. And her original early experiences meant that her ability to form attachments was always going to be different. For some children that difference might be insecurity/clinginess, for others it might be avoidance and pushing away. For others it might be a combination of both. There are things you can do to support a child with any of those attachment needs, but it is a long, slow journey.
I don't read this as a reason to pull her out of nursery altogether, although it may be that full-time is too much. Feeling that the nursery workers dismiss your concerns is much more of a worry. You need to work together with them to help your LO feel secure there, and I would guess that after only 4m in nursery, LO probably "copes" but it's too early for them to feel safe. It's good that LO went straight for your DH as her secure-base, and settled there. That's what she needed, and your DH met her needs completely.
It is very hard to be in a group of classmates and suddenly see a "difference". I think it's a shock because at home everything is "your normal" and they are just your wonderful little child that you love. Whereas the truth may well be that by other measures, there are challenges or delays that will persist for many years. It doesn't mean disaster, but it's hard to look at side by side with children who haven't experienced trauma.
With children who've been adopted after trauma/neglect, feeling secure is the bedrock. It's hard to build, really hard, and can take a long time in a new setting like nursery or school. Until that's growing, it may be too hard for the child to also tackle things like learning, developing social relationships, and growing their skills. I would try and work with the nursery, and see whether they can use LO's early years pupil premium to improve her feelings of security and safety. That might be staff training, or 1:1 continuity, or a little safe-zone like a tent in the main room, or whatever else you jointly think would help.
After events like parties etc, I try really hard to remember that "comparison is the thief of joy" - and not let other people's children deny me the delight I feel in my own precious DD, whose every step is very hard-earned, and who I wouldn't change for the world (although I wish I could take away her pain).
Sorry, can I start by asking what family day is? (I feel I should know, but I don't!)
I think it's very hard to know, from the information you give, whether you should be concerned. Some thoughts that might help:
- It's hard to know what is normal 3 year old behaviour because - well, 3. But it was at about 3/4 that my dd's behaviour started pulling apart from the norm in some ways, so you could be identifying something that needs attention.
- Clinginess very common among young children, and even more so among adopted children. My dd is 7 and I have only just begun dropping and leaving her at parties (i.e. 3 years behind her peers). If you met her you'd see a tall, confident and bright 7 year old, but emotionally she is still about 3. I still co-sleep with her and she only gave up the dummy this year. This is what we need to do to help her cope with her fears, and I wouldn't try to force her along. We couldn't do classes and groups for a very long time, but she is now regularly doing dance classes and coping fine.
- From everything you say, the thing that concerns me most is that you wonder if your dd's carers like her, and that they seem to dismiss your worries. This is serious. My dd had a cm who, it turned out, didn't like her ("Nobody has ever pressed my buttons like your daughter") and I feel sick with guilt that I didn't get her out of there sooner. I was so worried about not disrupting her continuity of carer that I kept her in an unhappy and unsafe situation far too long.
So right now, your problem is more the nursery than your daughter. Or rather, you may need to act on the nursery now. With your daughter, just carry on making her life as safe and loving as you can.
Ah yes, RatherBeIndoors's advice is much better than mine. But I'd completely echo her point about plain sailing - adoptive parenting is rarely plain sailing, IME.
Thank you for all your words of advice.
I was not being serious when I said I thought it should be plain sailing. I was never led to believe that it would be nor did I actually believe that it would be. All I meant was that I thought I might have may act together by now.
Family day is the day we first met her and the day she came home. She was adopted from outside the UK, although we were living in that country at the time.
Thank you for re-affirming my feelings about the nursery. I am also very grateful for you sharing your personal experiences with regard to 'not being liked' It must have been so hard for you and your daughter.
I understand about not comparing her, and I didn't mean to make it sound like I do, I know that everything she does is valuable and that small steps are real milestones for her. It was just the first time in a long time I had witnessed it so clearly, her world is normally very small.
It's really horrible, that slightly sick feeling when you realise something might not be quite right. I really sympathise.
My guess ( only a guess ) is that's she's struggling with losing her family again every day . And that she's coping with that loss by separating herself emotionally from you and her father. This will take all her energy and she won't have any left to learn everything that the other children are doing in nursery .
She will also be hyper sensitive to rejection and she will know that they staff don't like her.
FT nursery is very hard for such a young adopted child. Is there no way that her father can reduce /change his hours / work from Home so She can be at home more ?
Also does she enjoy celebrating " family day " ? I know it's very popular among adopter, but lots of adoptees hate it. Because they don't like celebrating that they are different, or celebrating the loss of their birth family /foster carer .
Just thought I'd ask. It's great if she likes it and doesn't find it unsettling.
Hi Kr1stina, haven't seen you for awhile . (I keep name-changing so you may have no idea who I am...)
I'm sorry Dorcas, please give me a clue
Yes give us a clue dorcas. With a nn like that surely you must be known?
And I see your fine work on the 'stolen children' thread too <applauds>
I'm easy... lesbian mum of two live in SW London.
Ohhhhhh!!! Hello Dorcas! I was trying to figure you out...
I said I'm easy because I'm used to being the only gay in the village, but our school is now flooded with gay parents - it's the priority-admission-for-adopters effect. Nobody has to be my friend to prove they're right on anymore [sniff]
Ah. I did wonder. But I then thought you had had a new monicker only quite recently. I like what you've done with the new one though
And op I think some carers/teachers seem to 'get' our children (and like them for being who they are) and some just don't. Is there a way you can find someone who does?
Here's the hug you need too <<<<>>>>> Be nice to yourself.
Dismissing worries is what Other People do best with our children. But you know your child best so if you are worried, don't let yourself be fobbed off.
I wouldn't worry too much about being socially behind - 3 months at that age is huge anyway, without even thinking about anything else.
My DC was placed at similar age - I tend to treat him as though he's much younger than his actual age (and asked nursery to keep him in the younger group longer too).
I just said people keep dismissing worries, then instantly dismissed a worry. Sorry. <eye roll>
There's dismissing and reassuring tldr. You are on the side of right
I spend half my life second guessing my ds's development. But actually he's got charisma oozing out of every pore so I should probably relax
Like yourself have just placed little one in nursery , has Many global delays can not walk or talk age 2.5. But is enjoying and loving it as are the other children around him.
We contacted the LA's Schools Statutory Disability Team prior too placement for advice, Who put us in touch with our local community disability out reach team, who have since put him on a Pathway plan which
has placed lot's of support for him in nursery which will assess his needs
and follow up a Educational Health Care Plan as and when he transfer's too school.
Perhaps this may be the correct course for you too pursue.
Wish you all the best.
Oh, hello Dorcas! (And Kristina - you have both been away for a while?)
OP - I have found that as DD gets older, she expresses her issues in different ways. Which is a another way of saying that every time I think we've got this parenting malarky licked, something else comes up and knocks us off course again.
Does she have to go to nursery full time? Does she have to go to this nursery? It doesn't sound great if they dismiss your concerns....
<waves> to Olenna
Yes RL has been getting in the way of my MN
I'm sorry I don't know who anyone is anymore, can you give me a clue or PM me please ?
Is Lilka still around ?
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