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I scared

(5 Posts)
64x32x24 Mon 09-Jan-17 14:14:57

Hi all,

I used to be a regular on here but haven't posted for a long time. Have lurked a bit every now and then. Basically we have been getting on with our lives.

The other day DD said something that has been playing on my mind. Not in a worrying way but just a truth, the significance of which I'm not sure about in the first place, and don't think anyone outside of adoption circles would get.

She was looking at her passport photo. It was taken a few months after her first birthday. She had been with us for a long time by then, more than half her life, AO through and all.

She pointed to the photo of herself and said 'I scared'.

I find this extraordinary. Does she remember being scared? Or is her fright so obvious on that photo that she recognises the feeling? She is still very young and her language development is a bit slow, I'm not used to clear verbal expressions of emotions from her.

Either way, it goes to show that even a baby who is placed for adoption at a very young age experiences very strong emotions. Even if they may not 'remember' all the specifics, the feelings that go with the separations and moves and losses stay with them and influence who they are and how they experience the world. I realised this past Christmas that it was the first time we had photos of DD smiling to give to our families. She did smile earlier, but rarely, and it was very hard to capture for the camera. It took over two years for her to start to smile more easily and frequently.

As far as we know, our DD did not experience any abuse or neglect. She had only one FC placement before coming to us. And she came at a very young age.
And still.

Sorry for rambling a bit. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I had a need to share this and there is nowhere else it would make any sense.

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Mon 09-Jan-17 17:09:21

It does make sense and it's hard. We're going through the process for a second time and it feels like such a thought this time round, having more of an idea of the trauma and just outright fear that this new wee one will go through when they come home.

RatherBeIndoors Mon 09-Jan-17 20:46:53

64!!!! <madly waves hello> I totally believe your LO correctly identified the feeling in the photo - how much of it is a memory, and how much of it is describing what she can see in the photo, is impossible to untangle. You're clearly doing a great job with their emotional literacy, and giving them ways to express difficult feelings. It's really hard to hear when they come out with these things, but I guess that's what we do - we build a safe place for them to let out their feelings, and we help them hold them.

I hear you about the lost/sad/frozen expressions for a long time after placement. SO much going on inside their tiny heads and hearts sad

(I've changed MN name but you once gave me a very appropriate book about pirates and trolls wink )

meandyouplustwo Sat 14-Jan-17 09:29:16

hi , another adopter here , i also look at photos taken of our lo which show what i describe as a frozen smile when she came to us (under 1), often clinging onto something or someone. Now has a beautiful grin which reaches her eyes and fills her face smile

Just wanted to add another thought here , maybe your little one was scared at the time of photo being taken , passport photos whether in booths ( cram into this big metal box !) or at a photography place ( smile at the stranger while i stare at you and try to get your attention by making silly noises).

I myself have a very clear holiday memory ( sitting in pram watching something with someone ) which my parents recall as being before i was a year old when person in memory passed away .so memories can exist from very early ( something else as adopters we need to know of course)

Im not saying it is not adoption related ( and yes your right people who haven't adopted dont always get the minute details we have to go into to understand loss and change in adopted children) but sometimes it can be a mixture of both , fear of strangers and strange places ( very usual for children who haven't been adopted and children who are ) and what you could call "normal strange situations ".

well done on your lo being able to recognize and articulate her feelings tho , sounds like you are doing a great job.

comehomemax Sun 15-Jan-17 12:54:19

Hey 64! Another name changer here but remember you well (and have missed you).

You could have written about my little one in your OP. We couldn't get a smiley pic - if you had asked me, I would have said he smiled and laughed but the moment he saw a camera, he would become serious and sombre. People in the street used to comment on "what a serious baby" he was when he refused to engage in their cooing. Now I can see the difference in his laughter - it's the difference between him cracking a cautious smile or laughing gently at something amusing versus now when he belly laughs, screaming with it and it is across his whole face and body. His early pictures show the same stressed eyes in every picture and it never fails to hit me in the gut when I see how bloody joyous I was and unaware of his deep anxiety. A family member recently looked at some early pics and were shocked at how she also hadn't recognised it at the time.

I totally agree that they remember in some form or other. My ds also looks at baby pics and tells me how his toys felt in the picture. It's always "worried" or "scared".

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