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Aaaggh, SIL got DD up this morning!(19 Posts)
DD is nearly a year old. Been home for 3.5 months. We've been funnelling etc.
SIL and her two DCs are visiting this weekend. Everyone VERY excited - DD is their first ever cousin and this is their first time to meet her.
We're on the sofa bed downstairs, and SIL and the kids have our bedroom, next to DDs.
The kids said last night that they wanted to see DD first thing in the morning and we said, ok, just come and get us and we'll take you in.
I woke up this morning to find SIL and the DCs all sitting around DD in her room! They said that she'd seen one of the DC's through the open door and was 'gesturing to get down', so they got her up.
We didn't hear a thing on the monitor.
I'm so cross. Am I over-reacting from a funnelling pov? DD wasn't distressed but that's not my point.
What is funnelling?
I don't think I would be too cross (based on fact I don't know what it is!) as they were excited and it came from a good place rather than interfering.
Also. Your daughter was fine - which is main thing! Oh, and congratulations!
I can see where you're coming from.
But lots of people unfamiliar with adoption are going to be unaware of the concept. Sounds like SIL needs more explanation and clarity from you.
If you manage this without sounding irritated/,critical, it's more likely to be well received.
It's only one morning, in the greater scheme of things, won't really make that much difference, if you calmly sort it so doesn't happen again.
I felt as paranoid as you in the first 6 months. We were at parents house towards the end of the first 6 months of LO home and LO was in the baby chair. Mum's friend picked him up without asking, never seen my mum move so fast with a 'gosh can you smell that, I think someone needs a change-over to mummy' 😂 love my mum, she's a star.
In the grand scheme of things it was well intentioned and they are only visiting. Attachment and bonding builds over time so if this was happening regularly then you'd need to stop it because funnelling is important but it's only the once and it's done now. If they are going to be a big part of LOs life then I'd worry even less. Try not to stress!
You are certainly (but quite naturally) overreacting to be cross and worried. One get up by someone else is not going to make a blind bit of difference to attachment.
It won't do any harm to gently remind SiL about what your priorities are and why, but I wouldn't do it while you're annoyed as you'll come on too strong.
I know from your previous posts you want to be cautious about funneling. I think your priorities should be that you alone change nappies, comfort when crying, and feed. Other family members having some intimacy (like this morning) is OK. I also think its fine if some other carers are being introduced now (e.g. GPs doing some of the above list).
The other side is to keep up the bath times, play and cuddles to build bonds. Don't neglect partner (if such a thing exists :-) doing just as much.
I think if you were really strict on the funnelling then having them stay over was probably not the best idea.
I wouldn't worry about this one occasion. If it was a recurring thing then I would have a word and ask them not to.
Please do not worry about this one incident and don't make sil feel bad. My sister came to visit after a shorter period and we all ended up at school fair. Dh, dsis, dd and newly adopted son ended up going round together while I ended up helping on refreshments stand! My fault for volunteering.
But no harm done.
I am sure will be same for your little one.
I'm assuming you explained all the "don't touch the baby, we're funnelling" before they arrived?
In which case, yes, I would be hopping mad, and asking them to leave until they can respect my child's attachment needs.
But I wouldn't have had anyone to stay who wasn't drilled in the hows and whys of us building attachment, and who hadn't agreed to respect it. It's very early days to have visitors.
I'm going to disagree with the above posters, having a young child who has proven to be very difficult attachment wise. I think this is done now, but funnelling is VERY important. A child can't make secondary attachments without a secure primary attachment, and 3.5 months in, she won't be secure. 3.5 months is still early days.
This is your chance to set how things will be. This event has happened, so no good being cross. But it is worth thinking what you can do to stop this happening again. Sil was just behaving like an excited auntie, it's not her fault. But 3.5 months is too early.
Rosie I agree with you that funelling is better, definitely. We did it too. But I think in this instance it was the kids, nephews/nieces which went in first and they would probably not have understood even if it had been explained to them.
Kfii funneling for adopted children is providing all the care so they know to look to you for it.
Someone else will give a better definition, I am sure.
Ah ok thanks. I did Google it but still didn't really understand!
Funnelling is ensuring that primary attachments can be built with frightened traumatised children. This is more intense than that needed by children who haven't had such huge loss/trauma. Normally, a baby is born, having lived inside the mother for eight months or so, learning her sounds, her rhythms. She is then the primary carer, so familiar. This securely attached child is a completely different child to the adopted child, who has learned that mums are unreliable, just disappear, and the next kind adult to pick them up one morning could be their next mum.
Funnelling involves doing all care, reducing touch from, and in the early days, interaction with, anyone else. It helps build that primary attachment that is taken for granted for secure children. I've also heard it called other names, such as "nesting", "hunker down time". Whatever you call it, it's essential for a frightened child who has lost everything, especially when pre-verbal, so they can learn who their mum/primary carer is.
Children are less of an issue, unless your child was cared for, or abused by, older children before they came to you. Secure children learn gradually, and by smell, which children are familial etc. Adopted children, especially when pre verbal, can't tell whether this child is a stranger, a friend, a new sibling, or a cousin. Keeping an adopted child's world small is a good way to help them learn they are safe, who to attach to, and to calm their anxieties.
Secure children automatically gain "stranger anxiety", which is normal and healthy, about nine months. A baby who is placed for adoption when they are supposed to learn that can have lifelong problems, because adoption asks that they override the natural "stranger anxiety", as they lose everything they've known, for the second or third, or even fourth, time, before they're even walking and talking, and are given to another set of strangers. Funnelling is used to try and rebuild "normal" function. Attachment problems are devastating, and if there is something reasonably simple that can be done, then why wouldn't you? That said, it was one of the hardest times of my life. I'm reaping the benefits now, though, as I don't think we'd be doing so well now, if I hadn't invested that energy. It took all I had at the time.
And OP, you're totally right that your DD not appearing distressed is not the point. Mine is never visibly distressed, all feelings are masked by a big fat grin. The more anxious, the wider the grin. After all, if you're my new mum, I'd better smile at you, so you like me. If you like me, I'll be fed, cleaned and safe. All fear based.
There I said someone would do better. A great explanation Rosie.
Thanks all, and thanks to donquixote for talking me down, as ever! We've spoken to reinforce the importance of funnelling and the role of attachment and I think it's gone in.
TBH, I don't regret them being here, and I'm actually glad they are. My DM's been diagnosed with a fairly serious cancer recurrence since DD came home. She and my DF live in another country so there's been no grandparents around. I think it's been good for all of us just now to be with more family, despite this one incident. I know some will disagree with that, but I think at this point, us doing all the caregiving is the important thing, as some PPs have said.
Thanks again, all.
Most welcome Rain. It's nice to be useful.
Doesn't matter if someone else disagrees (me included), you are in a far better position to judge. I don't think anyone would argue the importance your child to getting to know her family and for you to get support at such a rubbish time (sorry).
My two DDs were adopted at a similar age to yours, toddlers now. Feel free to PM if you ever need anything (I'll probably know how to do it wrong :-)
Thanks so much. It has been a tricky time, and I'm feeling a bit more emotional than usual (which is already quite emosh!) so I think that's partly why I reacted like I did. And thanks for the offer, will certainly take you up on it!
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