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How did you feel during introductions?

(26 Posts)
BewilderedBeaver Fri 24-Nov-17 08:21:57

We are coming to the end of introductions and things have been going smoothly so far. I have found this part of the process challenging. I’m naturally introverted to spending time in someone else’s house has been draining and I while it is all completely necessary and I am happy with that, at this point I am struggling with taking her back at the end of her days and switching between her feeling like ours and then theirs again. However despite all that and a couple of middle of the night panicky moments about it all I was feeling quite happy with how it was all going. That is until people started asking if I was bonding with her yet. I like her, I feel able to parent her, but as for bonding how can that possibly begin to happen under such forced and stressful conditions. I don’t think I had truly bonded with my BD at this stage, I think that started to happen a few weeks in. Googling, there’s lots of info about the practicalities of introductions but I can’t find anything about how people felt during them. So I was just wondering, partly for reassurance and partly curiosity, how did you feel during intros, about your LO and about the process of intros??

Italiangreyhound Fri 24-Nov-17 08:38:57

You can't possibly start to bond that way, it's all new. So you are normal. Don't worry. I'd keep communication with others to a minimum at this stage. If co-parenting then of course talk to your other half! Talk to your child and new child (we also adopted with a birth child, rd was three and dd was nine).

Others will not get it so I would keep to, "child is lovely" "birth child coping well" "all going fine" or similar. As an introvert you will not need to chat to process feelings (as I do).

Focus on how you think child is feeling. This will take pressure off you.

Italiangreyhound Fri 24-Nov-17 08:40:20

Ds was three (adopted child).

BewilderedBeaver Fri 24-Nov-17 10:17:28

It’s FC and SW who have asked, wider friends and family seem to totally understand where we are coming from! Thanks for the reassurance it really helps to hear from people who have actually been through it 😊

LateToTheParty Fri 24-Nov-17 12:33:51

I felt exactly as you’ve described. Adopted twice and each time the foster carers couldn’t have been nicer and more welcoming, and it all seemed to go smoothly. Even so I felt knackered, exhilarated, at times terrified and by the end of each week just wanted to take DC home for good and be done with the toing and froing, (and review and birth family meetings) and begin the rest of our lives! I think as you get towards the end the child struggles too, because they can sense the FC drawing back as you take over their care and they spend more time with you and in their new home.

I would say that it took a year each time to fully adjust to bringing each of them home, (DC1 was a toddler, followed a couple of years later by DC2 who was a baby). We don’t have birth children so I don’t know how that compares.

I wouldn’t be too concerned about bonding, that grows over time and as you all become more familiar with each other. It’s not a perfect analogy but during our training the Adoption SWs said to imagine suddenly marrying and moving in with a complete stranger. Even if you think you are well matched, it’s still a huge adjustment for everyone concerned.

In the early days for us it was about getting through each day, building on the routines they came with and having fun together. I don’t know how old your new daughter is, but both my two loved (and still love!) bubbles and stickers from an early age. Both activities are quick and easy, don’t require any language and can help with any shyness e.g. DS was quite cautious about physical contact at first and didn’t particularly want to be held, but enjoyed covering mine and DHs hands with stickers.

Best of luck to you all, sounds like a great start already brewcake

Rainatnight Fri 24-Nov-17 12:37:18

I completely agree with Italian. Those are really unfair questions and I think how you feel is perfectly normal. I felt the same.

For your SW, you might want to dial it up a bit, nodding brightly and saying something like 'oh yes, the bonding' coming along', so she doesn't get on your case, but not everyone would agree with that.

Rainatnight Fri 24-Nov-17 12:37:19

I completely agree with Italian. Those are really unfair questions and I think how you feel is perfectly normal. I felt the same.

For your SW, you might want to dial it up a bit, nodding brightly and saying something like 'oh yes, the bonding' coming along', so she doesn't get on your case, but not everyone would agree with that.

B1rdonawire Fri 24-Nov-17 12:37:20

Bewildered, overwhelmed, terrified, full of self-doubt, exhausted - that's how I felt in intros! There's no way anyone can be doing anything other than surviving, and starting the very first steps of getting to know their child, during intros. IMO, FCs and SWs ask these
daft questions because they want reassurance themselves that this child will be loved. I understand why the FCs need to hear that, because they have cared so personally and deeply for the child and it will be hard to let them move on. I have less understanding about the SWs as I think their own need for reassurance needs to be met by their professional colleagues, not by the adopters! You're doing well by the sounds of it. Bonds grow day by day, month by month, and they grow better when not under scrutiny grin

fatberg Fri 24-Nov-17 12:47:43

Yy to all the above. I felt like a particularly inept babysitter. All my focus on the first few weeks was on keeping them alive. Bonding came later.

Bubbles and stickers are a great idea and any other things that let you be silly. We had a card game with animals, LO didn’t know how to play so we just turned over the cards and made animal noises at each other. 🦓 🦒 🦁

Barbadosgirl Fri 24-Nov-17 12:58:24

Currently on day two of intros no. 2. I had forgot how knackering it is! Bonding is a complicated thing. We had a very smiley, easy going baby first time round and felt a "bond" from Day One. However, that was a very superficial connection fuelled by excitement, longing and his general adorableness. Feeling what I feel now, that is a true bond and it has built up over time. No. 2 is also an easy going, cute baby but much younger. I currently feel exhaustion, exhilaration, heart meltiness as he snuggles into me, fear and the general frustration of toing and froing and not yet being the one who knows him best. The sw is a bit of a wally, in my view, to expect a sudden bond but as the others say, lots of bright smiles and nods!

Ted27 Fri 24-Nov-17 13:46:45

I think people feel a huge range of emotions. Some bond quicker than others. Whatever you are feeling its all normal.

I think we started bonding on day 4 when he smacked his head on a slide and needed an ice pack and a lot of cuddles. He was 7. He still talks about that day as being the first time we had a cuddle. Not that I recommend turning up at FCs with a child with a massive egg on his forehead! But feelings take a while to develop.

Just tell people she's lovely and gorgeous and its all going really well.

It will all be a lot easier when you are home.

Italiangreyhound Fri 24-Nov-17 16:01:51

Yes, dial it up for social worker and foster carer. Make friends with foster carer if you want to stay in touch.

It's all normal.

We found swimming was good for appropriate skin to skin, ds loved it. Still does.

Jellycatspyjamas Fri 24-Nov-17 17:19:53

Oh god, bonding was the very last thing I felt. Incredibly emotional, anxious, fearful, hopeful, overwhelmed, angry, sad, scared, inept, inspired, awed and optimistic but I didn't love them as soon as I saw them, knew they were mine and it was "right" but it was far too artificial a setting and far far too stressful for me to have warm, loving, bonding feelings.

Tbh I mostly spent intros thinking "oh fuck, what the hell have I done" and smiling and nodding at people who kept telling me to enjoy my new children. We're only now, 4 months in, getting to where we enjoy each other's company and have any kind of relationship - it hasn't been an easy transition for me by any stretch of the imagination and while I wouldn't be without them, and can see how well they're doing with us it's been hard bloody work this far.

It helped me to get support here - with people who get how hard it is - and to think of it as a phase to be got through. Every now and again the loveliness of it hit me and I was deeply moved by the knowledge that we had finally got our family - treasure those moments when they come but it's ok to feel other stuff too.

BewilderedBeaver Fri 24-Nov-17 20:06:13

Thanks so much, it’s so helpful reading this.

Kewcumber Fri 24-Nov-17 21:42:28

11 years ago exactly and I can still remember how I felt (is intro's for adopters the equivalent of birth stories for birth parents?!).

Exhausted
Fake
Terrified
Exhausted
Like a babysitter
Concerned
Exhausted
Protective

Oh and exhausted.

I decided I couldn;t think of a reason why not to go ahead so I just kept going.

So so so glad I did - he's 12 next week.

Monkeybrains2017 Sat 25-Nov-17 06:28:04

We were asked in our review halfway through introductions “do you love LO” by the family finder who was chairing the meeting. At that stage it was tricky to answer! Now I’d be offended if anyone even needed to contemplate asking!

Twogirlsandme Sun 26-Nov-17 18:39:17

It's such a tricky time. I felt excited, overwhelmed and exhausted. I also felt it was a bit surreal.

feelslikearockandahardplace Sun 26-Nov-17 19:43:31

Monkeybrains2017 crazy that the family finder asked so early, I know it may happen for a few people but I'm sure it takes a hell of a lot longer for most people. Certainly we weren't talking about love during intros.
Beaver for us intros were fine with the children, it was being stuck in the foster carers home and in such a goldfish bowl that we found hard. But we also thought that as it was going so well that actual placement would be very tough and we were right. First month of them living with us was miserable. Not what you want to hear prob but that was our experience. Good luck!

Kewcumber Sun 26-Nov-17 20:59:58

If it helps at all I did 8 weeks of daily intros with DS before taking him home! I was climbing the walls by the end

fos6mo3 Mon 27-Nov-17 08:28:42

Hi just to put this from a foster carers prospective I felt like a fish bowl also I so wanted to the right thing for the little one and the adoptive parents I was so worried concerned they wouldn't like me, or that I would make it awkward for them,, whilst being emotionally at the same time as she was going but also excited about her new life. It's such an emotional time I think for both parties and I don't think anyone at that time should be asked how there feeling ....

Barbadosgirl Mon 27-Nov-17 11:31:41

Fos big cyber hug to you. Just gave my new baby son's foster carer a real life hug as she was very tearful saying goodbye. Thanks so much to you, her and all those amazing FCs out there with the strength and capacity to love these children but let them go. I am over the moon that he is home but so emotional for them. As you say, emotions are tricky during intros and you would have thought a good sw would know that!

Thebluedog Mon 27-Nov-17 11:32:18

You can’t possibly start to bond under those circumstances. I too found introductions very forced and extremely stressful. I liked my AD but my overriding feelings were stress, worry and a little bit of being scared shitless

comehomemax Mon 27-Nov-17 11:45:29

Congratulations Barbadosgirl. Lovely news

MummyDoingHerBest Mon 27-Nov-17 20:06:15

So anxious and exhausted. It’s such a weird and unnatural process. With huge highs and lows along the way. The foster carer was amazing - serene and calm and we worried we’d never manage as well as she seemed to!

exercisejunkie Wed 29-Nov-17 02:43:07

Barbadosgirl I found placement day incredibly hard, I arrived, got given the last few bits, put the bag by the door, the foster son was holding little one and handed her to me, I took her over to foster carer and we had a group hug the three of us, fc and I coughtvesch others eyes during the hug and could see we were both just about holding it together so I whispered "thank you for everything, I'm just going to go, we'll talk later" and walked out the house without looking back, put little one in her car seat and silently sobbed the whole way home!

My emotions that day were all for the FC and the guilt at taking her away from somewhere albeit temporary that she was and had been happy, but.....10 days later we're just about starting to find our feet.

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