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9 weeks in with 3 LOs and it's been every bit as hard as we thought it would be, although we have some truly magical moments.
However I'm really struggling today. Our youngest has been displaying violent and aggressive behaviour for most of this time and it's starting to wear me down. We understand why she is doing it, we get that LO is terrified and testing us. Compassion has been getting us through but it's tough. Other 2 LOs are struggling too but firefighting with the youngest means we're not spending enough time with them.
Feeling tired and emotional and hoping someone will tell me it will get better...
it does, it really does. And when you think it's good, it still get better and better.
The early days can be so hard, just take it one day at a time and make sure you are looking after yourselves too. Take a little break if you can, even if it's just a cup of tea in peace. Get as much sleep as you can, and getting everyone outdoors can help.
We only have one DS, I can't imagine how much harder it is with 3, but you will get there and it will be (it is) amazing.
It will get easier. Try to get enough sleep 😂. Don't beat yourself up when you're not perfect and believe you can start every day afresh.
Know how you feel and your situation, we had 5 , yes it does get better, but very different with so many. Older ones were very protective and used too a parental role , so had too engage and try our best too not exclude them of their natural protective relationships they have built up over the years. Requires Therapeutic parenting and inclusion too the extreme . Lots of TLC, observation , and understanding.
I really relate to your post but 10 months on and things are much much better for us. It's the biggest cliché ever but time does make things easier. I think in the early days it's a case of just getting through it and chanting like a mantra 'keep the faith'. Also take any offers of help (especially babysitting) and forget all the fantasies/aims you had about parenting. I used to mutter to myself 'just keep them alive'.
...oh yes and cuddles (if your LOs like them) are so valuable (for you too!)
Those early weeks are so bloody hard. We had two and the demands on every part of you are incredible - getting to the end of the day is a goal in itself. Try to get some fresh air every day - it honestly helps, even if it’s hard to get them out and it’s cold etc. Try to get some time to yourself, even if it’s a coffee at the bottom of the garden or a drive round the block screaming at the top of your voice. And don’t be afraid to set boundaries - my DD was violent when she first arrived and we did use time in with us to calm her and be clear it wasn’t ok.
Lots of love and cuddles too, but children feel safe when they know where the lines are.
4 months in with our 3. It does get easier and less frantic. Ours now go separately to nursery a few days a week to spend bonding time with the other 1 or 2 in seperate groups. Is that an option for you a bit further in? Happy to Pm x
Thanks for the kind words everyone, it's a huge help just to know that others have walked in our shoes and got there with time. Xx
First of all OP and none mumsnet hugs.
I’m six years into it and still have days like yours... but, and it’s a big but, I feel a real connection to my dd, I love her to pieces and the highs are so worth the challenges. You will get there OP, hang in in.
Wondering if anyone has any practical suggestions and in dealing with 3 scared little people who are doing everything they can to test us and probably right now don't want to be hear. To be honest we're at our wits end...
Are you on facebook? Adoptive parents support and therapeutic parenting groups are very helpful x
It does get better, but you will need more than compassion to get you through.
You need practical support NOW. Are you both off work on leave ? If not, the one who is working need sofa try to get some time off.
Get family and friends in to do all the practical stuff like meals, laundry and housework . Remember all these people who offered to help? Email or text them and ask for meals / housework etc.
Let everything non essential go. This will mean letting go some of your fantasies about how this time would be. It’s ok to feel really sad about this.
If its at all possible, focus on building attachment rather thank managing behaviour . Of course sometimes you don’t have the choice - because the behaviour is hurting someone .
Choose your battles carefully .
Never get into a battle which you can’t win. That includes soft tissues issues ( what goes into and come out of their bodies ).
Don’t be surprised if they are acting much worse than they did in FC. That’s normal and it’s not your fault.
It’s also normal to feel devastated, that you have ruined your life and theirs.
And to feel completely exhausted and not even know why you wanted to do this in the first place. Remember the children are bottomless pits of need and right now they will drain every last drop of compassion and love from you.
So you need to get filled up elsewhere. And that probably isn’t your partner because he or she probably feels the same.
This is the time to lean on your friends and family .
And do anything else that refreshes you emotionally and spiritually, like prayer, meditation, yoga, exercise, listening to music, having a relaxing bath. Just 10 - 15 mins will help you keep focus on who you are and why you are doing this thing.
Or you will get sucked into the vortex of their craziness.
I so remember those days, they’re very hard and you’ve got 3 scared little people to cope with.
Are you able to say what they’re doing that’s testing you - we might be able to give some more tailored suggestions but yes to taking as much help as possible. I got a cleaner to come in once a week while I took the kids out, knowing the house had basically had a good clean at some point let me not worry about it so much. If someone will take your laundry for you, that’s a great help too (I know I felt like I was drowning in small clothes and the DC needed me very close by all the time - I remember it took me 45 minutes to empty the tumble drier one day, I thought I was going to have a breakdown).
Don’t worry about not doing lots of creative, fun activities with them - if hunkering down and watching a movie gives you a bit of respite, do it. Can you and DP both give each other 30 mins off to get a coffee in peace or go for a walk etc?
Are you in touch with the F.C. as they may have some suggestions about what would calm the youngest down. You need to keep the social workers (both yours and the placing authority) informed about the violent behaviour.
We brought two little ones home almost a year ago. I posted here about a fortnight ago encouraging people that it does get better and for us life looked so much better now than it did two months into placement. I think you commented on it.
I second what people say about using your support network. Are you getting an adoption allowance (with three I hope you would)? If so use some of it to buy in the practical support if you don’t want to rely on family and friends too much. We got a cleaner that seriously safed my sanity. You could also send laundry out too.
My husband was at home for the first two months which was a God send. We took it in turns each morning getting up with the kids so that the other one got an extra hour to either catch up on sleep or have a long bath. Late in the afternoon we separately took a cup of coffee up stairs for half an hour to escape.
I would say you need two of you around a lot so you can decide and conquer.
I would thoroughly recommend you look at joining National association of therapeutic parenting where you access online and face to face training, a helpline to talk to someone through the issues and access to a great members forum. You should find the support there really good.
Moving forward my husband and I decided that our kids for the foreseeable would need one of us at home full time for quite some time to come. The thought of that being me 24/7 scared me and filled me with dread. We were fortunate that we could afford that option and to live on one salary. We were also fortunate that both of us are teachers, share the same salary and has the same rights to flexible working conditions. So basically instead of one of us taking a career break we both went to part time working opposite ends of the week to each other. Same money coming in but both of us getting some time at home with the kids but also some me time at work. It is working brilliantly and saving my sanity. If this is an option when adoption leave is finished consider it. Just knowing that the intensity of being at home with 3 full time will not go on for ever may help.
Remember put on your own life jacket first before helping others. So look after yourself.
Would just like to say a big thank you to everyone who responded. You've given us plenty to think about but also made us realise that actually, we're not doing too badly.
I've had a half decent night's sleep and now a glass of vino and feeling like I have my mojo back again XX
glad you are feeling better Charlie. I was going to say cut yourself some slack. You are all in shock at the moment, its a massive change to all your lives, it takes time but it will get better.
I'd second getting in as much practical help as possible, or just let your standards slip ! All that matters really is that everyone is fed and watered, and living on fish fingers for a few weeks won't hurt, nor will plonking them in front of a DVD for a few hours while you get a cup of tea
How old are they?
We adopted 2 at the same time and it was haaaard so I can only imagine what 3 feels like! If you give approximate ages and an idea of the behaviours and things you are struggling with we might be able to give more specific advice. We went to the park for a few hours everyday and didn’t really set any other goals for a long time-I occasionally tried to go to the post office/super market or pharmacists and bitterly regretted it!! Also playing simple ball games (except eldest always sabotaged games) giving them a bath every day so that they were contained and happy playing with bath toys separately for half an hour or so every day. Things that worked for us was to enjoy the fun or normal glimpses and have low expectations! And use your support network
And luckily our two liked hearing stories so I read books to them for hours each day- again mainly for containment reasons!! If they were sat with me on the sofa at least they were kind of grounded and focused and I could attempt to encourage a cuddle here and there
The first few weeks for me were just awful. Hated everything, couldn’t believe we’d ruined all our lives. Five years in, things are fine.
Things that saved me were garden (running around, no need to manage behaviour like there is in a park, yes, even in the rain/freezing cold), tv (on constantly, totally disregarded any ideas I’d had about not being those parents), Facebook (people in my phone who’d be kind when I needed it), sending eldest to nursery about 2 months in (controversial but by then it was obvious it was the only way youngest would ever get attention), and oddly, cleaning - it was literally the only way I could be out from under them for ten minutes - their foster home was meticulous so I guess they were used to it. My kitchen was never as clean as it was then.
Oh, also, pre-made lattes in the fridge because I mostly didn’t have time to boil a kettle. And thinking of the day in one-hour or half hour chunks rather than morning/afternoon/evening.
Hang in there, it gets easier. 💐
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