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Regretting this(20 Posts)
I have just found this website and this adoption thread has been so helpful.
I am in the second week of placement (boy 4 and girl 6).
I went through 7 miscarriages before me and my husband adopted.
Last week was their first week living with us and it was the honeymoon period.
This week they are obnoxious and testing the discipline we have put in place (they have never had discipline in their life, due to the neglect they went through).
I know this is because they are feeling more secure and confident, but in a time where I thought it would be exciting and fun, I am now going through some depression and regretting this.
I am hoping the further along this goes, and when they start school, it gets better.
My Husband is going through through the exact same emotions, he has helped massively and the fact I have his dad to call on and give me a break, is a big help.
Has anyone else gone through this?
Did it get better?
Thanks for listening to my rant...
One week is incredibly early days! I'm afraid am not experienced in this yet, but have been told that the acting out is supposed to be a good thing- in that they feel safe around you and are testing boundaries.
Didn't want to read and run- be kind to yourself, lots of experienced adopters here who will be able to chip in with the benefit of their experience I'm sure!
Its very early days
Can I ask what you mean by discipline ? At the moment you have two very frightened babies, think a lot younger than they are. Your focus at the moment should be on establishing routines and building your relationship. They need your time and attention above anything else.
Pick your battles very very carefully.
Yes it does get better, but it may take many months. Its time to grit your teeth and dig in.
But its perfectly normal to be feeling like you are. You have all been through a massive upheaval, of course it takes time to adjust and find your new normal.
A few random tips
Lower your standards - a bit of dust never hurt anyone. Chicken nuggets and fish fingers have their place
TV is not the enemy
Get into a routine - try a visual timetable
Get out every day-even if its raining, burn the energy off
Gi swimming - great for bonding
If you havent already got one and have room - consider a trampoline. Bouncing is good
* but in a time where I thought it would be exciting and fun,*
With the greatest of respect, and not meaning to be rude at all, I think you might have wholly unrealistic expectations.
These children were never going to skip into a new family happy and joyous. They are deeply traumatised, having suffered years of abuse. They don't know you, trust you, and probably at the moment don't really believe you are going to stick around. Its going to be very very hard work, and of course there will be fun, but fundamentally it's a very long road.
* I know this is because they are feeling more secure and confident, but in a time where I thought it would be exciting and fun, I am now going through some depression and regretting this.*
Then your social worker has done a terrible job of preparing you for the realities of adopting not only older children but two of them!
After a week, they aren't feeling more secure or confident. They are just figuring out whether you really are their forever family. They are still about as far away from security as you can imagine.
It is perfectly normal to feel depressed and have regrets, even with the "easier" situations.
1) Go straight to your doctor and explain what is happening and ask for help. Now is not the time to bravely battle through without medical help.
2) phone your social worker - they should be checking in on you still? Use them!
3) absolutely ask family for support.
Basically ask for support and lower your expectations! You have got through the process and you have had two strangers given to you. You don't know each other yet and it is so so hard! Hang in there, help each other and just don't look beyond the day you are on
I am hoping the further along this goes, and when they start school, it gets better
This also concerns me. School can be a huge anxiety trigger and may make things worse. It might really help but you just don't know.
How did your social worker explain what it might be like with two older children? I suppose I'm trying to figure out whether your social worker has done the best to prepare you.
Just wanted to send you a quick note of support. The first weeks are so hard! You're all in shock, especially with siblings. I agree with the advice to drop all cleaning standards and just aim to keep them fed xx
I don’t understand how you thought it would be easier than it is. You sound very unprepared for how these two young children are going to cope and behave having just moved in with two strangers.
Please stick around and take the advice given from this wonderful group of women.
Presumably the foster carer had a routine in place ( not sure if that is what you mean by discipline ). I would stick to the rough outline of that to start with but as others have said it is v early days and it will take a good length of time to become a cohesive unit so dont expect too much of them or yourselves and just take it one day at a time . And congratulations on your new family .
I think some responses have been a bit harsh! surely no one can truly be prepared for adoption and everything that comes with it, no matter how good their social worker is.
It is early days OP but you can't help how you are feeling. Definitely talk to your husband, social worker, GP, friends and family. Get your support network together to help you out. It's a massive shock having two children suddenly placed with you and all of your lives have turned upside down.
Take it one day at a time
My post wasn't harsh, I wanted OP to know that the difficulties she is facing are absolutely normal and to be expected. If she thinks there is something wrong or that it's just her suffering then it will make her feel worse. I stand by my comment about the social worker, based on the limited information given. I see you agree with the rest of my advice so let's hope OP pulls her support network around her and takes comfort from her family during what is always a very lonely and tough time!
The first weeks and months are so, so tough on everyone. You are all strangers and nobody really knows what they're doing, but you suddenly have this hugely intense dependency hanging over you (and quite possibly literally hanging onto you!)
It is completely normal to be wondering what on earth you've done. However, this is the moment to dig deep, ask for all the help you can get, and drop your standards. The only thing that is going to improve this is time together, but you need to survive while that happens. GP and SW are good shouts from other posters. I'd also say post-adoption support/LAC paediatrician to access any attachment support such as theraplay. If your area has an adopter buddy scheme for peer support, sign up for that.
A visual timetable will help all of you get through the day. Break it down into half hours if it helps you (that was all I could cope with at one stage!) "Now and Next" might help your children to keep a grip on what's happening "Now we are having breakfast, next we are getting dressed."
As others have said, mentally lop off at least 2-3 years from their age and start there - emotionally they are frightened babies who've lost every single familiar person and place, and who are using pure survival tactics to make sure you don't stop noticing them because that historically has been what worked to keep them alive. I'd recommend Caro Archer "Parenting the child who hurts" for gentle activities to connect and build warmth with children who've experienced trauma.
If you have a partner, take turns to give each other breaks. If you don't, get as much support as you can from wider family, to pop round to you for coffee/help with shopping/bring an emergency meal. Breathe. This is really really hard and it will take everything you've got, so be kind to yourself.
I would recommend joining the therapeutic parenting group of Facebook and reading some of Sarah Naish's books including the A-Z of therapeutic parenting and but he loves so normal. The latter is available free with a kindle subscription. Every parent goes through the first few weeks wondering what the hell they have done but living with two complete strangers is hard for both you and the children. I follow the occasional blog called the adoptive mum. She adopted 2 boys and they have just really started to settle 2 years in. Her posts are worth reading for both perspective and encouragement.
Finally remember that just like post natal depression, post adoption depression is real and if you're really struggling help is available.
Totally normal to be regretting it at this stage. It definitely gets easier & nothing can prepare you for this crazy life altering thing you're doing. All this change is unnerving for all of you. The kids may have had hopes for feeling positive about their new family too and may well be feeling the same as you. It's new and scary. And the rosy feeling you hoped for having experienced so much loss is just much much further away than you'd imagined. You are in shock but you can all pull together and work through it until you find your groove & become a solid family. But it will take time. Lower all standards & expectations, take each day at a time & be forgiving & kind to yourself and each other
My two were the same age when they were placed with me and at one week in I thought I was losing my mind. It’s very very hard, at the moment they have literally lost everything and everyone familiar to them and will be completely terrified. As others have said, it’ll take a long while before they will feel confident or settled - their world has been turned upside down as has yours.
I’m not sure what you mean by them testing the discipline you’ve put in place, at this stage it’s all about building relationships with them, helping to calm their fears and find their place in the family. They won’t know where things are, what belongs to them, they’ll be grieving the people and things they’ve left behind - the more you can do to help them settle the better.
All of this, of course, at a time when your world is on its head too - when you’ve got everything you wished for and it’s massively harder than you could have imagined and when people are telling you to “enjoy your kids”, while you’re actually going through some kind of exquisite torment at the hands of these two littles.
What helped the kids were clear routines and plans for the day, repeated often in a “so now we’re having breakfast and then we’re going to get dressed”, “now we’re getting dressed to go to the park” kind of way. Visuals can help too. Giving them familiar food - even if that means chocolate cereal or fish fingers, don’t try introducing yet more new things so early on. The first thing we really worked on was a good bedtime routine, going to bed much earlier than the foster carers had done - we would be very active during the day and settled in bed by 7.00, early in placement they would sleep for 12/13 hours - the sleep helps them process all they’ve been through.
Someone on here said “don’t try to control what goes into them or what comes out”, feeding and toiletting are two ways for kids to exercise some control - try not to get angry with them they are trying to meet their need for control. I say this as someone who went through 17 changes of clothes in one day!
What helped me was having the day broken up so we were never spending too long on one thing, my DH would take over and give me a break when back from work - sometimes he walked in and I literally walked out, got in the car and drove... just getting some physical space helps.
Expect everything to take 5 times as long to do than you think it will. Get a cleaner, do online shopping accept practical help from family and friends. I also saw a therapist, which gave me space to process the enormous changes in my life and how hard I was finding it - she was worth her weight in gold.
Spend time with good friends, who will listen, not judge and understand that you’re having a hard time. I remember meeting a friend for coffee and just crying for 2 hours straight. Use the social work visits to be honest about what you’re struggling with - both my and the kids social workers were fantastic supports in the early days, again no judgement but lots of understanding.
The early days are so very hard, go easy on yourself, and on them - it gets easier but honestly I’d say it took a good 6 months before I felt comfortable in my own skin again.
It’s so hard. We are a year in and although still tough (still sometimes mourning my old life), it is lovely at the minute. We have just come back from a family holiday and they had a lovely time with their cousins - but we have all said it’s still nice to come home again. Who knows how our journey will turn out (it’s still early days after all), but right now i’m Amazed, smitten, in love and in awe at what they (and us) have achieved in a year.
In the first few weeks though, I used to plan my day like a work day. I think I worked out that my tolerance level was about 2.5 hours then i’d Need a tea break, so i’d plonk them in front of Peppa for 30 mins. I also used to often ‘accidently’ forget something vital from the shop when the hubby was there, so I got 10 mins respite popping to the local Spar. Keep going, it will get easier. But my goodness, sometimes the sheer monotony of routine is enough to drive you insane...good luck xx
I second @ifchocolatewereceler
@Baskerville007 it does get easier.
Lots of good advice here.
I am so sorry for all your losses.
I really feel for you. It's very hard in the early weeks and months.
We are a year and 4 months into life with our son, who was 6 when he came to us. We too had a short honeymoon period, followed by around 8 months of the most challenging behaviour I've ever known (we have older birth children too).
I am only just coming out of the "oh no, we have actually ruined out lives" stage. I still have days when I do think that, but they are about one in three at the moment, which is much improved - back in January I was ready to give up. How you are feeling is very normal, as is how they are behaving.
We were given a family therapist and hour a week, specialising in attachment focussed therapy. We had to talk to our social worker to get it (accessed through the Adoption Fund), and make it clear how much we were struggling, but then the help came quickly. It's been like weekly coaching, reminding us of all that we learnt in our training, but we have actually been able to put it in practice and it's made a huge difference.
Please ask for some help - I wish we had done so sooner.
I agree with the advice given before, respond to your children at the age they are acting and not their biological age (probably baby or toddler) . Don't even go there with discipline - it's way too early. Think routine, acceptance of their big emotions, and making them feel safe instead.
There's also a great FB page called Therapeutic parenting, which I found really supportive.
Identifying a friend or two who 'get it' its really important, so if you know any adoptive parents, they can be great source of help and support.
It might take a while, but it really does get better! xx
@Baskerville007 how ate you doing today?
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