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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.


So how many of us wonder if we're really good enough?

36 replies

Kewcumber · 14/01/2016 22:26

I mean we all say how often adoptive parents are blamed for the problems their children have and we always make such of point of telling each other that we're doing our best etc etc.

But I wonder how many of us really feel inadequate and wonder if we really have done enough, if we haven't really contributed to the problems?

DS is facing some significant challenges in school and its hard work (for everyone) - I feel like I've spent more time at school than working recently. New strategy is in place but it's very very tough on him and it's so hard to see him so distressed and be a part of the group causing that distress.

I can't help thinking that if I'd been a better parent that he might not be facing this now even though I suspect that's not the case - I can't help feeling it.

I wonder how many of us who are facing tough issues feel this way without admitting it?

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tldr · 14/01/2016 23:19

Even without facing tough issues (for now) I go to bed every day thinking about all I did wrong, how I shouted too much, was impatient, stuck them in front of the tv, made myself look busy when I wasn't, how I have a Kindle full of attachment parenting books that I don't read.

There are several admin type chores relating to the DC that remain undone; some I tried and fell at first hurdle, some are not yet attempted.

I tell myself that I only worry about it because I'm aware of it and I'm aware of it because I'm relective and intentional.

Sometimes I even believe that. Other times, not so much.

If you were me, I'd be telling you (me) much the same thing.
planesick · 15/01/2016 00:02

I always worry that whatever I do will never be enough. I shout too much, get frustrated. I hate playing endless games of "feed the baby" or get irritated by the constant controlling behaviour.
Every night I go to bed and say, that was a shit day, tomorrow will be better. And yet it never is!
I love my little girl. I will die for her, but I am not the SAHM that I thought I would be.
tldr, I read the books... but it all gets forgotten in a haze of "oh for gods sake!"
I would like to be a better mummy.
WildeWoman · 15/01/2016 00:27

I have stumbled across this is Active Conversations.

Can I tell you, that every mother feels the same? Not just you adoptive Mums. All Mums. Every Mum.

On my daughter's first day at school (my birth daughter), I drove her, in the car, feeling I was useless for being a single parent. But I talked her through the fact that she would feel a bit shy and afraid.

On that same day, an adoptive mum and dad were bringing their daughter to the first day of school in our tiny country school.

The adoptive couple were the only ones who had Mum and Dad there (senior surgeon). Everyone else just had Mammies. It was so cute.

My little one ran into class and became as independent as the Lord Mayor. Their little one clung on for hugs to both of them. Mammy and Daddy.

Mammy said - 'I'll take what I can get, until she gets older and wants nothing to do with me'.

My daughter and their daughter are now best friends.
I don't have much in common with the bff's parents.
DD however has everything in common with her bff. I.E. They fight and fall out but love each other.

It was my daughter's bff and her Mum who taught my dd to ride a bike.

Your relationship with your children is unique. I love my daughter uniquely. Her bff's parents love [name removed by MNHQ] uniquely.

It's just love. Nothing to do with genetics. Just love.

WildeWoman · 15/01/2016 00:33

You are all acting as normal mothers do - because you are mothers!

You'd be up for sainthood otherwise!

It's part of how to rear them too.

I can't understand adoption after a certain age, but believe me, you are all just experiencing NORMAL MUMMY FEELINGS!

It's ok to want to scream! Big hugs to you all. xxxx

WildeWoman · 15/01/2016 00:36

By saying I can't understand adoption after a certain age, I DO NOT MEAN THAT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND OR CONDONE IT.

I was trying to say that I have no experience of it.

DD's best friend was 6 weeks old when adopted. She's a little fright btw. Loves dd, but they are a competing pair of divas.

thefamilyvonstrop · 15/01/2016 08:14

Tidr, are you me? Tv..check; books on kindle..check;busy doing stuff that may or may not be of any use at all..check.

Kewcumber · 15/01/2016 08:29

I wasn't really thinking of that kind of stuff. I'm well used to the slightly shameful feeling what you should be baking yoghurt with your toddler rather than watching cbeebies.

I was thinking more of when they hit a significant problem and you do what you think is right but they get worse not better and you wonder if:

a) what you did made it worse or if it was in a downward spiral anyway
b) maybe there was something you did originally to trigger the problem
c) whether someone else would make a better job of it.

I don't say c in a "my child would be better off without me" kind of way just a "Am I really up to this, could I be better" kind of way.

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GirlsWhoWearGlasses · 15/01/2016 08:57

I know what you mean. This worry that you've gone off on the wrong tack and made things worse. How do you both continuously review what's working to be flexible and responsive, whilst at the same time be consistent?

Sometimes I'll have a sudden revelation on the root of an issue and unfortunately realise that I've been handling the symptoms all wrong. But what can you do other than just keep trying your best? The downside of therapeutic parenting is this constant second guessing. It's tiring.

thefamilyvonstrop · 15/01/2016 09:28

Yes, totally. It feels like navigating blind. I think the hardest thing for me is identifying the problem - it's never a clear cut "oh look, here is an attachment or behavioural issue" so the response isn't clear cut either. Often the start of issues are less obvious/lost in day to day child behaviours and I only spot the major issue when it's suddenly escalating into clear, noisy, painful issues. But the roots of it will have been there all the time and I can usually trace them back to a trigger. So there is plenty of scope for beating myself up afterwards for not seeing the issue or responding correctly initially. Hindsight is marvellous!

ButtonMoonLoon · 15/01/2016 09:33

Yep, I do constantly. I think it began to be ingrained in my during assessment and preparation group. The culture of assessment is one that means one is always self- assessing and reflecting how we might deal with certain situations. Once those situations become a reality it is hard to plan for how you will respond, because often they catch you off guard.
Chuck single parenting into the mix as well and, well, I seem to constantly be thinking and reflecting, because there's no second parent to work with and rationalise things to/with.

I thoroughly recommend the SafeBase training. It has made me revisit the way that I react an despond to things, and to REALLY focus on what's going on in my child's head and what they need from me in return.
The biggest thing I have got out of the programme is the reassurance that I am doing a good job, being a good parent, and, overall, doing my best.

To the non adopters reading, yes, some of our feelings may well be 'normal' and in many ways we are like other parents in that respect. But our children are different, their brains are wired differently, their inner working model is not the same as that of a biological child. They need therapeutic parenting which is likely to be different in lots of ways.

arielmanto · 15/01/2016 09:33

Kew what is baking yogurt??!

Kewcumber · 15/01/2016 09:54

It's a bit like knitting yor own yoghurt but warnmer

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Kewcumber · 15/01/2016 10:11

thefamilyvonstrop yes that's it. Trying to identify the underlying cause (or at least the underlying feelings) so you can respond in a way that's helpful.

And yes to the sudden dawning of of realisation of what really going on and in my case kicking myself for not spotting it earlier then wondering if the fact that I hadn't means things might not have got so bad.

I don't generally go into the naval gazing stuff because in the end you do just have to get on with it and do the best you can and never give up and keep on doing the best that you can. It's kinda what I ask DS to do and really he doesn't ever give up and obviously I won;t either.

But it is exhausting and I can't imagine how other people who have more to deal with handle it. We even have a very supportive school (after a slow start).

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Kewcumber · 15/01/2016 10:12

Button I'll look into safebase training but just now with school meetings, trying to work and being much more present for DS (pretty much abandoned school clubs for now) I'm not sure quite where I'd fit it in.

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Biffa44 · 15/01/2016 13:00

Trying to unpick behaviours and often getting it wrong is exhausting. I often realise after the fact something that I should have spotted at the time. I'm almost a year in and feel stupid daily! - if only I could interpret what's going on at the time and act appropriately I think that a lot of day-to-day problems could have been avoided, or even some of the kids' issues could have been moved forward more quickly. Tiredness and irritability can also have a lot to do with it, but I do feel a bit of a failure most days.......
We had an issue at school before Christmas and I do think I should have realised that the behaviour was escalating and could end badly (it did). We have addressed it now and everyone is moving on, but I still feel guilty that I should have somehow known what could happen and done something differently! And I've never baked yoghurt.

mybloodykitchen · 15/01/2016 13:45

Everything you all said. But for me I know I am a better parent if I have had enough sleep and done some exercise. But in order to sleep properly and exercise I need to do things which aren't brilliant - hand dc over to Dh first thing in the morning when dc really wants 'MUMMYYYYYYY!!!!!!' Go out for a run instead of family time.

And I don't want to be that mum who says 'happy mummy happy baby' because that is often self serving bullshit.

So it's balance innit? Which is fucking impossible frankly.

mybloodykitchen · 15/01/2016 13:56

And what tldr said about telling myself I only think I'm shit because I'm reflective. But maybe I'm just shit and very self aware...

Kewcumber · 15/01/2016 14:28

I'm almost a year in and feel stupid daily - well I'm 8 years in so you'd think it would be getting easier not harder!

hand dc over to Dh first thing in the morning not really an option when you're a single parent, though to be fair even with a partner I'm not sure I could make time for work, school meetings and DS AND me.

I'm not worried that I'm tetchy/bad tempered etc. I'm generally not and on the occasions I am, I get over it pretty quickly. I'm very patient - I not asking how to improve my patience/ability to endure. I don;t mean that tetchily, it's just not what I'm talking abut here.

Lots of the advice around parenting children with early life trauma comes from people like this...

I mean she's not wrong - would my child be different parented by someone like that, would he have fewer challenges, am I part of the problem? Am I up to the job?

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thefamilyvonstrop · 15/01/2016 15:55

Is parenting like that 100% of the time possible?? And trying to live, cook, clean, have friendships etc aswell? I think they are great to aspire to, but are learnt behaviours that need constant work and refinement and you will probably feel you've nailed it somewhere round your sons 40th birthday.
It's impossible to say whether someone else parenting your son might have a different result but I really doubt it. In my opinion, you know and love your son to his bones, and that closeness means you will sometimes not be able to see the wood for the trees. The reason that speaker is so good is that she is also more detached and able to think through scenarios quickly and respond appropriately.
But it's that very closeness that gives your son the very foundations of his attachment and trust.
Not sure if I'm making sense!

tldr · 15/01/2016 16:20

I think if our children waited for parents who were able to be I.D.E.A.L (TM) parents all the time most of them would still be waiting.

And I notice I.D.E.A.L (TM) Lady didn't demo a Level 4 response for Efficiency, but I'll bet it was yelling. And making up unfollowthroughable consequences on the spot. Wink

Kew, seriously, what else could you do for your son? You're still you, and you're still human. You can't be something you're not, you can only be best you, and you probably can't be that 24/7.

And no. He wouldn't be better off with someone else. You're his mum, innit?

Devora · 15/01/2016 17:58

Yes, yes, yes.

I can live with the small stuff - like the nights I'm too tired to make them clean their teeth, and the fact that their diets are shit, and I let them watch too much TV. I reckon that's crap parenting within the normal range, and I can forgive myself for it.

But with dd2, I really struggle with guilt because the stakes are much higher. I look back at what I should have been doing 5 years ago, but didn't realise it. I worry about what I am doing wrong now, that I will only realise in 5 years time. I am angry with all those professionals who can't just pass her over a barcode scanner and tell me what's going on inside her and what she needs from me.

UnderTheNameOfSanders · 15/01/2016 18:36

Devora - I get you.

I worry that I'm not the person DD1 needs emotionally. After nearly 9 years I'm not convinced I yet understand her properly.

Everyone says what great parents we are yadda yadda yadda, but unless I 'deliver' and emotionally stable adult into the world who can look after herself and keep herself safe, then I will have failed. In 18months she will be finishing college - it seems far too soon.

mybloodykitchen · 15/01/2016 19:16

I could do that intellectually. I don't lack the skills or the understanding or even the patience. I just don't get it right all the time because I'm knackered. Dc2 is still pre - school and up a LOT in the night. I suppose I'm saying that it feels very complex to me 'getting it right' and maybe it is very complex for others but for me it actually boils down to being alert enough to be really 'present' as she would have it and not just shout 'get your shoes on!' at everyone.

Alfie Kohn talks about not being in a rush because you parent badly when you are (he probably says that a bit better). But he probably doesn't have to do a school run twice a day. It's just not realistic is it? We just have to hope we get it right for the big stuff maybe.

planesick · 15/01/2016 19:44

Its funny, but I struggle to be nurturing during the day when I am tired. However at night I am little miss nurture whenever AD wakes up (and she wakes up alot!).
Mybloodykitchen....that makes so much sense!

Kewcumber · 15/01/2016 19:49

And no. He wouldn't be better off with someone else.

I wasn't really questionning whether he would be better off with someone else. It doesn't go through my head tbh.

I do wonder if he might be a different more stable person with someone who could speak in a low tone with him all the time and spot the signs that things are about to go tits up.

I was interested to know how many of with children who have more challenges than the "norm" feel the same way. I wonder if parents with children with other additional needs that aren't adoption related feel the same. They always look on the surface like they're coping so well but maybe it's just the same.

Then you have those days where everything is fine for a whole day and you think "what am I on about!"

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