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How much of a change was adopting a child, and how did you cope??

58 replies

stoppinattwo · 06/04/2007 22:35

The reason Im asking.........

My very good friend has an adopted son, he has been withe her now for nearly a year.

She isnt coping very well though. Im telling her she seems quite stressed, i think it is the general day to day stress of having two children (she already had a child of her own), the family dynamics has changed completely, as she now has to share her time between 2 children. I dont care how much you think your prepared for 2 i dont think you are really ever completely prepared for how you will feel / cope.

I think she is afraid to ask anyone for help as they may think she isnt coping and may take him away (dont think the adoption is complete yet).

I have two of my own and have told her, that, to me it seems her two are behaving (or not as the case may be!!) perfeclty normally...........but she is blamnig it all on the adoption and how she should never have done it and its messing everything up. I know she doesnt really feel this way, but I would love to tell her to just chill out and relax, she now has two lovely kids and although in her eyes they are naughty, all kids can be like that and she shouldnt blame the change in circumstances for what is essentially normal behaviour

What can i do/ say to help........because if she doesnt stop getting fed up with them and moaning about it i shall end up saying something i shouldnt

OP posts:
KristinaM · 06/04/2007 23:50

you dont seem like a very good friend to me

its a HUGE HUGE change, you cant imagine what she is going through. rather than telling her to "chill" and giving her your opinion of her children, why dont you offer her some pratical help?

you sound really judgemental to me....unless you have lived in her hopme for a few weeks with her kids 24 hours a day, you have no idea if its "essentially normal bahaviour"

Mamalennon · 07/04/2007 00:19

I'm sorry KristinaM but I find that an unnecessarily harsh response. I think stoppinattwo is here, asking for advice in a situation she doesn't know how to deal with.

Stoppinattwo - I do agree that offering practical help is always a good idea eg offer to take one of her children so she can spend time with the other and just let her talk without feeling you have to solve her problems.
There should be post-adoption support available to her - see if she's accessing it as this is bound to be a common problem in families trying to combine birth and adopted children.

fairyfly · 07/04/2007 00:25

My brother was adopted when i was little.

I think the only way anyone could be fucked up about it is if we kept going on about it.

I love him more than i can explain on here.

He is quite simply my brother.

All of my Mum and Dads kids are fucked up. In their one special unique way.

I am pmsl laughing now as i have jusy realised my brother might be saying... wish i'd stayed in a home

fairyfly · 07/04/2007 00:28

You do sound quite patronising stoopingattwo..... sorry...... you do.....

She must know all this.... to take it on anyway

Oxygen · 07/04/2007 00:33

If this wasn't adoption, but just a woman saying similar things about the second child should never have happened etc everyone would be yelling PND and get support...

The post adoption support sound slike the best thing

stoppinattwo · 07/04/2007 00:44

Kristina..........................I am a good friend.

You have no idea how much i have been there for her.............i am trying to get her help. If it comes across as any other wya then i have not put my OP together very well.

I am not judgemental. I have her kids over to stay quite a bit, but didnt want to waffle on in the post. We are as close as sisters.

Fairyfly.............i know from our conversations before the adoption she was quite worried about how things would work giong from haveing one child to 2. I could only advise on my own experience of having 2. where would she go to get post adoption support

OP posts:
SofiaAmes · 07/04/2007 05:31

Is it possible that she just deals with the stress of 2 kids in a different way than you do. Obviously, as you well know, having 2 children is way more than twice the effort of one. But different people have different ways of dealing with that stress, different tolerance levels and different ways of expressing their frustration. I have two and sometimes I say things like I just need to give them away for a week. No one who knows me well pays any attention to that because they know it's just my way of saying "I'm tired" but my cousin's wife was really shocked and said "why did you have children if you don't want them?"
It sounds to me like you are doing the best post adoption support your friend could ever ask for. Being there and having the kids as often as possible to give her a break. I don't really think it sounds like and adoption vs birthchild issue, but rather the difference between someone less able to deal with 2 rather than 1 child. Or if not less able, at least less able to express her frustration in a way that doesn't involve taking it out on the kids. (Personally I make a real effort to always take it out on my dh - poor sod - instead of the children).
Just keep reminding her that it will get better! If she has a partner, she should also make a point of going out regularly with him. My dh and I used to have a babysitter booked for every friday night regardless of whether we had something specific planned (often we didn't know what we were doing until we were in the car driving away from the house). Although it was was worth every penny for the help with our relationship and sanity.

stoppinattwo · 07/04/2007 07:57

Thanks sofia............I think your right about the time out with her DH. She is very stressed. I dont mean to make it sound like and adoption vs birth thread btw..if that is how it came across. I am worried because she seems so stressed all the time, and she is sayin he is so naughty. I think they both need to have a break. Her a nice night out and him to have her being a little less nit picking.

I will always be there for her, she is my friend, and i am delighted she has the second child she has always wanted, but i also know this childs background........he has had a tough time and needs a chance to be a child (doesnt every 4yo?). I just wish she would relax and enjoy being a mum. Writing it down helps me to unravel how im feeling and i think it would help if she spoke to someone about how she can relax and enjoy, deal with the days that arnt so good without worrying that they think she isnt coping, and come and take him away (which i know wont happen but i know is in the back of her mind)

KristinaM i re read your post this morning and really you couldnt be more wide of the mark...........probably my fault for a badly worded post. I know i have been a good friend and her children a no different from any other children, they are good/bad/naughty/cheeky everything children are and should be. Your right i dont spend 24 hours with her and that is the key..... there is something going on in that 24 hours that she needs help with and i want to find that for her

OP posts:
KristinaM · 07/04/2007 09:38

I am sorry if you feel I wasnt sympathetic. What response woudl you expect to get if you went on teh SN boarsd here and told them that their kids were "normal" and they shoudl just relax more!!!!

I'm sorry to say that you are wrong - the 4yo she has adopted is NOT NOT "no different from other children". He has special needs - just coz you cant see them or wont acknowledge them, doesnt mean they are not there. How coudl a child POSSIBLY have coem through teh loss that thsi child has and not be affected.

It sounds to be like her mummy instincts KNOW that this child has "issues" and she is trying to help him and meet the bottomless pit that is the need of a lost and abandoned child. He has been let down by teh people who shoudl have been able to love and care for him - not just his birth mother but his whole family and probably "teh system" (if he wasnt placed til he was 4). I 'm sorry, I am not getting at any birth mothers here, but that is how teh child feels .

You need to offer her practical help and support. Please STOP telling her to chill, relax, that she seems stressed, she is too nit picking and to just enjoy her child. That will not be helping

KristinaM · 07/04/2007 09:46

it might help you to understand more if you learned a littel about children who have been negleted and abused. ther are lots of books out there. perhaps your frined could lend you something

BTW SS COULD certainly coem and take teh child away. he is not secure until he is adopted. If you read teh other adoption threads you will find that thsi has happnened to other mumsnetters. her fears are realistic.

KristinaM · 07/04/2007 10:40

this organisation can help her


she cant get "post adoption" support as her child is not adopted, only fostered. also this is VERY variable across the counrty.

basically its like Bf suport - wonderful in a few places, crap or non existent in others. Staff who say " I know all about it - I went on a 2 hour course and we have lots of leaflets and posters"

she should be getting support from a Sw . But again, thats like all parnets of children under 5 in teh Uk get support from a HV. Some are worth their weight in gold. Some are a waste of space.

your friends will be scared to say how hard it is, in case they remove the child. A poor worker will basically say, oh we placed him with you because we thought you coudl cope. now you are not........well we'll have to review things.....

children with these additional support needs are very good at splitting parenst, which puts a lot of stress on their marriage

can you offer to have her child/ren to stay overnight or for teh weekend? You woudl probably have to get police checks. Dont worry, kids with attachment issues are usuallly REALLY well behaved for others. you will probably find her son is an angel. Just remember he's not liek that at home

stoppinattwo · 07/04/2007 11:13

I have her kids to stay over night, Im approved already

please dont judge me, I am a caring person, and have thought of nothing else but my friend and her family.

She does need to relax and enjoy her family, my expression to Chill is a local expression which means to take time out, nothing more.

I dont understand what you mean Kristina about postng in SN here, i was never talking about SN??. Does he have SN because he is adopted?

I havent posted on a SN thread, dont understnad what you mean.

OP posts:
KristinaM · 07/04/2007 12:19

sorry if i was unclear. yes, your friends son does have a whole lot of special needs because of his past experiences.they may not be immedialtly obvious to you. A child cannot posssibly go through what he has and not be affected at a very deep level. I said this becase say he is just a "normal" child and you seemd to be judging her for not feeling the way you think she should feel.

I'm sure you are a caring person and I knwo you have posted for advice. But every one of your post is full of your ideas on what she shoudl be doing. So I am going to be really blunt with you.

You asked what you can say/ do to help.

I think you should say pratically nothing. you shoudl listen. say stuff like

...hmmm. yes, uh huh.
that must have been hard.
sounds like you feel frustrtaed/angry/upset/scared

and "woudl you like another coffee/glass of wine/tissue? "

I woudl also recommend teh words - i cant possibly knwo what you are going through and how you are feeling. It must be so hard


I cant tell you what to do. I havent been through anything like this with my children.

what about - I really admire you for getting thsi far with him/ being so committed to him

Please resist the urge to tell her what she should do eg relax, enjoy it, take time out. Please stop blaming her and just listen to her.

I'm sure I come across as angry because I am very worried for yrou friend. I think she is caring for a child with attachmnent problmes. I suspect this from his background and also fronm your commenst. Your attitude is, in fact, dignostic. Outsiders think that the child is just fine but the mother is too strict, needs to lighten up, is stressed, is unreasoanble. they forget that she wasnt like that befroe the child was placed - its effect not cause.

Your friend and her family need help. Please encourage them to contact adoption uk and find out more about attchment issues. please learn more youreslf if you want to help her.

I'm sorry, it will be a long road ahead for your friend and your frineship. Are you prepared to work REALLY hard to support her? To do what she & her family needs? Because she is not going to "stop getting fed up and moaning" anytime soon

her family is at risk. Do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?

stoppinattwo · 07/04/2007 19:33

Y know what im sorry i posted Kristina, you are judging me.................these are all my thoughts. I havent actually told her to do anything. Im suggesting what i think she should do, and asking for advice because i dont know what she should do - hoping that someone with more experienc would be helpful, not start bloomin criticising.

Goodness me if this is the help you get, god help me if i really depended upon it.

You seem to be the judgemental one Kristina.

I will quote you for a change "I'm sure you are a caring person and I knwo you have posted for advice. But every one of your post is full of your ideas on what she shoudl be doing. So I am going to be really blunt with you. "

You dont need to be blunt with me thanks, I havent actually told her to do anything!!!

I am asking for advice........not a slating for how i feel.

I care about my friend very much, and this little boy more so. You really are a very assuming person. thanks for your advice but i dont think your really a very understanding person!!. Thanks for your replies.

OP posts:
lulumama · 07/04/2007 19:39

well, all i can say is, i know SA2, and i know she is a good friend , who would do all she could to help anyone out...

i know next to nothing about adoption, and how it affects the adopted child and their family MN is the first place i would turn to for advice, and if i got told i was not a good friend, i would be terribly upset

the fact Sa2 is posting, and asking how to help her friend shows she cares, that she wants to find answers and do this the right way

it must be hard to see the wood for the trees and her friend sounds like she doesn;t know where to turn

i know sa2 has a heart of gold, and would only want to do the best for her friend...

colander · 07/04/2007 19:42

stoppinattwo you sound like a good friend to her. I know nothing about adoption but it sounds as if there should be support groups for her to access from the other posts. If it was me I would keep offering help, have her over to your house so she can see other children behaving normally (I'm sure your two behave just like my two for example!!!) I felt I just had to post as I think you are getting some criticism for just trying to help your friend. Best of luck.

SpookyMadBunny · 07/04/2007 19:42

Agree wholeheartedly with Lulu.

Roseanna · 07/04/2007 19:43

Stoppinattwo - does your friend still have regular contact with her social worker? If so, she would be able to tell her about post-adoption support in her area. It sounds like it would help her to meet with other mums in her situation. I've heard that Adoption UK is a very supportive organisation, run by and for adopters.

stoppinattwo · 07/04/2007 19:47

I thjkn so roseanna............she is afraid tho to be seen not to cope iykwim.

OP posts:
Roseanna · 07/04/2007 19:52

Yes I can really understand that, but it's absolutely good adoption practice for adopters to be in touch with each other to offer moral support, it is a very particular situation they are in. Generally social workers would be very very keen for an adoptive placement to work as a breakdown would be far worse for everyone concerned.

There are probably slight similarities here with a PND mum not wanting to talk to her HV for fear of having her baby removed but then not being able to access the help she needs which could make things better.

stoppinattwo · 07/04/2007 19:59

She needs to be more honest, she wants to be seen to be coping and does put a good front on. If i can tell her that she is safe to air her feelings without repercussions and that her feelings are normal and she will get help...... i know she is afraid of failure, letting herself and this lil boy upsets me just to think of how she must be feeling

OP posts:
Roseanna · 07/04/2007 20:05

I think she could find enormous relief through accessing an adopters talk board if she's not able to let down her guard in RL. You are a good friend to her.

lulumama · 07/04/2007 20:07

there must be a yahoo group of sorts..

mummytosteven · 07/04/2007 20:11

I think babycentre UK has a board for adoptive parents, and if not babycentre US is BOUND to have one (it's got zillions of boards).

I think that KristinaM does have point, in that a 4 year old that has lived with several different carers is likely to feel very insecure if not have an attachment problem, and there is almost certainly going to have been some big problems going on in his parents lives resulting in the adoption that will affect the 4 year old.

tribpot · 07/04/2007 20:46

My dbro and dSIL have adopted two little ones (biological siblings, not adopted at the same time) and there is a - quite understandable - tendency to think that some of the issues they've had with them are about them being adopted / having been in care and not the fact that they are typical cheeky little monkeys.

My dSIL also had a very hard time coping and I think in retrospect had similar feelings of being judged not to be a 'fit' parent whereas those of us (like me) who have our rubbish moments with biological kids can be more relaxed about SS not swooping in just because we're struggling.

She also didn't want to join toddler groups when her dd was adopted (aged about 18 months) as she thought all the other mums would be comparing birth stories and look down on her for not having 'been there' (of course I now know this is nonsense and you get looked down on for lots of other reasons like WOH/not WOH, BLW/purees, all-organic diet/fruit shoots, etc, basically everything that kicks off on MN every day). I think my dSIL could have used the support of other adoptive parents, MN would be a good place for your friend to start and Adoption UK would be another good call.

Let's be honest: we don't know what it's like to adopt a child, esp one of 4.

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