My feed

to access all these features

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


New low

22 replies

claireb7rg · 31/01/2022 18:23

Tonight is the first time I am regretting our decision to adopt. And I feel awful for it

I am currently sat in our bedroom crying whilst my partner sits with our 6 year old who has acted probably like a normal 6 year old who has been through the care system.

But she has just pushed me over the edge tonight and I don't know what to do. They've (6 yr old and her younger brother) have been with us 7 weeks today and we start (well I do as partner is now back at work) the enhanced adoptive parenting classes tomorrow so I will be speaking to the social workers but I'm not sure I can face her again tonight.

OP posts:
121Sarah121 · 31/01/2022 18:49

Adoption is hard. Really hard. I think you have done the right thing reaching out. It’s ok to feel the way you do. It’s also ok for your daughter to feel the way she does too. It’s so hard for everyone.

Thoughts are with you and your family

2bazookas · 31/01/2022 19:37

You go and tuck her up in bed tonight with a cuddle and a kiss and tell her " Today was hard wasn't it. But tomorrow will be a new day. Goodnight darling."

Later, you say the same to DH. Last of all, you say it to yourself.

You'll get some help at class tomorrow.

Chocapple · 31/01/2022 19:38

@claireb7rg you are not alone. We have all been there and are here to support you Flowers

The first few weeks, months (or in my case !) year can be the hardest thing ever and you wonder how on earth can it get better. But it does... very slowly but it does.

Getting LOTS of sleep really helps as does MASSIVELY reducing cleaning/tidying standards !! My house is never clean or tidy... eek.

Identifying patterns really helps too which helps with strategies. E.g after a couple of months I had started to peice things together and was in time able to identify masses of Sensory issues & Attachment issues. Now over a year in we are just starting to really get various Assessments underway.

The first 6 months pushed me to breaking point but I got through it. Now over a year into Placement my very complex emotional/behavioural 6 year old son is so much more settled and happier.

Please reach out in any further way you feel able to. There are so many of us here and we are a great little community.

Take care x

Ted27 · 31/01/2022 19:46


the first weeks are hard, incredibly hard, I know you know that and you understand why, but it doesn't make it any easier.

Its ok to cry. If she is calm, and if you can manage it, just pop in and say goodnight, that you will see her in the morning. Many times I did this through gritted teeth, because as a singly I had to.
If you can do that much leave the rest to you partner tonight if they are coping.
Get some rest.
At this point you take it day by day, even hour by hour if you have to.
What would be your plans for tomorrow now your partner is back at work?
Many of us have been where you are now, you can get through it. But don't put pressure on yourself, you all need time to adjust. Keep posting.

claireb7rg · 31/01/2022 20:18

TThanks all, don't know what I'd do without you lovely lot 😚

I've calmed down now, partner has been in here chatting to me for half an hour and we've been talking it through. She was absolutely fine with him, brushed her teeth well got into her pjs ok and even read some pages in the book he read to her.

She did ask about me but partner said I'd gone to bed for an early night as I was tired.

Tomorrow is a new day. She went into school ok this morning so hopefully will do the same and we've had a good food day with boy and he is in nursery all day tomorrow...

I'm going to go for a swim after the school run and then have a few hours to myself before the social worker comes round.

OP posts:
Italiangreyhound · 31/01/2022 21:22

I am sure you have heard the phrase 'Fake it 'til you make it'. Sometimes appealing confident and loving is useful even when you don't feel it. It's good to be honest with yourself but sometimes it's about putting on a 'coping' front.

It's such a balancing act. But we have all been there.

My little lad joined our family almost 8 years ago. He is adorable but he can be naughty. Your little ones are probably so confused right now.

Maybe, they are pushing boundaries; probably as an automatic thing. They must be confused whether this is going to last. You are strong to get through the adoption process and you can make it.


Keep reaching out. It does help.

Italiangreyhound · 31/01/2022 21:23

Appearing confident...

Ted27 · 31/01/2022 21:33


a swim and a few hours to yourself sounds like an excellant idea, its important to look after yourself

gordongrumpy · 31/01/2022 22:26

7 weeks in to having a birth child, I tried to persuade my partner that what we should do is hire a professional, and I would go back to work and pay a nanny. What I'm trying to say is that this is normal. For all of you- your life has completely changed, and really, you are only just getting to know each other, in the middle of the hardest times of your own lives, and in a time of crisis internationally.

You got all of you through the day, alive, fed. I'm so glad you're getting some time to recover for yourself. The early days are so hard. You're doing well.

AKingdomForAUsername · 31/01/2022 22:53

Nothing useful to add - we haven't adopted yet, so I have no idea what it's like (though even my super easy BC and I wind each other up at times, so please don't beat yourself up!), just wanted to send a gentle online hug. Hope you can enjoy your swim tomorrow. X

Whatthechicken · 01/02/2022 09:33

It’s really hard! I look back to those early days and I’m unrecognisable, the kids are unrecognisable and my relationship with my husband is unrecognisable. I used to ‘forget’ things from the shop on purpose, so I could get out of the house for a few minutes later in the day. My daughter didn’t trust me…and it was mainly me. She used to press every single button. I’d read her a bedtime story, she’d wait until the last word was read and then look me square in the eye and rip the page. She’d throw every single hard toy out of her bedroom - it got a reaction from me (we had wood floors), so we swapped some toys around in her bedroom so they didn’t dint the floor and we read the hard cardboard books for a while. We had to try many techniques until we all felt a bit more comfortable with our new life, and as time has gone on we have had to change strategies. We were all just in survival mode - just like you are now. My daughter was testing me, she didn’t believe I’d stick around and didn’t think I could be trusted to look after her…she had to stay in control, it was exhausting. We are still far from perfect, but I haven’t felt the need to ‘run away’ in a long time and my daughter and I have a very special relationship. If any of us have a wobble, repairing the relationship before bed, saying night, giving a cuddle - has always worked for us. It allows each of us to say sorry if we need to, talk about stuff or just let each other know that we are all still there. You’ll find your stride.

Italiangreyhound · 01/02/2022 11:21

It is helpful to remember it's not personal to you, the difficult behaviour is bourne out of difficult situations from the child's past not personal to you.

turbulenthearts · 01/02/2022 12:49

Can you say what happened? Might help you to write it down, and others may be able to give more insights with more details?

I hope that the training is beneficial.

turbulenthearts · 01/02/2022 14:04

I have been looking at the adoption parenting training given by AdOpt, which is evidence based.

It makes you wonder why on earth this sort of thing isn't included in the training given to all prospective adopters, so it is there for the adopter to draw on from the very start.

claireb7rg · 01/02/2022 19:44


Can you say what happened? Might help you to write it down, and others may be able to give more insights with more details?

I hope that the training is beneficial.

We were having a calm down after dinner before bed, partner was getting boy ready and I was downstairs with girl. All of a sudden she flipped and was jumping off chairs, hitting me with cushions, screaming in my face etc. I went out the living room and sat on the stairs watching her on the camera we have in living room to keep an eye on the cats and saw her hitting the cat and standing on a table and jumping off it. Partner came down and asked me to go up to finish putting boy to bed whilst he sat with her. I came back down after and he suggested to me to come up to our bedroom. She stormed off upstairs 5 mins later screaming and he came in and said he'd told her off for hitting him in the face.
OP posts:
claireb7rg · 01/02/2022 19:47

Positive update though today has been much much better (not that it could have got any worse tbh)

Both were really good this morning, I was praising girl for going into school nicely yesterday and helping me with boy this morning. She went in ok again today.
Boy did too
Daddy picked girl up and they were having races on the way home. I went to get boy and he'd made a hat and a tiger mask for Chinese new year and got a certificate for being a drama star at debutots (no idea what that is).
Girl and daddy were playing on the switch when I got back with boy. They both ate well and I bathed and put boy to bed whilst daddy has been colouring LOL dolls colouring book with girl

The class was ok, it was more of a get to know us and the kids session today and she has given us some avoidance tips if last night happens again. She also advises now we do half and half with bedtime with girl rather than all me, now we know she is ok with him doing it. We have homework to do for next week now too

OP posts:
gordongrumpy · 01/02/2022 23:13

That sounds really hard- be so kind to yourself, you've jumped in at the deep end.

I don't know how much you're wanting advice, and how much you just want support and being listened to?

This is a little advice, if you do want it- your DD sounds quite dysregulated and scared. You'll get to know her, and she you, and things will settle, and you'll be able to help sooner. As it is, could you try some regulating activities (sensory type things)? Or try and make her laugh- being hit with a cushion, could you 'die' on the floor? "Oh no! The cushion got me!" If she needs to jump, could you jump together? Perhaps you could both jump on that deadly, attacking cushion?

Tag teaming bedtime is a great plan, so you both can take time for a breath.

You can do this.

Italiangreyhound · 02/02/2022 12:17

That sounds very tough. Especially the cat. You are doing well. Flowers

Jellycatspyjamas · 02/02/2022 15:24

I feel your pain, I have a boy aged 4 and a girl aged 6 at placement and in those early weeks and months I honestly thought I was losing my mind. They both had very different personalities, different needs and different responses so what worked with one was absolutely disastrous for the other. I felt like I couldn't do right for getting it wrong.

My girl was very reactive and very dysregulated, had very limited language for feelings and was very suspicious of anyone showing her care because those relationships had never been safe for her. My little boy was very affectionate, much less developmentally delayed and in many ways felt easier.

You're getting help with the parenting part so I'll share what helped me cope with my own reactions. I had to regularly remind myself that I was parenting two children from a standing start, I didn't have the benefit of relationship with these two so building a good relationship with each was my primary focus over and above any kind of behaviour management. So I'd only focus on behaviour that was dangerous, my girl would be violent with her brother so I intervened there but from a place of safety rather than behaviour if that makes sense? We did a lot of work on feelings, and keeping both children close - my two needed a lot of physical contact and needed to know where I was, what I was doing and why so I'd chatter through my day "I'm just going to make a cup of tea, I'm right here, yes you can come too..." all through the day. Remember they don't know you and your routines and anything unpredictable can be very scary so over-talk and over-explain.

I also reminded myself that however hard it was for me, it was much much harder for them. which sounds very simple but it meant I didn't get annoyed with them as much, and could respond to them from a place of care. Someone here spoke about the children behaving in front of me, not towards me, which depersonalised some of the challenges and helped me think about what they were trying to communicate through their behaviour rather than thinking they hated me, that I had made a mistake etc. Your mindset is really important in connecting with children who for whatever reason might be hard to connect with - finding something you like and value about each child and talking to them about it, being explicit about what you see in them and praise, praise, praise.

Make sure you get time for yourself, to decompress and relax - it'll build capacity for you to keep going with some very hard behaviours and help you not lose yourself in it all.

The last thing I'd say which may not be an issue for you, but certainly was for me, is that I found myself gravitating towards the "easier" child. I found my girl's behaviour very challenging and started to pull back, or would take myself off when she was being aggressive or violent, which was absolutely the wrong thing. I learned she needed me close to her, needed me to be with her even when things were kicking off.- possibly more so. Me staying with her and trying to connect with her when things were hard really mattered to her and gave her a sense of trust that I wouldn't be going anywhere. And seeing the fear and pain behind the behaviour helped me fall in love with her.

Four years on and there are still sometimes challenges, but the relationships are very well established now and you literally wouldn't recognise my girl from the child who arrived here in the beginning.

Good luck with it all, you've come to a good place here, lots of very experienced adopters who have been there and found a way through and who are very generous with their time and support. You're doing a great job, mum.

turbulenthearts · 02/02/2022 18:35

OP this is a practical thing and by no means the heart of the matter, but in case it helps, my dc wouldn't be able to cope with calm down after supper before bedtime and in case it helps at all to hear about a different routine, in case your dd has a similar temperament to my dc, my dc go straight to bath or shower after dinner, before they have time to get into anything else, and then straight to bed speedy gonzales from the wash. This worked for dc because they really love having books read to them, and so they are basically naturally calm at this stage, so this is the calm down time. We used to read about 3 books when they were at the age of your dc, and one would often be a social type book, about making friends or playing or about feelings.

Her behaviour is a shock to your system, but it will get easier as you get to know her better and find your feet and find strategies. Your dd hitting the cat does indicate that she is not feeling good inside and working out the triggers for that and the hitting will help. It is worth talking to her to see if she can verbalise what she doesn't like about the calm down time or whatever it was, or how she feels, it may be too soon, but it will come.

When my dc's behaviour is the absolute worst - aggressive, stubborn, rejecting - is when they are not happy at all about something, and once helped with whatever things are completely different. It is a long hard slog though, with ups and downs.

Jellycatspyjamas · 02/02/2022 18:51

my dc go straight to bath or shower after dinner, before they have time to get into anything else, and then straight to bed speedy gonzales from the wash

I’ve just realised we did the same for a long time - dinner, upstairs for bath time and into bed. My two needed a lot of sleep post placement - like 12 hours sleep and would get stressed and anxious as they got tired, and they got more tired as the week went on, and after dinner just needed to get ready for bed. I think sometimes that calm down space is just too much space for little ones.

Their bedtime routine now includes them reading or drawing before bed as a calm down time but it’s been a process getting to this point.

turbulenthearts · 02/02/2022 19:24

I think it might be a personality thing sometimes rather than a process, too. And for some children it might work really well from the start.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.