i've read many posts that said the first weeks of placement people felt. 'OMG! what have we done' I always thought , 'that won't be us'...but here we are ...both had a dream last night that we have them back, my dream was we then went to Cambodia and his dream was he was packing up the car with their stuff..we can intellectualise everything and know the proceses we need to move through...but when your in it, gosh it's pants isn't it? Any ideas how people pulled themselves through....
You pull yourself through by faking till you make it ! Self belief, coming here and remberering you are mummy & daddy !
Yes it's hard for the first year ! I don't want to scare you ? the first week is hardest and slowly day by day, week by week, month by month. I am sure a wise person once said on here that it is "easier" once you pass anniversaries. Your second Christmas etc
Rember to Order your shopping online, do the least amount of cleaning you can get away with, use pre made sauces or dinners or bung it in the oven type of food.
Break each day into chunks - before breakfast, snack time, lunch etc. Use the TV/DVD. Your not plonking them in front of the TV, sit with them & watch together. We all need space & they might not manage 1-1
Take care of yourselves. Have a glass of wine at the end of the week & chocolate biscuit once they are in bed.
And lastly once they are asleep tip toe in and watch them sleep.
This is normal. We are just over a year through ... nothing would make me go through that year again, not even with how good things are turning out to be. You know all the adoption stuff and you thought you were ready to be a parent but the grief, pain, frustration, bitterness (ok, I felt it badly) at the loss of your freedom, privacy, self confidence...it's huge. Letting yourself admit the possibility of giving them back can be a relief, it doesn't make you bad people. Holding onto a bit of yourself, don't give so much that you end up empty, these kids don't know what to do with the sort of real parenting we offer and it takes time, sometimes a long time, before you start to get anything back. Remember, good enough, not perfect. Things that helped us: Routines, lots of warnings and prep thru talk and pictures of new people or places . Alternate lie in for parents at weekends Use support network, get kids used to grand parents or other friends with prospect of getting away even for a few hours in due course Don't read too many books, listen to advice but trust your instincts and forgive yourself wgen you think you get it wrong. You are both doing an amazing thing and, though I know it doesn't help at all now, time is your friend and it does get better.
Mum to DS Brains (15) and DD LittleE (14) with DH my hero
Yes, normal. It is very, very, hard work indeed. And other people treat you as if you are a saint or the children are 'normal'. Ack. Neither is true. It's closer to the human equivalent of the Island with Bear Grylls. (The school gate will be the mangrove swamp.)
I went to visit my mother in the first two weeks of the school summer holiday, and she looked after the two children for about 2 hours after lunch each day while I slept.
Mum to AS (18) at home and AD (19) staying put in foster care.
I am now almost two years in and I wohld say really only since we got our second birthday/ Christmas out of the way did we start to relax together properly. We can now finally say "this is what we do on birthdays", like we have started to build our own traditions which is a big part of the bonding process.
However hard the first year is, it does very very slowly get better, day by day, week by week, month by month. You may also find you hit a really sweet honeymoon period at some point where everything feels like it has clicked - it's lovely but probably won't last lol.
As everyone has already said, make every day as easy as you can. Don't be ashamed to rely on whatever makes life easy - I remember crying down the phone to my mum a couple of weeks in because Starlet wouldn't let me cook properly, she needed my undivided attention. I was also sick to death of eating pasta because she wouldn't eat anything else to start with. So mum said... So go right now to the supermarket and buy seven ready meals for you and let her choose seven. Then give yourself a break. Neither of you will die.
I also learnt to ask for help - I was honest with my nearest and dearest and when people asked what they could do, I asked them to cook for us, do shopping for me or even do ironing. I also asked people to come and see me for a cuppa once Starlet was in bed - so that I didn't have to miss out on seeing friends before Starlet was ready to meet them.
Do what work for you. Fake it til you make it. Keep things low key. Take each day as it comes and give everyone a fresh start every day - that includes forgiving yourself for any "mistakes" you perceive you have made. And believe us when we say, yes it's normal!
It's scary isn't it? I don't think anything could have prepared me for it.
Watching them sleep is a great tip...just taking time to study them without having to do anything or be interacting with them. Those were the times I first felt loving feelings, nothing expected of me so the self doubt and stresses weren't there. (Of course Snooz slept well back then so I wasn't exhausted so much).
For me, I think it was the 'this is for the rest of your life' type feeling that really scared the heck out of me!!
Mum to Snooz, a quirky but fab 17 year old with ASD and Tourettes.
I have moments, sometimes days, early into placements, towards the end of placements, when I think (but don't act on!) 'I don't have to do this' feelings or 'why am I doing this' feelings. the first night my AS came home (as a foster child) I was so fraught I did actually say, in tears, I cant do this, its too hard, i'm taking him back. I didn't do it becoz once he'd done screaming at me, pooping all over me (had a very tricky to manage in the early days colostomy (Not pretty!) he fell asleep on me and I fell in love with him again. but have had many days over the years when I've thought why did I do this?! so yes, absoltuley positively normal to feel it, to think it, to believe you cant do it. its a huge life adjustment.
even now, after 20 od years of fostering in one guise or another, I say to my fostering sw when she places a new child with me, don't ask me how its going for the first month becoz you'll not like what you hear! don't have any advice, I just get on with it and it passes but not sure what I actually do to help it pass beyond just getting on with it.
foster carer for babies and toddlers, and also an adoptive parent.
I'm 9 years in and now dream of their 'exit', lol. Still have another 9 to go.
Adopting older kids is about commitment in the first place, not love. You will get used to the situation, able to prevent more things from going wrong. It will get easier, try to take the children also alone to the park, a visit, swimming etc. And do not forget to look at them when they're asleep!
I lay in bed each night in the first few days and weeks thinking, "Wow, this is weird, it could be just me again just going to bed as normal, except there are two small humans sleeping just the other side of that wall ... every night, forever, from now on!" (I'm not sure that makes sense to anyone else, but it was like the bedroom wall separated the crazy new adoption life from my old regular life).
I did entertain 'giving them back' ((never seriously, but just as a pondering!) in order to regain my old way of life and the thoughts that helped me were: What would a disruption do for the boys? - untold and lasting damage. I came into adoption for their future as much if not more than for mine. If I went back to being childless would I still want children - yes! Did anything happen today that I didn't manage to cope with - no! (even if I did need to call on re-inforcement!)
The image of the first year that seems truest for me is a glass of murky pond water, to start with it's all churned up and you can't see through, but all the time it is gradually settling. Then a month on, you think the 'muddy water' has settled and all the sediment is at the bottom, but then a month later the water is clearer again and the sediment is even more settled, then 6 months later and you think, right now we're getting there, but then a year on and you look back at how they were 6 months ago and you think, "no, now they're really settling!" .... and having seen this pattern, I'm guessing in a year's time I'll be looking back thinking the pond water is much clearer again!
One practical thing that helped me in the early weeks was inviting my closest/ local friends to join my '8 o'clock club'. As the boys were settling well as night, I invited friends to arrange a night (one at a time, not all together!) to come round at 8pm once the boys were asleep for some adult conversation. It was really lovely to have something to look forward to (even though I was knackered) - they were close friends who I felt comfortable seeing the house in a tip - some washed up etc but (with no prompting) they all brought chocolates or flowers and cards and made me feel really special - they wanted to celebrate with me, even before meeting the boys. Most stayed less than an hour, but it kept me connected to the outside world and made me feel special. It might be different as a couple, but for me it was a real highlight in the early days of placement.
Hang in there, and if it helps you, go back and read old diary entries or old posts to remember just how far you have come both practically and emotionally to being parents. All the best, and congratulations! Lolapola xx
Adoptive Mum to 'Great Rememberer' (GR) 8 and 'Great Little Finder' (GLF) 7 who came home Feb '14.
Well zigs first day at school seemed to go well, but after two weeks of just us and trips to parks, the stimulation sent her hyper, I'm sure she will settle in. Although we don't ever think we would act upon handing them back, we do feel that we have tipped over everything. I reminded DH today that we were saying to ourselves before all this started, ' is this it? Are we going to work like dogs have dinner in front of telly and go on big holidays for the rest of our lives' right now that seemed like the perfect plan. The children are funny loving, loud, tactile and want to be held and mothered. I just feel a bit empty at times, I know it will change and I have to ride it out....can't help but think 'what on earth possessed us!! We have both been a bit snappy with each other for last 3 nights....I need to make some new mum friends.
I hope you've got Zig a nice slow start to school, building up from a couple of hours a day to start with? I did this with Starlet and at first only dropped off and picked up at different times to the others, but I quickly realised I needed to be around at the school gates so I could meet the other parents too.