Hello, I am in a current adoption placement that will be finalized in Feb. or March of next year. One sibling is 5 and the other is 10. My question is how do I go about getting them to call me mom? They were calling their foster mom "mom" before they came to live with me. When we first met I was introduced to them as Ms. (by my first name). That was fine with me because I have a long last name and figured they couldn't pronounce it. But now I no longer want them calling me by my first name. I told them I want them to call me mom now because I am going to be adopting them and they will have my last name. I also told them that they will be living with me until they are grown and I am going to be their mom, so that might as well get use to calling me mom now. I'm afraid that if they keep calling me by my first name, they will get use to it and won't call me mom. Of course if the younger one hears the older one do it, then she will too. They have been in my home for 3 weeks now, and we have been visiting and knowing each other for 3 mos. now. They do understand they will have my last name and they were ready for the adoption placement. They didn't have any issues leaving the former foster mom because she prepared them for adoption. They now refer to the former foster mom as Ms. instead of mom, but don't seem to like the idea of calling me mom. I have read some of the foster/adoptive parent forums and someone had said it has been over a year and their child doesn't call them mom or dad yet, which makes them not feel like a family. I can understand that. I have told them I didn't want them to call me Ms. (by my first name) anymore because it sounds like they are talking to their teacher or a babysitter and I am not either one. I explained to them the reason they were calling me that in the beginning was because we had just met. The 10 yr. old is withdrawn and is slow opening up, and has attachment issues, she also has a lot of influence over the younger one. Of course the younger one does and says what she does. Do you have any suggestions of what I could say or do to get them to start calling me mom? Also any suggestions on how to keep the younger one from doing and saying what the 10 yr. old does? Any advice will be helpful.
I don't know how long they have been in fc or how long they were with their previous fm, but I do know that three weeks is not a long time for the girls to FEEL you are their mom. We had our kids for a year, when my older kids asked what I wanted for my birthday. I told them that all I wanted was for them to call me "mom" (we had permanency with them by that time). I told them that I love them and I know I AM their mom, but the best present I could ever get would be for them to acknowledge I'm their mother by calling me mom. I also told them the whether they called me Mom or Riley didn't make a difference with how I felt about them, they were still MY kids! I DID get my birthday gift! And it was wonderful, bc although I had to ask for it, I knew it was from their heart. It means so much more for me to hear them call me mom bc I know that they FEEL I am their mom! Do you have other children? My younger kids started calling me mom right away, but they also had RAD and heard my bios calling me mom. Give the kids time. They've been through a lot with all these moves. They need time to process everything. Also, you may want to start attachment therapy to help them with bonding. Spend lots of time with them in the meantime. Congratulations.
Ms Tee - Your reality is that they are going to be with you for years and years, but to them, they have only past experience to relate too. They are 5 and 10 and most like have had a lot of disruption in their young lives. My advice is to simply work on forming your relationships with them, let them develop trust in you and let them form an attachment to you. I also do not think you should pressure them about what to call you at this point as this could sidetrack them forming trust if you become demanding of them, Your love and devotion to them is there and they will see it over time. Let nature take its course, it will come, but may come slowly. You know you are there Mom and that is what counts right now. Just my opinion.
I agree with Riley.. I am not sure that 3 weeks in long enough.. they have to want to call you mom and not be "pressured" into this. Our current foster daughter (who we hope to adopt) is alomst 16.. she was with us for 8 months before she felt like she wanted to call us mom and dad.. prior to that she called us by our first names. She was originally adopted at age 8 and was told she HAD to call them mom and dad and she has always resented them for that.. for not giving her the choice.. I would tell them that you would love to be called mom, but that you also want them to be ok with that.. if you don't like the "Ms... " then maybe you guys can come up with an alternate name in the mean time. It will come.. just be patient and give them time. Good luck Mandy
I wanted to add one more thing. My older kids started REFERRING to us as mom and dad before they started calling us that. When their friends would call, they'd say to wait, they have to ask their mom. I think this kind of gave them the beginnings of thinking of us as their parents. Also, once their friends started referring to us as their parents, it started to reinforce to them that OTHERS thought of us as a family. Once your kids start making friends around the house and at school, it may start to open up ways for them to call you mom.
a friend of mine had her step-son call her 'mamma laura' and eventually he dropped the laura on his own and just called her mom. You might try that, I thought it was cute.
I would just give this some time. First, let them get comfortable with you and let them begin to feel like they are a part of your family. I wouldn't push anything. I would just let things happen naturally. JJ
I have yet to adopt, so I have no idea what it feels like to be in your shoes. However, your situation reminded me of when my mom remarried when I was 12 after divorcing my father. My "step"dad never asked us to call him dad even though he took on all of the responsiblities that a father has...and more. After about a year, my younger sister was calling him dad. It took me a little longer, but then I called him dad too. I started by referring to him as dad to others. You mentioned your daughters call you "Ms. --- " Maybe you could start by saying that they don't have to say "Ms." They can just call you by your first name. I know that if my "step"dad would have pressured me or even asked me to call him dad, that would have made me feel uncomfortable. I already had one, and I had to ease into calling two people the same name. Like I said, this was just my experience, and is just my opinion. Our situations are completely different. -Stacey
We did the foster/adopt to a 12 year old girl and said she could call us by our first names. After living with us a year, and being adopted now for 6 months, she mainly calls us by our first names when getting our attention. She sometimes calls me Mommy, when she's feeling good and usually acting about 3-5 years old. She refers to us as her mom and dad or our first names when talking to others. I'm concentrating on calling my husband "daddy" when talking to her, hoping to reinforce a change. It leads to questions from others when they don't hear her calling us mom and dad but she handles it well. Although I would prefer that she call us mom and dad, she's been moved around so much that I'm guessing mom and dad have a lot of bad feelings around them. My feeling is that if we had originally asked her to call us "Mama ______", it would be easier to make the change. I agree it gives me a warm fuzzy when she calls me mommy now but my husband and I are trying to reinforce group hugs, goodnight kisses and other things that help US feel good.
We're on day 8 with S., so we're right at the beginning. But here's what the CW, who's also an adoptive mom, advised us. To S., her former foster parents are Mommy and Daddy. And she knows that she has another Mommy as well who she doesn't see anymore. Her CW has us call her former foster parents Mommy "firstname" and Daddy "first name". I don't correct her when she calls them that, but when I refer to them I use the same thing. Her CW calls us Mommy Allana and Daddy Martin, though S. has been very clear that she will be calling us Allana and Martin for now. And that's fine. We will eventually phase out the Mommy and call them Auntie and Uncle. When our parents talk to her, they call us Mommy and Daddy, and she accepts that.