Wow, feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. We've had our 4yr old fost/adopt boy/girl twins home for four days. I know four days and I'm already having issues.
Its just so different than raising your own child from birth and they mind you (at least mine does). These two are a handful and can be disrespectful at times. The girl is about two years delayed so she really has a hard time minding. In fact she is quite bossy! Their smells are different, their ways are different. Its just so hard to keep in mind that they are just as scared and unsure of this whole thing as we are. Of course we have our bonding moments and I cherish those moments.
I have to keep reminding myself its almost like the first few weeks after we brought our new born son home and I couldn't just grab my keys and go. And that was almost twelve years ago!! I have moments of happiness and optimism of the future, then something happens and I get this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that maybe we made a mistake, ugh!
Someone tell me this is normal!!
Anyway, just needed to say it out loud, thanks for listening.
It's normal. Find resources in other adoptive parents who have done what you are doing. They will be the only folks who truly understand that you don't bond immediately, as with a newborn. It takes time. "Fake it 'til you make it."
It's normal...but that doesn't make it any easier to live through! (((hugs)))
We noticed that for the first, oh, two months or so after a child joined our family there was a lot (and then some!!) of work just getting routines down. That's JUST the routines, not everything else.
Our kids had various extra-ordinary needs, like moving their whole world and getting new parents. Again. There was a lot of grief and super levels of insecurity, fear, and even anger. All as expressed through behaviors, because all too often they're not going to sit down and say, "I'm sad, I miss my other life, I miss my other family (families), I don't know who to trust, I'm scared, I'm _______ (fill in the blank)" but they will "tell" you by their behaviors. We adopted four times and each time was just as difficult in its own way as the first time we adopted. A lot of gritting your teeth and pushing forward. I guess it's what makes up for not having labor and delivery. :evilgrin:
But as some of you have said it still doesn't make it any easier. Been waking up with what I can only describe as anxiety/panic. And last night my husband was having a hard time with Baby Girl, losing patience and frustrated. Lord get us thru, amen. (sigh)
Thanks for listening...
Are they getting counseling? Early intervention? Preschool? Just because what you are feeling is normal doesn't mean you shouldn't get some help. Try to get a sitter or have a date night "in" with hubby (Monday is Valentines day!). Maybe if you have a project or a plan if ine thing to do every day before you wake up you will feel less anxiety because there will be at least on "known" every day. Make cookies, trace them on butcher paper, make valentines, paint, go for a walk to collect certain things on a list. The game Headbands is a good sit close together and look at each other game 4 year olds could play.
I try to put myself in your position by imagining that my neighbors 4 year old suddenly became my child (and he is emotionally healthy) and I think I would feel the same way you feel right now.
Journal how you feel now and check it again in a week. I bet you will feel better. Its been 4 days. You are past the amazement/novelty point but don't know them well enough to be bonded to them at all.
glad you're reachin out for help... and free to be honest enough to admit the struggle. :)
Port, what a great article... THANK YOU!
Glad you liked it Gospelfan. I found out that later this same woman and her husband adopted more older children and she is so glad she did.
Thanks everyone! I sent my SW an email this morning asking for some therapy for us. Hopefully we can get something going this week. Have a couple visits from immediate family today so that is helping a bit. It helps just to talk about it. But I think my husband is struggling but not saying too much.
What you are feeling/experiencing is totally normal. I think four can be a hard age. We adopted DS when he was almost 4.5yrs from an orphanage and it was/is way different than infant adoption and most certainly different that your experience with your bio child. The smell part you mentioned was VERY hard for me-- even wearing our clothes and bathing with our soap, it took about two years for him to smell like us. And whatever his smell was, was not pleasant to me at all.
And now, having parented a healthy child past the age of four (we adopted out of birth order, another mistake in this case), I have to say that that was one of her most challenging ages to date. It would have been very difficult to parent her if she'd dropped in at that age without attachment already in place. That seems to be the age they start trying out the art of sneaking things and lying (just normal kid stuff) anyway and then add the fact you have no attachment whatsoever to these perfect strangers that just moved in (as you shouldn't since that comes with time and relationship, neither of which you've had), and you have a very difficult situation. It doesn't mean you cannot get through it, just that you need to be prepared not to like your job parenting for awhile. And allow yourself to feel that way-- it's not going to help the morale of the situation to have you and you DH disliking yourselves as parents.
I think the therapy sounds like a good idea. I'd go for family therapy if I were you. Unless there are particular issues the kids are dealing with, you probably need it more than them, lol.
First of all, I think that it is great that you and your husband are reaching out for help. I worked for several years as a therapist for children in the child welfare system, and I can tell you from that experience that the feelings that you are having are very normal. It will be very important for you and your husband to get support and to work together as a team. There is a lot of testing that happens when children are moved into a new placement- and it is critical that you and your husband set rules (and enforce them the same way!) with the children. While I know it seems really overwhelming right now, you should also take a moment to remind yourself that this is a process and its going to take time. Thank you for hanging in there and again for asking for help- and be sure that you and your husband both take time to take care of yourselves and each other so that you can have the energy to take care of the twins!
I just want to add that today I did not like my 4 year old, totally attached and adopted at birth. He is the love of my life and yet I had fantasies of locking him in the basement. My sister made a joke that it's the terrible 2's, the terrific 3's and the "f@#&ing 4's!" So give yourself a little break and realize that you have huge new challenges (older child adoption? twins? Hello!) and that part of it is also being 4.
Interesting about the smell. I noticed this too, but it also helped to understand how my kids were feeling. Smell is one of those things that is huge for kids and it's a memory that outlasts many others. So as weird as they smell to US, the new parents, think how WE and EVERYTHING in our home, yard, car, etc., smell to THEM. At least we have our normal smells around us, while they don't have any of theirs.
I agree with Portlow - 4 is often a VERY difficult age. (5 wasn't so hot for one of mine, either....) Two years old was a breeze compared to four years old for all my kids. :D
The smell was an issue for me even in newborn adoption. At first I thought it was hospital smell and then I attributed it to puke smell and then to a gross smelling formula but I really think it was just not my smell. For 4 months it really bothered me and the smell issue probably went away at 8 months.
I just read this article, and thought it was interesting. Might also give you some comfort.
[url=]Insta-Attachment and Other Adoption Myths - Why the dreams we hold on to while waiting for our child can sometimes prevent us from seeing our child's reality clearly. _ attachment, bonding, trauma, grief, healing, adjustment[/url]
Could the smell be stress? I"ve noticed my girl has a smell when she is in the midst of bouts of meltdowns and opposition (meaning something is stressing her).
I just read this article, and thought it was interesting. Might also give you some comfort.
[url=]Insta-Attachment and Other Adoption Myths - Why the dreams we hold on to while waiting for our child can sometimes prevent us from seeing our child's reality clearly. _ attachment, bonding, trauma, grief, healing, adjustment[/url]
Thank you so much for sharing this really hit the nail on the head. And keeps me mindful that their actions speak louder than words and that I need to examine them on a deeper level.