Tag Archives: birth

Is it good to share?

We’re pleased to share this thoughtful guest post today from Charlotte, an adoptive mum of two…

I had an interesting conversation in the playground this morning which got me thinking…

Mum K: XXX has been really difficult recently. She’s a good girl, they play nicely, but when I leave the room she bickers with her sister.

Me: Oh my two are like that too. The entire summer was just the two of them bickering constantly.

Mum M: Really? I thought your two were really good. They seem so polite and kind and when I look at your Facebook all I see is lovely photos of you all looking happy and smiling.

Me: Oh no. K really hates T. The only reason I only share the good bits is because I don’t want to fill my timeline with negative stuff and I have other Facebook groups where I share the difficult stuff.

Mum K: I’m so glad I’m not the only one. When I look at Facebook all I see are lovely photos of families and happy children, but then I actually talk to other mums and find out that all children are like it, or at least, aren’t the angels that we perceive them to be. 

And so the conversation continued. We realised that our 5 year old daughters were all behaving similarly, and commiserated over the frustrations involved. We concluded that it’s good to talk and not just rely on the projected or perceived images.

That was a conversation between me and two mums of birth children. They both know my ‘status’ as an adoptive mum. What I found particularly interesting is that they’re right of course!
On Facebook, and online generally I share my good days to the world, and my bad days within my adoptive parents groups, and seemingly, most of my adoptive parent contacts do that too.

In some of my adoptive parent groups, you often see a status preceded by ‘I couldn’t share this on my own wall but…’ or ‘You saw the positive pics on my wall, but in reality….’.

On forums and on Twitter I tend to share the shittier days because I know I’m surrounded by people that get it and can give me support. And that’s what I tend to see too. I wouldn’t want to share the good days too often in those places because it might seem like bragging to those who are really struggling.

But from my conversation today, it’s clear that others – birth parents – have struggles with their children too. Of course they do. All children can be challenging at times.

I’ve always felt a little concerned about sharing the difficult days on my normal Facebook page.
– Will I come across as ungrateful, after all I have 2 beautiful children?
– Will I be judged?
– Will I look negative all the time?
– Do people really care about my struggles?
– Aren’t everyone else’s children perfect? Won’t mine look awful in comparison?
– Will it bring it home that I’m crap at being a mum?
– Is it fair on my kids to tell the world they’re being little toe-rags?

But actually, after today, I think all it’s done for me is isolate me from some people who could be understanding and supportive. And it’s isolated them by making them feel that it’s only their children that have problems sometimes.
In addition, it explains their reactions in the past to comments I’ve made about particular challenges and behaviours. I’ve presented such a good picture of my family that on those odd occasions where I’ve talked about the bad days they’ve been seen as recoverable minor one-offs rather than the pretty major, violent difficulties that they are.

So what now? Well, I’ll continue to post about the great days, and I’ll continue to seek support from my adopter-only groups, but perhaps I won’t feel quite so bad about sharing the disastrous days occasionally.
What about you? Do you manage to share a balanced view of your life? Do you keep it all in or are you open?

Helping with acceptance

This week we have a problem from a mum of 2 – a birth child and an adoptive child who just can’t seem to get along. Do you have any advice for Jan?

Our family is made up of myself, my husband, our birth son, and our adoptive daughter. A Problem Shared

Our son Jack is 8, and has always been a pleasant, well-mannered, relaxed, happy child. When, after some time, it became clear that another birth child wasn’t going to happen for us, we turned to adoption.

Mia has been here a year now, and is now 5. She has settled very well, and we’re lucky that at the moment she’s not showing any signs of attachment issues or anything else really. She’s a happy, playful little girl, talks about anything and everything, is a big fan of Disney princesses, enjoys school and loves affection. Mia clearly loves her big brother and attempts to play with him, share her things, placate him by letting him lead or do what he wants – she’s happy to follow as long as she spends her time with him.

Jack however just can’t seem to accept her. He was involved in every step of our adoption journey towards Mia, and had a big say in whether we had a boy or girl, what age etc, and our social worker was happy that it was a good decision for him too. He just seems to absolutely hate her, and I mean, really hate her. He is jealous of the time we spend with her and of the things we buy her (even if he gets new things too!), he even seems jealous that she has another family. He won’t share with her, won’t play with her, wants to pick fights all the time. He’s not trying to get her into trouble, more like he doesn’t seem to care that his actions will get him in trouble.

We’ve tried all sorts of things to support them building a relationship together, and we also make sure to give each child time without the other. We know it’s hard for older siblings – of any kind – to suddenly have to share their parents, but whilst we were prepared for it to be rocky with Mia, we didn’t really expect Jack to react quite this badly, for such a long time.

Is anyone else in the same or similar position? We really don’t know what else to do and our social worker is like a chocolate teapot!

Explaining adoption to birth children

Today’s post comes from our very own Vicki (who also writes at The Boy’s Behaviour), who needs some help with a – perhaps – unusual situation…

As some of you might already know I have an adoptive son – Mini who is 6 (nearly 7) and a birth daughter Dollop who is 3 and a half. Dollop came along unexpectedly after Mini had been here for 2.5 years or so. IMG_20131006_221338

At nursery Dollop is starting to do some work on families and babies, and she’s had to take in a photo. That’s all fine and seems fairly straightforward…she knows she grew in my tummy, and how she entered the world (to an age appropriate level). She also knows that Mini didn’t grow in my tummy, but someone else’s. She’s fine with that, it’s all she’s ever known and to her it’s normal that siblings grow in different places.

But, do we need to think about explaining the differences between her and her brother?

Does she need to have a deeper understanding? Should we wait until she asks questions, but then, is she likely to question it all…to her it’s normal. When do you explain adoption to a child who is not adopted, but is living with adoption and trauma everyday?

I appreciate this may not be a common question…we’re in that position that so many people have supposedly heard of (pregnancy after adopting, despite diagnosed infertility), yet I only know of a couple of others it’s happened to. But I’d appreciate your thoughts.