3 weeks into placement and struggling

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We have had our two placed with us for just over 3 weeks, they are age 5 and 10. All going well on the surface - we are well aware that there are hundreds of issues we don't have to deal with! They have started school locally and seem to be settling in okay. Have had a few issues but lovely FCs at end of phone for anything, they have been great.

I just feel I'm struggling with it all... feeling down and weepy a lot of the time. I'm off on adoption leave. Hubby seems to be fine although he's aware that he only has 1-2 hours on weekdays with them when he gets back from work as they go to bed 7pm or thereabouts (they really need loads of sleep or find the next day very difficult) and wishes he had more time.

I feel overwhelmed by it all... very tired which doesn't help... don't know if it's me putting too much pressure on myself or what. Yesterday hubby said he didn't think I was bonding enough with them, especially the older one, his solution is that I should behave more like he does with them. He's very hands on, funny, silly with them... I'm the organised one who makes sure everyone gets fed and gets to school on time etc. I get his point that I don't just want to be seen as the "boring" one... but I think he just expects me to behave like him and I don't think that's the answer. I think I need to find my own common ground with them and that their relationships with me are going to be different to their relationships with him.

Any advice would be welcome - is it normal to be feeling down / struggling at this stage? Any advice on building attachments and kids' different relationships with each parent?

Thank you...

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It is still very early days and you are feeling overwhelmed. Try not to worry too much, it sounds as if you are doing fine. Tons of adopters feel like that at the beginning. You are going through a major life change! It will all get much easier with time.

For now I would try to decrease the amount of things you need to do. For instance, if you can, get your shopping delivered. I now do my weekly shopping in 10 minutes instead of 2.5 hours. Make a list with food everyone likes and cook from that, so you don't have to spend a lot of time thinking about what to make for dinner. Lower your standards in everything for a while (or for good...).

Put up colourful checklists, to help the kids to get ready in the mornings. We have two lists at our front door: one is about how to get ready in the morning (get dressed, have breakfast, brush hair & teeth, etc.), the other one is about what they need to take to school each day. Your kids will need a lot of help and nurturing, but they might like it and it will help you.

I would also keep adventures to a minimum for the moment. Find a good playground nearby or a nice park and go there every day. Like that you will be able to get to know other mums and your children will feel calmer, because their days become more predictable.

In the first months we did "special time" every day. Each day my husband and I would go into separate rooms and spend 10 to 15 minutes there first with one child, then with the other. So they both got 20-30 minutes of one-on-one time each day. During that time the children could choose what we would do: dance, cuddle, chat, play, anything. They loved it and it helped the bonding.

I wouldn't worry too much about how they see you right now. That is going to change a lot in the next weeks, months and years. You will all get to know each other and they will find out who you are. My husband plays way more with our children than I do, and when they have a problem they come running to me. We play different roles and that is fine. I am the bossy one, I anticipate and pre-empt problems (if I can), I organise our lives, I comfort and explain. My husband is very soft, understanding and playful with them. It all has its place. You bring different things to the table and that is great.

And most importantly: get enough sleep.

Best of luck!

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Thanks very much chestnuttree :-) I have done a couple of those things already - we have a school morning checklist and they do like it, and I got shopping delivered today. I see what you mean about having different roles, that's kind of what I thought, I think it's better to take things as they come & it's one thing trying to actively have fun with them but another to try too hard to be something I'm not. I think I'm a bit like you from the sounds of it... organising and pre-empting problems - thank you!

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My daughter was only 1 when she came to us but I had many similarities to how you are feeling. I was pretty depressed and couldn't see why - I should have been overjoyed but to be honest despite already having a birth son it was hugely overwhelming and the love did not come immediately. All our immediate family seemed to fall in love immediately as did my husband but for me it took longer which caused me all sorts of emotional turmoil.

I am also the organised one whilst my husband is the fun one but holding on to that organisation gave me sanity. Admittedly our daughter clearly loved her dad well before she felt anything like that for me but when she needed anything or was hurt it was reliable old me that she turned to. In the end both of us have just as strong relationships with our daughter - we just took different routes to get there.

For me I combatted the emotional state I was in by taking up quite a lot of exercise - my husband would come home from work and I would go for a run - it really helped me. I don't know if exercise is your thing but basically you need some time out. You also need to remind your husband that everyone is different and you trying to be more like him instead of yourself only puts additional pressure on you.

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I second the exercise. I was completely full of adrenaline every day with our two - and I think it was exhausting. Also, it's time to think, time on your own. You are doing well, how you feel is completely normal for such a huge life change. I can remember wondering if I would ever relax again! (I did)

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Thank you all. I am feeling a bit more positive this evening after a good evening with the kids. Really appreciate your comments - I am hoping for a good night's sleep and indeed, to be able to relax again one day at some point in the future! Even if that feels a (very) long way off...

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I also adopted a child who was 10.. Some of being organised I would imagine is a coping machanisium, and also someone has to , make sure your husband does some too.

Also set your self part of the day to get down on the floor and bond and play with them, alow your self the time. They are not babies and need time too to bond especially with normal life put there like school. Be patient and enjoy this time an dr ember they may enjoy activities younger then there years , good luck

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Hello sorry to hear you're finding it hard. I did/am too, although things are definitely improving 4 months in. Please don't expect too much of yourself, or your children. It's very early days and you're doing brilliantly by the sounds of things.

I read this and it rang a lot of bells for me: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/adoption-and-fostering/Documents/Adoption%20U...

I went to the doctors and got some antidepressants which have helped get me back on an even keel again. I'm not saying that's what you need, but don't be afraid to ask for help. It was a massive relief just talking to my doctor in confidence.

Big hugs x

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It will soon be school holidays so you will hav more time to do fun things

Surviving the long holidays needs a plan

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