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AD saying she wants birth parents. Also v anxious about starting school

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Our AD aged 4 and her brother have been with us 6 months. Tonight at bedtime she told wanted 'her old mummy and daddy' and became very upset. I got her life story book out and we discussed how old mummy and daddy loved her very much but couldn't look after her. I really hope I did the right things. The thing is it hurts me to hear her say it- I'm questioning whether she's happy with us, although she seems it most of the time. She also starts school in a few weeks and is very anxious about it, especially because she knows I won't be able to stay with her and I think this is why her other anxieties are raising their head. Any ideas on how to tackle this?


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It is tough. They do miss BF and foster carers and they will test you. But it is better they are talking about it. Do you know it is actually BF and not FC? Just the response is slightly different....BF couldn't take care, FC had to take care of them for a while but couldn't keep them.


It's never easy but just try to do what you think they need. Best wishes, BdF


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Re school,reassure her she will becoming home each day and you or whoever will be picking her up. Maybe a social story with rough timeline of events eg we will get up at 7 am have breakfast ,get dressed at school you will play , learn eat lunch, come home.. Use pictures to make it. Give her something that smells of you - it can be just a hanky with your perfume on. You can also give her something to look after nothing of value so if it gets lost its not a biggy, one of mine liked a pebble we found in the garden every day.

I would add to above reassure you love her and will be her forever parent.


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I know it is counterintuitive but one of the things about therapeutic parenting is sometimes when our children are hurting they don't need or want explanations they just want empathy and a hug.

You could try :"I'm so sorry you are feeling like that, I love you very much and I'm here to help you to feel better".


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I agree with belle are you sure she was referring to her birth family or her foster carers. If she spent considerable time in foster care before adoption it is likely that she will be missing them. If this is the case and it continues is it possible to arrange some sort of contact (if this does not already happen) to allow her to get reassurances that they are ok and that they still care about her.


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You can't necessarily fix it. You have to be able to 'hold' their feelings and if you can't because it's difficult for you then it won't work and your daughter will learn not to come to you and she will have to do it all herself. I would suggest you get some support for you to work through your feelings x


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Thanks everyone. Although it did seem to be birth family she was referring to last night, after talking to her today it does seem more her FC she's missing. The difficulty is FC decided she didn't want any more contact because it was too difficult for her... I'll see if we can get in touch to re-evaluate.

I did manage to hide my own feelings from her and we've managed to talk again today and she's much happier. Bedtimes seem to be a tricky time for her.

Thanks again x


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That is a shame about the foster carer. You might find she reconsiders now having some time to digest things since the move. As a foster carer I have come to realise the importance of children having ongoing contact with their foster families in allowing them to accept the moving on, in learning that important people who love you don't generally just disappear from your life and in gaining the approval of their former carers to love their forever families. It is so difficult for them.


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That is a shame about the foster carer. You might find she reconsiders now having some time to digest things since the move. As a foster carer I have come to realise the importance of children having ongoing contact with their foster families in allowing them to accept the moving on, in learning that important people who love you don't generally just disappear from your life and in gaining the approval of their former carers to love their forever families. It is so difficult for them.


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Please don't take it personally and feel hurt. The fact that she could identify the feeling, express it, and felt safe to tell you is huge. It's not that she's unhappy with YOU. She's unhappy, and turning to you for comfort.


The Bf and FC will always be part of her life, but the longer she is with you the smaller their part of her life gets.


My daughter goes through phases of thinking a lot about BF and has a lot of sadness and anger. BUT - I am the person she wants to tell about her feelings, I am the person she comes to for comfort and a cuddle. I am her Mum. That's what you are becoming.


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My AD would talk about FC when young - she remembered them - but had no contact with BPs since age of 8mths - she started talking about BPs as her understanding of their role grew and now it is them she would feel the loss of - not FCs - I think she understands FCs role clearly and feels fondness for them as you would for distant relatives but not loss


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You are doing the right thing!

Starting school is a massive stepping stone for our kids and she is quite rightly feeling insecure about the change and that will come out as "i miss tummy mummy etc' she is going through a massive move (again) in her life so please don't take her words to heart x When our two started pre school we gave them each an item that belonged to one of us(even a photo will do) ask her each day to please bring home this item to mummy/daddy as it gives them comfort and tends to ease the whole separation anxiety.Ours are just under 10 now and have been with us since before starting pre school and trust me we still have that anxiety that manifests itself in comments such as "birth parents are more important than adoptive parents aren't they?" its all past of the p[ar of bringing up our children and i know its hard but how many times will we have to tell our children "sticks and stones"


Your doing the right thing x


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I think you are probably right Westi that she is thinking about loss and is revisiting old losses and needs reassurance that the upcoming changes are not going to result in more loss. The "real mum" issue is a major one and I think it is worth working out some responses in advance to this sort of thing. As well of course as all the life story things that come up through the curriculum and through contact with other children and their various home circumstances


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Change is very difficult for children who have experienced early trauma and it is very normal to get this kind of anxiety and feelings of loss around things like starting school. You might even find it resurges every school holiday / start of new academic year in some form.


Often what children say re bps or fcs at these times is around their fears and feelings of loss and you don't necessarily need to take the actual words too seriously. Try to deal with the feelings lying behind them instead. Basically you acknowledge them and provide support to manage them / the situation.


I'd say this is most likely about starting school and this is what she needs help with now.


Conversations about her past will hopefully take place between you and her regularly throughout her childhood, when it seems appropriate - these aren't issues that are readily resolved and children's feelings and thoughts will continue to evolve and change over time.


But you can work with her on her fears about school. Was there any kind of transition for her before the holidays or is that all to come? You could do things like read books re school (or make one together), buy items together eg uniform and talk about them, walk / drive the route and talk about interesting "landmarks", look at the buildings, take photos of them etc. Be very positive so she can see you are happy she is going to scool but also acknowledge her fears etc. (You've probably done a lot of prep already so ignore me if this is inappropriate! )


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Lots of great advice already.


In case you haven't done this already, you could ask if the school could provide you with a few pictures of her classroom, lunch hall, teacher, etc. My kids got a little booklet with lots of pictures of everyone and everything important before they started their new school and it helped a lot. We sneaked into the building one day during the holidays and a had a look at their future classroom and coincidentally met their class assistant, which was great. We went there quite often, sat in front of the building and talked or had a little picnic. Even if your daughter has seen the school, she might have forgotten or remembers it to be scary.


I would also compare school to things that a familiar to her. There is a tendency to make school out to be an entirely new experience, which is not helpful for adopted children. I would tell her that it is pretty much like nursery just bigger. Emphasise the similarities and embed the differences in similarities or compare them to something else she knows.


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Thank you all so much, especially for the ideas about school- they're fantastic ideas. She has had loads of visits etc but you've given me great ideas to do to.


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