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I've never posted on a forum before but feel at a complete loss. My partner and I have 2 birth sons 11 and 13yrs. 5 months ago our adopted daughter 7yrs moved in with us. Introductions and everything went well at the start and, though she has her issues, her behaviour isn't as challemgong as we thought it might be and she's quite affectionate and wants to be part of our family. I feel dreadful because i have no feelings for her at all. In fact i have to say that i really dont like her. I feel like the worst person in the world saying that but if she comes for a hug i have to stop myself recoiling from her. Everything she does irritates me and I feel like I can't bear her after 10 mins with her. I love children, I work with children and am very close to my sons and lots of friend's children, some with challenging behaviour. I adore being a mum and i love how much I love it. I would do anything for any of the kids I know. It's a big part of who I am. Everyone keeps telling me that if anyone can make this work then I can. But I just can't understand how I can't like my ad or love her at all. I feel totally cold to her and faking it is completely exhausting and I'm getting worse at it as time goes on. My partner is struggling to bond too but not finding it as hard emotionally as me. He thinks we have to stick with it even if it makes us all miserable forever. He thinks this is what we signed up for. He says I must have imagined some Disney scene where it's all wonderful. I don't think that's true. I thought it would be hard and I was comfortable with it feeling different to how I love my sons, at least at first. But I can't cope with feeling guilty all the time that I'm not giving her what she needs. I wonder that she'd be better being adopted by someone else without birth children and just being loved for who she is. It's all I wanted to do but I find each day a bit tortuous and think she's a danger to our families future happiness as she lies all the time. I don't know what to do and can't understand how I can be so cold to her. I hate myself. I want my happy family back. Am I wrong? Am I terrible? Could this just be a bad match? I wanted this for so long!


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I've sent you a pm( private message)To get it click the profile button at the top of the page and then choose messages from the drop down list.

Hopefully others will have some helpful thoughts too.

Best Wishes

Pingu

Ps you are NOT a bad person, you ARE giving her what she needs. She doesn't need warm fuzzy feelings but to be looked after practically and know you are dependable and won't let her down. She wil only know the later with time


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Hi. It's ok and normal to feel this way. My son was about this age when he arrived and it's taken a really long time to settle on what my feelings are.

A lot of the time I felt like his friendly carer. I do think you should look up transference too.

My son is 22 now and I am definitely his mum. My ad is no longer in contact or part of our lives. She has a disorganised attachment style and I was most certainly her care giver and her mum (often through gritted teeth.)

I think my tip is to actively choose to love them, go on the theraplay courses and start to fan the flame.

Attachment is so easy when it's all naturally there but when it isn't it takes work. Like training for race.

Further, if you can bear a book, try 'real parents, real children' by holly van gulden

It's got a chunk in there about how it is living with the wait in adoption and then you are in it!

All the best


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Hi, don't be so hard on yourself. You've had a massive change in your life.

I wonder if actually your mothering instinct is in fact very good. Subconsciously, you are reacting to her affection not being sincere. I would be really surprised if a 7yr old was well attached and truly affectionate after just 5months. Its more likely she is still going through the motions to keep herself safe.

I completely understand what you mean about guilt, I struggle with over analysing things, which I have never done with my BC. Try to keep in mind that another change in family would be devastating for her. What she needs is a rock solid routine, a safe place to be herself and time & opportunities to connect.

Make sure you carve out some time for yourself and the rest of your family too.

Best wishes G x


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It is still really early days and there is no way you are not the right parent / family for her. Sounds like you have masses to offer. At 7 she will have experienced a lot and all this will impact on how she is with you. I wonder if you are reflecting her subconscious feelings and the rejection is coming more from her - possibly even her fears of rejection. I would suggest that as well as making sure you get time for your other relationships and that you also spend some one to one time with her - each of you separately if possible - you seek advice from post adoption support - even just being able to talk to someone about your feelings - whether SW counsellor or support group - could make a massive difference. Longer term they might be able to offer therapy or life story work too. The last thing she (or you) need is another move - it just all takes time - so much time!


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I agree with those who say it is likely you are picking up on feelings she is projecting on to you. So stop blaming yourself!


I think regular one to one time with her (maybe very short to start with) is a good strategy to try. It's easier to relate to each other in that situation. I'd suggest preferably out of the house and doing something you like / can tolerate. Could be something simple like food shopping, with you encouraging her to choose some items, or find them on the shelves. Or a walk in the park plus a stop to play or for a drink / icecream. Or swimming which is a great way to interact and play with a child. Something you can both enjoy.


Your partner is right IMO - you absolutely do have to see it through. She needs you. I felt similar feelings with one of mine - took me ages to see how it was her way of relating to me that I found irritating - but I was totally committed to being her parent and that kept me going.


Good luck. 5 months really isn't long you know. You're still at the beginning of this - I think it is Holly Van Gulden who says it takes two years for a child / family to settle after placement - that was certainly true for us.


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Others have made very good suggestions, so I won't repeat them. I just wanted to say I had a similar experience with our AD when she first came to us at 9. Her 'affection' for me was instant and totally put on, and I just couldn't cope with it, it felt so insincere when I too was struggling with adopting her and her sibling. I felt no love for her for a long time, and this was made worse because I bonded quickly with her brother. It was actually when I started having some counselling (I was very upset that they had helped me find my inner 'shouter' and needed totally to someone!) that I realised I did have some kind of love for her, partly because I kept crying when I talked about her. Six years on, I love them and am exasperated by them both equally!


The lying is about fear. My daughter lied so much - she was absolutely terrified of being found out if she did something wrong. But it was a real button pusher for me. I let her see how upset I was about lies and separated the lying from whatever caused it to happen - and was very clear with my AD about how they were two different things. There would be a consequence (direct and relatable, not arbitrary) for the lies not for the action she lied about. being courageous enough to be honest would be rewarded. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't (depending on the scale of what she'd done wrong!) It has taken us a very long time but there have been improvements. Even at 15 she'll tell a few fibs if she's worried about what she has done, but we all recognise this now.


5 months is early days and I think two years is about right for a child to really settle. If it helps, just try to think of yourself as her loving carer, and focus on what you are giving her, and not what you aren't. Because you are giving her such a lot, even if it doesn't feel like it.

Take care and keep posting. Hx


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It sounds like your daughters lying really frightens you and presents as a threat to you and your family?

There is something incongruent and deeply unsettling about being lied too and it can trigger deep feelings in another person about their own sense of worth and their belief systems and moral codes.

Lying is a behaviour that can be related to trauma in childhood. It is often fear based and reflects sometimes the fragile ego of the liar. It is a survival strategy that children can use well to escape perceived threat.

If you can and you felt open to it I would suggest perhaps being curious about the lying and the impact it may be having on your ability to be emotionally available for your adopted child. Just my thoughts, it sounds very hard for you.


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I may be way off here (and I'm not sure how well I can express what I am trying to say) but:


It sounds to me, as others have said, as if you are giving your AD what she needs. You sound as if you're doing a really good job and are tolerant and available. Even if you find it hard you are still doing it. That's a really good thing. Well done!


But I'm wondering at some level whether you are feeling that you AD is not fulfilling your perceived needs (or your thoughts about how it would all be)? I wouldn't go as far as the Disney Classic here but I do wonder whether you had an idea about how it would be when AD arrived and you extended your family and that this just isn't happening in the way that you thought that it would. Along the lines of you would positively embrace her into your family and she would respond by showing how genuinely she wanted to be there. Obviously this would include not lying and all the other things that are probably part of your own personal moral code. It is tough but many young people who have had a difficult / traumatic start in life come with their own moral compass which can not re-calibrate to yours as easily as one might imagine. It takes a lot of time; a lot of energy and patience; many steps backwards to get anywhere close, I think. It might never happen. You might find that you need to meet the young person half way (lower your standards?). Or "wonder" about the lying (although it sounds to me as if you're not really ready for this and 5 months in is really early days - we are 10 years in here).


It really does take time to form a bond and an attachment and, in my experience, the older the child when placed the longer it all takes and the harder it is to do on both sides. It isn't impossible but it can be really hard. Chuck any sort of attachment issues into the mix and it is harder still. My AD and I have a good bond; we have a positive but shaky attachment most of the time. I am most definitely her Mum. But she will lie her way out of any situation; she will distort both her description of her and anyone else's actions to get her own way; she will attack to defend and press any button that she knows will work in order to get that quick "fix" on her emotions.


Early days with my AD (aged 5 when placed) it felt like her hugs were more like a "vampire kiss" - nothing coming in my direction and all of my emotional energy being drained from me into her. Irrational on my part, probably, but this is what I felt. My AD used to drape herself over me and wait for me to hug her, giving her positivity and assurance and giving me nothing. It was hard but I stuck with it.


Early days I found it really hard to be with my AD for any length of time because I couldn't do the faking it thing very well and, yes, I also felt exhausted by trying to do it (and suspecting that I was failing and that she would notice although I was trying so hard to pretend). I would be clock watching when I knew that it would soon be time for DH to come home and as soon as he did I would pass the baton and go for a walk round the block, just to remind myself that I had an existence as me.


I've rambled long enough, I think, but one more comment - please don't give up! Don't give up on the placement or on her unless you have tried every strategy on the planet and it is so not working that you or the rest of your family are in danger. It will get better, I'm sure of it. It may also be a roller coaster and may at times feel much worse. But (sorry old draconian person talking for a sec) you made a commitment and it is up to you to work out how to make it work. You are the adult. You sound really attuned to yourself. You sound really attuned to children. So, I think that what you need to do is slightly re-tune yourself to the emotional compass of this child which is probably wildly different from the experiences that you've had to date with other children, including your birth children.


Best of luck. I'm thinking of you.


Peahen.


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Oh, and a week before we were going to submit the adoption papers to court for AD we were at AD's sports day; my husband asked me "Are you sure that you want to go through with this?". Every fibre in my back brain was shouting "No! No! No!"; my front brain, luckily, said "Yes; I made this commitment and I will potentially further hurt a child who hurts me because she has been hurt herself by many things outside of her control if I say anything else". So I said to DH "Yes, of course". I kicked myself many times for saying that but I have never actually regretted it. Not once. Not even when I'm being shouted at, called some choice things (small joke here if you can decipher it: what else would a "f***ing" "p***k" be?). Our daughter is angry about a lot of things but thriving. If we had given up on her then I suspect that there would be far fewer positives in her story today. Just my experience. It has been a long and hard journey but hey, I've learned a shed load about myself on the way.


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I agree with the others - I could never feel the warm and fuzzy feelings for EDD and felt guilty about it for a long time. Eventually I could recognise that I was responding to her refusal to be 'mothered' - which she outwardly said but then by her behaviour sabotaged our relationship over and over again. She left home at 15 with a big explosion. However, she visits in school holidays, and phones me on my birthday. I even got a wooden spoon for Xmas, which doesn't sound good but I had been moaning about needing another one, so the fact she noticed what I needed and then acted on it was a huge step!


YDD was almost the opposite, I became Mummy immediately (she was 2, EDD was 10). However, there are times when her 'affection', like peahen's DD, was draining and demanding because her need was so enormous she couldn't give anything back, and there are times when her chatter is not to share her thoughts but to get and keep my attention, and I find that really irritating too. Luckily we've reached the stage where I can ask if she's talking to get my attention and she'll admit it, and we negotiate another way of getting what she needs such as holding hands.


Things you can do together and will both enjoy could help - what do you enjoy doing that DD could do alongside you? (I love things like fairground rides for example!)


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I would echo everyone else here and say give it more time. I don't have birth children but looking at my friends and family who do, I think the bond is probably totally different. With birth family you are 'responsible' in some way for everything they are and will be. With adopted, especially when they are so much older, somebody else, and often lots of others, have had a huge influence often in a very negative way.

I found I could only bond with my children initially as a caring adult. They refused to call me mum for a long time and initially I was fine with that as it showed the world, in some small way in my mind, that I was not 'to blame' for the behaviour, the lies, the aggression and just the general loudness of them.


Adoption has made me look at myself more than any other experience ever has and I realise I have my own 'issues' that my children tapped into and pushed my buttons. I have a huge issue with trust, respect, space that I never knew about until I lived with children who broke everything, lied constantly, screamed and argued as a default, went through everything and took/lost it.


However, 9 years, 1 breakdown, a teenager at home and a long distance hard fought for relationship with a second, I can honestly say I have made it. It's not perfect, it will never be 'normal' but I'm a better person. I know my strengths (I didn't even know some of them needed to exist pre adoption!) and my weaknesses. My marriage has survived and is stronger(which it nearly didn't) and I'm alive (which at times I almost wished I wasn't). I'm older and wiser. I wish I had never heard of adoption BUT I know I made the right decision for me after the event and I'm happy living with it. My children are still often those same children it is me who has changed and mostly deals with it better!


You could hand your daughter back. You don't have to adopt her. It's not your fault she was damaged before you even met her BUT from the sounds of your post you can't do that. You're a good person who has been hit by the adoption bus and you're sitting in the middle of the road wondering how to get up and carry on. Be nicer to yourself. Let things go. Don't compare your AD to 'normal' children. Try to find something you do like in her and use that.

My daughter loves sport and I spend many happy hours sitting in a car reading/ crocheting while she shouts her way around a pitch and I 'watch' and drink coffee. It's me time I wouldn't take otherwise!


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So much good advice and support here. I don't think any one has posted about theraplay, designed to build attachment. There are plenty of ideas available on youtube and google. I was always surprised by how well by my AD responded to these simple, silly games, which seemed suitable for much younger children. It's all about using that magic 30 mins a day of 1-on-1 time to build the attachments that usually happen in the early years. We evolved our own, rather bizarre versions of the games which AD loved, and they really helped both of us. Have you tried massaging her hands/feet with hand cream? I found this surprisingly helpful for building a bond.


By the way, I think that you should be ready for potentially awful meltdowns when your AD begins to let herself believe that she might really, truly be part of your lovely family for ever. She may go through a phase of extreme anxiety, which manifests itself in terrible controlling behaviour and an inability to cope with minor problems (when seemingly small reprimands result in reactions as if it might mean the end of this new and wonderful world for her). If these happen, they will pass. XX


-


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I have read all of your comments so many times. It quite blew me away how much your thoughts resonated and there are many things in there that I'm trying to reflect on. I can't thank all of you enough, really, each comment made really great points. And it is good to know that some of you felt similarly. I haven't replied for a while as I went into a very difficult time, I felt terrible, so I took a few days away with the boys and felt like me again and loved every minute with them, every minute of loving them, even when they were bring pains I loved being their mum and helping them figure it out and I just loved being with them and being their mum. I hoped it would help to have a break but I just dreaded seeing her when I got home and if anything I felt worse as it just reminded me how miserable we've all been since she came. It helps that you all and our new (insisted on new one 2 months ago) sw say that we shouldnt feel guilty and tried to get us to understand that we're the best parents she's had and that we're doing great. New sw is much better and actually seems to want to help us. But I don't really agree at all as I know how cold I am to her and I really wish she wasn't here. I feel terrible for her that she must be so scared and she's so alone in the world etc. But that doesn't translate to me to any care for her or any feeling except dislike and that's got to be bad for a child's sense of well-being, I know it is. We are meeting her basic needs (we are good people) and she likes it with us but i cannot imagine it ever being good enough for her or for us. Children need love and affection and real connections to be able to grow and feel secure. I think I'm giving her the opposite. Every thing she does drives me crazy, the way she talks, eats, plays, rests, sings, dances and I hate myself every time I hate any of these things. It's so opposite to who I am. I love our house full of kids and I love working 1 on 1 with kids who are struggling with something or lots of things. I adore my adopted niece beyond words and she can be incredibly challenging. I think I am being selfish in a way because I what I wanted was love a child to nurture them, help them heal, wrap them up in love and help them feel safe. But I just can't do/give any of these things to her. I really don't understand it. It all started so well but as we got to know her it just went downhill. I fear ill never like her or love her at all. That's so heart breaking and it's such an alien thing to me, because I just love kids. In all my time working with kids there's only been a few I couldn't connect with and I think I've adopted one..... I can't stand it when she calls me mum or if anyone calls her my daughter, I hate it. How mad is that? It's not her fault she's kind of amazing in her resilience and how she wants to be loved. That makes it even more heart breaking. I think plenty of other adoptive parents could find her adorable and cute and could easily love her. But she's just 'other' in our family and im worried she'll always feel second best or wrong. Are we being selfish taking so much time to see if it can work when I'm pretty sure it really won't? She's getting older and her chances of being adopted again are decreasing. I think she'd transition well to another family, though I know this would be a big hurt to her, but isn't that better than not being loved and being resented by your 'mum' for the rest of your life..... I know I can't do it if I don't start to feel something for her. I can bear each day at the moment. And bless her I think she's trying but she's going to stop coming to us soon if we can't respond better to her. I don't want her to think this is what love it. It really isn't. I can't say I love you to her anymore because I don't act like I love her and I don't and it just feels wrong to me. But what she needs is what I wanted to give a child and I just cannot understand why I can't be a mum to her, why I can't love her. But I really don't. And I'm worried I'm going to start hating her soon if I have to live with these feelings much longer. If this is normal and what everyone deals with then I really salute you all, you're blooming amazing. But I don't think I'm cut out for it. I thought i was a super parent, it's always hard work but I loved and love every bit of it. That's my most important bit of me and I feel like I'm being robbed of it. I hear that this is all me me me when I should be thinking of her needs but I can't. I advocate for her and work hard for her needs with school and the sw. Don't get me wrong, she's being taken care of. But I didn't want a hard job for the rest of my life I wanted another child. I was fine with that being a different kind of love but I'm not fine with there being no love at all. I'm a foster carer having to pretend at being a mum and not being being paid to do a job I totally hate. When I've always loved being a mum, every bit of it and worked so hard at it and cared so much and loved it. Maybe I'm just not the person to do this. We've finally been approved for specialist counselling for us and therapy for her it's been a battle with ss (which hasn't helped but they're finally listening) .... here's hoping something happens and something helps. Sorry another long rant when all I started to say was thank you all.


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4 users have supported this.

I have 3 birth children a long term foster child and an adopted child who has been with us for nearly 2.5 yrs.

I have fostered for many years my bc are mostly grown and ltfc has been here for 10 yrs. Like you i love being a mum and kids in general.

Our adopted one arrived as a foster with plans to adopt if all went through for a placement order. I had wanted to adopt for so long and was so excited when lo moved in but the first year was horrendous! He has complex needs but several medical issues had been missed that meant on top of the upheaval he was in pain and he barely stopped crying for the first 6 months or so! He was v hard to placate and we had no idea what he wanted most of the time. He slept in short bursts of a few minutes and i was so sleep deprived i couldnt think straight. On top of all that he just felt wrong if you know what i mean but i couldnt imagine him as my son ! I didnt even tell my husband how i felt as he adored him from day one. That only made me feel worse because i felt my little one didnt like me and when i was with the other children it was all so relaxed and natural. A friend commented a year later that when she saw lo in the early days she wondered what the hell i had done taking him on. I can now admit i did myself on more than one occassion !

Anyway i am a pig headed old thing and just ploughed on and i can honestly say that i absolutely adore my son now. My heart twists for him when i look at him and think of all he has to endure on a daily basis. He is totally mine now. In fact i now realise that i went through exactly the same when fc arrived but i had forgotten how hard it was !

I dont know what you should do Kay but share my story so that you know you are not a freak or alone in your feelings.

Sending you a huge hug of support and strength for today! That is all you need ...deal with one day at a time and dont think ahead is my advice . Very best wishes Wizzy xxx


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Thank you so much. It's really kind of you to share your story. It is good to hear from someone who felt similarly and then its improved. Ive talked to and read about lots of people for whom it never gets better and thats scary. But also I hear so many people dealing with so many difficult issues like yourself. I'm not saying our ad is easy, she's overly compliant and everything seems a bit false which I understand. But we've not had one meltdown, she does as she's told, she wants to please. She drives us mad with little things as she can't reflect on anything and does the same things over and over. Which again I understand in terms of trauma etc. But it's still infuriating. But she's not hard to live with in terms of behaviour or needs. Someone could really have a great experience with her I think. But just none of us like her, she's sooo annoying. I know that sounds horrible. But it can't be good for her to be a constant source of irritation to everyone. We try to hide it bit it's hard. I can't explain how much I regret this whole thing. It feels like such a mistake. I feel terrible for my boys who have now endured months of miserable meal times, stressful days out, a depressed mother, cross father and a sad fractured home. Why did i do this to us? And to ad. Was i naiave? I dont think so. I read so much and was prepared for so much. I just wasnt prepared not to like her or love her at all. Is there really no other option than for us all to have to put up with this forever? It can't be good for her. God I sound a miserable self obsessed idiot. But I think that's who I am now. Sorry. Will stop rambling. But thanks again. I really really appreciate this chance to 'talk' to people who understand. Also we live in a villagd and sometimes ferl like its a goldfish bowl now, never have before, but everyone thinks it's 'so lovely' and that we're ' so wonderful' which makes it even more sad and guilt enduring. Arghhjjj. Someone shoot me please I have entirely lost my sense of humour and perspective!


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I understand what it's like and you feel it will never, ever get better. I hated it when anyone said they, or we , were so lucky. It felt like such a charade and I never thought or believed it would get better. Then my husband said we have to just pretend we're running a children's home with no expectations of them or us - we are doing a job. After a bit of resistance to that, that's what we did. Gradually the feelings developed and it will, it does, but it is really not quick. We are fourteen years down the line and despite ups and downs we love each other and I would say are a successful story but my goodness it has been very hard work. I really feel for you but you are not alone.


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Dear Kaypotay,

I absolutely urge you to go and talk to a counsellor, especially one who specialise in adoption. The reason I am saying this is that it is taking two of you to have this relationship (and the same with her each member of your family), and she's not in a place where she can reflect on why things are the way they are, but the adults at least, can. No one will judge you and it will help you, one way or another, to move forward. I found it incredibly helpful.


My over compliant, dissociative daughter was (and still can be!) really annoying because her actions never seem genuine, but actually that's not who she is, that's her survival strategy. As was the lying. As she's grown (she's 15 now - how did that happen!) I have watched her become more of her own person and she has become more genuine, more honest and a real joy - although if things are stressy, she still reverts. I think to be so dissociated that a child is 'playing' at all the emotions and trying to be what she thinks she's supposed to be rather than engaging with real life, they must be really quite damaged. This might be the only way your AD can communicate, and for the moment, this is how she will be with everyone. I think we do all pick up on these things, so if she had other adoptive parents, they wouldn't necessarily feel any different than you do.


So whatever you are giving her, honestly, it's a good thing, way more than she's had. She just doesn't know what to do with it all. I also wanted to add that it took many years before an 'impulsive' hug from my girl felt like it really was a genuine hug, and it still surprises me. On her first night with me, our AD snuggled into me and I felt so odd. I talked to post adoption social worker about it a few years later and she completely validated my feelings, saying it must have been really hard to deal with.


Another thing I wonder is whether you might have post adoption depression - hankering after your 'old' life is quite common, honestly - and of course your AD has taken that from you. Again, talking to someone about this is really important.


Lastly, she might well need some help herself - please don't think I'm saying this is all about you and your family. The problem is the compliant ones are easy to brush off because they appear to be coping. If your daughter is anything like mines, she's not.


Take care of yourself,

hx


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Thank you I really appreciate what you're saying. I understand why her compliant behaviour is such a worry. J have been investigating the best source for, and hounding our sw for support for her and is for 4 months. It's finally all been funded and hopefully it will start soon. Counselling for us and therapy for her. So fingers crossed that helps. I'm sure she is really damaged and needs a lot of help. I'm trying my best to get this externally for her. But the thing she needs most is love and patience and understanding. I'm just not ok with this being really hard work and us all being miserable for years. I really don't think I can help her as I dislike her and can't bear being around her. I am depressed but only when I'm with her..... awful isn't it. Anyway thank you again. I've got to now spend the morning with her and am bracing myself to look at her excited face that we're going somewhere together. I hate that too. I think I'm actually a terrible person! Learning a lot aboit myself....


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Just one more quicky - Don't think you have to love her yet. That's too much pressure. And the way you are talking about her, you are already giving her patience and understanding, in spades. It doesn't really matter how you feel about doing it right now. So actually, whatever you think, you're not a terrible person. Being down on yourself won't help any of you (easy to say, I know!). You're just trying to cope in the best way you can. xxx


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You are not a terrible person kay. You are human like the rest of us x

And if it makes you feel any better our fc (11) is having terrible toddler tantrums and teenage tantrums combined as he has the development of a 2yr old due to complex needs.

He had a full on meltdown stuck in traffic yesterday and screamed constantly whilst battering my arm and scratching me. Eventually i snapped and screamed back ! I felt so ashamed yelling at a disabled child! I nearly came on here to ask for absolution for my sins by those who get it.

See what i mean ...we are human not superheroes !


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I remember going to a doctor's assessment for my dd when she'd only been placed a few weeks, maybe a month or two. The Dr commented on how well she was relating to me - I think it was because she was touching me and smiling at me - and I felt a complete fraud as that wasn't my experience of her at all. Dd wasn't a difficult child then, most of the time she's not been difficult but she irritated the hxxx out of me and I felt I hated her and avoided her company when I could - hard as she was only 2!


We're 10 years on now and she's totally part of our family and has been for years. She's not as easy as she was in those early years and several of the same things still irritate me about her. But I do love her and enjoy being her mum .... Most of the time anyway!


It took a long time to really love her and more than a year to even like her at times as far as I can recall. I wasn't sure for a long time if we'd ever get there. My other dd and DH liked her more easily than I did.


It felt terrible to dislike a needy toddler although perhaps her age helped me bond as I was forced to care for her. It didn't depress me but I felt guilty and sad about it.


But little by little things improved. I'd feel proud or pleased with her for a time and then things would slip back again but eventually the good feelings joined up.


We're all different of course and I never once considered not continuing the placement. Your dd may be far more damaged than mine. No one can be sure how things will pan out but I hope the counselling and therapy will help - it's great to hear you have managed to organise these - and I just want you to know that feelings CAN change.


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In the first two years I thought of disrupting, walking out on my family and just giving up. Our AD came to us at 7, I had nannied including working with Severly disabled children, both us and my Inlaws had fostered and I thought we could do this. I can honestly say I hated it at the beginning, hated her touch, her voice, everything grated on me. The first two summer holidays were torture, she hated me and oh I hated her. This year has been completely different, we have had fun together, done some mum and daughter things and had some cuddles and laughs. She is still hard work but I do love her and she loves me in her own way.


The turning point I think was realising that as much as we needed to fight to get her support at school, theraphy ect, I had to fight to parent her, so I got theraphy to talk through my feelings. I gave myself time out from being a mum, simple things as setting her up in another room with an activity or her iPad and making myself a cup of tea, telling her she needed to stay where she was until I came back. She could cope as long as she could see me, so three minutes became ten minutes and now we can do thirty minutes.


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Hi. Sounds like things are really tough. It's good you're getting some support and counselling. I was very fortunate and fell in love with my daughter when I first met her, but I know that's not everyone's experience. However many times since then I would say that I very often didn't like her and found her very hard to live with and love. I have a younger birth daughter and parenting her has been a pleasure and joy compared to parenting my adopted daughter. I had to parent them both very differently. I often say that until quite recently I didn't really know who my AD was. I felt often that I was living with a stranger and I was very angry with her at times because I felt I was doing my absolute best with no effort from her. It's very difficult to love and parent a child who is so closed and protective that she won't even let her mum in. She's been with us since she was 18 months and she's now 12.5. However things have really improved over the past 6 months or so. She was very seriously ill earlier this year and somehow this was a change point for her and us. There's nothing like a crisis to help you know how you feel about someone. We've seen our real daughter emerge and she is amazing. I imagine your daughter is very afraid and in full protective mode which will make it very difficult for her and for the rest of your family. As her parent, you're going to have to choose to make the best of how it is and keep on keeping on. It won't be easy but it will be worth it. On a slightly different note, we did respite fostering some years ago for a girl from the age of 8 to 18. Again she was a very closed child who gave nothing back and who was very guarded. We had no idea how she felt about us and I generally felt emotionally quite distant from her. However we still have a lot of contact with her and her two little children, and I know now that what we provided for her (even though is often seemed less than satisfactory on both sides) has meant the world to her. We have a connection that won't be broken. So you are making a difference, even if you think that's impossible. Try to lower your expectations about how you should be feeling and go with how you are feeling. Take time out for yourself when your daughter is at school and take 'breaks' from her if you need them. You need to make sure you look after yourself if you're going to keep doing this. You will adjust - it just might take some time. All the very best.


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I hope it helps to know that many of us with an adopted daughter feel or have felt the same. I am three years into placement and I love her dearly but not at first, maybe real love didn't come til 18 months. Looking back I can see the progress we have both made and it is soooo worth it. You hear fake it till it's real a lot and there is truth in that, it does work. The excessive and pointless fibbing was a hard one for me too. I tried a few things, firstly I would sometimes laugh and say what a load of nonsense, you do make me laugh. Our daughter didn't like that, not the response she was looking for at all, but it did make her think twice. Fibbing can be a form of control, trying to trick adults so it's not an easy one to overcome. Now I instigate the 'say what's real' day or week but that's only do able once your child has actually learnt the difference between real and made up which she couldn't do at first. She had little understanding of the difference between reality and fantasy earlier in the placement. Good luck. You are a lovely person. If you didn't care you wouldn't feel so bad. You do care and that's what will win out in the end. Xx.


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Hi Kaypotay,

This reply is a little late as havent been on here much lately and haven`t read all the replies but I just wanted to say I could have written your post I felt exactly the same and it really was a struggle for me bonding with my little one( 5 at placement).

I found it hard to accept that i was feeling that way, as like you I considered myself very maternal and was shocked at how little I felt.

I too have two older BC and found that the connection was so different it made me feel completely awful and felt much of what you talk about.

I don`t know if it helps but I just wanted to say we are five years in and I feel very differently now, the one thing that really helped me was making peace with myself to acknowledge that its actually ok to feel different and that as long as my little daughter had consistant love , nuture and care we would get there.

Its not easy especially if you struggle with the family dynamic changing (which even with all the prep in the world )its hard especially at times when you feel split loyalty between children.

I would say what you are feeling is very normal just the care and daily routine will help form a slow bond, try thinking of the things you find endearing about your daughter and delight in the small things that bring humour that can help you both.

In some ways its trying to find your new story together and I think it feels story like to begin as nothing feels real.

You can pm me anytime as completely understand the recoil and lack of feeling but if it helps it does get so much better and consistancy does turn into affection and love.

I still have days even now where I have to mentally really push myself but thats ok my little one and I have a wonderful bond now its just different in little ways and sometimes doesnt smoothly flow as naturally.

I hope the last month has been a little easier its baby steps .

Hugs

Moo x


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