Child's grieving after placement — The Bump
Adoption

Child's grieving after placement

This would have been a good HTT, but I was at the office yesterday and could not post. 

I am part of a yahoo group for a local Korean adoption agency.  Some of the people in that group are discussing the grieving process that their children go through when they come home.  In case you don't know, Korean babies are placed in foster care until they travel to their adoptive parents' home.  In many cases, they cannot come home until they are 10-12 months old.  Several people in my yahoo group talk about how the babies cry and cry.  One family said that their baby cried until she threw up.  Another said that their daughter was actually calling out for her foster mom.

I guess this type of grieving could happen in either IA or DA.  Have you thought about this at all?  If you are adopting an older infant or child, how do you plan to help them through this separation anxiety?

 

Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Re: Child's grieving after placement

  • We went through this with both of our sons.

    DS#1 was 8 months old when we went to get him (before 5 month rule went into effect). He had been with his foster Mom since he was 10 days old and clearly they adored each other. He WAILED inconsolably and rejected me--the strange blonde lady was NOT his Omma. He stongly preferred DH for a loooong time, and it was very, very hard. Indescribably hard to have a child I had waited 4 YEARS for, who then wanted nothing to do with me.

    DS#2 was nearly 11 months old when we went to Seoul. He had been in a baby home until he was 5 months (he was never available for adoption in Korea because he was a sibling to DS#1) and with his foster family for the remaining time. He has a MUCH difference personality from DS#1, and didn't seem as outwardly traumatized by the change. He did, however, wake at night crying for his Omma.

    The most important thing is to be aware that this can (and does) happen, and not to be surprised. Also, DON'T take it personally, although it's very, very difficult not to.

    Bonding is a process that takes time. Trust isn't developed overnight. It takes months (and years, as we've discovered DS#1 having issues with the arrival of his baby brother) of consistent, responsive, loving parenting to create and maintain the parent/child bond.

  • I've thought about it, but honestly don't know what you can do to make things easier.  I think, as noone said, the key is just to be prepared for the possibility, and resolved to love those little angels with your whole heart, always letting them know you are there for them.

  • Loading the player...
  • I read a book on this, as soon as I get off my lazy bum and go down to my office I'll give you the title.

    The book also went into detail about DA newborn greiving and separation anxiety. I have to admit that I found that aspect of the book a bit ...mostly unrealistic and people perhaps reading too much into what would otherwise be considered 'normal' newborn/infant behavior.

    But I do understand to a certain extent, that after even a newborn spends that much time in the womb hearing their mother's voice, hearing her heart beat, and that sense of smell is their most heightened sense so even spending limited time with her after birth and connecting that to her heart beat and her voice - could prevent, initially, natural soothing by someone else.  

    I have heard other IA adoptive parents talk about this grief/attachment difficulties in workshops. The counselors always recommend to them to constantly validate the child's feelings. Saying things like: i know you are sad, I'm sad for you. I know you miss your 'foster mom/insert name', I really liked her too. Let's be sad together. How about we draw a picture/color for your 'foster mom/insert name' and send it to her. They said that aside from making sure that you verbally (with tone of voice, and your own demeanor) acknowledge and valid their sadness is to just hold them and talk with them as you would anyone else in your life that has grieved a loss. But try to engage them in activities that make them 'voice' their grief and feelings like talking or coloring.

    I can imagine that it would be very hard, because you would want to just start off with the hugs/kisses/happy family life but it's a relationship that has to be built and in many cases it has to be built up from their grief and loss.  Sad

  • image jacksjerseygirl:

    But I do understand to a certain extent, that after even a newborn spends that much time in the womb hearing their mother's voice, hearing her heart beat, and that sense of smell is their most heightened sense so even spending limited time with her after birth and connecting that to her heart beat and her voice - could prevent, initially, natural soothing by someone else.  

    I agree.  I do think that a newborn feels a bit of separation anxiety as well.  My son was born almost 9 weeks early.  He was immediately sent to the NICU while I remained in surgery / recovery for the next three hours.  I didn't see him until 12 hours after he was born, and even then I was not allowed to hold him (of course, I was on morphine and percoset, so holding him would have been a bad idea regardless).  Anyway, I was allowed to touch him through the isolet holes, and talk to him.  When he heard my voice, his little eyebrows raised up.  When I put my hand on him, his breathing slowed down in relief.  So, yes, I do think that babies bond with their moms in utero. 

    That said, Will also bonded with the nurses who took care of him every day for six weeks.  I was there every day, all day as well, but he bonded with all of us.  I have not done personal research on the grieving that an adopted newborn experiences, but I do think that a baby adopted as an infant would adjust much quicker than a baby adopted at a few months old.  This is a very long winded way of saying that I agree with everything you said, Jacks.

    Lilypie Fifth Birthday tickers Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
  • First of all THANKS for posting this....it could not have come at a better time.....

    As of yesterday we were matched with a Korean baby boy who is 6 months old now......we expect to to take 12-14 weeks for him to come home sooo he will be close is not already 10 months old.  He was taken by his forster mother from the hospital at 3 days old sooooo I am sure they have bonded completely.....During all of our classes for IA adoptions they told us that this happens more times then it does not....our only hope is that because my DH is Asian that at least he may bond right away with him.......and me being a blonde lady I am sure will through him for a loop!!!

    So our plan is to have the escort hand him directly to my DH at the airport and I will take it very slow with him.....

  • When we looking into IA, I went to a fantastic workshop on the medical needs of IA children.  This one really scared me.  I know it's part of the process but it's a scary part. 

    A friend adopted a three year old from China and his anxiety and grief was very tough to get through.  She had moments when she questioned what she'd done.  Of course, now he's a health six year old that's adjusted to life and she wouldn't trade the hard times in a minute because he's so precious. 

     

    image Best friends and sisters... 24 months and 16 months
  • My DD came home when she was 7.5 months old and my DS was 3.5 months old.  I was just starting to feel really bonded to my DS since were through the unknown early newborn stage.  I had not done any reading about adoption or adjustments the child goes through.  I wish I had at least learned a little more...oh well.

    Initially she was very quiet and unsure of everyone.  She bonded very quickly

    to
  • My DD came home when she was 7.5 months old and my DS was 3.5 months old.  I was just starting to feel really bonded to my DS since were through the unknown early newborn stage.  I had not done any reading about adoption or adjustments the child goes through.  I wish I had at least learned a little more...oh well.

    Initially she was very quiet and unsure of everyone.  She bonded very quickly to my DS and to the dog.  Then she latched onto my DH and favored him for about 6 months.  She was initially standoffish with me, but recently has started preferring me to my DH.  She cried a lot the first couple of months, she never smiled or laughed until after about 3 months of being home, and she also seemed detached.  She was sort of a limp noodle when we held her, she would push away when we tried to hug and kiss her, and she appeared content to sit by herself.  I swear this is the look she had on her face for 3 months (this is the day she came home and when she first met her brother):

    image

    Now 9 months after coming home she is a very smiley baby full of laughter.  She willingly gives hugs and kisses.  She loves to sit on our laps and gets sad if she is left alone to play by herself.  She grips on tight when we hold her.  She is still very bonded to my DS and the dog.  She is also still a daddy's girl, but she and I have bonded completely as well.  It's like something healed in her and she has blossomed.

  • image crystalpopcorn:

      Several people in my yahoo group talk about how the babies cry and cry.  One family said that their baby cried until she threw up.  Another said that their daughter was actually calling out for her foster mom.

    (((((so sad I want to cry myself)))))

    This was a serious detractor for us when considering IA vs. DA.  I know the children recover (and love their adoptive parents very much), and that DA children experience loss, too.  But I don't know how, as a parent, you survive this.  So difficult. . .

    2 years TTC with 5 losses, 1 year recovering, 6 months applying for adoption approval, and almost a year waiting for a placement. Then, a miracle BFP at age 36!


    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

    Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
  • Our daughter went through a pretty intense grieving period when we adopted her from China in 2003. She was in foster care so she was obviously bonded to her foster mother/father/family. The first day was extremely difficult. She would no allow us to make eye contact with her but just studied our faces as we looked away. If we looked at her, she would scream bloody murder. The second day, she knew she had to attach to someone and she picked me.  They call them "velcro babies" at that point in time for a reason. My husband had to stand holding her while I showered and I couldn't be out of her sight. It took about a week for her to have anything to do with DH. The first few nights ended with her in tears and me in tears because I couldn't do anything to help her.

    As difficult as it was to experience, it is a healthy response to what was happening to her. The babies who shut down were of greater concern. They were the ones that wouldn't eat and wouldn't poop and had a harder time in the long run.

    We let DD completely regress. She was 10 1/2 months when we got her but she regressed to almost a newborn state, then once she started to move forward, she caught up in leaps and bounds both emotionally and developmentally.

    Honestly, instinct sort of kicks in and you figure out what works for your child. I think that for most kids, there's a sort of internal defense system that kicks in to help them through the trauma of the separation.  BUT, let me tell you, there's nothing like the moment when you get your first smile (a few days for us) and when your chld begins to bond with you.

    BB&J

     

  • DS#2 had been home for 4 months and he's still adjusting--and there's a significant amount of velcro-clinging to Mommy (and he's a hefty 24 pounds!). He still doesn't STTN consistently, especially if there are any changes, like starting daycare or an overnight trip.

    I'm still sleeping in a chair with him for part of the night, 4-5 nights a week.

  • great post, thanks! I don't have experience with this yet, but we are adopting from Korea and this was great info.

     

    After 5 years of TTC, 3 IUIs, 5 IVFs, 2 FETs, multiple losses and an adoption that wasn
  • There's a decent Web site that has information about attachement-- www.a4everfamily.org

    Definately worth a look.

  • Ironically we just discussed this topic in our class on Saturday.  It was really opened our eyes.  At the end of the day, the advise was to be prepared and to consistently show them your love and support through comfort and taking care of all their needs.  I think the last part was a given as that is what a parent should do, but really being prepared for how stressful and frustrating it could be - and not taking it out on yourself or spouse - that was the part I found helpful to hear.
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards