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When the little “darling” you have waited for isn’t so “darling”?

August 31, 2012
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this is the face I see all day long

So what does a person do when the little darling that they have hoped and dreamed of for almost a decade doesn’t act so “darling”?

This is the angry face I see all day long. As some of you might remember if you are following this blog, my husband and I recently gave up on the process of being matched for a second child and decided to choose a foster child who fit the age, sex and circumstances most likely to fit with our family.

This was not something we took lightly. We also know what risks are involved in choosing this path.

We have been foster parents in the past to “temporary” kids, and have seen some bad behaviour. Nothing had prepared us for the sheer anger that this little boy has in him.

Wanting this child to be a keeper but having such a hard time with him, is messing with my head. I’m feeling massive guilt when I just can’t respond all of the time in a kind and loving manner. I even sometimes fantasize for just a millisecond about finding the “right” child for our family – as if another one would be any different.

The more love we show him, the more angry he gets. The more attention we show him, our girl gets jealous and acts up doing mean and spiteful things. Today she bit his fingers hard enough to draw blood. vicious.

At my wits end (its been 3 weeks of this now) I went online and purchased some audio recordings from Love and Logic. Finally, I think things are starting to make sense! They have a special half hour recording geared towards foster care and adoptive parents specifically. They tell about how the better job you do showing that child that you “love” them (fake it until you make it) when they enter your house, the more they will move into resistance to your love. They either feel unlovable or feel like your love is unnatural or that you will leave or reject them like all of the others did. I don’t want to add to his list of rejection.

It makes more sense getting into their little heads. I sure wish right now that this kid could talk because it feels like I would rather get a tongue lashing than a head butting. (head butting is frequent when I try to sit him on my lap to dress him-he might have a wrestling or professional sports career ahead of him).

Slightly bruised, scratched, kicked and just plain emotionally exhausted. Its a war zone in my house and I feel like I have to win a battle of love with him and then he will show his gentle side. I will take words of encouragement anywhere I can find them.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2012 8:05 AM

    Stay the course! Remind yourself of his tough road before you brought him home. Make sure you and your husband get away once and awhile to refresh & reboot. I have been there and it can get better. Seeking help and information the way you are is going to help. Love when he is unlovable. For me focusing more on his needs than my needs to be accepted changed my perspective. As far as your daughter, make sure she still gets you to herself once and a while. Maybe try some games & teamwork strategies w/ them both no matter how minute. Stay encouraged!

  2. September 26, 2012 2:27 PM

    I’ve only just found your blog thanks to the Britmums Roundup by Maryam Lane and I look forward to reading more. I’m interested in what you wrote about faking love and the difficulties this might store up. I’m lucky that I currently have quite a loving relationship with my 4 year old adopted daughter but she does like to push how far that love extends at times and we see some very difficult and sometimes aggressive behaviour. It does take its toll on your personal relationships – partly because it’s so tiring. Have you been able to access any professional support at all?

    I understand how you feel about your second adoption/foster. We are currently going through the adoption process for a second time and I feel the weight of the matching process far more this time than I did last time. I have so much more experience and understand much more than I did last time round but that also makes me more anxious about the risks to Katie and her long term stability. It’s such a tough call to know what to do for the long term best. Hang in there and I hope that things start to improve for you all soon.

    • October 3, 2012 2:32 PM

      We too thought very long and hard about our first adoptive child before bringing in the second, but unfortunately could not find a match for a second child after a year so decided to move on with foster care and hope to adopt. This plan is going well but didn’t anticipate the amount of stress and chaos our home would become with a second child. Things are getting slowly better now after 6 weeks, and there is light at the end of the tunnel. even though we don’t know for sure if we are going to keep this boy we are happy that we made that decision and were able to give her a sibling to play with. The more it works out with him here and time goes by it works in our favour. The first few weeks we surely didn’t know if we had made the right choice. We have seen her blossom into such a helpful big sister! More helpful now than jealous. less and less fighting everyday!

  3. April 12, 2013 12:09 PM

    I went through all of this just a month after you with a 2.5 year old boy! I have never experienced anything like it and our family was also at wits end. My girls and husband would sleep in the basement because he would scream at night. In the morning I would love on the little boy and had to laugh at your blog as I often said “fake it til you make it!” Well, we made it. We love him. He is party of our family. The beginning was so tough. He was just so ANGRY all the time. You are right, read as much as you can. He is doing better, but he still slips backwards sometimes. Two steps forward and one step back. But I can see that he is getting happier and working on controlling his anger.

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