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Transition - What To Say To Little Ones

Forum: Adoption


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April 26th, 2008, 11:11 AM
ericahex's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,241
We are currently mid-transition, adopting our 2 and 1/2 year old little boy, and he's starting to get anxiety about it. He gets dropped off and foster mom leaves, at which point he cries for a few minutes for Mommy. Then today once in awhile he wants Mommy too, especially when he accidentally bit his tongue while playing.

What can I say? I don't want to say "we'll go see Mommy soon" because eventually, we won't. I don't want him to get the idea that things are ok BECAUSE he goes back to Mommy. Now I'm just saying "I understand you're sad" and cuddling with him for a minute or two before going on to talking about something else to see if he's ready to think about the next game or toy. How do you let them grieve appropriately without stretching it out for them? How do you avoid preventing them from grieving, while still reassuring them that they'll be ok?

Our Toddler's foster mama is wonderful and we will keep the adoption open to her for visits when Toddler has been with us for awhile and understands we're his new family. I feel for her very much and his relationship with her, I just don't want to push too hard or not push enough for him to know us as Mama and Daddy.

Mama to Monkey born Feb 24th, 2007, and Toddler born Nov 1st, 2005.
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April 26th, 2008, 03:21 PM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 24,588
That has to be tough for you all. In my opinion, I would keep doing what your doing - just explain to him that she's not here right now, but you are and you would be happy to kiss his boo-boo or hug him to help him feel better - eventually, he will see for himself that you will be there 100% of the time and they will sort of fade out more. It will not happen overnight but it will before you know it!
Kirsten was bounced around from person to person before we adopted her - I can only imagine how confusing that would be!
Good luck with it! I know he will figure it all out real soon! And by the way, congratulations on your sweet little boy! As soon as your able, we would love to see pics!
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April 27th, 2008, 09:29 AM
m_westbro's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Texas y'all!
Posts: 17,144
I think it sounds like you are doing the right thing in just being there for him and comforting him without promising that "Mommy" will come back soon. Watching them grieve is certainly the hardest part of the process, I will never forget Jacey's first cries for her foster mom, it just broke my heart. It's so hard to know how to comfort them when you're not the one they're crying for, but it's such an important part of the whole bonding process. I always tried to make sure that Jacey understood that it was OK for her to be sad about missing her Mumu (what she called her foster mom) and that we knew that she loved her and would miss her. We didn't want her to think that we expected her to just suck it up and move on since we were there to get her.

Do you have the book "Toddler Adoption, The Weaver's Craft" by Mary Hopkins-Best? It has an entire chapter about transition and I would be happy to loan you my copy if you'd like it. It has some wonderful ideas for making the transition and placement process go as smoothly as possible. Best of luck with your new little guy and please keep us posted on how it's going!

my photog blog / my family blog
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