The adoption process is quite tedious for many couples. The waiting time for the desired child can be at times grueling long - the admission of a foster child can go faster. Nevertheless, the time to finally hold one´s child in his arms is often marked by uncertainty and doubt, hope, fear and setbacks. Unique then the moment in which the long-awaited call with the child proposal takes place. This is what recently happened to a family whose long-year waiting and suffering period has come to an end...
Now, shouldn't it be the case that you enjoy the next weeks and months with your child in a small family setting, and get to know each other better: mom - dad - child? But what if the long-awaited toddler is still small but also in good running mood? If he has spent some time in a children's home with many other children? If he likes to experiment and wants to explore everything?
Are Mom and Dad largely enough in this moment? Or is there somehow a feeling that the child should return to a group situation as soon as possible, e.g. creche or kindergarten, because it is so used to it?
In the conversation with the new family, I learned that the long-awaited daughter in toddler age will soon - just a few weeks after her adoption - attend a creche: Because mom and dad, cannot give her all that she needs, and she should not get bored. I have often heard thoughts like these in conversations with other parents. And I have to confess that they put me back to the time of our own beginnings as adoptive parents. One would like to do everything right, and give the child everything. And if it grew up in the midst of other children, then it will probably continue to need other children to develop well.
Dear moms, dear dads! I want to give you courage:
Courage for the feeling of being good enough in that moment for your newly arrived child! Courage to build an intense attachment with your child. You have been waiting for your child for so long and are therefore good enough for your child in the near future! Of course: You, in one person, will not be able to give your child EVERYTHING. But you can give him the most important thing needed shortly after admission: a safe haven, and a stable environment with caregivers who are only responsible for ONE child (and not for a group of children). Do not make yourself smaller than you are, do not invalidate your role as the most important attachment person for your child! You do not have to offer your child much in the beginning - except yourself. And that's a lot!
The time of entering kindergarten and external child care will come soon enough, but the toddler time will never come back ... Anything you now invest in bonding with your child will strengthen your child's self-esteem, emotional regulation, and dealing with other children. My psychological online consultation and advice can help you bond better and more sincere with your (foster) child and thus, enable it to grow a strong, independent adult: something, one wishes every child to become one day.
It goes without saying that a child will naturally need other peers and other caregivers in the course of its development. However, as part of the approaching phase shortly after the adoption or admission of a young foster child, an external group of children does not have the first priority for me, as this involves a change of caregivers and complex peer-interaction. Of course, the study landscape is very extensive and there will be advantages and disadvantages for all aspects. However, for the topic of this blog I would like to take as an example two studies, which on the one hand focus on an increased cortisol level (stress level) in case of external care for children under 36 months, and on the other hand on an increased cortisol level, especially during the transition period/10 weeks after entering a new external group. There is more about the mentioned studies here and here. Adoptive and foster children who have recently arrived in their new families, have a very significant and exciting transition to deal with anyway: This is why in that case I like to recommend a relaxed approach with further new transitions.
In order to enable a toddler to enjoy parental closeness and safety, and at the same time to be in contact with other children (which means honoring the child's first months of life while living in a children's home) I can think of many other alternatives ... maybe a visit to the playground, a visit to friends, a joint parent-child gymnastics group, a parent-child music class, parent-child-dancing ... I think there are countless possibilities here - which you can use well-dosed depending on everyone's interest. If you, however, still struggle to bond with your child, are uncertain or insecure about anything, or need external advise, do not hesitate to contact me via my psychological online consultation. Together, we try to find a way to make your adoptive or foster child feel loved, and most importantly, home and secure after it has settled into your family.