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  1. Can I add for adopting new mummies, as well? Our children weren’t relinquished at birth and had a very tough start and are slightly (a lot) messed up because of it. I don’t know so much about babies that were handed over at the start. But we learned:
    1) ‘They all do that!’ is the single most unhelpful statement ever. They might but they don’t all do it to the extreme that our children do or from the same place of impulsiveness or terror. Our kids are a bit different.
    2) ‘I am sure it wasn’t that bad where they came from’, some people need to to know some of the details of our children’s beginnings. It was worse but people can’t cope with looking at our children and imagining the horrors were real for them. They want it to be nicer.
    3) The phrase ‘my children are not as big as they look’ is your friend. My 8 and 6 yro are somewhere between 2 and 5 years old depending on various factors, they are never 8 and 6. They are doing very well but with an adopted child the age of the child you have is not the chronological age of the child you have.
    4) Chlidren like ours don’t like change or excitement and abused children cope better with sad and angry than happy and nice and will try to manipulate the world to fit this. So you end up parenting upside down, giving love and smiles and cuddles when they are doing their best to make you shout at them.
    5) Stress is contagious. The grown ups have to calm the situation with slow breathing, talking and cuddles where the child can hear your heart beat. So, you are constantly monitoring the situation to test your own stress levels. Once I have lost my cool it goes very bad at our house.
    6) Wanting to be loved and knowing what to do with it are two very different things. Your child is desperate to love you and believe you love them but totally terrified at the same time. It takes ages, years sometimes for them to relax and ease into it. But believe me, every little action is being heard and watched like a hawk. Our kids have been home 3.5 yrs now and every now and then they comment on something we did years ago when it seemed like nothing was going in. Everything was going in and now it is beginning to bear fruition. You know because they start taking you for granted, breaking rules and being generally normal. You will celebrate these days. We celebrated the first time my girl had her first, ever tantrum 8 months age, aged 7. Because she felt safe enough to do that. And she has had 2 since then. Some of the smallest things are mahoosive, ginormous steps forward for kids like ours.
    7) You will be exhausted at the beginning and sometimes wonder what you thought you were thinking. But it gets better and after 6 or 7 months you really start feeling like family and a sense of belonging together will start to develop.
    8) It is soooooo worth it. It really is the best, most amazing thing and you have so much fun and even when it is hard there will be moments of wonder.
    I hope I haven’t hijacked your post.

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