Trauma/Loss in an adopted newborn - Update! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 08-08-2012, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone have any great links/resources on this? 

 

Our son was born 7 weeks ago.  It was a c/s birth and I was in there for it.  Other than the dr. pulling him out and the nurse checking him out, I was the first one to really hold him.  I'm breastfeeding him exclusively. 

 

He just seems different than my girls did.  Extremely needy for human touch 24 hours a day.  He can be hard to console and only usually wants me, although he is warming up to my DH. 

 

I guess I just feel like there may be something going on his little mind and heart that are outside of the realm of just a higher needs baby. 


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#2 of 25 Old 08-08-2012, 01:50 PM
 
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I don't have any resources for you, but I wanted to offer you some support. My youngest dd was like that... not in the exact way you described but in the sense that I felt she was different than my other two children. She is now 18 months old and I very often still feel that way, however I've never been able to get any answers.

 

I just say follow your intuition and your heart. If you feel there is something, don't dismiss it or let others dismiss your concerns. Hugs!


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#3 of 25 Old 08-08-2012, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks sesa.  I just feel like I can't figure him out.  I feel that we are very bonded, but there's just this divide of not understanding him or something.  In part it's just that he is a really hard baby.  He doesn't sleep well at ALL.  He's up every hour all night long and not easily consoled or put back to sleep.  Maybe it's just the fog I'm in from sleep exhaustion, but something just seems off in his little world. 


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#4 of 25 Old 08-08-2012, 03:26 PM
 
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FWIW, in my family and in other families I know, boys are often a lot more like that than girls in general.

 

If it doesn't get better, what really helped me with my son was taking dairy out of my diet.  And sleeping him on his belly.  Those two things made life livable.

 

HTH!  I'm on kiddo #3 now and I find the juggling 3 makes it all a bit harder too.  It's great, but it is tiring.

 

ETA: I hope it doesn't come off that I am minimizing the very real loss that your son is processing.  I'm just sharing that I had similar issues and have seen similar issues with boys in general as a support.  I'm not dismissing the idea that your son may well be dealing with more than that.

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#5 of 25 Old 08-09-2012, 03:38 PM
 
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I just want to say yeah for breastfeeding him!  I tried but for several reasons it didn't work for us.  He nursed with a supplementer for 2 weeks and that was all.  I did have a friend donate milk though. I breastfed my first two for three years including tandem nursing but by the time my third came I hadn't nursed in 2.5 years and he came to us in less than 12 hours from hearing about him.  To me it sounds like you have a high needs baby on your hands but if you feel there is more trust your feelings.  Our little one who was adopted at birth and we met at 5 hours old is the world's easiest baby so I can't talk about high needs.  I know that even though I loved him and would have done anything for him from the moment I held him it took a bit longer for me to really "know" him if you know what I mean.  Each bio kid was a bit different in that regard as well.  I would say give it time unless you think he has reflux.  Don't let that drag on.  Best wishes!  Your family is beautiful! 


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#6 of 25 Old 08-09-2012, 04:39 PM
 
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Some babies are more high needs than others and it may not even have anything to do with adoption. I liked the Dr. Sears approach to high needs babies. Even in the nurmerous children I have babysat over the years, I have found boys to be more high needs than girls.

 

I have friends that swear the chiropractor did wonders for their fussy high needs babies.


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#7 of 25 Old 08-09-2012, 08:48 PM
 
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Definately listen to your intuition. I have always had people trying to assure me 'she's fine' but I *know* there is more to it than that.

 

My dd is the definition of high needs. She had reflux pretty badly as an infant as well as a pretty severe dairy intolerance. Those might be things to think about as well for your son, though I do believe that even newborns grieve and experience emotional upheaval due to adoption. My dd came home at 6 weeks old and i felt like it took us longer than 6 weeks for her to really feel comfortable with us.


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#8 of 25 Old 08-10-2012, 04:08 PM
 
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One of my dd's, who I gave birth to, was like that. Taking dairy out was part of it, but she was always a very intense high need baby no matter what we did. And she did seem to need human contact constantly until she decided to start crawling.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#9 of 25 Old 08-10-2012, 05:04 PM
 
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I adopted my baby through foster care, so it's a whole different story, but I wanted to throw out my experience just in case. No one suspected that the birthmother used drugs or drank alcohol and the birthmother did get prenatal care. No one thought there was any reason to run a tox screen at birth, but this year my son was diagnosed with full-blown Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It is so evident that confirmation of the birthmother's alcohol use isn't even needed.

Our other son didn't come to us until he was older, but the same thing happened. No tox screen was done at birth, but it is well known that the birthmother had multiple addictions during the pregnancy.

My sons' prenatal drug and alcohol exposures certainly affect their behaviors now and their behaviors as babies.

On the other hand, it could be that you have been blessed with a high-need baby. If so, I also recommend Dr. Sears' info about parenting high-need babies. My first bio child was a high-need baby and is now a high-action kid with a tremendous level of persistence that pays off in (mostly) positive ways.

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#10 of 25 Old 08-13-2012, 09:10 AM
 
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I was adopted myself at about six weeks old.  When I was an adult, my adoptive parents mentioned to me that for a long time after I was adopted, I had my hands clenched in fists all the time, and also I wouldn't let anyone hold me but my (adoptive) mom.  I feel bad for the infant me; I bet I was furious and confused and worried I'd lose my mom yet again!  

 

Fast forward to when we adopted our daughter at about the same age.  She was removed from her birth mother right at birth and had been with a foster mom for about five plus weeks before she came home with us.  I don't know if it helped, but I often talked out loud to her, saying that it must have been confusing not being with the mom that she was with before she was born, and then going somewhere else and having to leave again, that she would now be staying with us all the time, that it was okay to be sad or mad, etc. 

 

At the same time, as other posters have mentioned, I definitely would not rule out that your son's behavior might have nothing at all to do with adoption.  Actually, from your original post, it sounded to me like you were maybe suspecting some other issue in addition to "just" the fact of the adoption itself . . .  Agree with others to continue to trust your intuition and search for an explanation if you feel that 'something isn't right." 

 

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#11 of 25 Old 08-21-2012, 07:45 AM
 
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#12 of 25 Old 08-21-2012, 11:12 AM
 
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Latte, what a comforting approach to your daughter's adoption! CrunchyChristianMama, I agree about trusting your mothering intuition. Mine has never failed me. It has been a little while since you posted. How are things seeming now? Does anything seem to click that you have read or thought about?

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#13 of 25 Old 08-22-2012, 09:44 PM
 
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My dd's birthmother refused to hold or see her from birth, and dd spent 12 days in a child protective services nursery of the hospital she was born in--with a paci and swing regularly.  It was a high poverty, high crime city (literally an entourage followed someone into the ER to shoot them AGAIN in the hospital to be sure they died bigeyes.gif ) and yet when I went to see her at the nursery (she was 8 days old) the nurse there told me "They know when they're not wanted".  It sent a chill up my spine--it was such a busy, cold place and that was such a very "connected" thing.  I blew her off, but it stuck with me.  Dd's bm didn't want to name her, either.  

 

Much later, *I* felt an incredible sense of loss when I connected the dots with her very serious fears: not only had she been "rejected" by her birth mom (and I don't mean because she was given up--but because bm wouldn't look at,hold or name her) but she was a vacuum-assisted birth that was so traumatic that she suffered a sub-galeal hematoma a full 3 weeks post-birth (which is very uncommon).

 

My dd came to us at 12 days old.  She has been both soy and dairy free all but the first 4-ish weeks of her life.  She will be 4yo in early November.  And she still suffers significant problems with being away from me or my dh, and if one of us is away overnight--she talks about it for weeks if not months.  She clearly has some significant underlying insecurities.  We cater to them as much as humanly possible and hope that we can assure her enough over time that they subside--but it definitely concerns me.  And really, we were pretty oblivious about it for the first couple of years.

 

There were other things that kind of "alerted" us to her feelings of loss.  She definitely noticed the change in language (her bm was immigrant Hispanic and dd would go dead silent when Spanish was spoken around her) and we had two incidents during that "separation anxiety" age where she wouldn't go to ANYone, but she DID willingly allow two Hispanic women to hold her without putting up a fight (they happened to be the same nationality as her bm and dh and I semi-joked that "she knew her people" but never in her presence and it wasn't really funny).  She started really studying our faces about that time and it made me panic.  In the last 2-3 months, she's been on a tangent about being "brown" and noting that me, dh and ds are not.  We were at a pool and she saw some AA kids and asked if she was "brown like them".

 

So mine is clearly experiencing loss, but also a disconnectedness that breaks my heart.  All we can do is love her through it and pray that it fills the void.


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#14 of 25 Old 08-23-2012, 06:22 AM
 
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Hugs Heather- I could not read and not respond. 

I am in contact with a therapist that works with adopted kids and their families and holds workshops all over- she is also an adoptive mom who adopted I believe from china in the 70's so her kids are grown ups... 

 

I would be happy to link you to information on her- she has a lot of information that has been very helpful to me.

 

I was also adopted at 12 days old also and my biomom did not want to hold me either.  She said if she held me she did not think she ever would have been able to let me go.  It is heartbreaking to think of it and it sounds like your daughter has a similar story.
 


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#15 of 25 Old 08-23-2012, 03:30 PM
 
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Hugs Heather- I could not read and not respond. 

I am in contact with a therapist that works with adopted kids and their families and holds workshops all over- she is also an adoptive mom who adopted I believe from china in the 70's so her kids are grown ups... 

 

I would be happy to link you to information on her- she has a lot of information that has been very helpful to me.

 

I was also adopted at 12 days old also and my biomom did not want to hold me either.  She said if she held me she did not think she ever would have been able to let me go.  It is heartbreaking to think of it and it sounds like your daughter has a similar story.
 

 

Thanks--I'd love the info.

 

I believe that might have been the case for dd's bm, too.  In fact, she HAD an adoptive family identified for dd but post-birth decided that the family lived too close to her (2 doors down) and she didn't think she could deal with it.  guilty.gif


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#16 of 25 Old 08-26-2012, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the responses. It's been an incredibly hard couple weeks. My son ended up with a staph infection that landed him in the hospital for 5 days. greensad.gif He is back home now recovering. Still high-needs, but things are slowly improving.

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#17 of 25 Old 08-26-2012, 10:36 PM
 
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Congratulations on your new baby.

 

You describe my son to a T. He's my biological child. My adopted daughter wants me as much as any child wants their mama, but not like my son did/does.

 

Good job on adoptive nursing. (I believe we've discussed that before.) It's hard work but so well worth it. Do you have enough milk? I know my daughter got fussy towards the end of a feeding when I went dry. Sometimes all she wanted was 2 to 3 mls (that's 1/10 of an ounce) and would just fuss and fuss until she got it with the supplementer.

 

At this point just wear him and keep him close. It's hard with two older kids, but that's what he needs most.


Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#18 of 25 Old 09-12-2012, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Update: We figured it out!

 

After the 5 day hospital stay for his staph infection with toxic mediated response, he still didn't seem to be improving much, and then started regressing.  He was readmitted and diagnosed with a zinc deficiency.  Levels in babies should be between 70-150, his was undetectable.  Zinc is necessary for skin repair (thus why his skin stopped improving as it was healing from the staph) and also greatly affects mood.  Zinc deficient babies are very hard to console and often just seem angry about life.  Now that he is on a zinc supplement he is a different child.  His skin is improving insanely fast and he is almost always completely content with life.  He started sleeping 4-7 hour stretches at the beginning of the night, and then 2-3 hour chunks the rest of the night.  During the day he still prefers to nap in a sling, but will nap in his own bed as well.  He also prefers to start the night out in his crib where he's undisturbed by us when we come to bed.  No more colicky time in the evening either.  He usually just hangs out in the sling, his swing, or on a blanket with his sisters, and nurses every 2-3 hours.  Quite the content little guy now!
 


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#19 of 25 Old 09-12-2012, 04:02 PM
 
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Wow - I had no idea zinc could do that!  Thanks for updating (and glad you all are doing so much better).

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#20 of 25 Old 09-12-2012, 10:03 PM
 
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Amazing!  I am so excited that it all got figured out!


Homeschooling Momma to DD 8 years old, DS 7 years old, DS born 03/11 by adoptionheart-1.gif , waiting for DD born 07/10 and two furry labs. Wife to my wonderful husband of 12 years.
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#21 of 25 Old 09-13-2012, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow - I had no idea zinc could do that!  Thanks for updating (and glad you all are doing so much better).

I know! I had no idea either. It's been amazing to see the transformation though.

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#22 of 25 Old 09-13-2012, 09:44 AM
 
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I know! I had no idea either. It's been amazing to see the transformation though.

 

How does that happen? Is it a maternal deficiency thing?


Me(33), Mama to a crazy DD (6), Wife to a wonderful mountain man(32) BF my babe for 2 years.
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#23 of 25 Old 09-13-2012, 10:50 AM
 
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So glad your boy has gotten some relief! (And the rest of you!) 

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#24 of 25 Old 09-13-2012, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Babies store zinc during the 3rd trimester, so if they are premature or mom is deficient, baby can be deficient. He had both working against him.

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#25 of 25 Old 09-14-2012, 08:08 PM
 
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Babies store zinc during the 3rd trimester, so if they are premature or mom is deficient, baby can be deficient. He had both working against him.

 

Thanks for that. :) I was curious in case something similar happens to us when we get a newborn. It sounds easy to diagnose, and treat. I will keep that in mind if our baby is collicky and hard to soothe.


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