Apologies for not posting for ages. Things have been very hectic and it’s hard to find time to write this blog. However, I’ll be catching up as soon as I can!
Things are going very well with LO but it seems she has an obsession with food. She will moan for more food after she had eaten, she gets very upset if she has to wait a few seconds for food (e.g. When you blow on her food if it is too hot) and she will be fixated if she sees food. I’ve read that babies/toddlers self regulate but LO does not do that. If we let her, she would continue to eat until she was sick. The thing is that she wasn’t like this when she was with the foster carers or when we met her during introductions. I’ve talked to people and looked on the internet and it seems there are other kids who do this but I couldn’t find anything about adopted children. We always hear the same thing, ‘well at least she’s eating’ which yes, I can imagine it is stressful if you had a child who didn’t eat but this does not help our situation and if I hear that one more time, I think I may scream.
So all we have to go on is that clearly the transition had something to do with it, and/or we are stimulating her lots more than when she was with the foster carer, and/or the food we are giving her has more flavour (she generally had packet food at the foster carers), and/or she is going through a growth spurt. I suspect that it is a combination of all of the above. What is clear is that, when we encounter an issue, we can never entirely unpick it due to her being a potentially adopted child (can’t say she’s adopted yet as we have to get the court order first). In these situations, my advice is to ask adoptive parents – which is what we finally did. My beloved takes LO to a local (ish) playgroup for adopted children which is held regularly. Once a month, the playgroup hold a weekend session and we all went along. It was really lovely to meet other adopters, and their children. It gave us a chance to talk to others who knew what we were going through which you can’t do at other play groups. It will be very important for LO as well so she has friends who have been through a similar experience. We talked to quite a few adopters with young children and found out that a lot of their children had experienced similar issues with food. One woman stated that children who can’t talk find food a comfort and eat to fill the emptiness and loss they feel from being taken out of the foster carers home. when I heard this, it made perfect sense to me. So now we don’t really worry about this anymore. We give her sensible amounts of food and snacks and there will be times when there will be food around that we can’t control, e.g. at playgroups where other children are having their snacks. When these situations occur, we make sure we have plenty of healthy snacks, and try to distract her or remove her away from the food. This works pretty well, particularly as we are less stressed about the whole thing. The really odd thing is that I couldn’t find any information about comfort eating and adoption which is weird considering how common it is, so I’m writing about it here in case someone else encounters this.
As LO settles with us, we hope that she will gradually find comfort in other things, other than food. We have already started by reading the emotions book by Todd Parr to LO. She may not understand all of that book yet but she will be used to taking about emotions and hopefully will be able to identify how she feels. We also spend lots of time with her and we are attentive to her needs so she can go through what she needs to. I know it sounds all doom and gloom but we do have lots of fun times too!