Possible reattachment disorder...

Angelina - posted on 06/04/2011 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My parents adopted my daughter when she was 3 months old...my mother has recently left my father...my husband (not my daughter's biological father) & I have not officially adopted my daughter back, she is 4 yrs old now. My husband & I have a 10 mth old together. My daughter is very attached to me, but she is very close to my dad & I think kinda looks at him like he's her father even tho she's always known him as Papi, I don't think she quite understands the concept of dad, mom, grandpa etc due the the given situation, being adopted back & forth. I feel sad that she's in such an adjustment period. She's very rude to my husband, she doesn't want to have anything to do w/him 80% of the time, but has her occasional times of wanting to be close to him...it doesn't last more than ten mins. Anyway, I told her he's daddy (which I don't know if that was a good idea), she's very smart & to be honest I don't think she believed me....tho she believes I am mommy & treats me like she's always known I was mommy all along, even tho she "knew" me as her aunt. (confusing, I know). Myself, my husband & my daughter went to see a child psychologist a couple weeks ago & she believes my daughter is suffering from the beginning stages of reattachment disorder & has suggested that we seek a reattachment disorder therapist, the closest one if two hours from us, but we are willing & ready to start going. She's said it's best now while she's young & this way it doesn't turn into reactive attachment disorder. In the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions? It's definitely caused soo much tension & anxiety in our home. But we are willing to do whatever it takes to make things better!

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Karli - posted on 06/04/2011

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Hello, That sounds so confusing to me and I'm an adult..I think you need to work in tiny baby steps. I think introducing your husband to her as Daddy is way too much right now. Try going back to square 1 and move slowly. Is she aware of why your parents adopted her in the first place and why she couldn't be with you? I think you going from "Aunt" to her Mom is a pretty big thing and she needs to understand that first. If she gets overwhelmed with everything that she doesn't understand she will probably just push away. I would explain everything and talk A LOT about her feelings and confusions. Does she understand that your parents have separated and why? She might be fearing that she is going to lose her Papi and your husband is trying to take his place. Your husband needs to be very cautious and let her warm up to him slowly, maybe he can explain to her that he loves you and cares for your children but he is not there to take anyones place or to take you away from her either. I would let her lead a little and respond and react to her feelings and emotions and walk her through them and make sure she is understanding everything as it is because she might not understand all the details and fills in the blanks herself. She is young enough to grow into your husbands role but for now he is your husband and supports you. definitely see the psychologist but see what digging you can do in the meantime to see what she understands and what she is confused about.

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