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Would it be too soon?

We're adopting from foster care and we should get the child finally placed with us in May of this year. We always go on a big vacation during the summer and I don't want to not do that because I feel like our new child will want to experience a big vacation. We have to go in the month of June because my husband has inventory at work July and August so it's impossible to go then and we had planned to go to Disney World. My mom thinks taking a child that isn't used to us that far away is a really bad idea and just cancel the trip. I feel like that child has gone through alot in his past and deserves to go to the most magical place on earth. What would you do? We can't post pone it because by the time we could go, my step son is back in school and we aren't going without him. By the way, our son will be 4 in two weeks.

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Asked by Anonymous at 10:53 AM on Mar. 3, 2010 in Adoption

Answers (11)
  • You may want to skip this year. He'll be adjusting to a new home, new parents. You can't be sure of what emotional needs he is going to have until he's been with you for a few months. Disney can be very overwhelming.

    Answer by motherofhope98 at 11:36 AM on Mar. 3, 2010

  • Don't go!!! I say this as an adoptive parent! It is VITAL that your child be in familiar surroundings for a while before going on a huge vacation. If this child has not lived in your house for this entire time, he/she will need to acclimate to being with your family. Disney is the last place I would take a child that is newly adopted. It is full of distractions and this could lead to many many attachment issues. People tend to pack too much into a Disney stay- a lot of choices can be detrimental to a child that has never HAD a lot of choices in his/her life. This is true for kids that were adopted from foster care as well as internationally.
    I would research attachment and bonding as well as sensory issues as all of these could be set back by a vacation so soon after being placed with you. Adoptive families magazine has some great articles on this topic..


    Answer by mcginnisc at 12:29 PM on Mar. 3, 2010

  • If this is something that you do every single year, waiting a year is not going to hurt. Take a step back and think: are you dead set on it for YOU or for the CHILD. The child hasn't ever been on a vacation and doesn't know what he/she will be missing so he/she won't care. Your mother is exactly right that it is a very bad idea. I cannot even tell you how much damage it could cause to the child's bonding process to be placed in a setting with that much stimulation when he/she has never experienced it before.
    Our dd is 4 and came home at 17 months old. We waited months before going to see her Grandparents that live in FL. We are just now taking a big vacation in November- (only because I was pg shortly after adopting or we would have gone the following year.) a cruise to the Caribbean. I would never have gone on a vacation of this magnitude so soon.
    Good luck in your decision.

    Answer by mcginnisc at 12:35 PM on Mar. 3, 2010

  • I would whole-heartedly advise against it. This would send him into trauma like you wouldn't believe. Even bio kids can be overwhelmed at all the big Goofy & Donald Ducks trying to approach him, but to him, it could be as though this giant "unreal" being is trying to hurt or kidnap him. Bio kids have the trust in the parents that their parents will protect them from anything and you can console & comfort a bio child, however, he does NOT have that trust in you, and will not have in a month or two or even many months. He doesn't know you. Any trauma that he experiences at Disney will then be transported back to your home. You are going to be dealing with enough bonding issues, not to mention fear, confusion, anger, jealousy, etc. can be added to the mix. The "most magical place on earth" will be a HORRIFYING experience for him. PLEASE do not take him this year. Give yourself some time to just come together as a family.

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 2:25 PM on Mar. 3, 2010

  • I'm a foster/adopt parent and trust me when I tell you that YOU yourself are going to be so foreign to him, mere strangers, (loving ones, but he'll figure that out in TIME) but what will help him feel safe & loved is a peaceful, calm, predictable environment. With the move to your house, you are going to have sleep issues, possibly nightmares, food issues (unless you are able to get a list of his likes & dislikes & even then it's 50/50.) *Sidenote: Nieces love mac & chese, but wouldn't eat mine. Finally sis told me that she puts a tsp of sugar in it. Go figure! It will take him a long while to get adjusted to being in your family WITH the continuity of routine. PLEASE don't go on this trip! You really will have more of an idea in May when he gets there. You may regret making so many plans in advance without taking into account his special needs. You don't yet KNOW his special needs. All children need time to bond.

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 2:32 PM on Mar. 3, 2010

  • One last thing. You are saying that your child is almost 4. You cannot expect him to act as a 4 y/o that has been in your home for 4 years. You are going to experience regression, it happens when children stress & this transition, while a positive one overall for your whole family and HIM, is still going to be VERY STRESSFUL on him. He may display behaviors that are infantile or 2 y/o tantrums, etc. Imagine being birthed at 4 years old. You look old enough to know certain things, but due to your background, you simply don't. "Normal expectations" are different in every home. (I'm a SAHM and we use beds for trampolines. However, in other homes, that behavior will get a time out or even a spanking. My toddler son expects to get to "play" this at our house, but has learned it's unaccceptable other places.) It can be very scary & frustrating. At home, you will have patience. At Disney, you will have a schedule & be out $$$.

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 2:52 PM on Mar. 3, 2010

  • Did I say "last thing"? Silly me, I normally can get everything in 3 boxes, but you, my dear Anon OP, deserve 4. I need to tell you that I am very proud of the fact that you are accepting this child into your home & are wanting to love him, meet his needs, & be the "forever family" that every child deserves. My heart goes out to you as one adoptive mother to another. Please don't take my tone as harsh or condemning. There simply is no way for you to be able to judge how to make decisions with him in mind, UNTIL he's in your house. As a foster parent, my training still fell short & I got a lot of my "training" from a toddler who was placed in my care. I had only had infant placements, but had a niece her age, & thought it would be a snap. (I was new & dumb, LOL!) What I didn't count on was all the "baggage" that she brought. The inability to communicate all her needs,the longing for her home, the anger at not being in control.

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 3:00 PM on Mar. 3, 2010

  • Over time, she did come to trust me, come to me with her needs, know that I wasn't responsible for her being away from her parents (I know you are adopting, but he's probably still going to miss & be sad for his previous placment, other friends & children, etc.) So I do want to give you hope, and to encourage you. I just really wish that you could understand how he will react to all this, but the fact is that you won't know until he's there with you. You will be able to handle it better at home. Give yourself some time to this boy before you do any big parties or trips or outings. Your heart says it all when you say, "after all he's been thru." Take a deep breath. He'll be here before you know it. Good luck to you! (((hugs!)))

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 3:07 PM on Mar. 3, 2010

  • OP HERE: Thank you everyone so much for the advice. I had asked the social worker and she said that she thought it should wait a little while, but that the child was already telling people he was going on "vacation with the family". (We had previously discussed this last time we met with him and his foster mom) But I did agree on one hand and disagreed with my mom at the same time but your right. I should wait and we have made plans to go around Christmas break. I'm just excited and want that little boy to have things that he could only dream about so I think I was pushing it a little bit.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:26 PM on Mar. 3, 2010

  • OP- I'm so glad that you took our advice, the advice of your SW, and your mother and decided to give him some time. You will greatly appreciate that time as will your new son! I know how difficult it is to take things slow when all you want to do is smother them with good things... I had to force myself to slow down when we adopted our daughter.
    Congratulations on your adoption! I forgot to tell you that earlier!

    Answer by mcginnisc at 5:01 PM on Mar. 3, 2010

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