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Adopted a child with a past...need some advice...

Posted by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:17 AM
  • 21 Replies

Hi- I'm new to this and I hope I can get some advice. My husband and I adopted the sweetest little girl almost 3 months ago. She is almost 6 years old and before she was taken from her parents she had a pretty rough life. I guess she was hit and yelled at a lot. She's so sweet and loving, yet she seems "broken". She seems to be afraid to get excited about things and she's nervous around adults. She's in kindergarten and her teacher says she is timid and doesnt like to raise her hand, though she is very smart and makes friends pretty well. Do any of you have advice about building up  her self esteem and helping her to learn to trust people? Therapy could be an option, but right now I'm just wondering what we could do as her new parents.

by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:17 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Member on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:18 AM

I dont know but heres a bump so maybe someone else can! Good Luck mama!

 Alyvia Paige Hernandez <3




by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:21 AM

just plan love her i came from a really rough house till my grandmother who i didn't really know took me in and I asked her just now what she did and she said I loved you and was understanding(not saying your not) that it would take time .Eventually I came around . I was in counseling a couple years later

by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:22 AM

PM me... my family (when I was young in highschool) did the same thing.

by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:22 AM

The best thing to do is continually show her you love. Lots of hugs always saying I love you. When it comes to getting excited she may have been promised things and then let down so instead of telling her ahead of time "On saturday we are taking you to Chuckie Cheese" Just show up there  Maybe seeing you just do special things like that will help her feel more secure

Good luck


by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:27 AM

A word of advice I had to take my 2 nieces because my sister is a crack whore and let her boyfriends molest her oldest daughter so when I got them I got the girls a dog and told them this is your best friend and you can tell her anything and no one will know if you feel okay to talk to me about it you can be sure that I will not tell anyone if you don't want me to. Get her around a bunch of adults that you know like mom dad sisters and brothers and let her approach them not them approach her and go to the store and buy her some bubbles or something and reward her with it if she does do it on her own because it will help her open up more. She has to have trust in people before she will open up the rest of the way. I can almost guarantee that she hasn't even opened up all of the way with you yet just because of fear inside her.  I've been through this myself and it does take time. Do not yell at her even if she is doing something wrong just walk up to her and calmly talk to her because the more you are calm with her the more she is going to trust and open up to you and you will bond like you wouldn't believe.

by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:28 AM
Therapy is DEFINITELY an option. I strongly urge you to do it now instead of waiting for things to possibly hit a head when she comes into her teen years (as they usually do). A lot of extra praise will help repair her self esteem. Also, by allowing and encouraging her to take on new tasks. Get her involved in sports (t-ball, youth soccer, ect) or even Daisy girls (girl scouts)...will help build confidence (especially with mom and dad cheering her on).
by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:31 AM


From what we went through, it wasn't a lack of self esteem, it was Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

It's still hard. He is 17, about to head out into the world, and he still lies... about small things. He has run away 3 times and when he was little (5-10 yo) he would punch and kick at my mom. She suffered internal injuries because of a square kick in her pelvic area.

The foster agency sent him to therapy and they drugged him (love the system, right?). Well, we knew he needed more help than what the system could ever do for him, so my parents asked me and my other siblings if we should adopt him and help him.

We did.

Fast-forward to today... he like attention... and he does the wrong thing to get the attention. He still is very hurtful towards my mom. We know it's because he got a chance to face his parents in court (when he was 5) and was going to testify against them... well, he never got that chance. The parents pleaded guilty and my brother never got to tell his story and slap those people in the face.

This story could go on.

It's heartbreaking.

Growing up with a child that has so much inner turmoil... I really suggest that the WHOLE family (not just her) go to counselling.

You can show her as much love and attention, but if she doesn't figure out what the root of her anger/frustration/sadness/loneliness is, she will always harbor those feelings of inadequacy.

by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:34 AM

A lot of unconditional love and praise for everything.  Give her projects to do just so you can praise the outcome.  Let her know that she is in a safe place and that you would kill for her or die before letting anything bad happen to her.  It will take time for her to feel safe and trust you.  I would plan lots of things for her to get excited about so she could get practice being excited and having that wonderful feeling.  Try to always keep your word to her no matter what.  Good luck.  She is a lucky girl and you are lucky new parents. 

by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:45 AM

Any advice on how to get her to be a bit more outgoing at school? I understand that it will also take time, but I'm wondering what I can do to work on it with her...

Oh, and we are looking into family therapy...

by on Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:50 AM

I think she may have trust issues and that will just take some time. She will just have to learn to trust you and other adults around her. I hate to hear of children in those situations and I am glad that you and your husband changed this little girls life for the good!  

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