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As a new, older Mom, I need some advice. At the age of 46, after 25 years of childless marriage, my husband and I adopted twin girls who are now seven. One of my girls has special need (cerebral palsy) so the other kids treat her as though she does not belong. The following year, we adopted a newborn boy, who is now almost 8 mos. I am feeling really isolated because none of my friends who are my age have young kids, and without family in the area, we are really a little lonely. I am a working mother and my husband is a stay at home dad. I don't have anyone I can ask child care questions and at school events, my husband and I are almost treated as though we do not belong by the other parents. At the grocery store, the clerks ask me whether I am taking care of the "grandkids." Any suggestions for coping with the isolation and for getting good advice about dealing with the kids?
People love to assume and comment on family situations they know nothing about. Strong Moms is a great first step to having a virtual support group, and sometimes, mothers have broadcast their geographic location and tried to connect that way, Another way is to ask your pediatrician if he/she knows any support groups on the area that you might connect with. Express your feelings to your Dr. and I am sure they can help steer you in the right direction. I hope this helps... good luck!
Welcome to Strong Moms! You will find plenty of people who care on this site! In addition, you could try local church parenting groups or adoption support groups in your community. Talk to your pediatrician to see if she knows of any or check with local adoption agencies in your area to see if they know of some. In addition, you may try a parenting group for children with disabilities. There are bound to be other parents who have children with cerebral palsy and you may find some friendships in those groups. Making friends is difficult at any age...especially when you no longer have things in common with your older friends. I applaud you for your loving decision to adopt these children and give them a good home. Congratulations on your new and growing family!
Welcome to StrongMoms! I echo the other readers - when I move to new cities and am feeling isolated, the first thing I do is get connected with MOPS groups in my church, mommy groups in the community, and talk to my pediatrician about support groups they know of. There are certainly special needs groups and adoption support groups out there too. There might even be older mother support groups if you look! I, too, commend you for your adoption of these precious kids. I know (from family experience) that it is not always the blissful experience you dream of. As someone who personally has a "disability" (I have severe hearing loss and wear hearing aids), I have to say that I dealt with kids who thought I was different very openly. Many times, the kids were really sort of mystified as to what my hearing impairment meant and what the hearing aids did in particular. I would get up in front of the class whenever I was at a new school and answer questions that kids had and just show them how normal I really was and they began to not even remember I was hearing impaired. What specific situations do you find your daughter having trouble in? I'll be thinking of her - it's not easy. Hang in there...these kids will be blessed for having been in your life.
Thank you all so much for being so helpful and supportive. It has certainly been an adventure so far. Some days I just think "I'm too old to be doing this," but many days it is just enormous fun--like feeding the little guy his first baby food when I ended up wearing most of the sweet potatoes. They just did not go with my outfit. And when one of my girls decided to walk the dogs outside in only a shirt and a diaper--initially I was mortified, now I can laugh. I am learning to smile when others ask about my "grandkids"--they seem to mean well. We have found lots of help for our little girl with cerebral palsy including really terrific teachers who really care. I do regret that we do not live closer to their surviving grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins so they can know them better.
You all are terrific. Thanks for the welcome to the group.
Pgakaa-Love your sense of humor! Your latest post made me smile. I agree with you, though, that MOST people are well intentioned and the ones that aren't don't really need your attention. So glad you are on here - keep the posting up! You can do it - each day is a new day. :-)
Thanks for your words of encouragement. Your experience is appreciated. One of my little girls (7) has cerebral palsy. She is not verbal. She makes sounds and a very few words, but cannot put together strings of words, and her ability to pronounce words is very limited. She is weak on her left side and tires easily--I think largely because she has a circumducting gait--she has to work harder to make a few steps than many children. However, she is extremely smart and very empathetic and has made great strides since we brought her home from Estonia. Her twin sister is not verbally impaired but both of them were born with a degree of fetal alcohol syndrome. They are both extremely small for their ages (32 and 34 lbs at 7 years of age). At this point they are both physically pretty healthy.
I so appreciate all of your help and insight.
Thanks so much for all of your encouragement---we tried Katie and Kristina with horseback--Kristina is horrified by the horses because even a Shetland pony is huge compared to her. Katie liked the horses and we will try again with both of them because I understand that riding is very therapeutic. Right now, they are both taking swim classes and are getting stronger. I feel a little guilty, however, because I work full time as a hematologist/medical oncologist--their daddy is staying at home with them while he is in grad school--so I can't spend as much time as I would like working with them.
I hear you about working. I am going to back to work full time and it's been hard and guilt-inducing. All I can say is that I think because I work, I am more present with my little guy when I am home than if I were with him all the time. No matter what, these kids know they are loved and are going to thrive. I often have to remind myself that my son being with his dad at home is a positive thing and he is lucky to have that kind of bond with his dad. Don't kill yourself over all the details...I know I certainly have that tendency.