God's Child, Our Joy

An adoptive family's journey in faith and life

Worst Daddy Ever

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With the new school year we also started with a new daycare. Our last daycare was having a lot of turnover with employees which made us uncomfortable. We found a daycare that was highly rated, and after our visit there we felt pretty comfortable with it. Still, there is always a worry about new things. How will Eva react? How long before we feel comfortable with the new teachers?

Week one went off pretty well. I was worried about her, but there was only some crying and separation anxiety. Once she got back into the routine, making lesson plans and getting her room ready for the kids, Steph was doing fine.

Oh, you want to know how Eva handled the change. She also did really well. She didn’t cry when we left, she ate well, and seems to like her new teachers. Some issues with sleeping and boys though. Didn’t want to sleep much that first week. Also, the first day she cried whenever the boys came crawling near her.

Week two started, and we were still figuring out our morning routine. One morning Eva got up early (5:30), so she actually went down for a nap before Steph left, so I had to take her in that morning. Just as I had done the week before, I placed her on the floor and gave her a toy to play with. Something changed that day. She learned where she was, and remembered what happened next. I was going to abandon her.

She jutted out that bottom lip.

She cried.

She wailed.

She tore up daddy’s heart.

“You are the worst daddy ever” is what I heard.

I tried to gather myself. Maybe she’s just tired, a little cranky. She did just wake from a nap. I knew better though. She wanted the comfort of daddy and she knew that I was going to take that comfort with me to work. What a monster I was (or at least felt like). What should I do?

I left.

You run into these parenting decision points many times. The decision of meeting your child’s immediate wants/needs vs. your long term goals. In the short term she needs to be safe and secure, knowing that the world isn’t ending. Long term, she needs parent(s) who can provide for the family, needs to learn not to depend solely on mom and dad, and needs to develop social skills.

You spend the first few months meeting those immediate needs, because they have no capacity to know yet that this current discomfort is temporary, and the one thing they do learn is who to trust. Then they reach a point (6 months ish) where they start to learn how to self sooth, that hunger pains are temporary, etc.

The parents also have to rewire themselves. You were there at their beck and call, but now you have to step back a bit to let them learn. To let them become more self-reliant. To get along with other children. It’s just so hard when they cry harder than when they bump their head.

Steph picked her up that afternoon, and they told her about the crying. They also said that as soon as I was out of sight, that she calmed and had a great day at day care. She’s already testing us, seeing if she has us wrapped around her finger.

I hope she doesn’t figure out she does.

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