Friday, 6 May 2016

Adoption: Why Does My Child Steal Food?

How would you react if you didn't know when you were getting food next? I believe most of us can understand that this would have been a difficult position to be in, but very hard to 100% understand if you haven’t been in the situation.
Our three children lived their first years not knowing when their next meal was going to be served. “I can remember when I climbed up on the kitchen bench to get some food for my two other brothers. I thought it was a tin of food, but when I was able to open it I got paint all over me and the kitchen” my oldest son told me. They can remember that they sometimes got a bar of chocolate for dinner. Normally they didn't have any food in the cupboards and in the fridge. Other times their birth parents were not able to remember their basic needs, as they were too busy with their own unhealthy lifestyle.
As they were 2, 3 and 4 years old when they moved into care – the fight for survival were sitting deep inside them. After two years in foster care they progressed very well, but still food was a big issue for them. To help with this, we had set routine and timing for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. To help with the anxiety around bedtime, we also made the breakfast table in the evening – so they knew that breakfast was going to be served. We always had a fridge full of food, again to reassure them.
What we realised was that they didn't have any understanding of when to stop eating, they would eat themselves sick. We started to give them a healthy portion of food, and after they had the opportunity to each as much healthy food as they wanted e.g. fruit.
The anxiety around food was greater when we were outside of the house, if this was a day out or going to a birthday party. They would grab food like they had never seen it before, all because they were afraid that it was not enough food. This was the same at school. I’m many situations like this we also realised that they did steal food.

In this vlog I’m sharing some of our thoughts and how we are managing this. I also asked my son why this is going on, to get an insight and understanding. 

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