Saturday, 20 April 2013

Park support

I know I've written about it before, but I am going to state it again, I am so glad that we have adoptive family meet ups in parks - and yes I know I organise them, but I'm always grateful when people turn up.

My co-organiser and her children were the first there apart from us today - so I was able to talk to her about 2nd time adoptions, and the fact we have a panel date, and the fact that our social worker is determined that we will be doing approval and matching on the same day.

We were joined by other families - some that I know really well, and some that I don't know as well. But it's a magic thing, being with other adoptive families, families that get it, and understand. Families that are as excited by the fact boy-o is getting his support at school as I am. One even cheered when I said that they were getting the early years intervention team involved, which means he will start reception on the SEN register. Oddly enough, I haven't told other school mum's about the intervention.

There is a reassurance offered within our group - someone who comes to support group but whose child was placed just 5 weeks ago, was able to come and be with familiar faces and be told - 'it's okay, yes it's hard but you are doing okay'.

It's a special thing our support - and knowing that I can phone some of these people up and talk things through is an amazing thing.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Adoption is all about waiting....

We visited M's parents last weekend, having not seen them for a few weeks as we've been ill and they've been ill. M's mum was asking how things were progressing with our second adoption - our reply, it's progressing! Her comment was about the waiting that we have to do - whereas I can't help but feel that we are rushing through it.

This week has actually been about highs and flat spots....
My work is interesting at the moment, but hopefully one of the big stresses will be sorted out and over with next week. Then a couple of weeks afterwards the GCSE classes leave; so more non-contact time for doing work at school.

Boy-o got our first choice school....which is good because it means the system works. Sadly not all of his friends got in.

We saw our social worker this week. She may have talked about actual children. She may have gone away and sent our old report away to two social workers - and I did say to her that she knows us so well and what we'd like that she can send it to whatever social worker she likes - i.e. children she thinks we may be interested in.

We have a panel date - and the plan is that we will go for approval and matching on the same day.

Argh - it's all happening!

Sunday, 14 April 2013


The theme this week at WASO (see the button on the left) is all about transitions;

I'm boy-o. I'm four. Everyone thinks I am a happy boy. My Auntie R keeps telling Mummy that I will be okay, because I am happy and friendly she says that I draw other children to me.

But I don't like it when things change... and when I don't like it, I worry and get very cross. I don't like it, because although I love Mummy and Daddy lots, before I lived with them I lived with some other people who I loved too, they were called J & G. And suddenly, Daddy and Mummy started coming to see me, and all the things that I used to do stopped, then I left J&G's house and moved in with Mummy and Daddy.

Mummy says she likes I like routine because it's predictable and safe.

When I know what is going to happen, I am happy. But it's no good telling me that something good is going to happen, when things change I get scared, because it might mean that I have to move again. I don't like it when things change or stop. I get scared.

When I'm scared, I have to know where Mummy and Daddy are. I have to be near them, sometimes this makes Mummy cross as she trips over me a lot, but mostly she remembers that I am scared.

When I'm scared, I like to chew. Mummy and Daddy don't like me chewing my clothes, so they have given me a special chew to use. I use this a lot especially when I'm at school nursery, because strange people come into the classroom, or sometimes we have to do different things, like go to the music room. It's scary if you don't know what is going to happen.

When I'm scared I sometimes have bad dreams. I can't tell Mummy and Daddy what the dreams are about, but I do calm down if Mummy or Daddy come and give me a cuddle. I hate it when I wake up and they aren't here, because that is really scary. I know that they only leave me with Granny and Grandad, or Granny and GD, but if Mummy and Daddy aren't here when I wake up, I don't know where they are, and that is even scarier.

Sometimes when I'm really scared I hit or kick Mummy and Daddy. Mummy really doesn't like this, and she is trying to get me to shout and scream and jump when I am cross. She thinks this might stop me hitting and kicking them. I get really upset when I hit or kick Mummy or Daddy, because I love them and I don't want to hurt them, but sometimes I do.

....okay - so boy-o clearly hasn't written this - but this is what change does for us, in this house. And whilst we try to stay calm and help him, it's not always easy! It helps to remember, that when he is scared, he has these behaviors so we can start to help him unpick why he is scared!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

History is written by the winners....

The following isn't meant to promote a debate that my family has had many times over the years - it's just a point I am trying to make.

I always remember my education when I am confronted with the title of this post... I was brought up in England, and went to English schools, the IRA was presented as a terrorist organisation which did terrible things for no real reasons. My cousin was brought up and educated in Eire, and her Southern Irish school presented the IRA as freedom fighters. Neither viewpoint was entirely correct or incorrect, but two sides of a very passionate debate.

So we've written boy-o's life story book. We've had to - for all the reasons that I gave on my last past - right or wrong doesn't matter it's just the fact. But it does mean that we've edited the information that we wanted boy-o to have at the moment. There are facts in his past that matter a lot, but that he will not understand at the moment; so we've brushed them under the carpet.... 'there will be time for that' was the point we made.

But in the middle of the night, in one of my insomniac moments - it struck me... 'history is written by the winners' and my boy's story has been written by us. We have presented the information in the way that we want him to have it. We have glossed over some incredibly difficult information.... there are things that I don't want to explain to him until he is a great deal older. We have left out some information that is impossible to comprehend for a 4 year old, actually it's still a little incomprehensible for us to understand.

We've tried to write it with sympathy towards his birth mum, because that is our/my over-riding feeling towards her. I always look at her life story, and think, 'there but for the grace of God', and I know some of my friends have struggled with that fact. I have no bitterness towards her, just great pity. I've met her, she is ruled by a life of hardship and has lived through things that I can't imagine - not just having children removed by social services.

But I still get stuck at the point that we've written it. It is a book for now, and as M has just reminded me, the plan is to go back and add to it at a later stage. We have a roll of lining paper in the loft where we transcribed his report into some sort of date order. We have his report. We have numerous other reports. It's not that we are keeping secrets - but trying to give him a basic story, that we can all build on in future.

But I hope we have put the right information in and left the right information out.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Life Story Book

We've done it.... the book is complete. I was determined that it would happen this week, and we've done it a day early.

Boy-o now has a life story book, which starts where we are, and ends where we are. In the middle there is a lot of information and pictures about all sorts of things. His birth parents, his birth siblings, those he does see and those he doesn't. His foster carers - both sets. Contact. Meeting us. Our court date, his Baptism and adoption celebration. It's all there... in a form that my boy can understand.

We first had sight of a life story book for him, shortly before we went to court. Our social worker had asked his, not to glue anything into it in case it needed changing. His social worker turned up with a complete book and obviously expected to be congratulated....

Our names we were wrong in it.

Across a picture of his birth mum, the word 'Mummy' was written. Same for birth dad.

There was incorrect information in there about his birth family.

It included a genogram (family tree) taken straight from his report - which is also wrong.

And that was just the start of it....

Our social worker, offered help, she offered training. It was all refused. His social worker took the book away, to redo...

She changed our names!

The facts were still wrong. The pictures would have confused him. The information would have worried him - even the stuff that was correct would have left him confused and worried.

In the end his social worker came back with the book, and we accepted it, knowing we weren't happy. We showed it to our social worker who was appalled and offered to redo it, but knowing how pushed for time she is, we said we'd do it. And we have... finally.

It's important for adopted children to have accurate and useful life story books. It tells them about where they have come from, and helps them start to understand what has led to adoption. Our boy's book glosses over the deeper darker stuff, and there is deeper darker stuff, but that's because he is 4. When he's 10, or 14 or 16 he will be better able to cope with some deeper explanation...

We talk about his birth mum - well now he has a photo. We have spoken briefly about his birth dad - now he has a photo and an explanation. We've talked about his birth brothers and sisters, we've looked at photos, now he can see how they fit in age. It's got reminders all the way through, that we love him, that his foster carers love him, that his birth mum loves him. He is lovable.

We have the information that is suitable now in a book, we have more to add as he gets older.