As adoptive parents sometimes when we see a glimmer of progress it is often combined with a feeling of sadness. It is an odd feeling to be sad when you should be happy. The reason for this is often the signs of progress are things which other children never have to face, things which never even cross their minds as being an issue, yet can be absolutely massive steps forward for our children. This could be something as simple as reacting in a shy way to a stranger where they would normally go up and give them a huge hug.
I have written before about my expectations and thoughts on what in the adoption world is currently called “contact”. My views haven’t changed a great deal, but it is something that I am forced to reflect on twice a year when I write a letter to my children’s biological parents.
It is that time of the year, the time when some people get all jovial, extra generous and kind, and others get panicky, grumpy and fairly fed up. For others still it is a dichotomous time with some elements that are loved and some that are hated.
It’s impossible, you can’t control it, stop worrying about it. I say it to myself many times most days. Yet my subconscious brain refuses to listen. It’s there gnawing away at my conscious brain causing me anxiety and stress. Unnecessary, yet ever-present.
My son hurts. He tries so hard to follow the rules, to do the right thing. He doesn’t always get it right. He used to spread his hurt to others. Backwards headbutts, hitting, kicking, biting, hurting. Now he tries to stop himself; it’s a visible struggle. When he does wrong, especially when it’s accidental, his instant reaction is to lash out. He’s learning to contain it, to control it, but his anger, his shame has nowhere to go. He screams, he cries, he thumps his hands up and down, until he contains them in his mouth. He doesn’t hit, he
This week is National Adoption Week 2017, the focus this year is on sibling adoptions which makes sense given that apparently 61% of children in care waiting to be adopted are deemed to need to be placed with a sibling. I have adopted siblings, we adopted them from care. Like most sibling groups they went through a ‘sibling assessment’ to see whether they should be adopted together or apart. Many people with children will wonder why on earth that would be required, why would it ever be in their best interests to split them? Well there are reasons which I’m
I think it is sometimes very easy to think of our adopted children as broken, and the recent calls for extra support to be given probably hasn’t helped that concept one little bit. I don’t think looking at it that way is helpful, our children aren’t broken and to label them a such creates a detrimental stigma. Sometimes, though, they do need a bit of extra help and understanding to meet their potential. Maybe certain processes that work so well for 90% of children need to be changed or adapted to mean that children from a trauma background are able to
As adoptive parents we are presented with what is called a “Support Plan” at a reasonably early stage. Our adoption agency does this shortly before Matching Panel so that the plan can be presented to the panel and forms part of the decision as to whether the parents are a good match for the children. Often the type of support detailed in the plan will vary based on the knowledge and skills of the prospective parents.
Last week my Eldest son started his formal education at the school we chose for him last year after visiting it. Since January he had been itching to start, frequently asking “how many days until I start school?”, occasionally getting himself in a bit of a grump when we replied with a number that was a little too big for him to imagine. We had no doubt that he was ready to start school. When he is feeling secure he comes across as quite a mature little boy, he loves reading and is not frightened to use words that he
As adoptive parents we sometimes celebrate some very strange things as milestones in our children’s progress through life. Where some might celebrate the first words or the first steps, we don’t always get to do that because when those things happened we were not part of our children’s lives.