If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

National Adoption Week 2017

Four years ago I felt part of something special during National Adoption Week, child 4 had just arrived and all was new and shiny, we belonged to a new exciting club. Now, I am not sure that I even like National Adoption Week. In fact this year I've kind of ignored it, well as best you can when our Twitter and Facebook feeds are full of all that is adoption.

I am saddened and angry that siblings are paraded through the media looking for their forever families. Although, I know that adoption is probably the best outcome for them. I am tired of reading stories of adoptive parents desperate for support and help with their traumatised children are not believed, are blamed, ridiculed or ignored by schools, health professionals and those supposedly in charge of our society.

I guess the new and shiny wears off, not that we are having a particularily hard time. Life here is pretty fantastic most of the time. We have our moments of anger and rage but so far we are managing it. For us adoption has brought our immediate family unit closer together. It feels like child 4 has always been here. The bit I struggle with is other people, those that just don't get it and actually don't want to get it. There are those who are unaware of child 4's difficult start in life so don't understand why he reacts to certain situations like he does and then there are those that do know but think that he should be all better now.

Our eldest described her angst about how other people are in a nutshell not so long ago.
"How would they feel if  one night the police and social services arrived at their home, forcibly removed them. Carrying them through the house whilest everyone is screaming and crying. Putting them in a car  and taking them to a new house to live in with a very nice new family, who they will stay with for a little while, whilst others decide where they will end up permanently. So would they recover in a few days, a week, a month, a year. If an adult couldn't cope with what we do to these children how can they expect children too!!"

What we do to these children and how we expect them to be grateful is one of the biggest issues with adoption, if everyone accepted it as a horrific thing to be party to  and  understood that our children needed support, counselling, love and educating, then adoption journeys would be better for all those involved.

For National Adoption Week, would I do it again. YES I would.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Alienation, not as you thought it!

I had my first parent teacher meeting this week to see how child 4 was settling into his new class. I was surprised to receive the "invitation" as we have our termly meeting  booked for just after half term, (the end of the honeymoon period meeting) and I haven't heard of any major issues.

All in all the meeting was just an update, no concerns with his academic achievement, although completing homework, especially his spellings has been a little tricky, his success in class means that we don't have to worry too much. Child 4 is struggling a little with the expectation to sit down and work but nothing unusual for a 6 year old little boy. His teacher is really impressed with his ability to not only recognise the need to apologise after an incident but also the need to put things right, once he has calmed down. We have worked very hard on saying sorry is good but how do you show someone that you mean it, especially if you struggle to not repeat the action. Obviously, the eventual aim is is that child 4 can control his anger but we have to work with what we have got.

When I asked if there had been any major issues, I was relieved to hear that not really.  During the summer term, it had been noticed that 12.30 to 1pm playtime is the time that most incidents involving child 4 occurred, so a TA has been monitoring and supporting him during this time. Sometimes they set up games to play but generally they are just there to step in if child 4 needs support in dealing with a situation. it also means that he isn't being labelled, at least by the school as a naughty boy, and the staff know exactly what is happening, they are not reliant on what the children say. This has helped him hugely and the school are leaving this support in place for the foreseeable future.

However, the teacher did mention that a few parents had been in to see her at the beginning of term asking if their child and child 4 could be kept apart. Her response had been that the school encourages the children to find ways to get along with each other, to be kind and friendly with each other. Not to separate them. I know that there have been some concerns with child 4's behaviour  but what had been picked up pretty quickly was that he tended to hurt other children in retaliation to something they had done. Not that I'm condoning his behaviour, I understand that to throw a rock at the child that has destroyed your tower or to hit someone with the tennis racquet because they have run off with the ball is not acceptable but I do understand why he does it. That is exactly why we have been working on sorry is not always enough. Luckily, the school understands too, so they work with all the children on how to behave.

Understandably, I am upset by the fact that parents are already trying to alienate him. He is 6 years old, he is your stereotypical little boy and he had a crap start in life. My biggest fear has always been that he would be alienated by his school friends, I hadn't thought that it could be parents encouraging the alienation. How on earth do I prepare for that?