Pausing for summer……….

Published July 14, 2016 by thefamilyof5

I haven’t written anything for sooooooo long!! For those that don’t follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, I’m still alive, just been super busy!!🙂

Right, where to start!?

Home education update:

We’ve just completed years 4, 5 and 7. The girls have improved so much, especially in maths as we have a tutor! My own knowledge of verbs, pronouns and conjunctions has also improved, vastly!🙂

We’ve enjoyed too much to list. The girls favorites seem to be our weekly visits to the library, they’re each reading 2-3 books a week now! We also listen to audio books on car journeys, we’ve listened to lots of Roald Dahl and David Walliams, we’re currently listening to Matilda which is being read by Kate Winslet, we’re all really enjoying it, especially the bit about the newt in Miss Trunchballs water jug! We’ve also done some gardening, which is a first for me. We have some potatoes and herbs growing as well as some sunflowers and lovely wild flowers that we planted especially for the bees living under our decking. We’ve done lots of arts and crafts, the girls have really enjoyed some YouTube tutorials for sketching and crafting and really enjoy catching an episode of Deadly 60 and Operation Ouch, thank goodness for recordable TV. We’ve also recently started a bit of bird spotting, inspired by a trip to a local wildlife sanctuary. There’s more, so much more.

Therapy update:

We have continued with our DDP therapy, the girls have been so much more engaged in the sessions now that they’re no longer anxious all the time. We’ll be continuing with our therapy for sometime yet I imagine. We plan to also start some additional sensory based therapy towards the end of the year, so it will be interesting to see what becomes of that.

I’m still trying to get some support from our LEA with regards to funding for tuition and have 2 EHCP appeal tribunals to look forward to at the end of the year. One is for the refusal to assess middle girl for an EHCP and the other is for inaccurate information and lack of support from Big girl’s EHCP. I also have a formal complaint with our LA regarding the lack of support available for my girls education, they failed to address it formally though so I’m still awaiting a response, it is neither my fault, nor the girls fault that they are unable to manage a school environment. Like I haven’t got enough on my plate eh!

I’m exhausted. Being mom and ‘tutor’ is really hard and not something that comes easy to me. Its really hard to find the energy to be theraputic or even just have fun after a few hours of pre-learning the English curriculum and then trying to teach that to children with a high level of need. It was never something I’d ever considered but I can now safely say that I’m not teacher material!😉

Its become even more apparent how hard middle girl finds her learning and how her auditory and memory difficulties impact this for her. She can totally forget how to do something whilst doing it i.e she can be doing a full page of 3 digit multiplication grids, get half way and suddenly have no idea how to do them any more and start putting random numbers in odd places. Also what she hears and thinks, isn’t always what comes out of her pencil i.e when we were listening to the ‘Billionaire Boy’ audio book, she was able to tell me what it was called, yet what came out of her pencil when she wrote about it in to her diary was ‘Billy the Miner Boy’, to which both she and I were quite surprised to discover. I’m worried that there is something else going on with her but I’m not sure what, perhaps dyslexia or maybe something else, I don’t know. What I do know though is that she shouldn’t have got to year 5 without having her learning difficulties formally investigated. To my knowledge, she has never been assessed by an Educational Psychologist or any other learning specialist in school despite me asking teachers about a statement/EHCP since she was in year 1. However, despite all her difficulties she never gives up, constantly strives to succeed and really glows with pride when she does. Middle girl is fantastic at concentrating, she can really immerse herself in her work and enjoy it. She’s picked up multiplication really well but still struggles with her phonics/reading. I’ve bought the Toe by Toe reading programme in the hope that this will help her. She is absolutely loving dance class and her swimming has improved dramatically! Her speech is more fluent, her word finding has improved and her ability to say ‘I cant think of the word’ (rather than remaining silent), demonstrating her confidence, has been lovely to hear. She’s been doing a lot of imaginative play with baby girl, and whilst sometimes she can still be a little awkward with her play, she is certainly improving and enjoying her new ability to just relax and have fun.

Baby girl is, well baby girl. Cheeky and sassy and generally full on. She needs constant re-focusing and gets bored with ‘work’ very easily. She rushes everything, makes lots of silly mistakes and is always eager to get on to the next task so she can go and play. She is really enjoying learning new things though and often tells me about some interesting fact she’s read in a book. She is no longer obsessively collecting things, she is sleeping better, she is playing nicer and she is enjoying life. However, I think she’d really like it if we just watched TV, ate cake and cuddled her teddies all day🙂

Big girl is so much happier, she no longer rages, she no longer self harms and she actually enjoys maths! She’s got quite good at it as well, which is lucky because I’ve needed her to explain subtraction with carrying to me so that I could help her sisters with their homework! There are still lots of gaps in her learning, so for example whilst she now knows all 12 of her times tables, 12hr and 24hr clock, she still struggles to use basic number bonds, for example she’d still use her fingers to add 10+5 or 6+4 etc. Her self confidence has improved massively too, she knows she’s better at things and she feels proud of those achievements and likes to tell people how proud she feels. She’s really enjoying the weekly dance class they all attend is happy to confidently demonstrate her new moves to family. Her reading has come on brilliantly too, she’s not only moved on to harder books but her comprehension has improved and she is really enjoying the stories she reads, taking real care with her choices of book when we visit the library.

So that’s us and our first academic year of home education! I have a lot more grey hairs and the circles under my eyes are darker, I have a billion unanswered emails, my to do list is getting ridiculous and the dust in my house has its own dust, but the girls are positively flourishing so its all worth while. For now, we’ll be taking a deep breath and pausing for summer🙂

I will try my hardest to write more here, but I urge you to come follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I update those with regular little snippets because its quicker🙂

 

 

 

Adoption is not a quick fix!

Published June 3, 2016 by thefamilyof5

I’ve just stumbled across this post, how ironic that I mentioned home schooling.

It’s a shame I wasn’t heard, I might have 3 children in school right now.

The Family of 5's Journey

Im so tired of being faced with people that believe ‘adoption fixes everything’. The looks of disbelief when I try and explain why something may be more difficult for my girls to manage, or the eye rolling when I suggest they may need some extra support through a tricky period, or the sighs of exasperation when I try and explain how their actions impact on my girls emotional well being or the lack of interest when I ask for someone to be mindful of their words/actions.

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For example: Learning about ‘Family Tree’s’ can bring up all manner of issues, for a start it could leave the child wondering who they’re supposed to include in this family tree, which family? Topics about War and Famine, Deprivation and Loss, do I really need to explain why this might be tricky for some adopted children? seriously? Films like Annie, Despicable Me, Oliver, Rapunzel…

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What price should we pay for an education?!

Published May 10, 2016 by thefamilyof5

Why must everything be one long continuous fight!?

In the last 6 years I don’t think there has ever been a time when I’ve not been fighting for support for something for my children! Social care, medical support, education, its never ending!

I’ve been through some pretty tough things in my life, but being an adoptive parent is by far the hardest. Its a really lonely journey, and not many people, professional or not, truly understand the difficulties faced by children suffering the long term effects of neglect and trauma, which makes getting any support nigh on impossible.

We were forced to home educate the girls last year, it wasn’t planned, and it certainly wasn’t choice. Id hoped that the Local Education Authority (LEA) would help us, Id hoped that they’d recognise that I’ve done, am doing, everything I possibly can to help my girls achieve the very best they can. It seems not. We requested some help to fund some tuition via big girls EHC Plan (education health care plan, replaced the statement of special educational needs), not a lot, just a few measly hours a week, I think I said 3hours. It seems that even though they were giving schools thousands of pounds to support her in school, plus the £1900 for her Pupil Premium, they cant even pay for a few hours of tuition. She’s only 3+ years behind though so what the hell eh! Who needs an education anyway!

I also applied recently for an EHC Plan for middle girl, school had planned to do it just before we removed her. The LEA wrote to me today, apparently they don’t feel she qualifies even for an assessment, something to do with mostly achieving a level 2a in year 4 and being seen by an autism service to be chatting to a peer at school on one occasion and seeming to understand the instructions in class?! Mostly nonsense, the Level 2a was probably the only accurate part.

I currently pay £20 a week for 1hours math tuition for my girls. All I wanted was 3hours! 3 measly hours of tuition!! £60 a week! I’m fairly sure all the EHCP panels and tribunals they’ll make me attend will cost a hell of a lot more than £60 a week! They all attracted £1900 each in pupil premium at school, that’s without an EHC Plan, apparently I cant even access that, so where is that money now, what happens to it? The government set it aside for my children’s education, yet they can’t access it unless we completely risk destroying their mental health, and our family unit, just so they can be in school!?

My LEA would prefer I put big girl on anxiety medication (the real cost of which would no doubt be life long and provided by a different department) and sent her to school, rather than provide a few hours a week in tuition! They would rather that middle girl withdrew back in to herself and spent every day scared and confused in school (with therapy paid for by someone else for her foreseeable future), than provide her with a few hours tuition! They would rather my baby girl gave in to the chaos within her, detached from the world and survived in school (with services funded by all manner of departments throughout her life to keep her on the straight and narrow), than support her in an environment that she feels safe. My LEA don’t care if my children are achieving, feeling safe, happy and content (they weren’t in school) or having a mental breakdown, being medicated, or even if our family breaks down, because the cost of all that comes down to a different department!

It shouldn’t be this hard. ALL of my girls deserve an education and the opportunities that will provide them with, but they all also deserve a mommy that isn’t completely exhausted from providing it.

 

 

 

 

The things you’ll never hear me say…………

Published April 20, 2016 by thefamilyof5

Being an adoptive parent means having to constantly fight for what our children need. It’s never easy. Putting on that brave face, that armor every day, means it can sometimes be too hard to let that more vulnerable side of us be seen. There are some things you will never hear an adopter say…………………

I’ll never tell you to stop telling me about your child’s latest achievements, but its sometimes just a tough reminder for me of the things my own children are not achieving right now.

I wont tell you how much of a failure you make me feel, every time you say ‘all kids do that’.

I wont tell you how utterly out of my depth I feel with all this attachment and trauma stuff, I’ll just smile as I confidently explain it all to you.

I wont tell you that I cried myself to sleep last night or the night before, you’ll just hear me say tomorrow is a new day.

I wont tell you how hard it is, every day or how I’m not the lioness everyone thinks I am.

I wont tell you how much I worry for the future and cry about the past.

I wont tell you that I’m lonely, that I haven’t seen or spoken to another adult outside of my family for weeks, I might just casually suggest we catch up soon, hiding the desperation from my voice.

You wont hear me say I feel like I failed my children today when I shouted and saw that look of terror in their faces, you’ll just hear me say ‘we’re fine thanks’.

You’ll never hear me scream ‘I cant do this’, unless your inside my head that is.

I wont tell you the real reason I don’t sleep at night.

I wont tell you that the highest aspiration I have for my child is simply that they manage to stay on the right side of the law, instead I’ll joke with you about how they plan to rule the world!

You wont hear me scream and stamp my feet and beg for someone to just listen, you’ll just see me gracefully appealing yet another decision that’s been made for my child.

I’ll never tell you how many times I’ve wished I could just run away and pretend this life wasn’t mine, I’ll just tell you its been a shit day and tomorrow is a new one.

You wont hear me ask for help, I cant, I’m too busy putting on a brave face and fighting my child’s corner, I don’t have time to show you any weakness, heck I don’t even have time to reply to emails.

 

I will however tell you that this blog was inspired by an article I read today by Ger Renton on themighty.com

Selective Hearing

Published April 5, 2016 by thefamilyof5

I shared these particular infographs via my Facebook page without a second thought, I did grimace at some of the apparent statistics and I did wonder how they had asked ‘adopted children’, no one asked mine?!
For my girls, I think if they had been asked, they’d have given the answer they felt they should have, they’d have painted a very rosy picture, rather than how they truly felt (and who knows what that really is?!)
I wonder how many of the answers given by these children were ‘people pleasers’.

All Aboard The Trauma Train

This is a guest blog from an adopted adult who has contacted The Open Nest following recent government adoption reform announcements. They have requested a safe forum to share their thoughts. Here they are:

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Easter conjures up many images for me, small people delightedly hunting for chocolate eggs, spring lambs, daffodils and crocuses and for particular faiths it’s a time of resurrection, the end and a new beginning.
Our government, true to form, did their own bit of resurrecting over the Easter weekend, adoption reform, again.
Nicky Morgan announced sweeping changes to the way that adoption is prioritised, practiced and monitored (again) but immediately prior to this, something shiny caught my eye on Twitter- a cartoon infographic, published by CoramBaaf purporting to be about adopted children’s view of being adopted.

How wonderful, I thought at first glance, the big movers and shakers are finally taking into account the views of…

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Did you know? 

Published March 31, 2016 by thefamilyof5

I’m posting this again, the word still needs to get out there!

I’m shocked and saddened that there are still adopters out there that don’t know anything about this fund! Please tell ALL adoptors in England about this, it could be life changing for them!

 

I want to write about the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) because I’ve been shocked and saddened by how many adopters are unaware of its existence. Ive also been appalled at how many adoptive fam…

Source: Did you know?

Trauma, trauma, everywhere

Published March 24, 2016 by thefamilyof5

Trauma, it’s so sneaky!

2newgirls

I see trauma everywhere in my house.

I see it in a punch to the face when I’ve offered a loving touch.

I see it in a no reaction when I pick up from nursery.

I see it in opposition to everything.

I hear it in ‘I love daddy I DO NOT love mummy.’

I see it in a poo left for me to find.

I see it in a wary look when I say ‘I love you’.

I see it in never wanting to come home.

I see it in never falling asleep in the car because she’s terrified where that car might be taking her.

I see it in not being able to play without controlling every aspect of that play.

I see it in never being able to make a decision.

I see it in eating everything on her plate all the time, just in case.

I…

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