The average child eats his vegetables because if he doesn’t, his parents will take away his pudding or send him to his room.
The adopted child eats his vegetables, because if he doesn’t, his parents will take him back to foster care.
The average child tell’s her parents when she is not well because she knows they will give her medicine and cuddles.
The adopted child hides her illness and deals with it alone because she doesn’t know what her parents will do if she becomes a burden, maybe they’ll send her back.
The average child tells her parents she loves them, because she does.
The adopted child tells her parents she loves them, because that’s what she’s supposed to do, isn’t it?!
The average child has thoughts and opinions of his own and will share them, sometimes to his parents disapproval.
The adopted child will do, say and be what ever his parents want him to, otherwise they’ll send him back, won’t they?!
This blog was inspired by friends that have recently adopted and they reminded me of those early days and how compliance sucks sometimes!
My morning started with a very sorrowful looking middle girl, who mopped around trying to catch my eye in the hope I’d ask her what was the matter. When I eventually did (I’d put it off as I suspected what would happen) I was greeted with silence and just a look of pity. Most social workers and other professionals would advice me that because of her background she’s freezing as she’s worried about what will happen next. I think differently. You see my middle girl lived with a controlling foster carer for her early years and she learnt quickly that remaining silent would get her attention, for her foster carer couldnt cope with not being able to control her. Her foster carer would handle her refusal to speak by smothering her with attention, tell her how worried she was that she wasn’t speaking, plead, beg, even bribe her in to talking. This became a habit, my middle girl relished the attention and used it to her advantage. I however, am not a soft touch, and if my middle girl chooses not to speak then so be it she will deal with the natural consequences of her silence, and today that meant a boring day of sitting on the sofa with nothing more than books for entertainment as her silence and refusal to eat her breakfast meant I had to assume she was unwell. She rarely gives us the silent treatment these days so my methods appear to have worked. Its quite funny really, we actually commented yesterday that her new found confidence at learning seems to have given her the confidence to test the boundaries, she’s been in more trouble this week than she has in the last month! In reality, she probably just woke in a bad mood and thought she’d try it on! Nice try little one 🙂
This time last year we sat on the sofa dazed, exhausted, terrified and excited about what the future would hold for us, after having just put our girls to bed in their new rooms for the first time.
Tonight we sit on the sofa exhausted terrified and excited, having had a 12month taster of what the future holds for us, as we put our girls to bed for the 365th time!
Our social worker shared a story with me tonight. It was about the time she was 4 and her mummy took her to the shoe shop for new school shoes, she vividly remembers the sales assistant, and noticed that all the sales assistants wore matching badges with cloggs on them. She remembers having her feet measured and being thrilled about her new shoes, she remembers the sales assistant packing up her new shoes ready to take home and her mummy paying for the new shoes, she remembers the sales assistant leaning forward to stick a badge on her, just like the ones all the other sales assistants wore and she remembers that she screamed and shouted and protested and even kicked the sales assistant until she eventually backed away. She remembers her mum being furious and how she got in to lots of trouble for behaving so badly but she also remembers why she reacted that way, she remembers thinking that she didn’t want to work in a shoe shop, and if that sales assistant put that badge on her then she’d be one of ‘them’ and she’d have to work there and there was no way she was going to let that happen, not ever!! 😀
So next time you see a child behaving in a particular way, before you judge them, stop and ask yourself why, what’s going through that child’s mind to make them behave that way? what happens in that child’s life to make them feel that way? Life’s not always just about what we see.
There seems to be a little light at the end of my middle girls journey, her future may not be the great struggle we once saw. Seems the extra tuition, along with extra support at school is paying off. Whilst doing her homework last night I thought ‘wow’ quite a few times, and then her teacher pulled me aside today to tell me the transformation in my middle girls learning is incredible, in the last month or so she’s taken huge strides, she said it was as if something had clicked in to place and her teacher says she finally feels she’s ready for the move in to Year 1! 🙂
My day started off worrying about what to write in the contact letters to birth family and ended with me worrying about why my daughter is so anxious that she felt the need to bite herself at school today! It happened during a ‘melt down’ which seemed on the surface about nothing more than a Ham Sandwich and who to play with at lunch time but in reality was more likely to have been built up, well hidden stress, all relating to today’s Sports Day event, which on the whole hadn’t gone to badly. How does life become so sad and worrisome that at age 6 you want to hurt yourself?!
It sounds good to other parents when you say your daughter never asks for the latest toy craze, never walks round the shop saying ‘I want I want I want’ The downside to a child that has no interest in toys or playing is trying to find a suitable gift for birthdays/christmas, I guess when you dont know what your supposed to do with a toy it makes it difficult to really know what you want. So our job is to try and figure out what she’ll play with, cause she most definitely wants gifts for her birthday, she just doesn’t know what!