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All posts for the month February, 2013

The winds of change……

Published February 23, 2013 by thefamilyof5

In a few months it will be 3 years since our girls came home.
How things have changed.

I thought we were prepared, I’d read lots of books, met other adopters, spent time researching attachment, adoption and general parenting topics.

We’d surrounded our selves with friends and family we thought would see us through the rough times, and we had even taken the time to help prepare them and give them information about the journey we were beginning.

We thought lots of cuddles, reassurance, skin to skin contact, plenty of ‘life story’ work and of course the all important eye contact would be enough. We thought, because we were told, a few months of intense bonding and you’ll feel like you’ve been a family forever.

We were so wrong.

Looking back, that first year, the year we thought was tough, was actually the easiest.

Now we have 3 children who are understandably still struggling with trauma. They’ll very likely continue to receive therapeutic support from CAMHS for many years to come.

We may always have attachment difficulties, they may always struggle with trust, compliance and fear.

This is not where we thought we’d be 3 years in to our journey.

We submitted a list of names to the agency during the approval process of people who we considered to be in our support network, people we thought would be there for us when things got tough. Well things are pretty tough now and most of those people have already disappeared from our lives. Some of those that we thought would be there for us, jumped at the first hurdle. Some are still clinging on and holding back the urge to tell us ‘your doing it all wrong’. And a select few special people have remained loyal and supportive throughout.

There are new names now that we could add to our support network, many of whom were sat in the background in the beginning but have now come forward to offer us support and understanding, and many of whom are adopters that we’ve been lucky enough to meet along the way most of whom we now call our friends.

We’re not the family we thought we’d be, we don’t do the things we thought we would, some of our friends and family weren’t the people we thought they were and we’re not the parents we thought we’d be.

Nothing is as it was, and nothing is as we thought it would be.

There really is nothing that can fully prepare you for life as an adoptive parent.

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Anyone have a crystal ball I can borrow!!? No?

Published February 22, 2013 by thefamilyof5

I think we’re heading somewhere
We’ve been heading there for a few weeks now, baby girl and big girl are in the driving seat it seems and we’re rapidly picking up speed
I don’t know if its somewhere nice or somewhere grim where we’re going
I don’t know if its somewhere where the smiles are a plenty or tears erupt frequently.

I wish I had a crystal ball to find out our unknown destination!

What I do know is that we have lots of intensifying behaviours developing:

We have constant ‘hurts’
We have jealousy
We have that intensified attention seeking (again)
We have competitiveness
We have nightmares
We have defiance
We have watching
We have checking
We have pushing boundary’s
We have anger
We have ‘stares’ and ‘looks’
We have obsessive behaviours and more.

Somethings going on, I just don’t know what?!

*bracing myself

Disregulated

Published February 21, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Yesterday we had the perfect example of how easy and quickly baby girl can become disregulated so I want to share it with you.

What happened: Daddy was fiddling with an alarm on the dining room table, he some how managed to trigger the alarm but couldn’t get it to stop so quickly took it outside until he’d managed to get it to stop.

Baby girl had been happily sat watching tv. The alarm sounded and baby girl quickly covered her ears and ran out of the room.
She came back in once daddy took it outside and sat back down and started chatting. She quickly became quite excited, giggly and silly. To the outside world she was happy, to me, she was unravelling.
The silliness continued, there was jumping, running and more manic laughing. She’d zoned out, she wasn’t aware of what she was doing or what those around her were doing. She was lost in her fear. I called her to sit by me to calm down before she got herself in to trouble.
She couldn’t sit still, her body was ridged, her eyes glazed over and her back arching, the manic laughter continued.
I put my arms around her, held her tight, stroked her face and calmed her.
She then spent 20minutes sobbing.

This makes me think of how baby girl is when she’s at school. She is not secure in school, its loud, its busy and she doesn’t feel safe, add on sleep deprivation and she becomes disregulated very easy.

So to all those that think she’s just like all the other children in her class and should have the same expectations thrust upon her, she is NOT the same, she’s constantly fighting with the fear inside her.

Big girls 1st play-date

Published February 19, 2013 by thefamilyof5

I became friends with one of the mum’s at school last year, we spent a lovely day at the park with her and her 2 children last summer. She’s experienced adoption within her own family as she was growing up and has also worked within a social services environment. I’ve shared a lot with her over the last year and she’s listened and empathised without judging me which makes her a valuable friend, many are too quick to judge.

She’s familiar with big girls social difficulties and was kind enough to invite big girl over to play with her daughter today. Big girl was understandably nervous but also excited.

I dropped her off at 10.30am after having reassured her for the 10th time that I’d be back to collect her at 1pm after lunch and that yes, they had my number, so if she was upset or wanted to come home early she could ring me.

No one called. So I picked her up at 1pm as I’d promised. She was happy and I was told she’d had a lovely time and judging by her smile, she had.

It started as soon as she got in the car. She seemed concerned that her sisters might have missed her and felt they needed reassuring that she was back now so it was all going to be ok. (She does wonders for my own confidence as a mother) (I was being sarcastic)

It continued when we got home, she praised them for being good whilst she was gone, she asked them what they’d been doing and shared her own play-date experience all whilst seemingly reassuring them of her return.

Once she was happy that her sisters were safe and well and that I hadn’t broken or lost them in her absence, she began to fill me in on her play-date. In fact every 3-4 minutes she would return from the playroom where she was keeping an eye on her sisters to tell me something about her morning. I had a detailed description drip fed to me in teeny snippets of information about her lunch, drinks, activities and experiences for the next 3 hours.

She’d held it all together for so long and now she was off loading, so I smiled, I nodded and I listened until she was done.

She’d enjoyed her play-date even though there were aspects she was unsure about. She’d just needed to ‘order’ her thoughts and feelings so she could make sense of them. Once she’d done this, she felt more at ease and less anxious and felt more able to give her sisters some space. Which they were also happy about!

Especially baby girl as you will have read in my previous post.

There was trauma being leaked all over the place this afternoon. Baby girl was unravelling with fear, big girl was off loading her stresses and middle girl was just soaking it all up and becoming more and more manic throughout the afternoon.

When I talk about trauma breeding trauma, this is a perfect example of what I mean.

I put 3 dysregulated girls to bed tonight, 2 are already showing signs of a difficult night.

Baby girls 1st play-date

Published February 19, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Today was all about play-dates, and this is all about baby girls 1st play date.

Baby girl had a school friend over to play today. She was very excited as this was her 1st play date. I hadn’t structured any particular activity because unlike her older sisters baby girl has a brilliant imagination and great play skills. I noticed early on that baby girl was feeling quite anxious that her friend did things differently to her, for example she might have put something away ‘wrong’ or put something in the ‘wrong’ place. Its important to point out that baby girls friend didn’t do anything ‘wrong’ it was just different to how baby girl would have done it. So I reassured her that she didn’t need to worry and it was ok to put the dolls in the box before the horse and it didn’t matter that the doll had the crown that went with a different doll and that she should just enjoy playing and worry less.
Then there was the ‘zoning out’ at the tv and not noticing her friend who was happily playing, so I reminded her that she could watch tv any time but her friend was only here to play for a short time (I didn’t turn it off because it was actually the friend that had requested a dvd and baby girl was quite adamant that I leave it on for her). Throughout the entire morning I sensed baby girl was struggling with control, her friend was quite confident and happy to just get on and play, but baby girl was more insecure with the situation and uneasy about being led. Don’t get me wrong, the play date went really well, both girls enjoyed themselves and played lovely.

It was when we got home that things started to change, she’d held it in all morning and was now starting to unravel. It began with provoking and picking arguments with her sisters. She very quickly became totally dysregulated so I pulled her close and kissed her, cuddled her, showed her eskimo kisses and told her how much I loved her but it wasn’t enough, she continued to unravel. It ended with a full blown temper tantrum because she couldn’t get her own way, in other words she couldn’t be in control, control is very important to baby girl, she wants it, but when she has it, it scares her.

I pulled her close again and we sat and read a book. It was then that I realised what a difficult place she was in, according to baby girl everything in the book was ‘dead’ or ‘dying’ ‘or had been killed’ or ‘had killed someone’. It was obvious that she was feeling totally terrified and overwhelmed.

The happiness she’d experienced that morning just wasn’t something she understood and it scared her. She understands fear, loss, chaos and that things leave, that’s what feels most familiar, so that where she feels safest.

I WANT MY OWN ROOM!

Published February 17, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Just over 2 weeks of early waking everyday is taking its toll on baby girl.

Baby girl is constantly disturbed throughout the night by middle girl thrashing about in her sleep and then once middle girl wakes in the early hours, she’s abruptly woken and kept awake leaving her over-stimulated and in sensory overload. She’s in a downward spiral of manic-ness (I made that word up yes!). Gone are the mornings where she would wake naturally and lay content in her bed. Now she wakes in a frenzy of thrashing about and back arching. Gone are the days of cuddles and concentrating. Now she controls and flits from one thing to another.

We tried talking to middle girl again today. We asked her why. ‘I WANT MY OWN ROOM’ she demanded, again. She even suggested that we turf big girl out of her room so she can have it. I kid you not.

We’ll be moving middle girl back to the floor in our bedroom tonight.

I wonder how long I’ll last before I feel out of control and unable to cope, again.

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