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All posts for the month September, 2013

What is support……….

Published September 29, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Its not the condescending voice that ‘knows best’
Its not the phone that never gets answered
Its not the friends that leave when the going gets tough
Its not the family with their ‘all kids do that’ comments
Its not the social workers that fob you off
Its not the teachers that ‘know better’
Its not the therapeutic services that fail to offer therapy
Its not the feeling of being alone or lost.

Its the little voice that asks ‘are you ok’
Its the ears that listen and dont judge
Its the hands that help wipe away your tears
Its the friends that ‘stick around’
Its the family that ‘get it’
Its the authorities that take responsibility
Its the professionals that ‘know’
Its the teachers that listen and act
Its the feeling that your not alone.

To feel supported is everything.

Without support its estimated that one in five adoptions breakdown.

I’ve linked up with the Weekly Adoption Shoutout (#WASO) over at The Adoption Social. This week their theme is ‘Support’.

My budding bookworm!

Published September 21, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Big girl is feeling very proud of herself, and I’m feeling very proud of her!
She’s just finished her first ‘proper’ book!

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3 years ago she would strop and sulk at the mere thought of reading. I won’t deny it’s taken her some time, I think she started this book around Easter time but she’s finished it, understood it, enjoyed it and is excited to read the next in the series!

Early days but I’m secretly hoping she’ll become a bookworm just like her mummy šŸ™‚

School, a game of luck!

Published September 19, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Im feeling really quite sad and fed up lately and its all to do with school. Not the girls new school, they seem to be settling in really well, it is still early days though so Im not going to get too gushy about what a great time they’re having. No, whats really bothering me is the amount of facebook and twitter comments, moans, rants and even blogs I’m reading from adopters who are struggling with school. It really frustrates me that so many children are struggling and suffering because most schools just don’t ‘get it’.

Now I know that there isn’t really much specific attachment training available for teaching staff and I appreciate that schools have budgets and when deciding whether to spend money on training geared towards one child, or training geared towards all the children, then the majority win. However, what schools also seem to forget is that ‘attachment’ based teaching would benefit ALL of the children, not just the traumatised child in the class thats causing problems. But even without specialist training, why aren’t teachers listening to adopters, why am I reading frustrated comments about adopters feeling defeated, head teachers not listening, class teachers being dismissive, traumatised kids being re-traumatised by being excluded, punished, shamed and ostracised.

Poor Robbie, he must feel terribly ashamed.

Poor Robbie, he must feel terribly ashamed.

Just a few examples:
A boy, refused to come in from the playground at playtime, and became aggressive when they tried to force him. He was excluded for a week. No consideration given that this little scared boy was worried that no one was going to collect him from school because the pick up arrangements that day had changed. Change is a big thing for adopted children, change = bad in their minds.

A child arrives in class to discover the seating had all been changed. Asked the teacher why, and was told ‘because I can’. Child has melt down and is sat outside head teachers office to sit in shame and read the school rules manual.

Child complains of feeling sick, school ring parents. Parent explains its just anxiety due to the test that day, school demand the child is collected, parent misses day at work to sit with child during test. This child had his own TA.

What a naughty boy!

What a naughty boy!


And the comments I’m reading over and over:
School has been the one huge headache in our adoption and parenting journey.

Bloody schools when will they learn that just because they present as ok in school there are no issues.

I have tried to tell them, but all they see is someone who copes at school.

Told my child was fine, treated like a paranoid Mother.

We had this with school too, and even though we secured funding for extra support in school for a term, school refused it and told us it was us.

Even if they can’t see it at school some compassion wouldn’t go amiss, but they clearly see us as the enemy.

They’ve called him a model pupil. Except he often comes home wet, having not told anyone that he’s wet himself for fear of being told off.

She may smile and say she’s fine, but she’s been up all night peeing on my bedroom floor and in my wardrobe because you gave her the wrong spelling test.

Talked to them about regulation and stress and certain flash points, but they kept saying we don’t see this at school, My hubby asked the HT what she had found useful about Louise Bomber book and it was quite clear she hadn’t read it.

I can’t get school to recognise that their actions impact on behaviour outside of school.

He is not coping with the changes and this is showing by him wetting at school and home Her bright idea is to show him how to use the toilet, He knows what he needs to do!

Teacher informed me we are JUST doing stuff like family tree!

Started wetting himself the week before school started and has had a couple of accidents since as well. Stress induced I’m sure.

School is major stress for them.

hitting, kicking boy begging me to take him home at school drop off ‘this place isn’t safe mummy, take me home please…’

I sometimes wonder if this is the effect school will always have upon my child

achieving above and beyond at school but socially he doesn’t have a clue, school say no issues at all but at home is a total different story.

so the teachers need to know they are working at least twice as hard as their classmatess.

one week in and we have homework woes already

teacher was unaware of issues of adopted children

Feels like we're talking to a brick wall, not a teacher.

Feels like we’re talking to a brick wall, not a teacher.

These are real comments, I’ve merely copied and pasted them and worse still they’re all from within the last 14 days. Its sad isn’t it. Does it anger you as much as it does me?

How is this happening, why is this happening. Something needs to be done. Adopters cant MAKE schools listen alone, They need to be supported. These poor children need better understanding in schools! I’m not the only adopter forced to move their children from a school that didn’t ‘get it’, and I wont be the last. In fact, in the world of adoption, its very common. But why, when continuity and stability is what our children need, not a lottery of suitable schools/teachers, it shouldn’t be about ‘getting lucky’ with the right school, or struggling to find the right school, ALL schools should be the right school.

If your a teacher and you want to understand, buy and read a copy of this, read some adoption related books Louise Bomber has written some good ones, ask BAAF or Adoption UK about training, Your local authority post adoption team can probably offer you some support and training too, but talk to your adopted pupil’s parents, and most of all listen to them. Their idea’s might seem outrageous or bizarre, but they know their child’s needs better than you.

Our kids deserve to be happy in school and out of school.

Our kids deserve to be happy in school and out of school.

When we switch to focusing on the process instead of the outcome, the level and intensity of suffering decreases dramatically – Heather Talbert Forbes

Random Wonderings about Child Trust Funds

Published September 12, 2013 by thefamilyof5

So in 2002 the UK government had this great idea that all children born after 1st Sept should be given a Ā£250 voucher to be invested until the child reached 18. By 2011 they’d stopped them. https://www.gov.uk/child-trust-funds/overview

Luckily for my girls, they were each entitled to one when they were born. ‘great’ you might think, but it’s not so simple i’ve since discovered.

Because birth mom obviously had parental responsibility when each of my girls were born she was sent details of their eligibility. From what I can tell no action was taken by her to invest their Ā£250 so the Government automatically did it for them. However, because ‘Child Trust Funds’ are no longer available, it would seem all the organisations that ‘know’ about them, aren’t available either, and the relevant departments, websites and telephone numbers are no longer active.

So I’m left with the difficult task of trying to change the details from birth mom’s to my own so that I can invest my children’s Trust Funds, yet no one seems to be able to help me with this.Ā  Perhaps some sort of post adoptionĀ  procedureĀ  needs to be put in place, my children can’t be the only adoptee’s with Child Trust Funds!

Off to a flying start……………..

Published September 6, 2013 by thefamilyof5

The girls have finished their 1st week at their new school.

Their 1st day, Tuesday, went smoothly, they talked about who they’d played with and they all said they didn’t know any of their classmates names yet, we talked about how they should remember they always had each other if ever they felt alone. They struggled to sleep, over anxious I expect.

The second day went even smoother it seemed, they told me they played together for morning break and lunch time and for the afternoon baby girl decided to play with her friends leaving middle girl and big girl to play together. Their behavior at home that day told me they were struggling. They’re tired, irritable, and emotional which is a bit of a vicious circle because they’ve then been so wired they’ve not been able to sleep resulting in the same for the following day. Middle girl and Big girl self harm when they get anxious and baby girl’s controlling behaviors around food heighten.

Thursday morning before school, after a rough nights sleep I sat them down and asked them to tell me the truth. Were they really having a lovely time or were they finding it difficult and just telling me what they thought I wanted to hear.

After lots of Um’s and err’s………….

Big girl: sometimes I don’t have anyone to play with so I just run about.
Middle girl: I wanted to have lots of friends but I only have 1 or 2 or maybe 4.
Baby girl: I miss you sometimes mummy.

I reassured them that they’d only been there 2 days, it was going to take some time to make some friends and get used to a new school. (it sounded a lot more therapeutic when i said it)
We went to school.
I called the head teacher aside after the girls had gone in and explained that they were struggling and asked if she could help them with friendships. ‘I’ve been keeping an eye on them she said, they’ve been doing fine’. After a quick chat about how they were experts at looking ‘fine’, and details about how their anxiety was effecting them at home she said she’d see what she could do.
I went home.
When I collected them at the end of day 3 they actually seemed less anxious. We talked about how their days had gone and Middle girl and big girl told me about all of these friends that had asked them to play and how much fun they’d had with them all. (gold star to the head teacher for that!!). Baby girl also seemed much happier, with her sisters occupied, she’d been free to play with her class mates all day and I guess that had given her the space from her sisters anxieties, so she’d been able to relax and have fun herself.

Day 4, it was raining! I hate rain!
But still, they had a great day again. When we arrived at school big girl was greeted by various girls from her class, some called her name and waved, some ran towards her to say hello, it was the same at home time too. Baby girl got lots of smiles from the girls in her class as we stood waiting for her sisters to come out.

They all came home with newsletters of school trips, after school clubs and important dates for the rest of the term.

I’ve been so worried all summer, I’ve doubted my decision over and over.
But now big girl will have the opportunity to learn french and will be going swimming every week, opportunities she didn’t have before and she’s already made friends quicker than she did at the last school, time will tell how these friendships will develop, but for now, she’s off to a flying start!
Middle girl is eager to join an afterschool club and whilst I know it will take her longer to make friends because of her language difficulties, I can already see that she’s beginning to settle, she’s been playing with her peers and not just running around the playground with the noisy shouty boys like she used to.
Its also early days for baby girl, and she’s always found it easier to socialise with her peers but she hasnt come out of school looked bedraggled, her hair band hasn’t been sat on, lost or broken like it was in her 1st week at her last school. She hasn’t already scuffed all her shoes, she hasn’t come home covered in pen or paint or dinner. she hasn’t come out having forgotten most of her belongings and being desperate for the toilet. She’s calmer.
I’ve noticed something too, the playground at home time, whilst all the parents are waiting for the children, is noisy, there’s chatter and laughter. There’s no huddling in to groups and whispering, there doesn’t seem to be any cliques and gatherings, it seems like a really friendly community of parents and grandparents.

I have a good feeling about it, I think were off to a flying start!

1st Day Nerves!

Published September 4, 2013 by thefamilyof5

It was the girls 1st day of their new school yesterday.

The night before I paced back and forth making sure I’d got everything ready for them, purses, snack money, extra snacks, lunches etc etc oh my head was a flurry of thoughts and fears. What if they don’t like it, what if the new lunch bags I got aren’t trendy enough, what if the other children all have something different to them, what if they refuse to go in, what if I haven’t packed enough food and they’re hungry, what if what if what if……………

I went to bed with a headache, I didn’t sleep much.

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We woke early, Daddy had booked the day off work so he could be there for drop offs and pick ups with me, something he usually misses out on. I was greeted by baby girl telling me how excited she was followed by a chorus of ‘me too’ from her sisters, I quickly told them it was ok to be nervous and that I was a little nervous too (ok ok I lied, I was terrified but I didnt tell them that). They all relaxed and no longer felt they needed to pretend to be excited and started to chat more about how they felt.

Baby girl needed a little lot of help to get dressed, her head was all over the place and it showed. Middle girl and big girl remained quiet and got on with getting dressed and brushing their teeth.

We ate breakfast and then realised that actually we’d managed to get ready super fast and had a little bit of time for some TV and of course the obligatory 1st day of school photographs, you know the ones, with bags, without bags, in side, outside, faces, full length etc etc.

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We found a lovely spot near a field with some lama’s to park the car just round the corner from the school which also allowed us a nice little walk, we like to walk a little bit of the way at least. Middle girl ran on ahead, baby girl clung to me and big girl held daddys hand. We called middle girl back and asked her to hold a hand, because even though she was running on ahead and making out that she was ok and didn’t need us, we knew inside she must be nervous too.

We arrived just before the school doors opened so had to wait on the playground for a short while. Whist we were there one of the mum’s came over and asked which of the girls was going to be in year 3. ‘Middle girl’ I said. She went on to tell us that middle girl would be bringing home a birthday invitation that day as it was her sons birthday and before the holidays he’d told his mom about the new girl in his class that he’d met for an afternoon in July, and asked her to make sure the new girl got an invite! WOW that’s middle girls 1st birthday invitation in over 2 years! I felt so happy for her!

We took the girls right to their classrooms, again middle girl insisted she didn’t need us and wanted to go on head by herself but we insisted. Baby girl was reluctant but with a little shove gentle persuasion she joined her class mates. Last but not least we took big girl to her class, she was nervous but she did her best to be brave, I helped her find her desk and her peg and left her to it.

I felt quite confident that the girls were going to have an ‘ok’ first day. I’d given them each a little wooden heart with a message on as a transitional object, I’d even sprayed a little of my perfume on them. They’d all walked in to class clinging on to them, so I knew they were going to offer some comfort, even if only for a few minutes. I’d also sneakily left some little I LOVE YOU notes in their lunch boxes, just in case they needed a little pick me up at lunch time. And with that, I went home (well to the CAMHS meeting).

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The day flew by, and we soon returned to collect them. They all came out of class beaming, all their teachers said they’d had a great first day and I believe them.

The rest of the evening was a little more difficult, the girls had clearly held in all of their emotions and all had so much to tell me, show me and share with me, so at the same time as showering, feeding and calming them, I tried to give them all some time to tell me all about the day. We had a few tears, but only out of frustration when a sister told me something they wanted to say so I reassured them, that hearing the same thing 3 times over was fine. I wanted to hear all about their 1st day from all of them. It was still really difficult, they were wired, emotional and exhausted.

Bedtime came and like over tired toddlers they all thrashed about in bed, arching their backs, kicking their legs until finally they could fight it no more and dropped off to sleep.

Quite a success I think!

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