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All posts for the month November, 2013

What Happens After the Headlines

Published November 30, 2013 by thefamilyof5

I really want to share this post with you written by ‘Last Mother’, it’s beautifully written and something I wish more people understood.
Trauma doesn’t just ‘go away’, it has lasting life changing effects.

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Tie Stress!

Published November 19, 2013 by thefamilyof5

-_- That pretty much sums up my thoughts tonight.

Yesterday baby girl came home bouncing off the ceilings, she was willful, contrary, impulsive and controlling.
After a difficult evening she ended up being sent to bed early 😦

She was up in the night, sobbing, a bad dream about someone getting their head chopped off. They’ve been doing Tudors in school so I presume that’s where that came from. She did talk about it quite a lot a few weeks ago after a school trip, but nothing recently really. Anyway, baby girl has bad dreams, they’ve been getting more frequent actually, probably once a week at least, I think its her age!? Any way usually I’m met with a tired looking baby girl telling me in a mono tone voice that she’s had a bad dream, usually I walk her back to her bed and settle her down, she usually takes a while to go back off, sometimes over an hour. Last night however, she was sobbing, real tears and everything. I pulled her in to my bed a cuddled her until she stopped. I took her back to bed and helped her snuggle down before going back to bed myself.

She was awake really early, coughing, she’s had a cough for a few weeks, she generally has a cough November to April so its nothing unusual. But when I got her up for school she looked terrible, pale, sunken eyes, sad looking really.
I didn’t take her to school today, she was too tired really and I know historically that her most difficult school days have been due to sleep deprivation so taking her would have felt like I was setting her up to fail.

During our morning routine middle girl and big girl kept mentioning their tie’s, and how they needed to look smart. It wasn’t until the morning breakfast rush was over and we were in the car on the way to school that I heard it again and asked why they were fussing over their tie’s. ‘The visitors are coming to school today we need to look smart’ said big girl. Then I remembered the letter that had come home from school last night. Ofsted are visiting today!

Suddenly it all made sense. Do you remember when I wrote about Ofsted Stress before, click here, well it seems I was right. After a quick explanation to all the girls about who Ofsted were, and how they were coming to inspect the school and the teachers rather than their tie’s, they seemed to relax.

Their stress levels are already set on ‘high’ making them ultra sensitive to things. Pretty much everything for them is stressful, they worry about the most insignificant and bizarre things as well as the important things.
For my girls Ofsted is just one stress too much.

Baby girl had a great day with me today, she’s had my undivided attention. so its no surprise that when I went out tonight to attend the 3rd of a 4 session training course, Mr Familyof5 had no difficult behaviors at all and she fell asleep soundly, unlike previous weeks.
She was regulated tonight, I did that. I just wish I could be available for her like that every day.

Any way, I’ve digressed. The point I was trying to make is, I know why we have Ofsted but seriously, my kids can’t be the only ones that pick up on the stresses that arise in school around their visits!?

The Silver Lining

Published November 17, 2013 by thefamilyof5

Well as you know, if your a regular reader, there’s been somewhat of a hiccup with my blog lately. My anonymity has been compromised and my privacy invaded. A ‘professional’ decided that my blog needed to bought to the attention of an organisation that the girls attend. This organisation decided that my blog needed to be bought to the attention of the child protection gate keepers. ‘What an outrage’ you might think!

My blog is currently read and supported by teachers, social workers, educational psychologists, authors, therapists, psychotherapists, adopters, prospective adopters, adoptees, birth parents, and general bloggers. So a few more isn’t going to hurt really is it.

After a brief chat with the lovely gate keepers about the lack of understanding on attachment and trauma within both the educational and health sectors, I decided that actually, this wasn’t such a bad situation after all and I was encouraged to continue to advocate, and help others to understand what I already know about my children.

I’m secretly pleased that my blog is being read by so many people that have the ability to change the way adoption is viewed and approached, although I wont deny being infuriated at the way my families privacy has been invaded with this breach of my anonymity.

I started my blog in the hope that I could reach out to other adopters and find support for myself, this quickly changed to me wanting to reach out and support others. My aim now is to reach out to the world and educate people on the effects of trauma and loss and attachment difficulties by sharing my own experiences in the hope that the world can be an easier place to live for adopted children and their families.

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So I’d like to say thank you to that ‘professional’, you’ve helped me reach even further and opened up some valuable lines of communication. Every cloud really does have a silver lining!

I’ve linked up this with this weeks #WASO over at The Adoption Social where you can read lots more great adoption blogs.

Silence of the Lambs

Published November 13, 2013 by thefamilyof5

I love this blog title, makes me smile 🙂

Some of you may have noticed that my blog was offline for a while, some of you will know through Facebook and some through twitter, some will know because your my closest friends and I told you.

I started writing my blog in May 2011. I never anticipated that over 2 years later I’d still be writing it, nor that so many people would be reading it. I never could have imagined the doors it would open for us and the friends I would find.

I love writing my blog, I’m passionate about what I write and I’m proud of its achievements and acknowledgements.

I started writing because I was stressed, things were hard and I had very little in the way of support, not many of my friends and family understood the difficulties we faced every day as a family and it left me feeling isolated and alone.

There are 100’s of great adoption blogs out there reflecting all the positive aspects of adoption, but there didn’t seem to be many that reflected the struggles. Convinced I couldn’t be the only adopter out there that was struggling I set about creating my blog and sharing my story. I kind of gave myself a little motto when I started, ‘Keep it real’, and that’s what I’ve done. Sadly some of the harsh realities of adoption are not very nice and some even down right shocking. Our story isn’t one of the worst ones, but its also not the fairy tale happy ever after that some families are blessed with.

My blog has become part of me, its where I write about our struggles and rejoices, its where I despair and its where I boast. There have been a lot of agencies involved in our lives over the last 3 years, and so obviously I write about those a lot to. Some are sighs of relief, some are exasperated gasps of disbelief.
My blog is read by all manner of people from adopters, social workers, educational psychologists, authors, mental health workers, teachers and even those involved with UK government. I have never named any persons or any specific organisation in any of my writings, I’m respectful of peoples privacy and appreciate the damaging effects that public displays of annoyance of one persons bad experience can have on another/s. At the same time I also know how important it is for me to share my story to others in similar situations. Some of my followers know me personally, some are family, some are not, some wouldn’t know me if they walked past me in the street, some would stop to say ‘Hi’.

I had hoped that all of my readers were genuinely interested in our journey, I had also hoped that all of those people that know me personally would be respectful of my privacy and anonymity.
Unfortunately not everyone that reads my blog has a genuine interest and sadly a reader felt they had the right to reveal my identity and my blog to a particular organisation we’re involved with yesterday. This worries me because I’m now concerned that by revealing this information, they could have also put my children’s safety at potential risk. Someone identified that this blog relates to our family and shared this information, who else will they share it with.

Needless to say I have made a few changes to my blog, you will notice there is now a ‘Legal Disclaimer & Disclosure’ policy, and also a ‘copyright’ policy, these can be found on individual pages at the top of my blog. I urge you to read them.

I considered for some time deleting my blog. I also considered never mentioning certain organisations again. However, I have the freedom to express and share my own thoughts and opinions just like every one else and so long as I continue to respect the privacy of other organisations identity and keep my blog honest there is really no reason why I should be forced to delete it. My blog has always been honest and open and this is not about to change. My blog has opened up a whole new world to our family, its had the greatest of impact on our lives and has bought us some much needed recognition and support. To delete my blog, would be to delete a huge chunk of my support network and also an injustice to other adopters who have reached out to me to thank me for sharing my story and helping them to see that they are not alone. But most of all, I will not delete my blog because this is about my girls, 3 very traumatised children, and this blog is for them and about them and my fight to help them, not a disgruntled ‘professional’ with a personal issue.

I will not be silenced.

Déjà vu

Published November 11, 2013 by thefamilyof5

There’s something familiar happening here, something that’s worrying me.
Baby girls having a tough time at school again.

Before I tell you about my worries, let me tell you about a few stories, things will all kinda add up in the end.

About 7 weeks ago baby girl got her first school party invitation, she was very excited. I noticed that during the party she seemed to struggle with interacting with her peers, she didn’t seem to know how to play with them and instead kind of just ran along side them, or stood along side them. Later on during the party a little girl came up to me, she was a shy little girl and her dad had only just managed to pries himself away from her to leave. She sat at the table and said ‘your BABY GIRLS mom aren’t you, she’s funny she’s always getting in to trouble for hiding under the table’. Its early days I thought, she’ll settle I’m sure.

About 6 weeks ago, baby girl was on the playground at home time, there was a girl happily playing on her scooter, it was one of those funky ones that have sparks that come out the back, any way, baby girl was really enjoying watching her playing whilst we waiting for her sisters. The little girl was smiling and gesturing to lots of the other kids and clearly enjoying all the attention she was getting. She scooted across the playground in our direction, oblivious of baby girls squeals of ‘go faster, go faster’. As she approached us she heard baby girl, looked in our direction to see who was calling out to her and that’s when i noticed it. The little girls face dropped. She went from being happy and smiley to angry and hostile. Baby girl quickly stepped back behind me and looked in another direction. I asked baby girl who the girl was, she told me it was a girl from her class. I asked if it was her friend, she said ‘yes, but sometimes she doesn’t like me’ I asked baby girl how she knew that sometimes she didn’t like her, baby girl said ‘ because sometimes she looks at me and goes urgh, its you’. Take no notice I said.

About 5 weeks ago, big girl tells me that baby girl was chasing one of the big boys around at play time. Baby girl said ‘but I love him mom, I really do. Your too young, I said, play with the children in your class.

About 4 weeks ago baby girl got a yellow card, it was on a Monday. This meant that on the Friday she had to miss her playtime. Her friend had given her a toy at play time. She’d put it in her dress pocket. In class she had her hand in her pocket and was messing with the toy. Her teacher asked her if she had something in her pocket. She said no. apparently she said no 3 times before her teacher told her to take the toy, that she knew she had, and put it in her bag. I attempted to explain to her teacher that day that whilst I agree that lying isn’t acceptable, she should also be aware that baby girl was lying out of fear. Fear of what would happen if her teacher got angry, She knows that angry adults can be scary. Her primal reaction is always fear based. I also tried to explain that a shame based sanction would just reinforce baby girls view of herself that she was bad. She missed her playtime that Friday.

About 3 weeks ago baby girl came out of school quite upset, after over an hour of trying to find out what was the matter I discovered that during play time one of the older boy’s had shouted at her to ‘move’. Now I know baby girl struggles with shouting and loud sudden noises, but her mood seemed very out of proportion for something that had happened hours before.

Half Term.

About a week ago baby girl came out of school and looked very worried and sad. She told me she’d been chosen to be a narrator in the Christmas play but she didn’t want to do it. With baby girl clinging to my arm I tried to speak to her teacher and explain that if we removed the pressure from baby girl by saying she didn’t ‘have’ to do it if she didn’t want to then i felt sure she’d feel more comfortable with the role and less pressured. the only reply the teacher would give is ‘well we do like them to have a try’. Clearly reluctant to help baby girl by reducing the pressure, I told her myself ‘if you don’t want to, you don’t have to’. Baby girl refused to hold my hand as we left the playground that day.

Last week baby girl came out of school upset. She said some of the children had said she’d broken a skipping rope and as a result she wasn’t allowed to play with the toys on the playground for a week. She was adamant that night that she hadn’t broken anything and thought the children must have got her mixed up. I spoke to her teacher the following morning and explained that I felt baby girl hadn’t broken anything and she was upset at being punished for something she hadn’t done. Her teacher said she’d sort it. When I collected baby girl later that day she told me her teacher had spoke to her, she told me she thought she was annoyed with her, she told me she kept saying ‘tell the truth’, she told me her teacher said she was ‘wasting her time’, she told me, ‘she didn’t believe me mommy’. I rang the head. She promised to sort it out on Monday (today) and let me know.

I collected baby girl today, she told me no one spoke to her about the skipping rope incident and she’s still not allowed the toys. Baby girls was very dark and negative tonight, I knew there was something she wasn’t telling me. After much investigating she told me about her day. There was prolonged trips to the toilet and swinging on the toilet doors, and her teacher telling her off. There were incidences of rocking on her chair, and her teacher telling her off. There was talk about not doing her work, and her teacher moving her. There was talk about swapping lunch with the little girl that didn’t like her. There was talk about spending a long time in the dinner hall, in fact most of lunch time. There was talk about children saying unkind things to her in the line on the way out of class.

Baby girls behavior at home has become more difficult over the last few weeks, she’s been more hostile and argumentative with her sisters. Her play has been much more negative with lots of talk about death and blood, she’s constantly mouthing and chewing things, she’s more fidgety and clearly not happy, even her sleep patterns have changed drastically.

Her teacher appears to have already lost her trust, any feelings of safety that she felt at school disappeared when her teacher disregarded her feelings and inflicted a shame based sanction on her and reinforced the idea that she is ‘bad’. If that wasn’t bad enough, she then later refused to hear her fears over the school play and then failed to believe her innocence allowing her to be punished for something she didn’t do.
She didn’t read any of the information I gave her did she!

Things are feeling really familiar here at the moment. She’s becoming totally dis-regulated in school again.
I’m very worried that things are just going to deteriorate, fast.

What do I do!?

Biggest Barrier

Published November 10, 2013 by thefamilyof5

This week the theme over at the adoption social for #WASO, is ‘Barriers’.

As a family we’ve faced many barriers, some of them huge, some not so much. Of all the barriers we’ve faced there is one that has been, and continues to be, the most difficult to face.

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It isn’t the lack of post adoption support
It isn’t the friends that left because they didn’t understand
It isn’t the family that turned the other way when things got tough
It isn’t the mental health specialists that made and still make, us jump through hoops
It isn’t even the teachers that didn’t and don’t ‘get it’

It the barriers the girls have put up, the wall they’ve built around themselves as protection.

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Brick by Brick, we’re slowly taking down those walls.

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Maybe one day they’ll trust us!

The trouble with 3

Published November 7, 2013 by thefamilyof5

The trouble with 3 is that someone always gets left out!

I have only 2 hands that can be held. 

1 feels rejected.

 

I have only 2 sides to sit beside.

1 feels frustrated.

 

I have only 2 knees on which to sit.

1 feels left out.

 

None of this is acceptable for my girls, the rejection they feel is amplified by their insecurities and lack of self worth. Its potentially very damaging.

3 attention demanding, competitive children don’t leave any space for 1:1 time, even reading a book with one is usually too much of an ask with some sort of problem requiring my immediate attention, thus taking me away from someone else. There is no sibling loyalty or compassion when it comes to attention, it’s every man (girl) for themselves, at any cost.

My girls ALL need ALL of me and anything less is never enough.

Considering cloning myself.

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The trouble with 3, is that there is only 1 of me.

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