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All posts for the month April, 2015

Half Term (Part 2)

Published April 19, 2015 by thefamilyof5

Half Term Part 2 is over, I feel really very sad about sending them back to school tomorrow. We’ve had an amazing time, the transformation in the girls has been remarkable, especially middle girl, she’s surprised me the most!

So, here’s how our final week went.

Sunday, it rained, a lot, so we went with my sister to see Cinderella at the cinema, in hindsight it probably wasn’t the best choice of films. All 3 girls found the ‘dying mother’ bit too much to handle. They’ve lost so much already in their little lives that any kind of loss overwhelms them. Baby girl found it particularly difficult but was able to talk about it straight away unlike her sisters her pondered the story line over night and eventually told me about how sad it had made them feel the following morning. After our movie we enjoyed a lovely meal, the girls were very impressed that they got to take home the funky straws from Bella Pasta.

 

 

Monday we had plans to meet in the park with a friend of mine and her 2 adopted children. The girls enjoyed a great time scooting and chatting with them and they all even had a game of ‘tag’ afterwards whilst us mom’s sat chatting and slowly freezing to death, it wasn’t as warm as we’d hoped!

Tuesday we were expecting a dishwasher repair man between 10am and 2pm. So we snuck out for a cheeky McDonald’s breakfast first thing and then the girls played in the garden, it was a gorgeous sunny warm day. Baby girl even set up (a very easy) crazy golf course! PS dishwasher repair man couldn’t fix it so he said we could have a new one!

 

Wednesday was set to be warm, and it didn’t disappoint! The morning was spent doing crafty stuff, mostly painting!

 

When Daddy got home from work we dusted off the BBQ and enjoyed the first family BBQ of the year, fizzy pop and everything! Baby girl, sipping her drink through her new funky straw, said ‘mommy this Orange is fizzy and its tickling my tongue’ .

 

The tickly tongue comment gave me an idea. I gave them some popping candy after our BBQ, their first ever experience of it! I wish I could show you their faces, or even the video I have of them with it crackling in their mouths. Needless to say it was a new experience for them, and a fun one at that! Oh how we laughed!

 

Thursday was a tad cooler so we warmed ourselves up with an ‘Unlimited Breakfast’ at our local Brewers Fayre pub, it really is a favorite of the girls. Then home for play. Middle girl and Big girl opted for crafty type play whilst baby girl decided to get out the water play, she really does like ‘water play’. Later on we added some ‘Gelli Baff’ to the water and they all enjoyed playing (big girl said it was gross and chose to watch) with the yukky sludge.

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Friday was sunny but cool so we made plans to meet some of my family and spent a couple of hours in the park, a quick lunch in the Harvester before heading to the shops to do what girls do best ‘Shop’.

Saturday was spent at home again waiting for the new dishwasher to arrive. We decided to have a BBQ for tea but hadn’t taken in to account that once the sun left our garden around tea time, it was going to be quite chilly. So we wrapped up warm and soldiered on eating our burgers and sausages whilst shivering and wiping dripping noses! yum! We managed to keep ourselves warm laughing!

 

On Monday a lovely couple in the park had asked when the children went back to school. This was enough to plant a seed for my girls, school was officially back on their radars. Thursday, at breakfast, the lovely manager in the pub asked the girls how they were spending the last 2 days of holidays. I’d say that’s when it really hit home. The ‘I don’t want to go back to school’ started, sleep deteriorated and their irritability returned. On a positive note they were all able to talk to me about how they were feeling, even Middle girl, and she never tells me anything, ever!

Today we’ve encouraged the girls to play separately, and I know this may sound like an odd tactic given how well they’ve played together this half term. You see today their anxiety levels were at an all time high, Big girl’s voice was so high pitched only dogs could hear it, Baby girl was clingy and controlling and Middle girl seemed to be ‘disappearing’ again. Id imagine many people that have adopted siblings will understand what I mean by a ‘Trauma Bond’, but for those of you who don’t, I’ll try and explain. The girls share an intricate bond which was formed during a traumatic time in their lives meaning they ‘feel’ each others negative emotions and have the ability to ‘re-traumatize’ each other in times of heightened anxiety. So today we decided to try and prevent as much upset as possible by encouraging them to enjoy their own space and activities.

We did break up the day with lunch at a local world buffet, they even had a chocolate fountain, Baby girl thought she’d died and gone to heaven! In the car talk of school raised its ugly head again with all 3 declaring they didn’t want to go and wanted to be ‘home schooled’ instead like our friends children. It was quite a moment as Middle girl has NEVER once indicated that she doesn’t like school, in fact she’s often been the one to tell me she’d rather be at school than at home. But, she doesn’t always say what she means, or mean what she says, so I’ve never been sure of how she really felt about school, her anger tells me she hates it but her words say she likes it!? So when Middle girl declared she didn’t want to go back to school I pointed out that she’d always told me she likes school. Her reply, ‘I like being with my family’. This is a really big thing, she’s always been so angry that I genuinely thought she hated us all! I’m not kidding!

Tonight before bed we’ve had strops, sulks and tears. I don’t think it will be long before the anger and tantrums and bickering return. The next half term is in sight but its only one week long, I’m not sure that’s long enough. This school holiday was 2 weeks long yet it took Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday for them to ‘come down’ from the hype of school. Given that the build up started around Thursday of this week I’d say that leaves us with Tuesday and Wednesday of the next half term as possible ‘good’ days! I really wish school didn’t have such an impact, or that I could pin point and fix whatever the issue is!

Baby girl had a good idea tonight, she suggested I have an invisibility button installed so I could go to school with her! I think its a brilliant idea!

I’ve linked this post up with #WASO over at The Adoption Social

 

 

Extending the scope of Virtual Schools to Adopted and other Vulnerable Children – A Seminar for Directors of Children Services

Published April 17, 2015 by thefamilyof5

Calling all adopters and Local Authorities, breaking news!!!

Gareth Marr

The Big News – Let’s make it heard.

I have been campaigning on this for a year and have not met anyone – Directors of Children Services, Virtual School Heads, Social Workers, Adopters, Academics and many others – who have disagreed with the logic that Children who were Formerly in Care can often need the same support in school as that provided by Virtual Schools for Children in Care.

So how do we get it to happen? Two ways.

1. The Department for Education issues a statutory direction that it is to happen. This is what they did for Children in Care, requiring all LAs to have a Virtual School and a Virtual School Head and provide Personal Education Plans. I am hopeful that will happen for Adopted Children after the election. I am working with others to lobby for this change and the indications are that the ears that…

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Dear Teacher

Published April 17, 2015 by thefamilyof5

Being understood, is so important!

Attachment and Resilience

Dear Teacher.

I do not know what words to use to express my thoughts and feelings so I asked my psychologist to help me with this letter.

I feel unsafe at school.

People bother me.

Especially when they are doing their own thing.

Especially when doing their own thing involves me!

I like to do my own thing.

If people won’t join me in my own thing I need them to be away from me.

I want to hide or leave the classroom or playground.

I imagine a safer place.

You will be able to tell when I am imagining my safer place as you will think I am daydreaming.

You may tell me off.

Other kids may laugh and make fun of me.

You are all mean.

You don’t care.

You don’t understand.

You can’t be trusted.

You are just like those that hurt me.

You need to be…

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The Challenge ;)

Published April 15, 2015 by thefamilyof5

I’ve noticed the last month or so that middle girl has started getting annoyed with baby girl using a shortened version of her name (which she’s always done I add). Middle girl is frequently shouting at baby girl to ‘stop calling me that, my name is xyyz’ often resulting in some sort of strop and argument between them.

This morning, after trying to explain to middle girl why it was so difficult for baby girl to suddenly stop calling her the name she’s always called her, I decided to set middle girl a challenge.

So, for the whole of today she’s to try and always use baby girls first and last name every time she says her name.

Its lunch time, she hasn’t managed it once yet, but she has giggled about it, which is a relief because it could have easily become something else to sulk about! 🙂

 

 

 

Half Term (Part 1)

Published April 11, 2015 by thefamilyof5

Its Easter half term here at the moment, so far its been a real success. Sleep has improved, tantrums have all but disappeared and the girls general mood is just much ‘nicer’. MrFO5 and I have both remarked on the difference in middle girl in particular. Prior to half term she’d been very angry, stroppy and irritable for, well, as long as I can remember to be honest, yet this week she seems to have found her smile again! So, this is a quick run down of our week so far……………..

We had an Easter dinner with my Family on bank holiday Monday and enjoyed a lovely walk to the park afterwards.

Saying Hello to the Donkeys en-route to the park.

On Tuesday MrFO5 was back at work so I’d prepared by booking up some activities at the local leisure centre to give the girls a break from each other and me a break from them. The original plan was a 2hr activity Tuesday for Middle girl, one Wednesday for Big girl and one Thursday for Baby girl, then on Friday all 3 were booked in activities for the majority of the day. We all know things never go to plan though eh! Sadly after collecting Middle girl from her club on Tuesday I noticed that procedures were not being followed by the leisure centre staff and as a result I didn’t feel my, or anyone else’s children, were safe. I made a formal complaint and cancelled all further sessions. However, during middle girls activity Baby girl and Big girl were able to enjoy some time together with me at the park.

Wednesday was not such a good day. It seems sending Middle girl to a club on Tuesday was too unsettling for all of them and they didn’t sleep much Tuesday as they were worrying who was going to club next, meaning Wednesday was a bit tricky. However once Daddy got home from work we did manage a lovely evening scoot around our village and park (something I wouldn’t have been able to manage by myself given their difficult/tired moods). Middle girl had a tantrum close to bedtime, but even that was different, it was more of an ‘upset’ tantrum rather than the usual ‘rage’ filled tantrums she has. Thursday was back to being good, all girls slept well once I’d reassured them that no more clubs were booked in. We enjoyed an enormous breakfast, some fun in the garden and another evening scoot.

We do love our Brewers Fayre brekkies!

We do love our Brewers Fayre brekkies!

Middle girl loved having her nails painted!

Middle girl loved having her nails painted!

Thursday night MrF05 and I were very lucky, my mum and sister offered to babysit so we could enjoy a film and meal, without kids!!!

A beautiful meal in Bella Italia followed by a movie!

A beautiful meal in Bella Italia followed by a movie!

Friday we spent some more time with my family and the girls enjoyed a stroll along the canal with their favorite Auntie and cousins. Saturday (today) we finally got round to taking the girls to see ‘Home’ at the cinema, they really enjoyed it.

Excited girls looking for the right 'screen'.

Excited girls looking for the right ‘screen’ at Cineworld.

We also tried a new restaurant after our meal, baby girl wasn't keen on the decor, it looked messy (exposed pipes/ducting) apparently!

We also tried a new restaurant after our meal, baby girl wasn’t keen on the decor, it looked messy (exposed pipes/ducting) apparently! Didnt stop her scoffin her pizza though, which actually she described as ‘the best ever’!

Overall its been a real success! I really cant believe the difference in their moods compared to ‘term time’, I’m exhausted, but happy! Lets hope part 2 is just as good! I’ve linked this up with #WASO (Weekly Adoption Social) over at The Adoption Social

3 Years ago today!

Published April 11, 2015 by thefamilyof5

I wrote this 2 years ago.
We’re approaching our 5yr anniversary of becoming a family and I’m still not afraid to admit that I’m still learning, every single day.

The Family of 5's Journey

3 years ago today we travelled 3 and a half hours to the girls local authority and met with their teachers, nursery staff and foster carers.

3 years ago today I knew very little about child development.
3 years ago today I knew very little about the lasting effects of trauma.
3 years ago today I knew little about attachment.
3 years ago today I knew nothing of the education system.
3 years ago today I knew nothing of the mental health care system.
3 years ago today I knew nothing of post adoption support.
3 years ago today I had no understanding of how much adoption would change our entire lives.
3 years ago today I didn’t know how significant a tiny hand holding mine would be.
3 years ago today I had no idea how much ‘sleep’ would impact our lives.
3 years ago today I knew nothing…

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