friends

All posts tagged friends

I just don’t get it…….

Published September 9, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Teacher: “ashfshh skghgh jdghihg sighskgh ok?”

Middle girl: “ok”

Girl in class: ” geigh digyig oidhgi dkvh ihf htya wanna play?”

Middle girl: “no thank you”

Boy in class: “skhg dkgh kdhk ssfh sgkhskf jdhfsdk”

Middle girl: *smiles and walks away

Dinner lady: “why did you kfh sg sghs skghsh sghslg?”

Middle girl: “I dont know”

Lady in shop: sdh skgh skdhg skhgs?

Middle girls: *smiles and hides behind me

Ok ok so people didn’t really say this to middle girl, but I think a lot of the time this is what she hears.

I’ve had a really long conversation tonight with middle girl, it was mostly long because she found it so difficult to explain things to me and to find the words she needed. It was supposed to be a general chat with all 3 girls about how they’d found their first 5 days of school and what they disliked most and what they liked most, it was mostly for big girls benefit because she’s struggling with something at the moment but is refusing to talk to me about it, it didn’t work, all I got was chairs bumping in to her in class and noisy kids, none of which I feel are the real issue she struggling with so I’m still none the wiser about whats keeping her awake all night and all baby girl said was that she doesn’t like it when her teacher shouts as it scares her, she was just too tired and too wired to offer any more, but middle girl, well she had so much she wanted to tell me.

What did you just say!?

What did you just say!?

I cant tell you the specifics about our conversation because it was so fragmented and so difficult for me to make sense of that I really wouldn’t know where to start, but the gist of it was basically that a lot of the time she just doesn’t get why people say the things they say and do the things they do, there is just so much in her world that she is confused about and so much that she doesn’t understand and she’s feeling really frustrated by it all. There wasn’t a specific theme to her confusion either, so it wasn’t all about her peers, or all about her teachers, some of it was expressions, some of it words, some of it actions. It was even simple things like “why do they keep saying SHE to Miss XYZ when my name is middle girl, I just don’t get it!?”

My poor baby, it must be like living in a foreign country and not speaking the language!

 

BFF’s

Published March 8, 2014 by thefamilyof5

Friendships have always been a tricky one for big girl, she lacks the confidence to instigate friendships and the social skills to maintain them. She made a few friends shortly after they moved to their new school, and for a while things seemed to be going well, but, like all little girls the ‘fallings out’ began. The trouble is, that the average 9 and 10 year old girl has been making and breaking friendships for a few years now, so they generally know the score and have built up certain levels of resistance, however for my poor poor big girl, the whole concept of making up and breaking up with her friends is all just too new and little too much for her to cope with. With each ‘Im not your friend any more’ that she hears, her self worth and self confidence diminishes a little bit more. She’s already convinced herself that she’s rubbish so all this ‘breaking up’ just confirms it for her.

Im rubbish

Im rubbish

Middle girl started off school life as one of the most popular, there was always someone on the playground calling out to her and wanting to say ‘Hi’. Over the years this seems to have stopped, and just like she does in everything else, she became invisible. I met with her teacher the other day and we briefly discussed middle girls social skills. Im concerned she’s masking her loneliness on the playground by ‘appearing to be ok’, which is something she excels in. I was reassured that she has friends and perhaps even a special friend, a girl called ‘AXXXX’ apparently. Middle girl rarely talks about her class mates and when I ask who she’s played with each day, its always a different name and usually a boy. We spoke today about different things and today she told me her BFF is a boy called ‘JXXX’, again, not a name I’ve ever heard before, I’m not sure she really knows what a friend is, or prehaps she is just trying to tell me what she thinks I want to hear.

Who are my friends?!

Who are my friends?!

Baby girl flits around playing with various different girls from her class from what I gather, she rarely talks about boys, except the older boy in her school that she ‘really loves’ that is, anyway, like her sisters I have to base my opinions on what I see and what they tell me. Baby girl isn’t great at communicating about her day, she often fixates on a teeny aspect of her day and becomes unable to tell me about much more, so I base my opinions on what I see at the end of school each day. She often has a little group of girls from her class around her, she organises them, tells them where to stand and proceeds to instruct them in a very teacher like manner, on what they have to do, she tells them to ‘listen to me’, ‘copy what I do’ , ‘you stand there’, ‘put your hands like this’, ‘that’s it well done, great work’. Im not sure that this would be tolerated for much longer than the 5 minutes we’re waiting for her sisters, so I expect that’s why she flits from friend to friend during her ‘playtimes’ and often decides to play skipping, by herself.

Copy me everyone!

Copy me everyone!

Friendships present all my girls with difficulties, worries and upsets. I work really hard to tell each of them what a good friend is, what a good friend says and how a good friend behaves. All the time though I’m wondering, am I really the best role model for friendships, after all, where did all my friends disappear to over the years.

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This was written for this weeks ‘Friends’ theme, for the Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO, over at The Adoption Social.

Its all ok now, isnt it!?

Published August 28, 2013 by thefamilyof5

One of the (many) difficulties adopters face is the lack of understanding from friends and families. The people we leaned on for support over the years, that change in job, moving house, end of a relationship, start of a relationship, money worries, health troubles the list goes on, they’ve been there, they’ve understood because usually they’ve been there themselves but suddenly they aren’t able to understand, they’ve never been involved with adoption and only know what they’ve read in the newspaper or snippets from a film. They know nothing of the real, raw, life changing facts of adoption. 

 
I met with a friend last night, I met her at Prep Group, we started the adoption process together. We got there first, they followed less than a year later. They live some distance from us, it’s manageable but it’s not ‘pop in for a cuppa whilst passing’ distance, if you know what I mean. Over the last 3 years we’ve met up a few times a year with our husbands, enjoyed some good food and much needed chatter. Organising a time that’s convenient for all, and arranging a babysitter for the chosen date, has always been quite troublesome. Like us, the only real practical support they get is from her parents, but sadly hers live quite a distance away and mine have busy lives of their own. 
 
I met with her last night, just her and I. Recently we’ve been leaving our husbands home to babysit so we can meet more regular. We’ve needed too. We’ve needed that opportunity to offload. We head home with a smile, feeling a weight lifted. 
 
Aside from our usual rants, moans and outrages, last night we also discussed friend’s and family. Neither of us have seen anyone this holiday (aside from our parents). We’ve spent the entire school holiday, just us and our kids and of course our husbands when they haven’t been at work. Were exhausted. Emotionally drained. Lonely. Fed up. There’s been no over night stays with grandparents or sleep overs with friends, there have been no play dates or outings without us. 24/7 it’s just been us and our traumatised kids.  Yes, they’re still traumatised, it didn’t wash off in the bath one day.
 
This got us talking about how we see and hear very little from anyone these days. In those early weeks we may have had the odd phone call, facebook message or text with offers of support and help, if I’m honest, other than my mum, I never had many of those, I guess everyone either figured we needed some space, or that we could cope, I’m not sure, but in general, adopters are supported by friends and family and their struggles understood for at least a few months much like a family with a new baby. 
 
But 3 years in, almost everyone seems to have forgotten us. 
We’re settled now. 
We’ve gone through the worst bit. 
The children are secure.
ALL myths.
 
It didn’t feel like it at the time, but that 1st year was the easiest. We had regular social worker support and the children were so terrified they didn’t dare do anything except please us. Our friend’s were still ‘our friends’ and we hadn’t been consumed by the trauma of our children, and we weren’t in therapy. That was the Honeymoon period. (it’s different for each family, but I think our honeymoon period was about a year). Then things changed, our friends had faded in to the distance, the social workers had vanished, the therapy had started the trauma began to leak.
What no one seems to realise is that the more settled the children become, the harder it is. The more boundaries they test, the more they explore their feelings around their past, the more angry they feel, the more loss they feel and the more trauma they offload. And it’s us they offload it onto. 
 
If ever there was a time we NEEDED support, some practical help, that time is now. Yet we rarely receive offers of practical help anymore because 3 years down the line we’ve got it covered, haven’t we?!
 
I’ve written this on behalf of adopters out there that feel abandoned, unsupported, and lost not only by the system, but by their friends and family too. Those that have experienced the pressure, the expectations and assumptions from everyone else, that everything is ok, when really it’s not ok, we’re not ok! 

 

Friends & Friendship

Published June 23, 2013 by thefamilyof5

This weeks topic for #WASO (Weekly Adoption Shout Out) is friends.

Friends is always a cause for concern for any parent, for me, the worries that keep me awake in the small hours are different for each of my daughters.

Big girl has always found friendships difficult, partly due to her Autism and partly due to her past. Big girl lacks the skills to make and keep friends. Her need for control makes sharing difficult and her communication issues make even conversations difficult. Big girl and I recently started an Adaptive Skills course. The course is aimed at teaching her new/better ways to make friends. We’re 3 weeks in to a 6 week course and so far we’ve covered ‘Greetings’ ‘Conversations’ and ‘Friendships & Compliments’. One of the practical exercises in our last class was for each of the 8 children on the course to pair up with another child and share what they do that makes them a good friend, and what they could do better. Big girl paired up with a boy and after her initial shyness, giggling and noise making I prompted her to begin the conversation. ‘What makes you a good friend’ I asked. ‘Im good at sharing, I listen and I play the things my friends want to play’ she replied, ‘and what do you think you could do better?’ I prompted. ‘erm…………….nothing’. The little boys conversation went pretty much the same way. At the end of the session the little boys mother and I had a brief chat. ‘They already think they’re great at being friends so I cant see how this course is going to help them’ she remarked, ‘I agree’ I replied. Big girl doesn’t have any friends, she’s never been invited to a party, she’s never had a play date and often spends break times by herself. Yet if you ask her, she’ll tell you she has lots of friends, but she’ll lie awake at night knowing she hasn’t. So I share this mothers concerns, how will this course help them, if they ‘think’ they’re already doing all the things they’re being taught.

During reception class and the early part of Year 1 Middle girl used to be so popular, she was always greeted on the play ground each morning with a chorus of ‘good mornings’ from a huge array of children, mostly girls. She’s been on play dates and used to be inundated with party invites. Lately however things have changed, now nearing the end of year 2 she no longer appears to be so ‘noticed’ on the playground, the girls that used to call her name now walk on by, these days, she walks across the playground shouting the odd ‘good morning’ to a small handful of boys, who barely acknowledge her. So what changed!? Her peer group grew up. The girls she played princesses with on the playground now want to chat, and talk about the latest pop group or share some dance moves. Middle girl has a speech and language issue which can make conversations difficult, her conversation doesn’t flow like that of her peers, its fragmented and often doesn’t make sense. Her desperation to please and fit in is just an added pressure to make ‘finding the words’ more difficult. So these days she plays mostly with the boys, she cant tell you there names, or what they play just that she plays with them. She hasn’t had a party invite for over a year now and the play dates dried up in year 1.

Baby girl has great social skills, she can be kind, she can listen and she can hold a great conversation. However the chaos inside her, craves more chaos which draws her towards the more difficult children. She’s drawn to the children that lead her in the wrong direction, the children that fulfill her need for chaos yet terrify her at the same time. Baby girl isn’t yet ready for play dates I feel, which is good because she’s not been invited to any, and the party invitations have dwindled. Its no surprise though, and its perfectly understandable, I’m not sure I’d encourage my child to play with a girl that was so disruptive in class and ‘known’  to be in so much trouble all the time. I know the other side to her though, I know inside she is a kind and gentle, frightened little girl that so desperately wants to find her place in the world around her. She’s lost, torn and confused by the love that surrounds her and the chaos within her. She’s not ready to lead just yet, so for now she’s being led.

Friendship According to Wiki

In childhood, friendships are often based on the sharing of toys, and the enjoyment received from performing activities together. These friendships are maintained through affection, sharing, and creative playtime. While sharing is difficult for children at this age, they are more likely to share with someone they consider to be a friend (Newman & Newman, 2012). As children mature, they become less individualized and more aware of others. They begin to see their friends’ points of view, and enjoy playing in groups. They also experience peer rejection as they move through the middle childhood years. Establishing good friendships at a young age helps a child to be better acclimated in society later on in their life (Newman & Newman, 2012).

Its hardly surprising my girls struggle, they’re busy putting all their emotional and physical energy into keeping themselves safe in school, they don’t have anything left for ‘Friendship’.

Photographic Memories

Published April 29, 2013 by thefamilyof5

I love to take photo’s, I take so many that its a major operation to sort through them and choose the best ones for the albums.

Last night as I trudged my way through the 1000’s of digital images on my hard drive I was reminded of the loss that we as an adoptive family have endured. The ‘friends’ and ‘family’ that chose to walk away when things got tough. The faces that were once photographed and cherished enough to go in to our albums, are now faces we see no more.

I love photo’s, they’re a wonderful reminder of who and what’s important, even if a little sad sometimes too.

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.

The Journey

Published June 24, 2011 by thefamilyof5

Is discovering with each passing day how lonely and judged the adoption journey can be. Some try, but very few understand, so instead I find myself opening up to strangers who are on the same journey as they’re the only ones that can truly understand, the ones that have walked in my shoes and are still walking their own journeys, some now lucky enough to have found a spring in their step, hopefully I’ll find my spring soon to!

Thinking of starting up a local support group!

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