Archive | July 2013

Holiday bliss (Beeswax and Buzzbee are off the clock)

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out

Ok before I start I have to be honest.  This post was intended to be written for last weeks #WASO. Unfortunately family life got in the way but for once it wasn’t my boys or even social workers that were the source of chaos and confusion.  No it was my dear ‘beloved’ sister and her family.  I go down to visit my parents (child & husband free) for a few days to have a break before the school holidays descend on me and somehow I ended up spending all the time entertaining or separating my warring niece and nephews while my sister flitted off here, there and everywhere. I guess you could say I was on a “Busman’s holiday” only my boys actually know that when you say it is bedtime that means it is bedtime – not leap about across beds trying to bounce each other out of their beds until gone 10.30pm.

Anyway, I very quickly resigned myself to the fact nothing was getting written. On the plus side I did finally get to see my niece in one of her ballet recitals which was really lovely and she looked adorable (OK, I know I am biased).

Thankfully this week Bumble and I have taken the boys away on holiday to the exact place that I was planning to write about last week so everything is very fresh in my mind, where before it would have been a little stale.

When it comes to going on holiday with the boys we have always been somewhat fortunate in the fact that the boys always cope really well and we have few if any issues while we are away. Yes, some of this is down to the planning and preparation we put in before and the fact that we only go places where we know there will be plenty for the boys to do.

However there is one place that has always had that something extra for our boys –  Center Parcs!  It is hard to explain, both boys are usually wound up tighter than a coiled spring but the moment we reach the complex and drive down the long winding road towards the security gate, something almost magical comes across them and if you listen carefully enough you will hear them both physically exhale.  My highly strung, anxious, controlling children turn into 2 chilled out Munchkins (if the boys ever read this they will give me grief for calling them that but I can’t think of a better fit).

  • They don’t fuss or panic about mealtimes.
  • They don’t insist on knowing the entire itinerary for the day.
  • Beeswax doesn’t spend every waking moment trying to be the parent to anything that is living or breathing.
  • Buzzbee accepts that he cannot do some things because of his size without it turning into a meltdown that is off the Richter scale
  • The boys cooperate with each other rather than compete (usually games of badminton, tennis or football would need careful supervision)
  • They laugh and giggle and it is real laughter. It is from the belly, it is heartfelt and very infectious.  They allow themselves to have fun and enjoy every moment of it.

To put it simply! For 5 days they “go with the flow” and take a holiday from their worries. The first time they did this we considered whether they were so far out of their comfort zone that they were too afraid to act out but after looking back at previous holidays which were not to Center Parcs we realised that for some reason which even they cannot explain they feel safe enough to truly relax and be simply children again.

I could rabbit on for ever about the effect it has on my boys but rather than that I have asked the boys to chose the pictures that they feel encapsulates their holiday.

Spider Monkeys Run from Sandy Bottom sand rapid pedal jardin feeder deer day2 day1 bonzi birdy 3swimfish hawk squirel3beesandhoney

“I am really sick, mummy!”

Ok if I were now sitting down and about to read the title of this post I would be thinking, “ahhhhhh poor little mite!”

Let me assure you straight away, Buzzbee has never been in ruder health! No, this was his response when I told him I was proud of his school report and how he described himself after his Street Dance lesson last night.

Too Cool For School

‘Sick’ apparently is good, wicked, off the hook (I think you get the idea).  He was pleased with himself and lately this is a very rare occurrence  so it is music to my ears to hear him describe himself like this (OK I would prefer he wasn’t using ‘Teen Speak’ but only because I get confused with all the meanings).

So why is he so pleased with himself and why am I planning to link this to #MemoryBox ?

Well I think the school report speaks for itself.  Despite all the trials and tribulations Buzzbee and school have been through this year, he and school have managed to find a way through it and although most areas he still feels unable to physically put pen to paper or stay in a classroom for more than 5 minutes, school have found more practical/indirect ways to keep his learning going and they are seeing progress not only academically but socially also, and he is feeling more and more confident about his abilities (mind you it is fair to say he hasn’t cottoned onto the fact he is learning each day, like his peers).

***Warning Gushing Mummy moment***

Buzzbee has tried several after-school activities that he expressly wanted to attend with limited success and have always ended in his self-esteem and confidence being knocked or it has be quietly suggested that “he many not want to come back”.

That was until recently  Buzz loves hip hop style dancing and doing tricks which quite frankly are turning my hair grey, and earlier this year he was invited to join a local street dance class (instructor had seen him flipping about in the playground at school).  From the first lesson he attended I didn’t recognise my little boy.  Not only was he calm and engaged the entire lesson but he was interacting with other children without trying to control them.  As the weeks have gone on he has grown more and more in confidence at his abilities during lessons and has began to do solos during the ‘freestyle circle’ (now his teacher has grey hairs too but she is impressed with his ability to control his moves and keep himself safe).

So why does he think he is ‘sick’ this week.  Well, simply because his class had a guest instructor come into their lesson yesterday and when Buzzbee finally plucked up the courage to show him the moves he had already learnt, the instructor said (and I quote) “Dude! for such a little man who hasn’t been learning for long, you have got sick skills, kid”, and the result of this wonderful praise! HE WOULDN’T GO TO SLEEP UNTIL 9.30pm BECAUSE HE WANTED TO BE EVEN BETTER FOR NEXT TIME (I apologise for the screaming).

To be honest the REALLY late bedtime was worth it to see him so happy.  When it was first suggested he started street dancing I was sceptical because of what has happened with all the other clubs but that concern has blown away. For 1 hour once a week my little boy forgets all his problems and throws himself into his lesson and the staff are just so wonderful with him. They have never had any concerns about managing his ‘fizziness’.

Buzzbee’s only gripe!  He can only do it once a week at the moment.

Memory Box
This entry was posted on July 11, 2013. 4 Comments

Hot under the collar

This #WASO post is written as part of a collective response to the article written in the Guardian on Monday 8th July

I have to say that it takes quite a bit to get me hot under the collar and as a rule I don’t allow myself to get drawn into media hype when I feel that by doing so it is just giving more publicity to someone or something that shouldn’t be getting it. Having said that I rarely allow myself to get worked up by media hype, I now find myself, along with several other adopters, feeling that we need to address the comments Fraser McAlpine has made in an article he wrote for The Guardian on Monday.

I have to say I am appalled by his narrow-minded judgements and obvious lack of understanding of how much awareness, knowledge and acceptance current and prospective adopters have when it comes to our children’s need to maintain their identity.

He says that he is an adoption panel member and so I can only assume he has seen and given his opinion on a fair share of prospective adopters and their suitability to adopt.  All I can say from reading this article is “I am glad he was never on our panel because we would not have seen eye to eye and just because he has sat on this panel does not give him the right to make such prejudicial remarks about adopters and assume he knows how their minds work!”

When my sons came to live with us they were 8 and 3 and were in care for approximately 18 months.  They came with a past and we never (and certainly never wanted to) tried to rush them to fit snuggly into our family, nor were we tempted to paint over their ‘old patterns’ or smooth over or hammer out their sharp corners. We understood from the very beginning how important it was for our boys (especially our eldest) to know that we accepted their past as well as wanting them to be part of their futures.  Their sense of identity is very important to us and is accepted and respected throughout our extended families and friends.

If anything our eldest when he first started his new school was the one who expressed a strong desire to be known from the beginning by our surname rather than his birth surname.  At the time it was questioned whether he was trying to rub out his past, but very quickly it became apparent this wasn’t the case because he was very open with his new schoolmates about us being his new family and that we were adopting him.  It was then acknowledged that this was his way of ‘claiming us’, but he still loved his birth family (and still does to this day). There has never been any question with him that the name his birth parents gave him is the name he will always keep, yes he plans to add an additional middle name once the final adoption order is granted, but he will always be Beeswax and it suits him. On the flip side our youngest, Buzzbee is desperate to change his first name. He doesn’t want to lose the name he was given entirely but would love to make it a middle name and replace his forename with a new (rather unique) name.  Like his big brother he has no intention of rubbing out his past, he sees replacing his name with a new name as a way of claiming his ‘new beginning’.  We have discouraged him from “demoting” his current name as we feel in the future he may regret this decision, but there is part of me that questions whether this was the right thing to do (yes, I know social services believe it was right, but are we denying his wish for their benefit rather than his?)

As for this debate over children’s names and class implications of some names. WHY is he giving that ridiculous woman even more publicity than she is already getting? Ironically both of my boys have fairly neutral names, whereas I have personal experience of a ‘stuck up mother’ (supposedly middle-classed) who wouldn’t let her son invite Beeswax for play dates or parties because he was adopted, despite having named her son with the surname of a certain football player!

Where I cannot deny from a personal perspective, the matching part of the adoption process was very painful and emotional and did at times feel like we were ‘catalogue shopping’ for children, we never made snap judgements about children/sibling groups based on their picture and profile information (in fact we were often told off by our SW for torturing ourselves with reading every detail of every profile in ‘children who wait’, ‘be my parent’ or our LA’s own profile newsletter, regardless of our suitability). How can he think it is ok to effectively portray prospective adopters (and current ones in fact) as being that shallow?  Our decision to adopt was the one of the biggest decisions we have had to make and for him to belittle this in such an insensitive manner is unforgivable.

As a panel member I would have expected Fraser to understand the hoops prospective adopters are made to jump through before their social workers will consider taking them to approval panel, let alone consider matching them with a child.

Personally our journey from our initial enquiry until we finally made it to panel was long, arduous and at times down right humiliating and degrading.  We spent several months convincing professionals that our desire to have a family far outweighed any desire to have a baby and that we were not entering into the world of adoption with ‘rose tinted glasses’ (which for us has been our saving grace). There is no such thing as a perfect family or perfect parents in my mind and so I had very little aspirations of what my future children would bring to our family.

As for the idea that a child’s name would have put us off enquiring about them or that we would rather be childless than have a child with a name we could not accept.  Give me a break! Does he honestly believe that adopter’s first priority when trying to become a family is the child’s name?  Again how shallow do you think we are?

I could probably go on writing about what I think about Fraser McAlpine’s article until the cows come home but why should I waste my emotional energy on him?

I live with 2 very traumatised boys who have turned our world upside down and inside out. It is emotionally and physically draining. I live with a constant feeling of social isolation because my children’s behaviours are deemed to be ‘socially unacceptable’. I have been punched, kicked, bitten, spat and sworn at more times than I care to think about in a week. We have had allegations made about us because our children survive the only way they know how – by keeping adults at bay and at being each other’s throats.

Can I suggest rather than judging prospective adopters by their covers you actually do your research next time, Fraser!  Rather than taking for facts from statements written in ‘The Daily Mail’, why don’t you visit The Adoption Social blogging site or better still talk to the people who are there on the ground day in and day out. Many adopters, including myself, are wonderful parents to our very ‘hurt’ children and are doing the best they can in sometimes very difficult situations and in the face of unsolicited criticisms and prejudices.

We don’t ask for medals or OBEs, and nor would I want one.  These are our children and we want what is best for them and their futures.  Maybe my sons will grow up and become nuclear physicists or professional footballers, and maybe they will grow up and decide that they want to work in the local supermarket.  It wouldn’t matter to me as long as they were happy and safe!

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out

 

A pets point of view

Hi. Mummy is still feeling “ruff” and she has asked the cats and I for some help with this week’s #WASO post.

Beedog

Let me start by introducing myself. I am Beedog and I am the newest member of the ‘Hive’. My grumpy co-writers moved in a little while after my 2 legged best friends Buzzbee and Beeswax moved in.

Anyone who has ever met the boys knows that they absolutely love all kinds of animals and are the kindest, gentlest owners I could ever imagine to have. So, when the cats and I moved in, they have never seen us as a threat. I suppose it helped that we were babies and darn cute ones at that if I do say so myself and mummy believes it helped that we were so young and needed lots of looking after and the boys were included in every aspect of our care.

         Beedog pup              ???
Ok, so one thing the cats and I can agree on is, we are very, very much loved and the boys (and mummy & daddy of course) spoil us rotten.
I am sure CBee1 & CBee2 would agree with me but our friendship with each boy is subtly different.

With that in mind, and because I have the ‘pawprint’ on the pulse of the household. Here is how I see mine and the cats relationship with each of our 2 legged, no tailed BFFs.
Beeswax isn’t home most of the week so the time he spends with us is much shorter and although I am always excited to greet him at the door when he gets home because I have missed him. There is no question that we know he is home. Waxy is always kind to us but we really don’t like how loud and angry he will get with Mummy, Daddy and Buzzbee. We find that if we stay out of the way until he stops and then give him lots of attention by rubbing against his legs, letting him stroke our fur or pinning him down and giving him a big slobbery lick, he soon starts to feel better. Waxy is always fun and I love it when he plays with his football in the house because I get to steal it from him and the cats say that they love it when he uses his belts to tease them but Beeswax doesn’t do any of our day to day care (he doesn’t like chores), sometimes mummy lets him try to walk me but I can be quite naughty on the lead for him and I am not very good at coming back to him because he hasn’t spent very much time practising training me. I guess we have to keep practising.

Now Buzzbee, what can we say about this small little whirlwind? I love him, I love him, I love him. He is my BFF (unlike the cats who don’t want to be my friends) and the cats say his is pretty special too.  Mummy and Daddy say that it is ‘cupboard love’ with the cats and if food is involved I will love anyone too.  No seriously Buzzbee feeds us every day and not just because it is his job but because he wants to and is an expert at sneaking us treats when no-one is looking. Buzzbee is a lively little 2 legged thing and sometimes even I can’t keep up with him.  Like Waxy, Buzz can get very angry and most of the time we stay out of the way, like we would with Beeswax, but sometime what Buzzbee  really needs is for me to get up beside him, lick the tears from his face and then plonk my sloppy chops on his lap and let him play with my ears until he is giggling again.  Something the cats and I agree on is Buzzbee is always excited to see us and happy to play with us no matter if it is the middle of the day or the middle of the night (the late ones are with the naughty moggies not me).  Buzzbee is a bossy boots sometimes and has since I was very little helped mummy train me.  I am better at walking on a lead for Buzzbee although he is only allowed to walk me if an adult is with us.  Some people think I walk nicer for him because he is so dinky but as I said he is bossy and if I am doing something wrong he corrects me (it helps he uses lots of treats to make sure I do as I am told).

CBee1, CBee2 and I love the boys so you could be forgiven for thinking we are biased, but Mummy’s parents have 2 old dogs and they are usually nervous of young children but not Buzzbee and Beeswax. They go bonkers and forget that they are over the hill and want to play with the boys for as long as I do.

football time

Any pet would be honoured to have Buzzbee and Beeswax as their owners but one thing has always puzzled me. If they are so wonderful with four-legged creatures. Why do they find it so hard getting on with or spending time with the two-legged kind?

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out