Tag Archive | friends

Resolutions – No Turning Back

The week sees the first ‘The Adoption Social’ #WASO for 2014 and so they have aptly chosen the theme of ‘Resolutions’.

Like clockwork every year, I end up having the same conversation several times with several people and the dialogue never really changes.

Friend: Happy New Year! Soooo! Have you made any New Years’ resolutions?

Me: Yes!

Friend: Well, don’t keep me in suspense. What are they?

Me: Like last year and the year before, and the year before that. I resolve to not make any ridiculous New Year’s resolutions which I know very well I will not keep.

The conversation usually very quickly moves to their long list of resolutions about going to the gym more or finally sticking to a diet. The best one I have heard this year has to actually come from my dad – he is talking about taking up Yoga (if you knew my dad you would know that he is more likely to start avidly supporting Manchester United before he would manage to seriously take up Yoga).

Anyway, this year I am breaking with my own tradition and have made a private, personal New Year’s resolution (although now it is going to be written here it is not so private. So, step 1 is already complete).

This year I will try to stop letting my fear of the past stop me from opening up and accepting people’s support, without all the negative, self-destructive thoughts about the implications of this support sending me running for the hills and so falling into an even deeper hole of despair (although I am not sure I can fall any further. I have already reached the bottom of the well).

OK so that is the easy bit. I have said it! Now can I truly stick to it?

Honestly! I don’t know.  But, what I do know is I am the only one standing in the way of me feeling like my old self again.

I know that what I am asking of myself is not going to be easy but:-

  • I have to stop letting the past hold me back from being the mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister & friend, I should be. This scares me more than anything because I know to do this I am going to have to first find the courage to ask for the support I need to finally revisit and put the past to bed once and for all.
  • I have to accept that everyone has an opinion and I shouldn’t allow other people’s ill-informed, negative views of me as a mum/individual to damage my confidence and self-esteem.
  • I need to be kinder to myself. If I am having a tough day with the boys and I succumb to their ‘button pushing’ attempts and I respond in a less than therapeutic manner, I have to stop beating myself up over it and remember I am a human being and parenting 2 extremely frightened, traumatised (and currently testosterone fuelled) boys takes a lot out of you.

This list could go on forever and there is a big part of my avoidant personality that is saying “finish it in full and then throw it away before anyone sees it and holds you to your promises”, but I can’t!

I can’t keep being a ‘hypocrite’.

I am expecting my sons to do what I cannot do myself.  I spend my days trying to help my boys learn to trust me when they have been so hurt/let down by adults in their past. I am constantly trying to encourage them to open up and not keep all their fears, worries or problems all bottled up. But that is exactly what I do.

What kind of message am I sending to them?

I can hear Beeswax right now. – “Mummy would love us to learn to trust her to help us with our problems, but she gets to just bottle everything up and not let anyone help her just because people have hurt her and betrayed her trust recently and in the past. How is that fair?”

It would be easy for me to sit here at my laptop tapping away on the keyboard, writing lots but not really ever saying anything and over-analysing everything I have written worrying that it sounds too ‘wet’ or ‘pathetically self-indulgent’, and allow those negative thoughts to take over again and delete this entire post without anyone ever seeing it and so freeing myself from the commitment/promise of my own New Year’s resolution.

But, this year I need it to be different. Up until now the boys have not really noticed anything. They still have had their ‘bossy boots’ mummy who has:-

  • Fed them when they were hungry
  • Tucked them in at night when they ask for it
  • Hugged them when they are sad (or mad)
  • Been there waiting for them to come out of school with a non-judgemental smile (I am getting quite good at that one).
  • Played silly games and tells the ‘worst’ jokes on the planet.
  • Etc……..

But, there are chinks showing in my amour and the boys are starting to notice and so are others (including some I wish hadn’t) and I need to fix that before it becomes a problem. I want to say that I am doing this purely for myself and not because I hate that I am not the mum and wife that Bumble and the boys deserve at the moment.

I don’t have a magic wand and neither will the person(s)/agency who I seek support from. It will take time (if I can muster the courage) and in the meantime I need to start being nicer to myself and practise what I preach all the time to the boys.  I need to stop looking at all my mistakes and celebrate my achievement and start enjoying life again – although I still need to make sure that my family is my first priority and that I am still being the best mum, wife, daughter -that I possibly can be for them.

I suppose what I am trying to say as I come to the end of this #WASO post is…. This year my resolution is to start taking better care of myself so that I can be the person I want to be and start to  feel a little more like ‘Tigger’ rather than ‘Eeyore’.

eeyore

 

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out
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Yum Yum!!

After a very difficult and painful couple of weeks, I thought I would pull myself out of the doldrums by sharing a yummy ‘memory box’ moment.

I have just spent a wonderful 2 days home baking with Buzzbee and I think he has been bitten by the Christmas baking bug or should I say the Christmas gift goodies bug. His creativity juices has been in full swing.

Every year I make homemade rum/brandy truffles for friends and family as well as our traditional shortbread cookies, but this year Buzz wanted to do something special for his babysitter and a friend of ours by making one of them a gingerbread house and the other a chocolate house.

I have no idea how much chocolate we have actually used or how many different kind of sweets we have used, but it is fair to say that the Tooth Fairy will be in business for a very long time.

Yummy

Memory Box

Getting by with a little help

This week’s Weekly Adoption Shout Out theme is “Support” and it couldn’t be a perfect week for this theme to come around.

When you make the decision to adopt and put yourself through the intrusive and intimate assessment process, you are full of hope and optimism that you can deal with anything life (or the children) throw at you, and when you come to the time in your home study where your social worker asks you to produce an Eco map of your support network, you are only too pleased to oblige because you are confident that the friends and family who have been there for you so far and have promised/offered their support will be there for you once the children finally move in. The suggestion from your social worker about how you would feel if, after children moved in, most of the people on your map suddenly disappeared and you no longer had that “safety blanket”, seemed ridiculous. Of course our friends and family would be there when we needed them! Why wouldn’t they? They have always been there for us up to now!

It pains me to say it, but she was right. Most of our friends have completely disappeared and the ones who are still around, we only see them if we make the effort to contact them and arrange something and even then it is strained because they either find the boy’s behaviour difficult to understand or more often than not they do not understand why we have to parent our boys differently to their children.  To be fair there is one friend who has stuck with us through thick and thin – Bumble’s best man.  Not only is he there for us when it is tough, but he is fantastic with the boys and almost unshakeable. Yes, recently we have had a little blip because his daughter and Buzzbee had a HUGE falling out and it made relations a little tense, but with a few weeks breathing space we are back on track.

Although we have lost people along the way, we have never felt like we were without support.

Our families are fantastic and although there are times where they really don’t understand the boys or why we do what we do – they are our families and they will always stick by us.

We have wonderful friends who we have met through adoption and fostering who are always at the end of a phone, text message, email – when you simply need to rant or if really need to talk to someone who gets what it is like to live with my boys.

And, let’s not forget the support that comes from strangers I have yet to meet but are always there at the end of a tweet or message when I have needed it. Social media and blogging definitely has a place in adoption support to my mind.

Talking of adoption support that bring me onto what this post is supposed to be about, so I apologise for the waffling beforehand (my fingers hit the keys of the keyboard and wouldn’t stop).

I consider adopters in our LA to be very fortunate to have a wonderful Post Adoption support team, who are almost always there when your need them.  And, that brings me back to 2 very special women – Wise Owl and Jemima -whom without their unending support and advice I believe I would have probably ended up having to throw the towel in a long time ago when it came to Beeswax.

When we first met Wise Owl she was working in the fostering side of children’s services but for the past few years she has been working as the Post Adoption Social Worker for our area (actually she has found herself covering a vast area due to the ill health of her colleague). In several tweets I have mentioned how fantastic she is at supporting me in school meetings where I have felt like I am bashing my head against a brick wall.  She is not only VERY skilled at keeping me grounded, but also at explaining to professionals what the concerns are, or explaining the needs of my boys in a way that they take on board.  At the same time she is wonderfully supportive and accepting of my frustration at telling the so called professionals exactly the same thing and them not taking a blind bit of notice. But, probably the most important gift over the years she has given my family and many others in our LA – is her time.  This may be a simple as swiftly replying to a rather neurotic, emotional, despairing email after an especially difficult episode with one of our children and we simply need to off load before we burst, to giving a quick phone call to just ‘check in’ at times when she is aware home life is extra stressful, right up to doing everything possible within the realms of her job description (and sometimes beyond) to review and implement a new support plan so that it reflects the families current needs.

The second amazing woman is Jemima – Beeswax’s previous therapist and the current supporting therapist at our local attachment support group.  I think anyone who has ever read any of my posts will know that I have built up a trusting and open relationship with Jemima and she pushes me in ways that I would never have the confidence to do if left to my own devices.  It is hard to put into words everything that she has done for my family, but what I can say is that Jemima has, like Wise Owl, given me (and other adopters) a gift that is priceless.  Over the years she has seen the best and worst of me and throughout all of this she has always treated me with respect and no matter how I am feeling or what I may say or admit to be ashamed of thinking, she has always been there and shown acceptance and empathy, and she will always validate my feelings before reflecting back on the conversation and steer me back onto the therapeutic parenting path. Again like Wise Owl – sometimes Jemima’s support is nothing more than a quick email between attachment group sessions just to ‘check in’.

OK that is the warm gushy part over with, now for the bit about the unwelcome news that I alluded to in last week’s #WASO post.  Two of the most incredibly supportive professionals I have ever had the pleasure of working with are leaving. One has taken redundancy, and the other’s contract is not being renewed, or should I say she is being replaced with in-house professionals who have absolutely no knowledge of the families they are expected to support, and more importantly many of the mums who come to the attachment group find trusting professionals really difficult and like myself, have good reason for this mistrust.  Personally the thought of having to be open with new people is a prospect that I quite honestly cannot envision happening.

In the end whether the support is coming from friends, family, twitter, Adoption UK message board users, blog or from such wonderful professionals as Wise Owl and Jemima (and trust me their leaving is going to be felt for a very long time), isn’t important. What is important is that you feel that you are supported and that when you need to laugh, cry or scream, you know that there will be someone there to share it with you.

 Hugs

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out