Tag Archive | National adoption week

National Adoption Week – School’s out

Oops where did the week go?

I planned to add a couple more posts this week but as always life on ‘Planet Adoption and Home Education’ have taken over the days this week.

In the Hive we have always been very open about discussions about Adoption and the boys’ birth parents and life story narratives, and recently Buzzbee has began working with a wonderful DDP therapist to try and help him begin to unpick all his muddled up thoughts and feelings – he has amazed (and saddened) us all with how much he has taken in and how insightful he is into some of the reasons he felt had responded in the ways he did while at school.

This week Buzzbee has been curious about the repeated Purple #SupportAdoption selfie pictures that have been showing up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds. When I explained to him about what they were all representing. His response was “will my old school see it?”. This then opened up a long discussion about what it was like for him at school and how he wished he hadn’t “screwed it all up”.

I wanted to give him the opportunity to express his feels as an adoptee, so I asked Buzzbee if he would like to write something about it for National Adoption Week and we could put it on his page or I could, with his permission, create a #WASO post for him. He liked the idea, however during the week it has taken legs – more accurately it has gone from a slow gentle 1 mile jog and with Waxy’s help it has morphed into a full scale marathon of a Powerpoint project for me to add to this post (my boys have more faith in my technical abilities than I do in myself that is for certain)

Over the week it has been given 8 or 9 different title as he put the slideshow together.  He wanted to originally call it “Look into my eyes” but finally settled on “School’s Out”.

I will leave you with Buzz having the final words.

“I hope people will like it and I don’t make them cry. I just want people to understand that sometimes being adopted is hard. Even when you are loved”  Buzz xxxx

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Supporting Adoption during #NAW2016

 

I haven’t written for a while, and although I have blamed it on writer’s block. I think it is probably more accurate to say that I needed to take some time out to try and heal for a while.

Has this been successful? Well, not really if I am being completely honest, but onwards and upwards.  I have been taking each day, one day at a time, and for now, I have to accept this is “good enough” and not keep giving myself such a hard time when I drop the ball for a moment.

Today sees the start of National Adoption Week 2016 and, as always, this means local authorities and adoption charities, are actively rolling out their ‘picture perfect adoptive family’ recruitment campaigns in the hope of lassoing unsuspecting, warm-hearted, prospective candidates to open their homes and hearts to adoptees all over the country. Each year the campaign is given a theme and this year is no different! My first response to this year’s theme #SupportAdoption was “finally a theme that is all encompassing and embraces all the aspects and realities of adoption”.

And, then I metaphorically gave myself a long hard shake until I came to my senses and returned to the real world! The agencies want to attract new adopters, not scare the living daylights out of them.

Curiously enough, in all the years that I have been aware of #NAW and we have been adopters,  I have not once seen any sign that our local authority actively gets involved with National Adoption Week – Fostering now that is a different matter. I can’t walk down the street or open a newspaper without seeing their repeated attempts to recruit foster carers in our area (heaven knows they need them).

Okay moving on before this #WASO post really morphs into something that sounds bitter and twisted and undermines the content of this post.

While I know that the aim of #NAW is recruitment and their theme is a reflection of this. It does actually tie in nicely with a post that I began to write at the beginning of last week while attending the international DDP conference in Glasgow.

 

 

Post adoption support is a little bit of a thorny subject for me at the moment and I have been certainly struggling with accepting and adjusting to the reality that we no longer have a secure and robust scaffolding of support surrounding our family – I guess it would be more accurate to say, barring my parents and my father-in-law (both are very limited on how much they can do, due to proximity), every single couple/person on our Ecomap has disappeared in a puff of smoke.  Our post adoption social worker has changed and I have more chance of catching a fish in a raging river with my bare hands, than I have of getting her to return phone calls or emails. The only time I manage to see her is at the monthly couples’ socialisation meet up (Oops sorry, I mean post adoption support group), and even then I find myself feeling like I am talking a completely different language and my attempts to express our need for support is lost in translation.

It is not all bad.  While it will take me sometime to build up a relationship with Buzzbee’s new DDP therapist, we do at least have someone who is slowly grasping the impact that the boys’ trauma is having on family dynamics and stress levels.

That brings me nicely back to the DDP conference (yes, I know I have been waffling again!).

dav

 

 

For 2 amazing days, I found myself surrounded by individuals who WANT to support vulnerable children/teens and their families – I should say professionals but from my experience the whole conference environment has an autonomous feel and people would struggle to be able to identify your adopters/carers from your psychologists/social workers/psychodrama therapists, etc., unless your name is in the programme as a speaker for the conference – Oh and of course, if you are Dan Hughes!

In truth I cannot tell you if there were any other adopters/carers at the conference (chances are there would have been and quite possibly some of these were also there in a professional capacity), and really I am not sure it is important. That is not to say that I did not know a sole who was attending – Buzz’s therapist was there, as was Jemima (Waxy’s previous DDP therapist and angel in disguise).

We were all there with one goal on our minds. To develop and gain more insight into “The Power of DDP”.

dav

 

 

The importance of companionship provided another strong theme throughout the 2-day conference, both in the formal content of Professor Colwyn Trevarthen and Dan Hughes’s presentation but also through the sense of fellowship and camaraderie amongst groups of delegates and the desire to create an environment of safety and understanding in their work with families and children who have/are experiencing the crippling effects of early developmental trauma, helping them move from ‘Mistrust to Trust’ and reducing the risks of ‘blocked care’ occurring (the damage this can cause, I know only too well from personal experience).

I could spend hours writing about the conference. No matter how many times I find myself being drawn into the affect of the content or case studies being presented, and how often it leaves me with an emotional lump in my throat (if I am lucky – usually the hankie has already been deployed by then), as it resonates with my own sons’ struggles and experiences. In the past this would be enough to have me running for the hills and maybe if I had been at a local authority conference or training day, it would have had this exact reaction.

However, at no point did I feel the need to excuse myself and there is one simple reason for this – I knew, if I wobbled, there would be support there if I wanted or needed it.

So while the exhausted, emotionally fragile and jaded side of being an adopter to two vulnerable and traumatised brothers, finds all the National Adoption Week recruitment campaigns difficult when there is a sense of glossing over the realities of adoption. This years’ theme gives myself and many other families the opportunity to try and highlight the need for better adoption support and the lessons that have been learnt and are still to be learnt in order to give our children and families the support they need… No deserve!

With this said, during this week with the help of Buzzbee, I am setting myself the challenge of creating a couple of posts which highlights ‘the good, the bad and the on another planet’ experiences of ‘Adoption Support’.

But for now I will leave you with Dan Hughes in a kilt and wearing his “What would Dan do?” badge (I was tempted to include the video of him dancing during the ceilidh).

 

 

 

 

 

I am an adopted teen. Hear me roar.

I better start by apologising for my bad language in this post. I hope you won’t be too offended or blame mum for letting me write this – Beeswax.

So this week according to my mum, has been National Adoption Week. Why did she tell me this? Well I wanted to know why I keep seeing a load of horse shit “Too old at 4?” adverts which were really pissing me off.

Typical social workers and adults who think they know what they are talking about. They make my skin crawl.

Mum says that it is not supposed to be seen as a negative advert but one that will hopefully encourage adopters to consider adopting “waiting older children”.

Wait what? Why don’t they just go the full hog and shove us in glass dustbins and display us in the street? Don’t we deserve more respect than that?

I know I would have hated to see this when I was living with my foster carer with my little brother. I already thought I was on the scrapheap and the only way I would be getting another family, is if someone fell in love with Buzzbee. We were a package deal.

Oh and I really hate it when professionals advertise us kids as “waiting for a forever family”. I was not waiting for a family. I had a family and whether I was seeing them or not they will still be my family forever. What I wanted was a place to call home – my own bedroom, my own bed and my own Xbox.

Why do professionals always think they know what is best for us?

While I am on a roll and having a rare episode of openly voicing my opinions to people other than my parent and while mum is letting me hijack her blog post this week. There are a few questions that people are always asking me and I try and give a polite answer too, which actually get on my tits. Mum says I can add them to this post and ‘within reason’ put the answers I really want to put.

Why did they take you away from your family?

Oh that’s right! Blame the bloody kids, why don’t you. It is none of your business and even if it was important for you to know. What makes you think, I would trust you enough to share that with you when I barely want to talk about it with mum and dad?

If you could see your birth parents again. Would you?

What do you think you idiot. Wouldn’t you want to hurl abuse at the people who let you down most in the world?

How did it feel to change schools all the time?

You obviously really don’t know me. I have only been to 3 schools and I wasn’t excluded from any of them, they were safe bets for me. It sucked at first to leave my first school but my TA came with me to my new school and only stopped working with me when I moved to my current school which lets me do what I want all week.

Isn’t it wonderful that you parents wanted to adopt you and your brother? What is the best bit about being adopted?

Oh yes they receive their sainthood next week! God you are patronising! Mum and dad hate when people say that to them. What the hell do you mean ‘what is the best bit’? None of it is that great, but I suppose it gives you a proper chance at life.

What do you call your real mum?

Well that does depend I have two REAL mums obviously so which one do you mean? If you mean biological. Well that would be every possible nasty spiteful word under the sun but my adoptive mum on the other hand, she is known as mum of course.

Why do you look like your adoptive parents, isn’t that weird?

To be honest I am not really sure I know. it’s a bit weird isn’t it but then my dad looks like my grandad and he is his son-in-law. Go figure!

Surely you don’t like your parents. They must really annoy you?

Now again it depends which set you are on about. If it is biological, I would really enjoy to see them pushed off of a cliff, but if it is adoptive. DO YOU WANT A PUNCH? Overall you seem to be missing the fact that I am a teenager. I am meant to not like my parents.

Is your brother related to you or is he one that was already there?

He is blood and all very much my bro. Parcel Force delivered us to the designated address in one neat package on the agreed delivery day.

choice for life

That’s it.  I will probably never do this again but if I can’t do it in ‘National Adoption week 2015’, when can I?

A Time To Celebrate – National Adoption Week Special

court

Well we have finally done it.  Last week we finally had our Adoption Celebration Hearing and are now legally the boy’s parents, and it feels appropriate to write this post during National Adoption Week for #WASO

We managed to get the boys to the court and through the proceedings almost without incident, despite the lateness in the day and the interruption to their routines.  Both boys were extremely nervous (Okay so were Bumble and I, but we had to appear calm for their sake). Buzzbee nearly flipped out when we entered the court room and the judge came out all robed up. He is dinky and the room was big and intimidating to him. But it wasn’t until we left the court that the stress of it was all too much for the boys and they attempted to annihilate each other for a few seconds.

The rest of our afternoon/evening celebration was wonderful and I got my first genuine “I love you” from Beeswax (Okay it was because we had brought him something he has been wanting for some time, but I will take that). Since the hearing Buzzbee has taken to checking at any opportunity that we really mean ‘forever’ and has taken it one step further and monologues as he climbs in to his “forever bed” every night, drinks his “forever hot chocolate”, and has a goodnight kiss from his “forever mummy and daddy”.

It has taken us more than 4 years and throughout our journey to adoption we have had more ups and downs, twists and turns, and have had to loop the loop more times than the scariest ride at a theme park.

  • I have gained so many new hats throughout my time with the boys, some favourable, some hysterical and some I would gladly do without.
  • I have felt that I have had to prove myself over and over again.
  • I nearly lost my boys due to the trauma that their history brought to our household.
  • I am constantly fighting for my boy’s needs to be met.
  • I have pretended to throw a tantrum in a supermarket to diffuse a colossal meltdown (I’ll let you into a little secret – sometimes I am not pretending).
  • I have learnt more about football and dinosaurs than I ever imagined, and sometimes I even manage to pronounce the names correctly (although Carcharodontosaurus is still a mouthful).
  • I have learnt that no matter how difficult a day it has been with my boys, they will always at some point unintentionally have me chuckling for one reason or another (usually because of their fantastic logical reason for their actions.  “It is not my fault that I throw Buzz’s toys down the stairs at you. You told Buzz to put them away earlier so they shouldn’t have been there.”)

The list is endless.

Although we were approved as prospective adopters, we met our boys through respite fostering and I don’t mind telling you that, out of the countless children we provided respite for, Beeswax and Buzzbee were the only 2 children that broke my heart every time I had to hand them back to their foster carer.  We had very young babies, we had sibling groups (come to think of it all but one of the placements we had were sibling groups), and I even offered emergency daytime respite but none of them ever had the effect my boys had on me.

There was always something there – something special! Something I still cannot explain and this was unconsciously reciprocated by the boys over the several times they stayed with us.

Buzzbee had claimed our home, pet and neighbour’s daughter very quickly and, according to their foster carer, would get excited by the knowledge of coming to stay or me coming to babysit.

Beeswax’s claiming was definitely sub-conscious. Beeswax knew that we provided respite for other children but as the visits increase, Beewax’s questions went from “what children slept in the room?” to “Who was sleeping in my room?” and the biggest give away came in the form of his ‘hopes and wishes for his forever family’ comment sheet for is adoption profile. Each thing he wrote described Bumble, his career and personality, myself and all the bizarre skills that I have that he and I had discussed during his stay. He described with specifics our pet, his ideal new home and so much more.

Up until that day we had always thought that it wasn’t possible for us to be considered to adopt them because I had on several occasions met the birth family (well grandparents and extended family) but Beeswax’s list changed everything.

There had to be a way to make it work and that is exactly what we did and how I am now sat here writing this post, welling up with emotion and finally able to say to my boys “I am your mum, now and forever!”

Would I change a thing? Well, there is plenty I would change for the sake of my boys if it were in my power. So maybe the question should be – if I had the chance to do it all again, would I do it differently?

I can’t say I wouldn’t and I can’t say I would.  Each of our childrens’ needs are different and what is best for one is not necessarily best for another. I have learnt so much from my boys. But thing is sure – if I had the chance to do it all again, I would still choose my boys!

Yes there are difficult times and it would be wrong of me to suggest otherwise but at the top of every thorny rose there is a beautiful flower waiting to bloom. So blossom swiftly and some take their time but each and every one of them hold a special place in my heart.

Yes, I missed out on their early milestones – I may not have given birth to my son’s. I may not have seen them take their first steps or heard them say their first word.  I couldn’t protect them from what they have seen and heard, and I can’t take those memories away. But, for every milestone I missed I have so many more that have been made since the boys moved in and each one is as precious as petals on those rose buds.

We'll Bee together 'forever' homemade cake

We’ll Bee together ‘forever’ homemade cake

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out