Today I’m thinking about Adoption Social’s #WASO theme of ‘A Year On’.
Over the past year I have hit some terrible lows; wondering if I am fit to parent my girls and if I can give them both what they need to live happy, healthy lives. I realised how bad things were for us when my parents, who adore the girls, sat me down and told me how worried they were and that they would support me whatever I decided about our futures. All three of us cried a bit that day.
But recently I am feeling a bit more positive about things. Yet the girls’ behaviours haven’t improved in the last year and often it’s much worse. So what has changed?
If I’m honest getting the RAD diagnosis for Kitten means I no longer feel guilty saying I struggle to meet her needs. It sounds terrible I know but I feel I can be honest and say it’s tough – not tough because I’m a rubbish parent but tough because parenting children with RAD can be hard. Kitten rejects me every day at almost every opportunity but I know it’s not my fault and I am doing all that is humanely possible to help her. So I have stopped the guilt trip when things are difficult or not improving.
Probably the most significant event in the last year was that I asked the placing authority for an assessment of need. This was risky because their previous SW was negative, oppositional and dismissive. This time I was lucky enough to find a supportive SW who listened and believed me when I told her what life was like (especially after she had spoken to Camhs!) I was given a generous adoption allowance. Now I can continue to work part time. I can pay for a cleaner and for groceries to be delivered rather than the weekly ordeal of shopping trip with Kitten and Bunny in tow. I have a little respite care, at the moment once a month and only for a couple of hours but we’re building it up slowly. And it’s great!
These things have freed up my weekends and afternoons once the girls are back from school. More than I ever I can devote myself 100% to the girls and their needs. The only ‘jobs’ I do when they are in the house are making meals and half an hour of ironing once a week. Everything else can wait. Every day when we get in from school the girls wait to hear what I have decided we are doing that afternoon. As they find free play difficult this suits us all. It might be Lego, playdoh, puzzles, or board games. (Idea stolen from my lovely friend @Purdy2233 – thank you). I would love to say we do making or baking after school but I’m not quite that adventurous yet. But I sit back, forget about the practical stuff and try to absorb myself in whatever the girls are doing until bedtime.
I have also found the motivation to get up and out at the weekend. Kitten and Bunny are always better off out and about. Sleep deprivation had me collapsing in a heap. Now I’m equally exhausted but determined to go on an outing. We’re building some happy memories and I can usually squeeze a coffee in wherever we go so I don’t fall asleep.
When they’re in school I’ve even started going to an exercise class with a couple of mums from school. And it’s fun.
So ‘A Year On’ I am more serene and more focused on what my children show me they need. God willing I can continue as long as they need me to. Now if you’ll excuse me, Friday night is film night and the girls are asking for more popcorn so I’d better dash!
Your girls are so lucky to have you as their mum, someone who really understands them. I hope you have a lovely weekend making lovely memories.
We can’t erase the old memories but we can make some blinking good new ones. Always a pleasure to spend time with the 3 of you!
What a great idea, to look back over the last year and see the progress you’ve made.
So often we seem to stagger from one crisis to the next. There is always a new thing to worry about, always more work to be done. Taking time to think about all the success you have had is a great plan. Thank you for sharing.
There is no shame in struggling to meet our kids needs. No failing, no lacking, no error nor half arsed measure. This is quite possibly the single, most challenging undertaking there is. And YOU are amazing. Simply for trying. Simply for throwing your best at it. And for finding love, in amongst the maelstrom you find yourself in. I doff my cap at you.
Believe in yourself. Drop your shoulders back take a deep breath, and believe in yourself too #awesome
So glad that you have been able to receive some support following your assessment. Being able to organise the shopping and a some help with the cleaning may not seem a lot but it is obviously having a huge impact on your family life. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job and the fact that their behaviour seems worse is probably a sign of them being increasingly settled with you and able to express themselves. Unfortunately how they do that is a difficult language to manage, but I’m sure gradually you can help them to find positive forms of expression.
Thank you for writing to our theme and thank you for linking up with The Weekly Adoption Shout Out.
What an utterly lovely post. I totally get it that its often how we, as parents see things that make the biggest changes, whilst our children take tiny steps forward (sometimes giant leaps back). I think it is amazing and brilliant that you have managed to get to the position you are in now, with such a greater capacity to meet the needs of your girls … It really is true that we need to see to our own needs to meet the needs of our complicated little people. I’ll stop gushing now. Amazing job you are doing 🙂
The guilt is nearly exhausting and debilitating as the struggle. And yet virtually no parent really can meet absolutely all of their child’s needs – that’s why we have schools and doctors and swimming teachers etc. etc. Except those things are so ‘normal’ that we don’t think of it in those terms. The key thing is that we can recognise our children’s needs and our inabilities without beating ourselves up, and then seek the appropriate support (assuming it’s available!). That’s all we can do, and you’ve done it. This is great parenting imho.
Hey, thanks for writing this post, it has encouraged me. As you know we have taken on a sibling group of 3 girls and it has been so hard and I too have questioned whether I am a fit mother etc etc. I liked the fact that you are being kinder to yourself and not trying to do it all. This is the advice that I am receiving from our support network and I too need to learn this lesson. I am working on this slowly.
Am with you all the way – my son and his wife (Three Pink Diamonds above!) adopted 3 little sisters a year ago and although they have settled in better than we could have hoped – the road for their new parents has been difficult and the support of my wife and myself has been crucial. I recently retired anyway and so that helps too – but it’s the emotional traumas for my son and daughter in law. Lean heavily on your supporters and don’t let your Social Services duck their responsibilities to you and your girls.
On a totally practical note for activities – take a look at The Whoot on Facebook or Google it.