Why did she adopt?

I do wonder if when people look at me they think why on earth did she adopt? If I take a step back and read my blog and tweets I think they may appear negative, as though I take little pleasure in my life with Bunny and Kitten. I may seem self absorbed, more concerned with their impact on me rather than the children’s difficulties. Do I even deserve them? I can understand that. I dread to think what prospective adopters must think. I wonder if they think I don’t deserve my children.

I know why I adopted. As someone who will be single for the rest of my life, I really wanted a family, to be a mum, but I knew having birth children wasn’t an option. I work with children and young people from all kinds of backgrounds but I have spent much of my career supporting children who are in care. Sadly repeatedly I see children’s FC placements break down as they hit puberty and they either move to a children’s home or have to move area to access more specialist FC. And I have seen the spiral into chaos this can cause for those children. So I hoped that for at least one or two children I could change that outcome. And religiously, I believed it was something I was called to do; to be mum to a child or children who otherwise would have been in long term FC.

So that is why I adopted Bunny and Kitten. But perhaps the question isn’t why I adopted but should I have adopted? I thought I should. But perhaps I was wrong and many days I honestly don’t know the answer. I thought I was prepared. I read loads on attachment and developmental trauma, I had met up with adopters, I read the AUK boards regularly. I moved house – and town – and built a new support circle there. I saved money. I didn’t rush into it. I thought I was ready. I knew it was going to be tough. I thought I was well prepared before I even rang an agency.

But I have to reflect on where we are now and wonder if I was wrong. I put a lot of time and effort into trying to parent the girls in the way they need. Almost everything I do, I do with the girls’ needs in mind. Almost every waking moment is devoted to Bunny and Kitten. I never shout and rarely even raise my voice. And yet still everyday life is so hard for all 3 of us. Is that because the girls have ‘complex needs’ – or actually is it that I’m not doing a very good job? Because let’s be honest no-one thought they had complex needs before placement.

Would they have been better off elsewhere? Perhaps with two parents? Or perhaps someone else would parent them in a different and better way? Kitten finds it impossible to bond with me never mind attach to me. Is that because I am failing her in some way rather than because of her prior experiences. And the most honest thing I can say is that I find it almost impossible to bond with Kitten too. Her daily resentment, revulsion and rejection wear away my emotional connection with her until I can’t seem to find it anymore. Bunny seems to cope with things less as time goes on. And her relationship with me is hit and miss at best. Yesterday I told Bunny I loved her and she said ‘So?’ and spat in my face. Aren’t I supposed to be making things better not worse?  How did we get here? I don’t know. And don’t they deserve so much more?

So I couldn’t blame people for looking at me and wondering if I should have adopted. Or for thinking I am negative or whining. I take responsibility for that. But please remember that whilst it might seem like I am whinging or moaning, I am also trying my best every day without fail.

Please gentle with me.


12 thoughts on “Why did she adopt?

  1. thefamilyof5

    You are one of the best mummy’s I know and your all very lucky to have found each other, although I’m not a believer of luck really, I think you were meant to find each other though, you fit 🙂

    1. Mamaoftwo Post author

      That’s very kind of you to say. I wonder though that if we fit so well you would think things would have improved for them a bit by now instead of getting worse.

      1. thefamilyof5

        Our first year was the easiest. Trauma takes time to work through before it can start to heal, your doing a great job, dont ever doubt that x

  2. izzwizz

    I think it’s bloody hard work in particular during the ‘holidays’ and you are great. You’re not whingeing, you’re telling it how it is. Big difference!

    1. Mamaoftwo Post author

      Thank you. In many ways holidays are easier for us, even without any respite. The girls struggle so much in school I dread it starting again.

  3. Gareth Marr

    You are doing the work of angels, well done. Your honesty and openness helps all. You need and deserve all the help you can get. I hope you can access it. My aim is for all adopted children to be offered personal education plans which will help with all school issues.

    1. Mamaoftwo Post author

      I’ve got yet another meeting in school next week – school is our biggest source of stress by far! PEPs would be a good step in the right direction though I am sure my girls’ school would be resistant

      1. Gareth Marr

        A child in care gets the support of a virtual head who is usually an experienced teacher who also understands the effect of early years trauma and attachment issues. The VH then agrees the PEP with the school and manages it on an ongoing basis. There is no logic in not providing the same support for our children. This is slowly being recognised. It was serendipity that my Local Authority has a director of children’s services who is a care leaver and is passionate about education. Everything I have pushed for I have got! We will be introducing PEPs for all adopted children in our schools. They have made me a Governor of the Virtual School. We will launch this at a conference for all designated teachers in June and include the best use of PP+.

        I will not rest until I can get this adopted nationally. Now I have got my LA caring properly I want to take the example to National Govt and try to make it national policy.

        You need and deserve all the support required to help your family succeed.

  4. Football mum

    You were ment to be a family. I truly believe that now the girls are loved and feel safe they are able to express the real them knowing that you will always love them. While in FC so many of our children “comply” and no not allow anyone to see the real them. We had a similar experience with spud but with school. While in foster care he was a “perfect” pupil but within months of coming home the difficulties started. I was sure that it was my fault, that I had done something wrong, I was a bad parent etc. I think you are doing an amazing job and with time you will look back and see what am amazing mum you are.

  5. frogotter

    I feel like that far more often than I would like.
    I spent so much time trying to persuade people that I was good enough to adopt, that I was the best person to take care of my boys. And now I have them, sometimes I feel like I got them under false pretences, that I fooled everyone into thinking that I would be a good mum.
    Sometimes I’m afraid that I don’t love them enough and that I’m not calm enough, not empathetic enough, just not a good enough mother at all.
    I think these are normal feelings. They just mean that you are doing a difficult job that you care intensely about.
    You love your girls, so you are going to worry about them! And the reality is that you are the most important person in their lives, so, of course, you will worry about whether or not you’re doing it right.
    Just remember, worrying doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong. Worrying means you care.

  6. Pedalling Solo

    It’s never occurred to me to doubt you from your blog or Twitter. You fill with me awe.

    Please believe in yourself as well as your lovely amazing children. We all clearly believe in you judging by the comments above.

    I am only an adopter-to-be if I’m very lucky and it all goes to plan so not sure my opinion is very informed … but there you go for what it’s worth, I think you must be fab to do what you do. 🙂

  7. Catherine Kay

    Hello there

    It sounds like you’ve been having some very tough times!

    It’s obvious that you were well informed of the potential implications of adopting children from care, and your motivations were sound (not that it matters!). But working with children who have the kinds of difficulties yours do is very different to being responsible for them 24-7. I’m not sure if any amount of thought and research can prepare you for that. I spent some time working in a unit for children with ‘attachment disorders’ and went home physically and mentally exhausted after most shifts. It’s hard work!

    Furthermore, the fact that your children’s difficulties weren’t picked up until you took them on says more about the failings of mental health provision for LAC than it could possibly say about your parenting!

    I wonder exactly how your Bunny’s problems have been presented to you? You say she has a diagnosis of RAD – but what is that? And what does it mean? In fact, there is very little research on attachment disorders in looked after children. RAD has become a bit of a catch all term for the problems of children with complex emotional and behavioural difficulties following trauma and disruption – they don’t fit in to a neat little diagnostic box. I’m not questioning the importance of attachment, but I would caution against placing too much emphasis on the RAD label and seeking to explain and understand Bunny’s behaviour in that context. Have a look at Glaser and Priors book, understanding attachment and attachment disorders (if you haven’t already).

    I also wonder whether you might be casting things in a negative light? By that I mean are you interpreting things in an overly negative way because you feel low? It might be worth thinking a little about how YOU are? This will impact on your interactions with the girls and then it’s easy to fall in to a vicious cycle of negativity (in your head). This is perfectly understandable.

    Stop worrying about the girls ‘attaching’ to you. I have listened to the stories of many adoptive parents and what strikes me is the process of getting to know, understand and accept their children – it takes a long time. Ultimately it seems to me that this is how they ‘bond’ with their children, in spite of the difficult and often resistant responses of the child. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    I couldn’t do what you’re doing, nor could the majority of the population so stop beating yourself up – in the nicest possible way.

    Keep battling!



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