Monthly Archives: June 2014

Forever is a long time

Today’s optional theme on Adoption Social’s Weekly Adoption Shout OUT is ‘FOREVER‘. Goodness me this one has got me thinking this morning. My confidence is a bit fragile at the moment. And so the word FOREVER overwhelms me rather.

Perhaps I should think focus on the positives of FOREVER for my children first. I was listening to a recent interview with Julie Selwyn of the Hadley Centre at Bristol University and in it she referred to the study; Pathways to Permanence for Black, Asian and Mixed Ethnicity Children (2008). The majority of Asian children in the study had their adoption plan rescinded by the end of the data collection. In the interview she summarised findings from the research that found “Asian children wait the longest to be placed and they’re the least likely to be placed. Those who were placed tended to be very young, under the age of two. There was very little interest in older children…

My children are Asian – they were over the age of 2 at placement. Their FOREVER was going to be changed to long term foster care till I appeared on the scene. So for my lovely girls I hope that their FOREVER will be different because they have me and the logical part of me tries to remember that.

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But FOREVER has another meaning for me. FOREVER alone, FOREVER exhausted, FOREVER trying to manage the girls’ struggles on my own, FOREVER fighting the system for what my children need and deserve.

Do I sound negative? Please forgive me. I don’t mean to be. I don’t parent the girls in a negative way – honestly I don’t. I put a lot of time and effort into creating opportunities for them to experience success or make tiny steps of progress and I celebrate it joyfully every time it happens.

And I do access support where it’s available if you’re wondering. Though most support I find transitory and at the end of the day I am a single adopter, these are my children. It is for me to deal with this, to make the decisions and to try to ensure we survive as a family unit – which is the very least my girls deserve.

And for today at least FOREVER seems like such a long time.

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Fairies in the garden

The girls and I have spent a beautiful sunny day in the garden. I got a lovely idea for something to do with them from the TimberNook blog. So today they have made fairy teepees. You can find Angela Hanscom’s original post here. photo 1

I gave the girls wool, beads, ribbon, and some scraps of material. We used wooden skewers from the kitchen for the frames. Obviously I had to make sure they had EXACTLY the same building materials! They got very busy…

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I have a terrible imagination and would never have thought of this. It was such a simple idea but both girls really enjoyed making the teepees and Bunny has been checking all afternoon to see if any fairies have moved in yet!

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Tough times for my girls

Life is very tricky for both my girls at the moment. I’m doing everything I can to help them –  but sometimes sadly that’s just not enough. Both girls are letting me know how hard life is for them by pushing any boundary to the max.

Kitten also says she has a cold feeling in her tummy that she can’t get rid of. She is still unable to tolerate comfort or even touch from me. Yet things are so desperate for her that this morning she buried her head against my arm and stayed there for nearly 5 minutes – whilst I stayed motionless, barely breathing in case I scared her off, and tried to memorise every tiny sensation of this girl of mine touching me.

So today we headed out to the woods to try and find some peace we could sneak into our hearts and carry round with us next week.

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The girls found a fabulous den to eat their lunch – I was banished!

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We all had a great time, and loved exploring this new place. I’m hoping that this happy time together will have replenshed their resilience somewhat and give them strength for the week ahead.

Please God – all I ask is that you watch over my little girls next week and give them some peace in their troubled hearts and minds.

 

 

Nature’s power

There are some things that are never mentioned even by my parents or close friends. This is probably because they are considered as much a part of our lives as eating and breathing:

  1. Most days I am rejected by Kitten or have my things broken or destroyed by her. Seething resentment, fuelled by fear, sums it up nicely
  2. Many days Bunny has meltdowns and I am hit, kicked or spat at
  3. In our house we do not sleep and we are pretty tired

Some might think we would be miserable – yet we manage quite well and have our happy times. I’m honestly not sure if I parent therapeutically or not but I am trying to parent the girls calmly and respectfully; predicting, planning for and responding to their individual needs and behaviours. I wouldn’t say it’s easy – their needs are fairly complex but different and I’m very much on my own. Yet some simple things seem to help both girls.

Our number one success is being outside. My girls came to me with a shocking disdain for being outdoors and little Bunny at 2.5 years could only walk a few steps without falling down. It’s taken a lot of patience, hard work and daily physiotherapy at home to get us to the stage we are at now.

Whilst we enjoy our day trips to theme parks and discovery museums and so on I really believe being outside in the fresh air and amongst nature has an almost magical power. My girls seem to have a lot of sensory issues (though getting them seen by an occupational therapist feels akin to climbing Everest) and just being outside – exploring and adventuring – seems to have a positive impact.

I’ve recently been reading about peadiatric occupational therapist, Angela Hanscom, who is the founder of TimberNook, running nature-based developmental programmes in the US. Their philosophy is – Getting kids to think for themselves, challenge themselves, and explore nature unhindered by adult fears Isn’t that great – I love that! That’s exactly what I want for my girls. 

I’m not one for hovering – I let the girls go for it and trust they will find their own limits. But I always have their backs if they need me.

So we scramble and climb…

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We get wet and curious….

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We balance and dangle…

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We run and of course we get very very dirty…

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I’ve been told by someone at Camhs that we are avoiding intimacy by being out and about so much. That’s it’s not a good thing. Maybe that is so – I don’t know. It doesn’t feel that way to me. And to be honest It often feels that whatever I do someone is always waiting to criticise me.

But can it be wrong if my girls are released from their crushing anxiety for a little while? Is it so bad if they stand joyfully on top of rock piles and share the triumph of reaching their summit with me?  Or when they call me over to share in some wonder they have discovered? And is it really avoiding intimacy when we stand together high up on a hill looking out at the beauty of the view and sharing that quiet moment?

All I can say is that it feels right for us. That is all.