Tag Archives: failure

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.

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A confession

I have a confession. I felt I was doing quite well parenting my tricky children. I generally know what Bunny and Kitten need to make things work and I can manage things fairly well on a daily basis. Not well in the conventional sense. I have a horrible feeling that many people would be quite appalled if they lived with us. In fact when I stand back and look at our lives sometimes I’m appalled too. But actually for us, in our 3girlstogether therapeutic bubble, things have been plodding along ok. In fact the second week of the Christmas holidays was our best so far. Fast forward to this week and we have the half term holiday. I was looking forward to it and I know the girls were too.

So my confession is that I got arrogant cocky a bit overconfident.

This week has been pretty dreadful. Bunny has been out of sorts for the whole week.  Alternatively clinging to me and rejecting me, unable to cope with even the simplest activities I have planned. She has spent much of the week shut down unable to speak, generally with a dummy in her mouth for comfort and crying lots. When she is not in this state she has been angry and frustrated with her sister, very demanding and controlling of me.

Kitten has been like Tigger on speed. She has brought forth her most dysregulated out of control behaviours; stimming, bouncing, singing the same 5 notes over and over again for hours on end, jabbering endlessly, unable to settle to anything, controlling, self harming, destructive, angry, oppositional  – the list goes on and on.

And me? I am feeling shell shocked. These behaviours are not new to me but the tricks I have up my sleeve to prevent or reduce them are failing miserably this week. This is where being a single adopter is tough. There’s no-one to turn to who can take some of the burden. I have friends who are adopters and they give me lots of moral support for which I am thankful. I could ring CAHMS for a friendly supportive ear and they will always make time to chat to me. But they won’t suggest anything I’m not already doing. I have to deal with this myself.

Do I sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself? I don’t mean to. The worst thing about this week is that my girls rely on me to keep them regulated, feeling calm, safe and happy. And this week I haven’t been able to do that. So it is my children who are suffering most. I am tough. I will be fine. But my girls….they are waiting for me to help them and this week I’m failing.

So maybe my confession is not that I got overconfident, but that this week I have failed to give my children the help they need. And they deserve more than that don’t they?