Tag Archives: RAD

What does Acceptance actually mean?

I blogged about acceptance before, in fact you can read my blog here. That was 2 years ago now. And I think acceptance for me is changing.

Recently I had a break from social media for a few weeks to give myself time and space to think. I wanted to be sure that I am able to manage the girls long term. And I am. I know I am. My lovely GP has been helpful in talking through these issues and making me realise that I am doing a good job and I should stop putting pressure on myself or allowing others to do so. FullSizeRender

Parenting Small can be draining. The older she gets the more pronounced her difficulties seem. She is clingy with an insatiable need to be near me or on me. Her sensory issues, inflexibility, need for control and obsessions all seem to be getting steadily worse. I am accepting that this is just the way she is, and it’s ok for me to find it a little claustrophobic sometimes. I know how to prioritise my girls’ needs and do what is best for them. But I need to do the same for myself too.

But perhaps the biggest part of acceptance for me has to be learning to accept the status quo with my eldest. Many kind adopters have messaged me saying that it is fear that stops Eldest from showing love to me, that it will come in time if I persist with therapeutic parenting, that parenting children with trauma is a long game and if I keep it up eventually there will be a breakthrough. All those things are true for many adopters and many children. All those messages are sent with love, care and a desire to give me hope.

But what if it isn’t true for my family? What if Eldest does not have the ability to develop love or empathy for anyone? What if, in her eyes, people are like are objects or possessions, and she just isn’t able to develop beyond that? And what if she is unable to modify her negative behaviours in any significant way? Then all I am doing is putting pressure on her with my expectations. And pressure on myself too. I believe that is the case for us. There are a few who know us well who think I may be right.

I am still parenting therapeutically. I know we can have happy times, and I can make positive memories for us as a family. But I am no longer waiting for that elusive magical breakthrough with Eldest. I am trying to accept her limitations and love her for who she is and accepting that this is who she will always be.

I’m not there yet on this journey to acceptance but I’m getting there. I feel generally at peace and that can only be a good thing.



Guilty as charged

I fight hard for my eldest daughter. I battle with professionals to get her what she needs. I take her out on day trips with her younger sister and we all have fun and make good memories. I go up to her room at bedtime to chat to her about the good things from our day and then tell her I love her and kiss her goodnight.

I use PACE a lot. I’m pretty good at wondering with her about what is going on under the surface; what’s driving her behaviour. I plan activities, structure our home lives etc. I try to parent her in the very best way possible.

At the moment I’m doing an attachment parenting course. Last week the psychologist running the course asked me if I thought the emotional connection was there for me. It was asked in a supportive way. Not in any way to criticise. And I answered truthfully.


How does a parent remain emotionally engaged after 4 years of rejection?

I’m sure there are parents who do. I try. I try very hard. But I guess if I’m honest then the answer is probably no.

I’ve thought about this all week. I do know that the fact she isn’t able to love me still makes me cry. So there must be something there.

I hope and pray she doesn’t know how much I struggle with this. I’m guessing the professionals would say that she must know.

What does this make me? Human? A failure? Unworthy?

I don’t know


Is it my fault?

Before I adopted I had a successful career. I would like to think I was well respected and pretty good at what I did. That involved dealing with many other senior professionals in different fields. That was easy, even enjoyable, for me.

So how is it that now I am unable to successfully advocate for my children? How is it that I find parenting them so hard?

Is it me? Am I lacking in resilience? If the girls were with someone else would they have got the help they need by now? Or even worse – if they were with someone else would they not need any help or support?


Is it all my fault?

I’m managing to deal with the girls’ school – that’s exhausting in itself; trying to ensure they consider the girls’ needs when they plan lessons/activities without alienating staff. Not easy when eldest’s teacher rolls his eyes every time I mention that she is struggling. And now trying to gently lead them to a decent plan for transition into the next school year; trying not to tread on toes whilst achieving the best outcome for the girls.

I’m managing to speak to the GP to get a couple of physical issues dealt with for my youngest. He is at least listening and has made referrals for her.

But for the rest – I’ve walked away for now. I’m relieved to have CAMHS out of our lives. I feel sick when I get a letter or email from the placing authority. How ridiculous is that?! I feel weak. I feel ashamed of how weak I am.

Once I was someone different. But this is who I have become…

Long time since I’ve blogged

It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged and there are several reasons for that. Sadly there are a couple of people who read this blog and take some pleasure in our tough times and that has put me off writing for a long time. There also came a point for me where things got so bad that I just couldn’t face putting it in print! But here I am anyway…

I am living with a child who loathes the very fact I exist. It amazes me the amount of venom that my now 7 yr old hurls at me. As a therapeutic parent I know I should rejoice in the fact she now feels safe enough to show how she feels about me. But it is relentless. She recently said quite calmly ‘I don’t know why I feel this way about you but I just hate being anywhere near you. There’s nothing about you I like’. I would feel a bit more comfortable if this was said in anger but she almost seems confused by the amount of hatred she has for me. If I even sit in the same room as her she clearly shows how disgusted she is by me. This is how she is about 95% of the time when we are alone as a family. Obviously in public it is all smiles! She is devoid of empathy so is oblivious to the impact this has on me. On the odd occasion when I have broken down in tears she has shrugged, looked blank and walked away. Mostly I feel sad for her. This is no way for a 7 yr old to live. She seems so alone.


I’m a single mum so it’s not like she has another parent to love and to give her the love and physical reassurance she needs. I hate the fact she goes through life unable to accept my love, my cuddles or even a gentle touch – it feels very wrong to me and she deserves so much more than this. I also worry about the impact on my younger daughter who sees this every day and has become even more anxious and clingy as her sister’s behaviour has deteriorated.

There is no help for people like us. That has its advantages as I no longer have the additional stress of dealing with unsupportive professionals at Camhs or the placing authority. They have made it clear we are on our own. So we plod along surviving a day at a time and hoping that something is going to change for the better

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.


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.


But what if…

Today Kitten said ‘But what if‘ to me. It’s the first time she has managed that. Yes, another first! I received a note in Kitten’s home school book to say that she had had a tricky afternoon. Tomorrow the school have an Artsmark inspector coming in to school and he will be going in to classes and talking to children. Her class practised for the visit this morning in case he comes into her class tomorrow.

That doesn’t sound SO bad does it? But this is a huge problem for my little girl because she is petrified of men. Not scared, not frightened, she is utterly terrified of all men. To be fair to the school this is one thing they generally try to get right as they have witnessed the effects of getting it wrong. The teacher has ensured that the inspector will not be taken into Kitten’s classroom at all. But she could see that Kitten was very worried this afternoon, starting to bite herself again.

So after school I had a chat with Kitten and told her that the man would definitely not come in her room. I reminded her of a few other times when I had promised things wouldn’t happen and they didn’t.

And then she said it ‘Mummy but what if I need to go to the toilet at school and I meet the man in the corridor?’ What was even lovelier was that when we started to talk it through a bit she said ‘Hey Mummy did I just tell you a worry without even knowing it?!’ She was so proud that she forgot herself and climbed on my knee for a HUG!!! I can count the number of times she has climbed on my knee at home on the fingers of one hand and she has never told me a worry before.

I have blogged before about my struggles with acceptance and how I am trying to find joy in the small things we can achieve as a family. But today this small achievement felt very very big and very very joyful.

Guess How Much I Love You

I think most people have read Guess How Much I love You. It’s one of my children’s favourite stories. It was one of the first stories I ever read to the girls and we still read it regularly at bedtime. As Kitten struggles with being told that I love her, it’s yet another way to let her know how much I care in a less direct way.

Guess How Much


Recently Bunny, my little one, has said frequently that she wishes she had grown in my tummy. Then Kitten will ask me to tell them the sorts of things I would have done with them if they had been my little babies.

So today I decided to give the girls a special present each. I decided to give them a gift I might have given if they had been my newborns. I’m always trying to think of new ways to make a connection with both children, but especially Kitten, and thought it might mean something to them. This idea was suggested by a PASW to another adopter I know and had been received positively by her son.

So this evening firstly I read the story to them both at bedtime. As I sat in the middle of them, as usual Kitten was trying to make sure my arm didn’t touch hers.

Then once they were in bed I gave them each a Little Nutbrown Hare from the story:


Bunny was very happy to get a new soft toy and settled down to sleep – her usual Teddy quickly abandoned on the floor.

But with Kitten I sat on her bed and reminded her why I was giving her that toy – that my love is for always, every second of every day, not just when she’s being good or happy or calm. I love her if she’s doing something she shouldn’t, if she’s dysregulated, if she’s angry and even when she doesn’t love me one tiny bit I still love her.

And my little girl got tears in her eyes as I spoke.

Kitten has rarely shown genuine emotion like that. In fact I’m sitting here wondering if it was the first time – and I think it might be. For a few minutes I felt like there was a real connection between us, that she understood that I meant it. She didn’t say I love you back and that’s ok. Tonight at least my 6 year old will go to sleep believing that her mother loves her. That’s enough for me.


Confused and Despairing

I haven’t blogged for a while. Perhaps I am worried about being judged by people or maybe it’s that I don’t want to admit that I’m not coping.  And maybe I’m a bit ashamed that I can’t find anything postive to blog about when others in similar circumstamces can.

I’m usually ok if I only think about the day or week ahead. But recently I’ve been trying to decide what I’m going to do long term to get help for the girls. Kitten has a RAD diagnosis. The CAMHS consultant said she is probably on the autistic spectrum but as she’s not 100% sure she’s not going to diagnose her. Bunny is being assessed by CAMHS at the moment but has no diagnosis and no-one is saying too much about her, especially as she acts in not out at school, if anything disassociating or shutting down when things get too much. Her CAMHS keyworker mentioned ASD a lot but her consultant wasn’t convinced. Referrals are in to the OT but the waiting list is long. Both my girls struggle with school daily. They have lovely supportive teachers who listen to me and do their best to implement suggestions I make but the school is not prepared to put extra support in place and the only word I can think of to describe the Senco is dismissive.

So…I have to decide do I pursue diagnosis elsewhere to see if indeed the girls are on the autistic spectrum or do I go to a specialist provision such as Family Futures or Chrysalis, or should I see a private OT as the waiting list is so long or maybe it’s best to persist with CAMHS? And also do I try for a EHC plan even though school will never support it? Most of these depend on me getting funding from the placing authority. I feel overwhelmed. It’s too big a decision, no-one else can really help me decide and I’m confused. So at the moment I’m doing nothing.

The result of doing nothing is I guess I am despairing. Because while I am doing nothing, nothing is improving and in fact things have deterioriated yet again. Which in my house is saying something!

Adopters sometimes talk about micro-moments; little glimmers of hope to treasure when times are hard.  But there have been some micro-moments recently that have had the opposite effect. They are such tiny incidents in our lives but they have had a big impact on me.

Bunny had a supply teacher one day at school and it had obviously unsettled her. She spent every second between collecting her from school and bedtime on my knee. I couldn’t even go to the toilet. When I tried to get up Bunny looked into my eyes and said Be careful Mummy because I might get a knife and stab you or I might cut you into pieces. I am used to her hitting, kicking and spitting at me mid-meltdown but this was in a moment of calm and it felt very different.

A recent micro-moment with Kitten was when she fell at school and hurt herself quite badly. At home I asked her Did you want mummy when it happened? And she answered No I had forgotten about you. She meant it. I know it’s not her fault but it still hurts to hear that from your child. Her anxiety seems to be getting worse and her stimming is consequently very severe. She is constantly twitching, rocking, murmuring, blinking, throat clearing, chewing, humming, rolling etc.

So here I sit paralysed by indecision, trying and often failing to keep my children from harming themselves, each other and me until I can get myself together enough to decide what to do for the best. I know I can’t put it off forever. But I am confused. And I am despairing.

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?

Did they really say that?!

I’ve been thinking about the astonishing, ridiculous and downright rude things people have said to me since I’ve adopted Kitten and Bunny. Sadly there are far too many to mention so I’ve picked my top ten!

10. Are you sisters? (A colleague to the girls)

9. You girls are so cute. Come on you’re coming home to live with me now. (Same colleague as above at which point both my children stood up ready to leave me without a backwards glance)

8. If you give Kitten lots of hugs and kisses she’ll be fine in 6 months. (GP when I first mentioned concerns about Kitten’s behaviour and well being)

7. Don’t you think your anxiety is causing all the girls’ issues? If you could relax more there wouldn’t be any problems. (Girls’ SW when the above GP decided to ring her and tell her I was overanxious)

6. At least you can send them back if it gets too much for you. (Another colleague)

5. Why on earth did you adopt those two? (A fellow adopter on a course at CAHMS)

4. Sorry I think I stopped listening 5 minutes ago – I was out really late last night and I’m so tired. (Girls’ SW on a statutory visit pre Adoption Order. This happened on at least 3 occasions, I know I talk a lot but still…)

3. Have they been sexually abused? (An acquaintance within the girls’ hearing)

2. Do you have any children of your own? (First thing consultant at CAMHS ever said to me)

1. I know it’s a shame that Kitten has RAD but think of all the children in Africa who are starving. It really could be worse. (Consultant at CAMHS)

Each comment at the time had me fuming and ranting. Looking back at this list now I can smile at people’s ignorance and stupidity. Happily I have also had many more lovely, supportive and perceptive comments but I’ll save those for another day!