In many ways it's been a tough week and following the incident with the television, I have had to face some difficult conclusions.
Throughout this whole adoption process, I have followed most of the advice dished out by the social services team, I have diligently kept everyone involved in the loop whether it be work, family or social services related. I have where possible gone with the flow.
Now, though is the time to make my mark, to have faith in myself, my parenting skills and my family.
I have completed all the courses expected of me so far, I have read everything suggested plus everything else I can find on adoption, conscious parenting, attachment and dyadic development (Dan hughes). I am a massive advocate of much of what I have learnt, building many of those new and different parenting ideas into our family, examples of which are no longer sending the children to their rooms when I am cross. I understand that sending an adopted child to their room could be seen as a rejection so now we use the " you will need to stay with me" plan. When the children come to me moaning about something that has happened I validate their complaint as Dan Hughes encourages before discussing how they could move forward. So when child 3, in particular, comes out of school saying " so and so is having a party, but hasn't invited me" instead of dismissing it, saying "oh dear, never mind" I am more likely to start with "I would be sad too, if I wasn't invited to a party, why do you think that happened " invariably she will then share the reasons why, which could be because only three children could be invited or the year 4 girl was only inviting children in her year group and our child 3 is in the year below. Once she has talked this through with me she usually works it out for herself and is soon happily involved in something else.
What I am only now, a bit slow perhaps, realising, is that only I can say what is best for me and I will usually know what is best for my family and my family are certainly more than capable of articulating their feelings when they need to. It may occasionally involve raised voices and door slamming but we are strong and loving enough to work through any issues and find a way forward, that way forward is often what is best for us all not just about one person. Compromise is something we fall back on a lot, but is that not what life is often about, after all if just one of us got their own way all the time that isn't good for anyone.
I am very aware of the, too high expectations, social services place on adopters and after the last week I have wondered if they are so focused on the needs of those children within their care that they forget about the needs of those who aren't. All children need and deserve a loving family, led by parent or parents who are there to support them no matter what. But children also need to forge their own paths, make their own mistakes and live their own lives. Of course they will get it wrong, of course they will do foolish things but that doesn't mean they need helicopter parenting all the time.
It is not the mistake that is necessarily what is important, it is what we do to put that mistake right that is.
Our child 4 is too young to understand that hitting a television could and did in this case break it. I have to take that one on the chin because he is my responsibility and I wasn't watching him. But, I know that it is impossible for me to watch him, every minute of every day so accidents will happen, I refuse to blame myself any more than I blame him, hopefully the one experience has fulfilled his curiosity and he won't do it again. I have weighed things in my favour of course by removing all possible TV breaking instruments and tools from the toy box and of course I try to keep a closer eye if he wanders off with a car or train in his hand. But like all children he is curious and very independent, so is likely to break things, fall off things or just get into trouble. Sometimes, hopefully usually we will be able to step in and prevent the majority but for those we don't then we will just
have to help him deal with the consequences. Which actually is the same for all of our children, after
all at some point they will all be grown up, with families and careers of their own and I want them all growing up being responsible for their own happiness not relying on mum and dad to resolve everything for them
"The most important thing is to enjoy life - be happy - it is all that matters" Audrey Hepburn