Whilst away I read Sally Donovan's No Matter What, her story so far of adoption. It's a story of grief rage, perseverance, love and hope. For me it was really good to be able to read so of what is happening in our family, to normalize some of my feelings. The two children that Sally adopted have been so much more damaged than our child 4, especially her eldest and she has been unable to keep up any letterbox contact with her children's birth parents because of this and the way the mum was writing her letters. Our circumstances are very different, yet in so many ways the same.
I found it odd, there was me stretched out on a sun bed, enjoying the Spanish sun, the children were splashing in the pool, the heavily heated air was punctuated with screams and laughter and I am reading about neglect, attachment disorder and so much sorrow. Although the book finishes on a happy note, the story is no where near complete and checking out Sally's blog shows that adoption is a lifelong promise, just like that of having children, but adopted children come with so many additional needs. I am sure I was a little pensive, thoughtful after reading it, I needed time to take on board the feelings it had triggered. The best bit, I realised was the fact that it validated, corroborated how I felt. When people say to me that child 4's behaviour is just normal toddler behaviour, they are in a way right, after all he is a toddler, however often these behaviours are bigger and angrier, they are exacerbated by his history and the way we deal with them has to always be through love, calm and acceptance. Therapeutic parenting is the way we work, and therapeutic parenting is what we teach all those who have any impact on our families life. Not that we always get it right, of course we get cross, frustrated and upset and that is when I go to bed saying tomorrow is a new day, let's start again.
One of the others read it and she found it fascinating, infuriating and made her ask so many questions, I think everyone who knows us should read it, all educators and all those involved in child care of any form should read it. In fact anyone who is considering adoption or knows someone who is should read it. It will open your eyes and your hearts it will provide you with the empathy to try and support these children and their families.