If I could give you one gift it would be to see yourself through my eyes and then you would see how special you really are.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

National Adoption Week 2015

I've shied away a bit from National Adoption Week (NAW) this year, other than those in the adoption "family" it seems that I am the only one who is aware of its existence. I know, I know I should probably be evangelising about it, sharing the information with as many as possible but I am tired.

My week started with a meeting of old friends, dinner out with girls (maybe not quite girls anymore) whom I have known since my teenage years, we haven't had the opportunity to all get together since before child 4 joined us. It was really fantastic to see them and catch up with their lives, but I felt disconnected my life has taken a completely different path and I worried that our paths couldn't converge anywhere. Because we haven't met up for such a long time they are completely unaware of the trials, tribulations and joyful events that have taken place - we do stay in contact but primarily via Facebook - the look at what I am doing in a humorous or positive way social site, or I guess if they read my blog. They have missed out on the journey my family and our close community have been travelling, they don't understand about trauma, attachment disorder, rage, pupil premium, letterbox contact or just a daily life that encompasses 4 children, adoption, sibling rivalry, teenage drama, work etc, etc. so of course my sharing of our life today potentially increased the gulf between us, I retreated to my professional demeanour the one I used when interviewing the school which of course probably made everything worse. They were only trying to help.

Half way through the week I heard staff at school talking about a little foster child who had joined the school, quite rightly they were putting lots of support in place for them, they talked of the need for stability and empathy for the situation. I am really pleased that everyone wants to help this foster child feel safe and secure, yet they don't offer child 4 the same respect - I believe that they truly view him as lucky and ok now because he is adopted, it is forgotten that he too was taken away from his birth parents by social services and that he was placed with more than one foster placement.

According to the Oxford Dictionary  
Foster means : Bring up (a child that is not one’s own by birth) and
Adopt means : Legally take (another’s child) and bring it up as one’s own. 
My definition is that adoption is hopefully permanent and saves the government thousands and thousands of pounds. Neither definition gives any inkling of the effect that these two words have on the children or families involved and neither one says that one is a sticking plaster and the other is a magic wand, yet I often feel that, that is how the general public interpret them.

Finally this weekend I heard things like "Really! Adopted children are entitled to pupil premium" "Some of those women keep having babies to claim more benefits" "do you now feel that he I  part of your family"

Unless people are directly involved they have very little idea of what it is like to be living with our care system, often they have buckets full of advice and ideas but, those pearls of wisdom are based on their knowledge of parenting, the people we mix with, for the most part, come from safe secure backgrounds, they have absolutely no comprehension of the experiences our children have survived. Just as they don't mean to be hurtful with what they say, if you haven't adopted how can you know that love for that child, well in our case, was immediate. In truth people only want to help they have no idea that more often than not their comments and parneting advice are completely inappropriate. To be honest I am not sure taht I was any better before we started  the ongoing education that is adoption.

For me NAW seems to be about what still needs to be done. This year the focus is on the over 4's, last year it was siblings, all these children are looking for forever families. Maybe NAW should be more about look at what we are doing and how we are doing it, where can support be found when needed, look at the success stories, the journeys families are traversing and look how far they have come. If we educate our society about trauma and attachmnent the support within our communities could be appropriate and amazing.

Adoption may be difficult, exhausting, frustrating and sometimes a nightmare but it's is also the best thing we have ever done.

I would do it all at in tomorrow!!


Sunday, 18 October 2015

A Street Kid named Defiant

We have been dealing with a fair bit of defiance at the moment. In the skateboard park child 4 scootered to the top of the highest ramp and refused to come down and in the playground he ran away screaming "just leave me here, I don't want to come home, I hate you" I am very aware that defiance in anomaly and common reaction when children don't want do what they are asked, adoption just adds an extra dollop of complication.

Defiance is a really hard behaviour to deal with generally but add the additional issues adopted children tend to bring into the mix and friends, family and the general public and we have a situation able to bring the most adept parents to their knees. At first I wasn't sure quite how to deal with it, without becoming the dreaded fish wife or the weak pathetic parent giving into her child's whims. So in the end I have decided to not worry about other people and I have just had to wait child 4 out and then put consequences in place to discourage him from behaving defiantly. So on the days we need to be home quick, we don't take the scooter and on the days I need to be the one in control of what happens in the playground, I have resorted to reins.

It is my struggle with child 4's defiance that has led me to think about defiance in general and then why I am so upset by it and I have come to the conclusion that in actual fact defiance in its own right and in the right circumstances can be a good thing.

So, perhaps I shouldn't be fighting against defiance, maybe I should investigate why child 4 resorts to defiance, possibly I should  nurture an understanding for why defiance is a good and necessary part of human behaviour. I wonder if defiance can be shaped into a means of challenging unjust behaviours, can defiance become strength and bravery in the face of adversity? Can defiance be articulate, quiet and peaceful?

Jesus, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Mother Teresa, Emily Pankhurst, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi are all people that stood up for what they believed in, in defiance of the status quo. Mother Teresa left her convent in India to live amongst the poor, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks stood against segregation fighting for civil rights in 1960's, Charles Darwin changed the world view on how life began, Mandela a political activist against apartheid, Jesus, Ghandi, the Dalai Lama stood for the poor and disenfranchised. So yes I think defiance can be for the good.

I just need to remain strong, brave, articulate and calm when I am dealing with it.