Rightly adoption should be the last resort for children, where possible they should remain with their families however our society has made the decision that where a family cannot care for their children the children should be removed and placed in an environment where they can be cared for.
I honestly don't know what is the best thing for these children so badly hurt by those they love. The decision is made by those with greater authority than I. I, like those who adopt are left to deal with the fallout big, small or indifferent.
All the training, all the reading and if lucky the support does not really prepare us, any of us for the trials and tribulations of adoption. Our parenting becomes central to our whole way of life, if we get it wrong, which is often as we are human and evolution has taught us to react sometimes defensively other times aggressively especially when we are tired, confused or stressed. Our children seem to know exactly which buttons to press to get some form of reaction, not necessarily the one they were hoping for but once the roller coaster ride has begun it can be really, really hard to put the brake on and preferably not when we are all hanging upside down. The fixing of these errors in judgement can be lengthy and saddening.
Us adoptive parents all understand the need and benefits for PACE parenting, Daniel Hughes is a hero of mine, but the realities of constantly and consistently using therapeutic parenting are very very difficult. The expectation for us as parents is to always be calm, to be playful, to be able to wonder why something has happened, to accept it as the way that it is for the moment, to empathise with the child in question. We have to think like this when a car is being thrown at our face, whilst furniture is being pulled over, when one child is really really hurting a sibling, biting, hair pulling, slapping and kicking. In reality we react often in anger, despair or even desperation and then that often means that the situation spirals out of control, so we not only have to deal with a distraught child but also the pangs of guilt, knowing that we have made the situation worse.
I took a therapeutic parenting course not long after child 4 arrived and three years later need to go to the same course again, I need to be reminded of how to remain calm, how to be playful, how to consistently use I wonder.
Some of this I am sure is because I am surrounded by families who have no idea about realities of adoption, who will say but all children do that, don't worry he will grow out of it or you should use the naughty step. It makes me question my worries and my parenting. Some time spent with other adopters is needed if only to make me feel that I am not alone, that we need to look at the positives. We have so many positives child 4 is loving school and he is loving rugby. He wants to cuddle up and says sorry when he has hurt someone. He sometimes recognises that he is getting angry or scared and will find his trusted adult to sit with. He has become such a part of the family that when life is calm we forget about adoption. I suspect that being back to school and normal routines life will settle down and I will once again just get on with things. That is until the next National Adoption Week