Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 133

Another week, another #WASO!

WASO 133

So are you ready to link up? This week we have no theme, so do feel free to link up your favourite or most recent blog posts. Next week our theme is ‘Confidence’ and we’re looking forward to seeing what you’ve got to say.

For now though, go ahead and link up below…


3 New Ways to Share your Blog

Each week lots of you share your lives through your blog posts and and many of you also link those blogs to #WASO. Through #WASO we hope that your blog posts gain greater exposure and therefore more readers. For some I know the process of writing is cathartic and it helps to have others who understand, read your blogs and comment and are therefore happy sharing with our adoption community. However for those who would like to share a little further, here are three other ways to get your blog posts read.

1.OTHER LINKYS

Magic Moments – Over at The Oliver’s Madhouse there is a weekly link up on a Monday, where you can share all the really good moments in your life. So if you’ve shared something on #Memorybox then your post could also go on here, MAGIC MOMENTS

Share with me – a link up on a Wednesday, on lets call Mommy,  where you can share old and new posts from your blog find out more on SHARE WITH ME

Brilliant Blog Posts – We know how brilliant your blog posts are so why not pop over to  Honest Mum on a Thursday to link up with BRILLIANT BLOG POST

 2.LOVE ALL BLOGS

You can join Love all blogs for free. Here your blog posts are selected and shared on their website and through their other social media. This could be good for you if you also sometimes write recipes or show crafts on your blog. However their is a family section and I’m sure that writing about an adoptive family fits into that section. Find out more here at LOVE ALL BLOGS

3.BLOGLOVIN

You join this website and then all your posts automatically feed to the site. You have a profile page where all your posts are listed. Like other social media sites, you can chose to follow other blogs and they can also follow you. These blogs then appear in your news feed every time they do a new post. It’s a great way to find other blogs to read and to gain new readers. Find out more here at BLOGLOVIN

 

#Taspic August and a new challenge.

So that was our #summertime, did you see much of it? We asked you all to share your #summertime #Taspics throughout August and below is or top #Taspic and a selection of the wonderful snaps you shared.st 3beesI love this selection of #summertime delights from @3beesandahoney

st collageThank you to all you lovely tweeters for joining in the fun.

So what next? I thought it would be fun to see what you are all scoffing this month all the yummy meals and food you consume. So join in again with this months hashtag #whatsonmyplate #Taspic

Support opportunity for adoptive couples

Today we’re bringing you a guest post and opportunity from The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships…

Have you and your partner been arguing more since adopting?

Have the summer holidays exposed some cracks in your relationship?

Ever feel like you are ‘on your own’ and no one understands the pressures of being an adoptive parent?

Don’t let these concerns grow; there is no better time to seek support.

At The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR) we are offering NEW, FREE, government funded support in a new service called Adopting Together – Relationship Support for Adoptive Parents.

This specialist service offers a safe space to reflect on how adoption has impacted on your couple relationship. It allows for better communication between couples where they can freely share the difficulties they are experiencing in order to improve the quality of their relationship.

Programme Head Julie Humphries says “Our innovative approach is unique as, unlike other Adopting Togetherparenting programmes it avoids the usual focus on mothers and parenting, instead looking at you as a couple. By helping your relationship, the aim is to improve life for you AND your children. Participation will help you strengthen your bond and allow you to concentrate on building or growing your family in a happy and harmonious way.”

The support is run in London and starts in September. Here is a brief Q&A for couples who are interested in attending

Who can receive the support?

The Adopting Together Service is open to all post-adoption parents and we welcome both heterosexual and same-sex couples.

What type of support is offered?

We offer two types of face to face therapy.  Couples will be seen in either couples therapy or parent groups and work with our experienced therapists to get support to address some of the issues that are impacting on their relationship.

What are the Adopting Together Parents Groups?

One option A FREE group-based programme designed to support adoptive couples with their relationship and their parenting with the benefit of allowing you to share your experiences.

What’s involved if we join the Parents Groups?

You and your co-parent will meet with our expert group workers and they will be able to answer any further questions you might have and decide if the group is the right sort of help for you and your family.

You will then join a series of 16 weekly, 2 hour sessions with a small number of other adoptive couples who might be going through similar situations. The sessions give you the opportunity to improve your relationship, yourself and your parenting skills. There is a mixture of creative activities, video clips and discussions with the group leaders.

The group is a safe space to explore things that might be difficult and sad, as well as a space for lively discussion, fun and meeting other people who might be going through similar situations.

What is the Adopting Together Couple Therapy Service?

A FREE therapy service designed to support adoptive couples with their relationship and their parenting.

What is involved if we join the Couple Therapy Service?

You and your co-parent will meet with a specially trained therapist for up to 20 weekly 50-minute sessions. In these sessions you will get the chance to explore your relationship and any issues that may be concerning you.

What difference will it make?

TCCR has nearly 70 years’ worth of experience and is world leading in the field of couple therapy. Seeing a therapist has made a big difference to thousands of relationships, here are just some of the things our clients have said about what couple therapy did for them:

“I was so worried about seeking help and I wonder why it took me so long”

“It was a very professional service. I have got all I wanted form it.”

“It has brought me and my partner closer together”

Interested?

We ae allocating free spaces now…

You can find out more or register for a consultation appointment by emailing adoptingtogether@tccr.org.uk or call: 0207 380 1950, then you may be offered one of two options, either Adopting Together Parents Groups or Adopting Together Couples Therapy.

Anna Writes: Birthdays

PhontoAnother year. Another birthday….hard as I try, somehow I always seem to end up feeling the same: a curious kind of ambivalence.

I feel happy to still be here, another year alive is something to celebrate I’m sure, but I also feel this yearning, a pull towards something that is absent and intangible. I struggle to put my finger on it.

So, I said this year would be different, I would come off Facebook and not spend the day checking in to see if she has remembered or deigned to wish me a happy birthday, because I would be spending it with family…well, I didn’t think that one through very well as my birthday has fallen on a weekday, people are at work and the Bank Holiday is stretching out like a promise on the other side.

It’s me and the kids. Which is lovely. We are hanging out, going swimming and out for a meal later but still, something inside me feels unfulfilled, needy.

Am I just ungrateful? My husband made me a lovely breakfast and my kids showered me with kind, thoughtful gifts, I have met up with friends throughout the week and done something nice with each, I have done something I never do and planned a meal out next week with the people who make my life really special. What more could I want? What is it?

I oscillate between wanting to celebrate life, to wanting to crawl into a dark space where no one can find me. to be or not to be. Maybe that’s how it’s always going to feel, understanding and acknowledging that being born was a good thing (I hope that by doing what I’m doing I create/find some meaning out of being here, like we all do) but that being relinquished, given up, separated- whatever, was a sad thing- a really sad thing.

An act that wasn’t a one off decision, but something that reverberates throughout a number of lives, for entire lives. And I feel it most keenly today. Each birthday not only a demarcation of another year but the anniversary of a wound. Of all the days, this one day always feels like a hurdle, a thing to be got past and then life returns to some kind of normality.

So, like a scratched record, I return to the tried and tested behaviours of the day. Trying to put on a happy face, being buoyant and doing what we are ‘supposed to do’ on a birthday but also, spending time alone, shedding some tears, mourning what has been lost and can never be. And, foolishly, naively, logging back onto Facebook for ‘the message’.

Nothing.

It doesn’t hurt as much as it has done before though, so that feels like some kind of progress, but I wonder why I still need it? Why does it still feel important to have acknowledgement from her on this day?
I guess its a throwback to all those years before I did find her, wondering if she thought about me on that day- I figured that if she was going to think about me on any day that it would be that one. Since finding out that I was adopted, I always thought of her on my birthday, wondered, fantasised.. and hoped.

Hoped that she was ok, hoped that she was alive and happy and in a better place than she was at 16.

And maybe thats what keeps me stuck in this place, on one day every year. Hope. The thought that for one day I could be the person on her mind and that she could value me enough to acknowledge that I’m here and can be contacted.

Mine was never a family that celebrated ‘Adoption Day’ – I was brought home from the hospital 10 days after birth and presented to my brother as one of his 2nd birthday presents. Apart from the conversation where I was informed of my adoption, we never really spoke of it again and children’s birthdays were never such a big deal (and anyone who shares a birthday that falls in the summer holidays will know how awkward they can be!)

But I always liked celebrating other peoples days (if that’s what they wanted) I’m of the thinking that a birthday is a special day and is one where it’s ok to be made a fuss of/cry if you want to etc. For children that are adopted I don’t imagine it’s unusual for a birthday to be a time of mixed feelings, where things don’t go in a straight line and perhaps even with the best will in the world, it will always be difficult.

For me, tomorrow, life will move on and I can inhabit my adult state again, but birthdays seem to have the effect of taking me back, like falling down a rabbit hole to a time and a place where I felt vulnerable and worthless and small. Roll on tomorrow.

The Open Nest Adoption Summer Camp – Day 3

Here Amanda Boorman of The Open Nest, shares her experiences of of the final day of the charity’s summer camp. 

Having had a brilliant first day (just checking us out) and a more realistic second day (seeing what we were made of) we expected our third day of camp to be the most challenging for the children and testing for us.

We were supporting ten children who on the whole hated change, public holidays, strangers and being away from parents. They had managed two long activity days and late campfire nights together as a group.

As I opened my front door on the last day I could see the children running up the track to the Kids Club as they had named it themselves. They were heading there an hour early and excitedly shouting “kids club!!’ at the top of their voices.

I imagined the support workers stumbling out of bed, making breakfast and getting ready to prepare for the day as the children reached them, so I rushed up to potentially help them out. The enthusiasm to be there from the children was one of the highlights for all of us and we couldn’t resist letting them in early. They didn’t wait on ceremony for us and just carried on with activities independently. They had made the space their own.

day3Another sunny day saw loads of outdoor play including a treasure hunt for chocolate gold coins that one of the children had organised himself and generously set out. We told the other children and the genuine and warm thanks from them towards him was moving.

A close relative of mine who is a textile artist had offered to do a printing session with any children who fancied it and the children made some beautiful artwork as they had also done on the first day when they painted plates. My relative is partially sighted and has excellent sensory perception. The feedback from her afterwards was that the space felt positive, happy and calm. She sensed that there was a very cohesive and caring feel to the group of children despite them being prone to finding peer relationships potentially difficult.

As the day was drawing to a close the children inevitably began to ask about when leaving time was…how long? where was mum or dad? On chatting it transpired that many of them didn’t want to leave yet.

Parents had been lead through the woods to have a relaxed pub lunch at one of the countries oldest and most untouched pubs which looks out over the woodland and serves speciality beers. The Adoption Social hosted parents for the camp and were struck by the similarities in stories and experiences that were shared over the three days.

day32As everybody left there were quite a few tears. They weren’t years of sadness but relief and happiness. It was as if we all got each other, children, parents and support workers. It felt like a huge team achievement. Some parents reported having spent time together in a way that had been lacking for years. Children who usually struggle managed well. When the inevitable meltdowns and tempers happened children were treated with love, calmness and respect and of all of us they know the difference between someone who truly gets it and someone who doesn’t.

As this was our first camp we knew it was a leap of faith on everybody’s part and we were keen to see how the model we have set up worked. On reflection, and knowing that our children do struggle with learning at times, that they find relationships difficult and an adoption camp might sound like some kind of nightmare for all involved, we felt very happy.

We feel it was very important that the assessment of the children we got in advance came directly from parents themselves. Not a third party. That way we could be fully prepared by the ‘experts’ who in many settings are not listened to properly.

The overriding messages were that although our children need support at times they are capable of responding with care and empathy as well as achieving well if you provide the right supportive atmosphere. It’s not about competition and status, it’s not about money. It seems to be about teamwork, empathy, flexibility and of course making sure the snacks are visible at all times!

We have been left humbled by the commitment and care both parents and children showed to the project and also feel we could not have managed so successfully without the amazing support workers who were volunteer students from Sunderland University. Next year can’t come soon enough.

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 132

Oh yes, it’s time for the Weekly Adoption Shout Out!week 132How has your week been? We’re really looking forward to seeing all your posts this week and sharing the good bits with you, and supporting you through the not so good bits.

We have a theme this week – though it’s optional like always, so don’t worry if you’d rather write about something else. Oh, it’s ‘Books’ by the way…your favourite, your child’s favourite, a review, how you use them to prop up the furniture, or perhaps you can tell us about this new book doing the rounds about getting children off to sleep?

The linky is coming up in a minute, all you need to do is type in your title and paste in your blog post address, then please read and share as many of the others as you can. And it because it’s a bank holiday, we’re leaving the linky open until the end of Monday. Ready, set, blog!


The Open Nest Adoption Summer Camp Day 2

So day two brought more sunshine than we could ever hope for, we really are in the best part of the country this week.

cam4Children gathered in the activities area for more supervised fun whilst some parents, confidently, set out on a day to themselves. One couple had not had a day together, almost from placement.

For the children today, relationships were a little more challenging. The previous evening on the campsite had seen some frictions grow, understandably. However the support workers were ready and aware of the possible difficult second day and all situations were dealt with understandingly and with minimal fuse or concern. No parents were needed to be called and everything was brought to a calm conclusion.

The children enjoyed a nature trail this afternoon, collecting natural items that the children thought were “cool” and then they stuck them into a book they could keep. Surrounded by such stunning countryside it was hard to not find lots of “cool” things, I can imagine.cam3

Down at the campsite, with the parents, wonderful blogger and adoptive mum @safemum lead a workshop on relaxation techniques. Bathed in sunshine a group of us sat around learning great strategies on how to keep ourselves calm and enhance our approach to more therapeutic parenting. I must say I was slightly floating with inner peace afterwards and will definitely be trying to implement these simple techniques at home.

berry1So for some it was a day of nature, others a day of relaxation and others simple freedom. I’m leading a parent march to the pub tomorrow, which I know will be fun and the children have printing to look forward to. I will update you all over the weekend as tomorrow is #WASO.

Oh I forgot to mention Plasticine modelling, a favourite of my sons.

cam2

The Open Nest Summer Camp Day One.

The Adoption Social are so pleased to be working alongside The Open Nest and students on the Children Studies course at Sunderland University, to bring the charity’s first ever adoption summer camp.

The idea of the camp is to provide supervised activities camp2for all the child attending and some space for parents to have a break. All the holidays are being provided at no cost to the families, fully funded by The Open Nest.

So day one and everyone has arrived gradually through out the day. First the families have been introduced to support workers providing the children’s activities. Most the children have dived straight in, enjoying the many activities set out. There is lots of sensory play with sand, water and bubbles. The basket ball hoop has been very popular as has the football. Some children have also chilled out and watched one of the Shrek movies, don’t ask me which one I couldn’t say.
camp4

Of course for some children it’s not that easy to be involve straight away and that is understandable, the camp is set up to be flexible and as supportive as possible to all these families who require a break where their family needs can be fully understood.camp1

After lunch the children had a great pottery and plate painting session, really getting creative.

For the parents, this afternoon saw a tea party with lots of delicious sandwiches and cakes. The plan is for The Adoption Social to run daily child free activities for the parents, all of which are completely optional and very relaxed. It wasn’t long before parents were sharing their stories and experiences, knowing that they were in a group of people who full “get ” their lives.

camp3

Amanda Boorman, founder of The Open Nest, spent the day with the children and was delighted with how it’s gone.

“This being the first event we’ve run of this kind we were a little nervous about how it would work. We’ve done lost of preparation work, we wanted to ensure that all the children’s anxieties and concerns were recognised and understood by everyone working with them. I’m delighted that the first day has been such a success, all the children have been brilliant and had a lot of fun. It goes to show that when the early life experiences of these children are fully supported they can achieve safe and happy play together and importantly, parents can relax knowing there children are with those that get them“.

 

 

#Memorybox reminder

So the summer holidays are coming to an end…MBbadge

Have you had a good one? Bad one? Or indifferent?
We hope you’ve been able to store up some good memories, even if you’ve had a challenging few months. They give us something to hold onto when the struggles seem too much.

So today’s post is just a reminder to let you know that our Summer #Memorybox linky is still up and live, and will be for a few more weeks yet. Please come and share your positive moments, no matter how small or big. You can link up blog posts (like usual) or even tweets (here’s the tutorial on how) and we’ll share them when we can.

To save you clicking through or scrolling back through the posts, here’s the linky, so just add your memory below: