Weekly Adoption Shout Out – #WASO week 90

WASO90

Hi there all and welcome back to the weekly adoption shout out.

What an amazing week we had on #WASO last week. All the wonderful posts were a brilliant way to finish what had been a very special weekend at The Open Nest #TakingCare conference. We hope those who attended enjoyed it and that those, who were unable to attend, were inspired by all the tweets and blog posts.

So this week is theme free, so any post that is written around the subject of adoption can be included. Please remember to visit some of the other posts, comment and share using the hashtag #WASO.


Creating down time during December

Today Vicki from The Boy’s Behaviour shares a tip for finding some calm time with younger children through December…

I want to start by saying yes, I know it’s a bit early to be thinking about Christmas, but this one requires a bit of organisation and time hence the little bit of notice. And I was in a shop yesterday that was playing Christmas music – if they can do it, then so can I!

Christmas can be a difficult time for our children – lack of routine (or certainly a change), excitement, difficulty regulating feelings, missing birth family, preparing for school plays, the pressure of being good so Santa visits, along with a whole host of other reasons.

I want to share something that we do in our house during December that acknowledges Christmas every day, whilst allowing us to take 15 minutes out of the hectic schedule to sit and connect with our children.
Lot of us read everyday with our children anyway both for school and bedtime stories; this activity can be done in place of a bedtime story if you like, however and whenever you choose. And if nothing else, it creates a traditions – and I found that making some of our own traditions, together, has been important.

Each year I wrap up 24 Christmas themed books – I try to buy around four to six new books each year so there is a surprise for the children, and this allows me to remove those that they’ve grown out of. I’ve also found charity shops are wonderful for finding new festive books.

I buy two packs of identical stickers, and put a sticker on each wrapped book, and then the corresponding sticker on a slip of paper in their refillable advent calendar.
The books sit in a box in the living room and the children take turns to find and open the book each day, then we sit and I read to the children.

When we pack the decorations away after Christmas, the books get packed too until the next year.

We’ve done this for 3 years in a row now and it’s a lovely way to spend time with the children but more importantly that 15 minutes of sitting together, calmly, quietly, cuddling and breathing slowly helps my children chill out.

I can’t tell you what books we have, because they’re still packed away, but here’s a list of some of our favourite Wintery books that you might like to use to create your own readable advent calendar…some suitable for the very young…some suitable for primary age children…

  • Stick Man by Julia Donaldson
  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
  • Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs
  • Father Christmas Goes On Holiday by Raymond Briggs
  • The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter
  • A Very Crabby Christmas (Cat in the Hat/Dr Seuss)
  • Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps by Nicholas Allen
  • Father Christmas Needs a Wee by Nicholas Allen
  • Aliens Love Panta Claus by Claire Freedman
  • The Smelly Sprout by Allan Plenderleith 
  • The Silly Satsuma by Allan Plenderleith
  • The Santa Trap by Jonathan Emmett
  • How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow
  • Mr Men and the Night Before Christmas by Roger Hargreaves
  • The Empty Stocking by Richard Curtis
  • The Christmas Bear by Ian Whybrow
  • Santa is Coming To <Our Town> by Steve Smallman…perhaps you could find your town?
  • Zoe and Beans; Zoe’s Christmas List by Mick and Chloe Inkpen
  • The Christmas Show by Rebecca Patterson
  • The Very Snowy Christmas by Diana Hendry
  • How Many Sleeps Until Christmas by Mark Sperring
  • Dear Father Christmas by Alan Durant
  • The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet Ahlberg
  • Dear Santa by Rod Campbell 

It doesn’t have to be an costly thing either. I popped into The Works today, and there were plenty of inexpensive Christmas books – quite a few in their 4 for £5 selection too. It just takes a little time to find a nice selection.

Do you have any favourite Christmas books or stories? What other things do you do to calm the Christmas chaos?

Snap Happy.

Today lovely Suddenly Mummy shares a snappy moment,

a

I am asked on a weekly basis how OB gets on with Baby Girl, and I think this photo sums it up pretty well. He was on the swing first, and asked for me to put BG on with him. Once he had her, he curled himself around her and arranged them both into this beautifully intimate cuddle.

At the back of my mind, there is always concern about how my decision to continue fostering will affect OB. I wonder whether the appearance and disappearance of all these children will affect his own sense of security and stability. Maybe it will, but I believe it will also bring incredible benefits and a wealth of rich experiences that we couldn’t have any other way.

We’ll see how it turns out but, if this picture is anything to go by, I am feeling positive.

Do you have a moment captured that we could share?

Contact us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com

Baby Blues

“I’m just nipping to the loo, would you like to hold baby, g’wan I know you really want a cuddle”, says my friend as she thrusts baby at me and heads the other way.   Er, well actually no, I don’t really want a cuddle.  She’s lovely and cute and all that but …………  well I couldn’t really say this to my friend so I’m left holding the baby and try desperately not to think “if only”.
 
I thought I was over not having my own child, I really really did.  I thought I’d got over the failed IVF. I discussed it loads with the social worker and with my partner and had accepted the fact.
 
But I guess I haven’t.  My friend having her baby, pregnant mums in the playground First touch(lots of them), Kate Middleton, endless debates about morning sickness, Holly-flipping-Willoughby, the cover of Hello this week with a new pop star mum. Everywhere there are babies.  Before my friend gave birth, I sat in a cafe listening to her give TMI about the pregnancy.  When I met her after baby had been born she was explaining something about being a new mum  – I can’t remember exactly, probably something about sore nipples – and she used the phrase “you know how it is”.  I laughed with her but what I really wanted to do was stand up, cry and shout “No, I bloody don’t know how it is!!”.  I didn’t send her flowers when baby was born but then she didn’t send me anything when my child came home.  In fact nobody did apart from one acquaintance, not even a friend, just a business acquaintance.  Petty on my behalf? Maybe.
 
Don’t get me wrong, I do actually like babies and my friend’s baby is indeed gorgeous. But it’s a constant reminder to me that I have failed in what should be the most natural thing to do and give birth.   “At least you don’t have stretch marks or saggy boobs”, said someone to me once. Ah well, that’s ok then.  Aaarggh! Honestly, I swap my 34D and smooth(ish) skin any day.
 
I guess I should seek some counselling but I don’t know if I want to discuss it with someone who really doesn’t understand the depth of my feeling.  Of course the people to discuss it with are probably those reading this blog – adopters who have also be denied the joy of delivering a new born baby.
Today’s post is from an anonymous adoptive mum – if you have something you’d like to share anonymously too, then please do email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com

Life on the Frontline – Week 6

lotf

 

A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

 

It’s been a fairly smooth running and calm week in our household. Yes, Small did refuse to go to school on Monday and once there he did refuse to do any work but by Tuesday, he’d come around. He flew through the rest of week in a blazing trail of superness, well he’s always very super to me but I mean as far as school is concerned.

I suppose the big event this week was that Tall started some play therapy. We have been able to access this through CAMHS and we originally asked for a referral about a year ago. However the first appointments came at the time that Tall was dealing with SATs and because he seemed very focus and keen to try his very hardest, we asked for them to be deferred.

So we are hoping that Tall will be able to explore his inner beliefs of himself, confirm his place in the world and understand more about his emotional deregulation. Now this sounds quite a big ask of playing, to me, but the Therapist is fairly confident that we can explore these themes and says we should be ready to commit to up to 30 sessions. I must say this number was at first a shock but I actually feel relieved now that this level of commitment is being given to my son. No six sessions and you’re cured for once.

His eye gave it away, the morning we were due to go to the first session. They darted around in all directions as he sat at the breakfast table, his shoulders rounded down towards his cereal bowl. Again the unusual silence between us in the car told me he was feeling nervous.

It struck me, after he’d disappeared through a door with his therapist, that I too would be committed to 30 sessions of sitting in the not so plush CAMHS waiting room. An enquiry reviled no WiFi so, I wasn’t going to get that online, childfree hour I’d hoped for. Thankfully I’d also brought a book and actually now, an hour of uninterrupted reading seems a glorious luxury.

At eleven, Tall is at the top end of the age range that play therapy is suggested for but in our initial meeting with the therapist, he excitedly rummaged through the different toy boxes and then spent considerable time lining up his soldiers and plotting his war. He is still very much into playing; revealing that his emotional and social ability age is still much younger than eleven.

I was reminded again of this immaturity as he bounded from his therapy room and jumped onto my knee and snuggled into me. I rocked him and caressed him gently.

I personally delivered him back into school to his pastoral manager, who was taking him into learning support, where Tall would spend time before going back into lessons. I was grateful for their understanding and support, knowing that Small was still at home, awaiting going to his support centre in the afternoon. Both at home during the day can be tricky.

So that’s the first session done and I will keep you informed of our progress. I would also be interested to hear of others experiences with play therapy.

In Other News.

Due to me being away at the weekend, my husband announced that on Saturday he had one of the best days he’d ever spent with the boys. So that’s me away next weekend and the next and the next.

Small had a friend over to play, he’d so been missing his pals from school. It was a delight to hear the giggles and laughter that came from his room.

Fatigue is setting in and half term is now on the horizon. Roll on Friday.

Weekly Adoption Shout Out – #WASO week 89

This Weekend we are #TAKINGCARE

WASO89

 

Hello fellow bloggers and welcome back to our weekly link up for adoption related blog posts. We want to thank you for joining us in sharing the stories of your life.

As this weekend sees the first ever Conference from The Open Nest, entitled Taking Care, we want to remind you what a big part you play in helping take care of this community. Your shared stories of your lives and your adoption experiences make others feel less alone. I hope you too feel supported by those that visit your sites and comment. So keep up the amazing work and remember how important it is to TAKE CARE.

To celebrate this weekend we are going to have an optional theme this weekend of TAKING CARE. Tell us how you care for yourself and your family.

So come on then, link up below……



App Happy

 
 Here another reader tells us of the Apps they love.

Game: The Tribez.

tribez

It’s free. Cute little village of troll people. You have tasks and build it up. Good as you can leave it ages before you check back I on it to get on with life and it will all still be going!

 

 

Social: whatsapp.

whatsapp

Free message, video and photo messages. We used it to make a “group” of close family and friends to send updates during our first few weeks with baby at home
Organisation:Cozi Calendar.
My husband has it too. It syncs together so we can each add to the one calendar so we don’t get double booked.
Baby Lock.
You can let a child watch YouTube videos from your phone ie but lock the screen so they don’t end up messing with anything else on your phone!

Keeping your Child Safe on the Internet

The internet is a wonderful tool, offering a wealth of information, opportunities and discovery but it also has a dark side, especially for fostered and adopted children.

Eyepat

 

As adoptive parents, we have to contend with the risks all parents face of Cyber-Bullying, Viewing Adult and Violent images, Sexting, Trolling, Grooming and Identity Theft; we also have the added risk of our children tracing and contacting  their birth parents.

If we provide our children with internet enabled devices we run this risk, and if we don’t we risk making them ‘different’ from their friends.

As both a parent and a tutor, I firmly believe that in order to successfully parent you need to be aware of all the facts.

Few parents realise the sexual brutality which is freely available to view under the term “Online Porn”.  Many still think it’s like  Playboy. I’ve worked with children of 11 and 12 who regularly view hardcore online porn, and they are putting parental filters on younger siblings computers.In their words,  “I’m old enough to see it, but  they’re too young”! What are the parents doing?

We are the 1st generation of parents who need to have “The Talk” and “the Porn Talk”.However many filters we put in place, there will be children with free internet access who are willing to show ours. It’s crucial we help our children understand that what they see on line is not normal sexual behaviour.The people doing it are actors playing out fantasy roles as they do in feature films.

Adopted and Fostered children are more susceptible to online grooming.  A lot of online grooming through video chat sites is carried out by people in foreign countries. They seek to achieve sexual contact via webcams and video links. As these people can be based abroad there is almost nothing the British Police can do, but report it to the Police Authority in the relevant country.

Cyber-bullying affects approximately 1/3rd of children currently.  Cyber-bullying is 24/7 and often anonymous, so the target does not even know who is doing it. We need to help our children understand that they are being picked on not because of the way they are, but because of the Bully’s problems. In ourHappy Kids Don’t Bully programme  we explore why people bully. The answer is always the same. It’s a coping behaviour displayed by people who need  the power and control which is missing from their lives. This applies to adults as well as children.

Sexting is a rapidly growing trend amongst all children. The explanation for this is , in part due to  accessibility of online porn and that perception of what is ‘sexy’ and ‘cool’;  combined with examples set by celebrities like Rihanna who commented that “if you don’t send your boyfriend naked pictures, then I feel bad for him”. Statistics vary, but many state that a third of young people had either sent or received naked pictures via text or email. Many feel pressured into doing so. Children in care who may have been exposed to the sex industry in their former lives, can be more susceptible to this type of behaviour as they can see it as ok. Interestingly enough these same children are often horrified at the thought of their siblings being involved!

So what can you do?

Protecting children from contacting birth families via social media

  • Try not to let your child know their birth parents surname. It’s difficult to find someone when you only have their forename.
  • Avoid photos on school websites which name your child and/or age.
  • Verify your contacts on social media and set both your and your child’s settings as tightly as possible, so only people you have accepted as friends can see your posts, photos etc.
  • Have the password to your child’s social media accounts and monitor their contacts. Many children have moved on from Facebook to Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, PinInterest, Faceparty, Kik   etc.
  • Talk to your children, explain the risksIt could happen and think about what you will do if contact is made.

To generally keep your children safe online

  • Use software which will tell you what sites your child has been on Microsoft Windows Live Family Safety is FREE and it will tell you which sites they have been on.
  • Use Parental Filters, either “Whitelist”  which blocks every site and you then choose which sites your child can visit, or “Blacklist”  where you set an age range, allowing the software to choose what to block and allow.activity report
  • Remember that most children now access the internet via mobile phone or tablet. Apply filters there..
  • Block sites like Chatroulette.com and Pinkroulette.com which have no control over who the children are linking up with.
  • Be draconian with Video and Geo-social apps. These are called hook-up apps for a reason.
  • Teach your children that Happy Kids Don’t Bully. Help them understand that if they are targeted it is not their fault, but all to do with the Bully’s coping behaviour.
  • If your child is physically bullied, treat it as assault and ensure the school works with the bully to help them deal with their problems. Unfortunately very few schools currently do this.
  • Attend any workshops you can on Online Safety to keep your knowledge up to date.

Penny Big Lottery Announcement 1mbPenny Steinhauer has been teaching Online Safety and Anti-Bullying since 2009. She is a member of UKCCIS, the Anti Bullying Alliance, the Children in Wales Preventing Bullying Behaviours Group. Penny has taught thousands of adults and children how to keep safe online and how to deal with bullying. She has recently received a grant of £5000 from the Big Lottery fund to run Happy Kids Don’t Bully workshops for 3000 children in Wales.

For further info go to  www.eyepat.org. You can purchase the EyePAT 200 page Online Safety Information Guide in print format for £13+ £P&P, on CD for  £5.40 + P&P and as a download for £4.79. You can order from http://eyepat.org/safetyguide

Life on the Frontline – Week 5

lotf

 

A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

“In Crisis” is how Small’s education was described to me this week by the Educational Psychologist. The panicker inside me panicked, the depressive in me spiralled into a depressive mood and the flood gates opened, there have been a lot of tears. She didn’t reassure me in any way when she told me she has seen children like Small unable to integrate back into mainstream school, and she didn’t help me when she suggested that unless he could fit to the school’s needs, then he would not be able to remain in the school. “Permanent exclusion” is the deadly words that ring in my ears.

The self doubts have crept back in and I staretd to fear that my own parenting lacks the necessary conviction, that this is somehow my entire fault. I know, I know I’m being a drama queen but it is so easy to slip into this rut, for me anyway.

And then like an angel, sent to deliver me from my own persecutory hell, there appeared, a singular lovely, lady in the aisle of the supermarket.

Friday straight from School, Small and I visited the supermarket. He was in a very jovial and chatty mood, released from the pressure of school for the next two days, we were having fun collecting none essential things from the shelves. Popcorn, Halloween tat, a DVD, wine, it was a definite Friday night shopping trolley. Realising there was little of nutritional value amongst our items I sent Small off to retrieve fruit.

He reappeared with grapes and then, as we finalised our shopping I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to find a lady, unknown to me, smiling widely at me.

“I would like you to know what a sensible and polite boy you have” she said. “I watched him very patiently allow someone go before him down an aisle and he waited to let other people pass by too.”
My heart fluttered with pride and his little face beamed too. I grabbed hold of him and squeezed him tight. “Well done my love, you make me very proud”.

There it was, the reminder to me, that I actually do a brilliant job parenting my children. That in many a social situation my children know exactly how to behave and interact with others. It called to mind all the wonderful comments that guest’s, at a family event we attended recently, made about my children.

“Aren’t they polite”

“They are playing so well with those other children”

“I hope we can see you all again soon”

Also over this weekend we have enjoyed a number of outings with Small and he has been a delight to be with. His wicked sense of humour has had us all laughing and his friendly nature has seen him engaging with other children and adults alike. He has even managed a long walk, in the autumn sunshine, without moaning, well not much.

Yes he can seem a little quirky at times and yes, he’s not always easy to coerce into everything we want to do but he is learning and improving all the time.

I know he has been far from easy to deal with in school and his behaviour has proved extremely difficult to manage. However, I can’t help feeling that it’s not what the school needs of him that should be considered here. It feels a lot like this little square pegged boy is being squeezed into a round hole. Instead shouldn’t Small’s needs be what people are trying to meet? Not the other way around.

I can now see, now I’ve dug myself out of that rut, that when many of his needs are being met, he feels safe, feels appreciated and feels liked/loved that he can behave in a very convivial way.
Although I am still fearful of those words “permanent exclusion” I’m starting to wonder if this school is not really the one for Small if they are not prepared to meet his needs.

In Other News

Tall and Small have got on very well this week, I love seeing them together, thick as thieves.

Tall’s high school experiences seems to be running more smoothly, but now I’ve said that be prepared for an almighty incident.

I’m struggling for other news, other than the news that I cried a lot this week and the cat was sick on our bedroom carpet. Things can only get better.