Summer plans at The Adoption Social

It’s almost Summer Holiday time and indeed for some, the holidays have already started, so we thought we’d best let you know what’s going on here…

We’ve decided to take a break for the entire Summer holiday, giving you just the Weekly Adoption Shout Out each week from Friday to Sunday as usual.

We both feel that we need to re-assess what The Adoption Social means to us, to you, whether we need to branch out, or stop or diversify or…we don’t know, but in order to this about all that, we need to step back completely for a while. July and August are traditionally quieter months for The Adoption Social anyway, so we hope you won’t mind us stepping away for a bit.

However, we will still be around if you need an ear or a shoulder, you’ll find us at @puffindiaries and @boysbehaviour. We started The Adoption Social because of our amazing online community, and we both definitely want to remain a part of that community too – because we still need support and help with our families, and because you know, you lot are pretty nice people!

If you have any thoughts about what The Adoption Social means to you or where you see it in the future, then please by all means email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com, and we’ll take your thoughts, ideas and messages into consideration when we think about where we’re going to go and what we’re going to do.057

For now, here’s the dates that we’ll be running #WASO, and their themes:

22-24 July                 ‘6 Weeks’
29-31 July                 NO THEME
5-7 August               ‘Fight, flight or freeze’
12-14 August           NO THEME
19-21 August           ‘Sun or storm’
26-28 August           NO THEME
2-4 September        ‘How do you feel today?’
9-11 September      NO THEME

We’ll be returning week commencing 12th September and we’ll let you know our plans then or shortly thereafter.

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 176

Welcome to #WASO!

176

It’s that time of the week again. Get your blog posts ready, and link up below.

Please do read the others that link, comment if possible and share your favourites. And we’ll do our best to read, comment and share them all too!

If you need a bit of help with joining in, then click here. But otherwise, go forth and add your blog posts (no theme this week!).



A Problem Shared – Family Contact

Today we bring you a problem about family contact, do you have any experience you can share.

A Problem SharedWe have recently made contact with a sibling of our children. We went through the post adoption for the area where our children came from. They facilitated an initial meeting with the sibling for my husband and I. We then arranged a supported meeting for the children with the sibling. The sibling is eighteen and therefore does not require the support of another family member and is happy to work independently. Now this contact has been made we are now being asked to manage it without SW involvement.

I’d like to know if anyone else has been through a similar experience and how they have managed this contact. I want this person to be a part of my children’s lives, however I want to remain in control of the contact. My children are now twelve and thirteen and I worry about them all being in contact through social media without our knowledge. We have very firm rules about internet access and use of the internet but I know as our children get older we will need to give them more freedom. Any advice would be well received.

Summer activities with little planning

I’ve been thinking a lot about the forthcoming Summer holidays. Usually I go with the flow but this year I wanted to arm myself with a handful of activities that I could pull together quickly when the first ‘I’m bored’ calls begin, so I thought you’d like to see it too…

In the garden:

Garden games – It takes very little to get some garden games ready. You can even get the kids involved with the planning and making.

Make some cardboard spots and mark them with different point values – who can score the most with 3 beanbags? Often the children think about different ways they can play the game and they get inventive. BUT you might need to be clear on rules at the very beginning to make this work.

Trampolining a great activity to help with calming down angry children, regulating hyper children, it’s a sensory experience too.

Water fights – get the water pistols out, buy cheap sponges and cut them up, even use old ketchup bottles as squirters. Good for cooling down on hot days. And it provides a nurturing opportunity when getting snug and dry after.

Invite their friends over – yes you might have to supply squash and sandwiches, but it’s a real eye opener watching your children interact with others. And if they’re in your garden, you get to keep an eye. Provide a few footballs, swingball, skipping ropes or pots of bubbles and even the most cool and streetwise 14 year old, will be running around popping those bubbles with the glee of a toddler!

In the house:

Cooking/baking –  yes this can strike fear into the heart of any parent, but it really is great fun for kids and as long as you don’t mind a bit of mess it can be a lovely bonding experience if you choose the right moment.
Whatever your skill level (and your childs) you can have fun with this…rice crispie cakes to homemade pitta bread pizzas, my son (after some sensory therapy) now loves squishing together homemade veggie burgers, and my youngest likes just spreading butter and jam on a piece of bread.

Movie time – grab a few DVDs, whether they’re old favourites or new surprises, make up a bowl of popcorn and bottles of drinks and chill together. This is a lovely way to snuggle, relax and re-charge.

Crafting – again, not everyone’s cup of tea, but even if you leave a pile of paper, some glue sticks and foam shapes on the kitchen table, the kids will enjoy it. You can supervise with a cup of tea whilst they stick each other together, I mean create wonderful pictures, and even if only for 20 minutes, it’s a fairly simple activity that can be enjoyed by various ages. (My children make loads of pictures, so armed with envelopes and stamps we send them as presents to members of the family and then they don’t clutter up my house too much).

Play – lots of our kids struggle to play. They might need some structure in which case you can put out some useful props and sit nearby for help and support…maybe leaving some paper plates out next to a pile of teddies (picnic anyone?), or a half built lego model that can be continued, even a pile of blankets and pegs so they can make their own den. Sometimes that initial prompt can be enough to get them going. For inspiration search ‘invitation to play’ on Pinterest.

Out of the house

Fruit picking – a simple way to get them out of the house but with an end purpose and a healthy snack (who doesn’t nibble a few strawberries whilst picking them?). You could (if you have the time and inclination) make a whole themed day of it…beginning with fruit themed crafts, ending with jam making, or cake decorating with fresh fruit?

Go to the park – Whether your kids are younger or older, the park is light relief. Swings, slides and climbing frames or even a field with a ball. Take a couple of drinks and some snackage, and get out for an hour or two. Arrange to meet friends there if you like, or take a picnic.

Nature trails and walking games – we make nature bingo sheets, just a very simple list or pictures of things they might see on a walk…ants, blue cars, post boxes, the bakery etc and they tick them off as we go. Sometimes we take a camera and they have to take a picture of each thing too. Other times, the bingo card lists leaves and objects they can bring home, so we take a bag or hat with us to fill. This works well with younger children, but you can adapt it to suit whatever age group. This has helped my hyper child focus on something…a big achievement.

Puddle jumping – even on the wettest days, and in fact especially on the wettest days you just need to get out. So pull on your wellies, grab a jacket and go out to jump in puddles. Have fun with your kids!
Before you go, put newspaper down by the door and a pile of towels and pyjamas on the side, so you can get dry and snuggly when you get home.

What do you think? Will you do some of these with your children? What else are you planning? Let us know.

Today’s guest post is from Hayley, a mum of 4 children, 2 of whom are adoptive. They are 15, 12, 7 and 6. Hayley’s children have lots of different diagnoses (ASD, SPD, Attachment problems, FASD and anxiety) between them which are displayed differently in each so she’s well used to juggling activities to suit all or most of their needs at the same time. We’re grateful to Hayley for sharing this post with us. 

Life on the Frontline – 12/07/16

lotfA 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.

“Heads down and head for the holidays” is our household mantra at the moment.

This was always going to be a tough week for Small as his school have a policy of introducing the next year’s timetable for the last three weeks of school. Now I think this in theory a brilliant idea, get the pupils introduced to new teachers and subjects before they break up so there is less anxiety when you come back in September.

However, in practice, tired children and staff are tackling the fallout of massive change with quite hug consequences. That’s how Small ended up having to be coaxed down a railway embankment after walking out of school. There has been a whole string of reports which detail, his rudeness, his lack of regard for rules and generally being a difficult or as a member of staff told him “a horrible child”.

Yes, school have confirmed that this language was used to Small and the reason is that the member of staff “is human”. I have a level of understanding, I know how very difficult he can be however, I’m worried about how staff are perceiving him, seeing the behaviour and not the child. Sigh, big sigh “heads down and head for the holidays”.

No exclusions for Tall this week, hooray. However he got into quite a major fight. When I took the phone cal regarding the fight, my heart sank as the voice from school, on the other end said “Are you ready for this”.

However, it was totally not his fault and was quite seriously attacked by another student for no real reason. Well I’m sure the other child had a reason but it was not something that Tall had obviously done.

“Are you ok my love” I inquired when he came through the front door. “I’m fine” he said “It wasn’t my fault”. He was very hyped as he bounced off the walls of our home, walking back an forth and unable to settle. Whilst he didn’t seem too upset by the incident, he was almost excited by the fact that he hadn’t been responsible for the incident and the there was  a residue of electricity pulsing through his body.

The next morning was a different matter, he was anxious about how he would be received in school and his bruised face and chipped tooth were now bothering him. He managed it though and got through his week.

And just as we thought “yay” we are getting there, Tall was caught trying to smuggle his laptop into his bed on Saturday night.

So only two more weeks to go. “heads down and head for holidays”.

In Other News

We seem to have acquired another cat. A local stray has definitely decided we are his new adopted family. He’s sat on the sofa opposite me as I type.

My yoga is still making me soo happy. Teaching yoga is one of the best things I’ve ever done.

On the yoga note, I got my husband along to a class on Friday and now I think he might be hooked too.

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 175

Time for the Weekly Adoption Shout Out!week 175

So, have you been following the sport this week? Football or Tennis, both or neither? Perhaps your sporting experiences have been more school sports day than anything else?

Talking of school, many of our children will have been experiencing transition days recently as they meet their new teachers, explore new classrooms and get tasters of the routines that will become the norm for them come September, so if you decide to use our ‘Moving On Up’ theme this week, perhaps you’ll write about how your children have dealt with the transition day, or how you think they’ll handle it come the start of the new school year?

Maybe, you’ve something else that will fit ‘Moving On Up’? You know what I think of? This…

Anyway, I’ll just leave that with you and give you the linky, you know what to do:


The Boy who Built a Wall Around Himself by Ali Redford – A Review

Today we bring you a review of a new children’s book written by Ali Redford and illustrated Kara Simpson, called The Boy Who Built a Wall Around Himself.

boy and wallThis book is a picture book, and the story is about a child who hides his emotions by build a metaphoric wall around himself. The wall is gradually dismantled through a “kind person’s” perseverance in offering help and understanding.

I read the book myself first and then, I asked a number of other people to read it and also I read it through with my twelve year old son.

On my first read through of the book ,I felt very emotional. The book is beautifully worded and illustrated, and of course I could instantly relate the story to both of my sons.  I really enjoyed the intelligent and yet simple metaphors used to describe emotions.

“Heavy words tumbled out in waterfalls until some of the bricks came loose”.

In the illustrations, the clever use of colour really assists the story and the understanding of the feelings. At the start of the story all the graphics are monochrome and as the “kind person” enters the story, colour is gradually introduced.

It’s safe to say I loved this book the first time I read it.

When I read the book through with my twelve year old son, I was a little concerned that he might find it a little young for him, but his first exclamation was “amazing graphics” and that’s when I understood just how clever the illustrations are. There is an almost graphic novel look to them and it therefore can appeal to older children. I can see how this could be useful as older children often need the simplicity of the word in the book but don’t want to be considered to be reading something “babyish”.

At the end of reading it through with my son, I asked him “can you relate any of the book to yourself”.

“Yes, I have wall around myself and you are helping to bring it down, she even looks like you” he said pointing to the kind person. A happy coincidence but I was impressed with his understanding none the less.

I also showed the book to my mum who used to work in school library services for our LA. Part of her job was selecting books to go into school libraries. She was very impressed with the book and suggested that “every school library should have a copy of this book; there are so many children that could benefit from reading it”.

My mums referred to the fact that lots of children may relate to the story but also it would assist other children understand the emotions of some of the children whom struggle in school.

“It’s a great book to base an assembly on” she suggested.

In all, I think this book is a sensitive story which will bring awareness to children of how emotions can be hidden behind  challenging behaviour. I have to agree that this would indeed be a good book for schools to own, particularly for use with children key stage 2 and upwards. In fact if you feel that your child’s school would be receptive to this book, why not invest in a copy for them, it would make a lovely end of year gift for a teacher.

Buy This Book.

#Taspic Review – and a new Challange

Well did I put a jinx on summer with lasts months #summerishere, probably.

However some of you still found thinks ironic or not to snap and share. Firstly here’s our Top #Taspic, a true summertimes scene from @Adventuring5.

summerishere top taspic

And here is some of our other favourites.

summerishere collage

So to next month, I don’t want to jinx the weather for July so lets try something simple like #beautiful  and don’t forget to hashtag #taspic too to help us find your picture.

 

Life on the Frontline – 05/07/16

lotfA 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.

 

Tall started the week with an internal exclusion and by the end of Wednesday he had accrued another one.

He actually doesn’t mind an internal exclusion because he’s on his own and can just get on with his work without distraction. It has been commented, by school, that he produces some of his best work in this environment. Well off course he does. It’s not really rocket science.

The problem seems to be with his relationship with support staff, he isn’t trusting of them and he there for acts very defensively with them. This behaviour is considered rude and threatening by school, which I do understand because I know how Tall presents himself when in this frame of mind.

Small started the week, by getting on a train, to a seaside town, with his choir. He was excited and nervous at the same time, I was just very nervous. I had decided to travel up on the Wednesday to watch the group perform on the Thursday.

I taught my yoga class on Wednesday and returned home to pack a few bits and get on the road. Ten minutes before I expected to leave School called “Can you come and collect Tall, he’s not cooperating”.

On collecting him, he seemed agitated and irritable. A run in with another student and the run in with support staff which followed had caused his black mood.

It didn’t last long once we were home, he softened and relaxed with a hug and some kind words. He was worried I wouldn’t go on my travels and insisted that the problem in school had nothing to do with my going away. I made sure he was settled, Dad was at home working so I was able to leave.

The trip away was a nice break for me, some time spent on my own, in a relaxing environment. The journey however was quite tiring.

The performance by the choir was brilliant, I was glad I had made the journey. Small however, found it a little difficult to see me and didn’t want me to leave. The teaching staff suggested we took a little time for the two of us, and go for a drink. This extra hour seemed to work and I left him happily munching a donut on the beach with the rest of his group.

Friday Small returned home tired and a bit grumpy but he had managed the week which has made us very proud of him.

Friday Tall completed his second internal exclusion for the week.

 

In Other News

It has also been my birthday this week, something Tall struggles with so, it has been a very low key affair but still enjoyable.

Tall was home from school by 9.30 yesterday, Monday, after not starting the day well. I’m hoping today will be a better day for him. Something is so triggery for him at this time of year.

We are on a big countdown to holidays now, I really can’t wait.