The Adoption Social Times

TAStimes

Yes, it’s time for your regular round-up of news from the world of The Adoption Social…

Weekly Adoption Shout Out
Still genuinely pleased to see so many joining in with the Weekly Adoption Shout Out. We can see that more and more people are clicking through on the linky so it’s still growing in popularity – at least as far as readers are concerned. We hope you’ll see that reflected in your stats too if you’re joining in?
Themes for the next little while are:
13 May – This week I…
27 May – What makes you feel good.

We’ll be publishing our Top 3 WASO very soon – make sure you check to see if you’re included.

TASpic
Thoughout April we’ve continue our previous month’s TASpic theme of #makesmesmile. And we’ll be rounding up soon as giving you the theme for May. We love seeing how creative you all are with the themes, so keep on posting your photos on Instagram, Twitter and your blogs with the hashtag #TASpic and the monthly themes hashtag too.

#TASchat
No plans for any TASchats at the moment, but we know you love getting involved, so we’ll let you know when we plan to host the next one. If you have any ideas for themes then please get in touch and let us know.

Posts you may have missed…

Fran Proctor wrote about Accessing Social Worker Files in this post.

One of our readers was concerned about depression within her child.

Which apps do you use most? The Puffin Diaries shares her most used

What to do when letterbox doesn’t arrive? This birth mum wants advice.

BlogFox kindly wrote us a useful guide to speech and language therapy.

Life on the Frontline – 02/05/16

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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.

We had parents evening for Tall this week, it was on Wednesday , however before we could get to that we had another Tall incident to deal with.

Monday afternoon the school’s phone number flashed on the screen of my phone. It has been a while since I last received an unsolicited call from the school but it still managed to send anxious shock waves through my body.

The outcome was, there had been an incident but it had been dealt with. Tall had spent some time in isolation, that afternoon and it was all over. However, could I please talk to Tall about taking responsibility for his actions in school?

Tall went off to a friend’s for tea and bounced back home all very happy. So we sat to have a talk about the day’s events.

Within minutes I had a stroppy, uncooperative Tall on my hands. The problem seemed to be that Tall felt he had not done what the school were accusing him of. I, by instigating a conversation about the day were now on the side of the school and was therefore a “b***h and a cow”. Cue a bit of a tense hour as dad wasn’t home and Tall seemed very volatile. I left him in his room and we didn’t see him again that evening.

Thankfully Tall had calmed by the morning and went to school in a settled mood, he returned home and completed a list of chores for me to apologies for his rudeness, all sorted. Well we actually sorted it even more when discussing it in DDP on the Thursday.

So parents evening. We, as always, had few actual appointments and spent an hour trying to sneak in, to see teachers. There was a general thread which appeared throughout the evening. “when Tall is in the right frame of mind he is motivated, engaged, very bright and very capable, when he’s not in the right frame of mind he has the potential to be disruptive uncooperative and rude”.

Most teachers were quick to say that there had been a great improvement since is very wobbly start at the beginning of the year. However, most teachers also felt really frustrated by the lack of consistency in his work.

We obviously know why there are inconsistencies but as his parents we want him to be able to achieve what he is more than capable of so we are in discussion with school as to how we can best support him in attaining this.

Although we delivered his parents evening feed back with all the positive things his teachers said

“I adore your son”

“He is such a bright boy”

“He’s by far the most capable in the group”

We also talked to him about how he could take the next step in reaching his potential.

Tall seemed teary eyed at the end. “I thought I was doing well” he said.

Tall had only taken on board all the, what he considered, negative comments and ignored the good bits, not believing them of himself”

This created a big discussion point in DDP therapy on Thursday, the fact that he can’t believe the positive things people say about him. He did really well opening up about what his head is saying to him instead.

“You are bright and intelligent….”

“Yes but I’m stupid”

He proudly said afterwards, I’m getting better at therapy, aren’t I”

“Yes you are my love, you are doing brilliantly”

He beamed back at me and I felt success, he allowed that positive statement to drip into his belief system.

In Other News

Small and new girlfriend were off and then on again this week.

Whilst Small has gone to school each day this week and on the bus in the morning, he has really struggled.

Thankfully Small’s reward for getting the bus every morning finally arrived, all the way from Japan. A Tamagotchi .

 

 

 

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 165

It’s that time of the week again…so get your posts ready and join in with #WASO.

165How has your week been? Have you been writing lots this week? Ready to join  in?
We have a theme for you this week which is ‘Unexpected Support’, so please do share those unusual places where your support has come from, those people that you wouldn’t have expected to hear from…

Of course, our themes are never compulsory, so if you don’t fancy writing about ‘Unexpected Support’ then please add your other posts to the linky below:



Depression in children

Today Rebecca, mum of 2 girls, asks about your experiences of depression within children.

I’m worried about my youngest girl who is 6. She takes a bit of a beating verbally from her elder sister who constantly knocks her and the things she does. At 9, I think she’s going through a developmental stage of competitiveness; at least her classmates seem similar.

Unfortunately I think my youngest is also going through a typical developmental stage of becoming aware of what those around her think of her. And this is really affecting her self-esteem and self-confidence. She has none at all.

Amplified by oldest’s constant calls of “You’re silly”, “That’s not how you do it” and “No, do it A Problem SharedTHIS way”, youngest’s feelings of self-worth have disappeared and she now feels unable to do anything for fear of getting it wrong, or not meeting other’s expectations.

At home we model ‘failure’ and overcoming it. We talk about how well they both combat challenges. But still, youngest always seems so blue and my gut instinct is that she’s depressed.

Does anyone have experience of depression within children? I’ve spoken to the school liaison officer but not sure where else to turn other than the GP….he’s next on my list.

On our way to Wembley

Today the husband of our very own Vicki writes about a recent trip to Wembley courtesy of EE, and the confidence it’s given Mini.

Wow, what a day!  We couldn’t have pushed Mini much harder if we had tried, a broken routine, crowds of people, unfamiliar places, no clear idea where we were going when we got there, no DSC_0261clear idea of what we were going to do, no idea where we were going to eat afterwards and a late night.  Given all that he coped with it better than a good many adults that I know.

We were very lucky, courtesy of The Adoption Social and EE, to be heading down to Wembley for a preview event of the new EE web application – Light the Arch.  It’s an application aimed at 7-11 year olds that allows you to design your own light show for the Wembley arch.  It has a basic drag and drop interface but gives you the opportunity to dabble with a bit of HTML coding as well.  

I met Mini at the train station at lunch time.  We would normally drive down to the edge of London and get the tube in, so this was the first time that we’d taken the train all the way down.  Mini was a little anxious about being on the right train at the right time but to handled it well once he understood the on screen announcements and figured out where we were waiting.

The journey down was full of enthusiastic chat about everything mini could think of, accompanied by big smiles.

London was its normal busy self when we arrived but this didn’t seem to put Mini off.  He took charge of his own ticket as we left the train and crossed over to the tube.  A bit of forward planning meant that I could give confident directions as to where we needed to go and it payed off.  I was out with a funny, relaxed and confident little man this afternoon.

We arrived with almost an hour to spare.  It gave us time to scout for potential dinner spots,
find the obligatory toilet and take in the surroundings.  We then made our way into Wembley Stadium, through security and up to the corporate boxes for EE.

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Having arrived so early we were lucky to be left in one of the boxes to chill for a while and look out over the stadium.  The grin was huge, and permanent!  Mini loved it, especially when we found out that David Beckham’s box was only a couple further up from us.DSC_0268

Our afternoon was then split between testing the new app and touring the Stadium.  Playing with the app was cool, especially when Mini completed his first design and it was simulated across the famous arch.

The tour was amazing (even for a non-footballer like me).  The scale of the building and its facilities is mind-boggling.  However, the highlight for Mini was getting down to the changing rooms, one of which was set up ready for England, walking out through the player’s tunnel and being able to stand at the edge of the pitch.

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Tour complete, we picked up our stuff and headed outside where we were treated to some of the designs that had been made earlier being displayed on the Arch.

I left Wembley with a tired, excited and very happy little man.  His confidence was amazing and had been a pleasure to see.

And then a few days later, Mini was keen to speak about the afternoon to the rest of his class. So accompanied by a slide show of images (which sadly we can’t show all of as they show his face), this usually nervous, anxious child, stood in front of 29 other 8 and 9 year olds, his teacher and teaching assistants and spoke about what he’d learnt, what he’d seen and what he’d enjoyed. More confidence building!

The URL for the light the arch app, should you feel like having a play, is www.ee.co.uk/light-the-arch. As mentioned, it’s aimed at 7-11 year olds but is free for everyone to use. There are several scenarios to programme light displays for including ‘goal scored’ and ‘welcome to wembley’, and these are programmed using a series of patterns. A great introduction to first programming and coding for kids.

 

An Interview with Fran Proctor on Accessing Social Worker Files.

For some adult adoptees, accessing their own social worker files is something that can create even more questions than answers. That was definitely the case for Fran Proctor, an adult adoptee, who as a child was put into foster care with her sibling. However, Fran was then adopted, but her sibling returned home and was subsequently murdered.  We are very fortunate that Fran has agreed to speak to us about her own experience of searching for answers in these official documents. 

Why did you go to visit the files? 

Some of the professionals I had originally worked with had given me a list of the things I could go in search of. I had associated the list, with hope, answers to questions, closure, just something. I’d been searching for that ‘something’ for years, missing pieces of life I thought existed perhaps or bits that if they got filled in, my life would be complete and then I’d just move on. I thought maybe the files were finally it. Ridiculous as it sounds, I suppose I was also searching for my sibling, though she was no longer alive – I wanted something to hold onto.

  

Fran P

What did you find when you saw the files?

Fragments of a life that made no sense and a place in my heart that will never be healed.

I found the note, written by a team of social workers, in regards to our visit and what they needed to do and why. “This is a high profile case….

I found entries in the files about my siblings life, such as ” I asked her why she has a black eye and was told she has it because she was naughty so she needed to be punished.” – SW

How did they make you feel? 

Guilty for the life I had, for experiencing all the things my sibling never did. Ashamed, like I’d done some thing wrong by finding all of this. I wanted to know why social workers were saying anything with liability needs to be removed. I found myself questioning if what happened was abuse, if there was a link to her life up until her murder.  Everything that had, had happened to me, had always been noted as “accidents” so was what happened to my sibling “accidents” too. She had black eyes, I was fed syringe needles, those things didn’t sound like accidents, but no one had ever said otherwise. I felt confused, disorientated and lonely. I so desperately wanted to somehow screen shot the information in front of me, so the truth couldn’t be distorted, so my own mind had enough time to make some sense of all of this.

Did they help you? 

No. I was naive. I had lived in anticipation that this was it, that something, only to be equally disappointed that it wasn’t. I was exposed to information that I wasn’t expecting or had anyway of processing, which added to my trauma. It was only shortly before we arrived at the files that I was told that my sibling’s life might not have been that great, I don’t think I could ever have comprehended the reality that I found.  I suppose what I was really searching for was a way to lift the heaviness that had become my life, and that was something I had to find within myself, I just didn’t know that back then.

 

Life on the Frontline 25/04/16

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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.

“Get the hell out of my bedroom” was the charming response I got from Tall when I attempted to get him up for school on Monday.  It was a response repeated each time I entered and tried to rouse him from his pit. In the end, as I had no understanding of what exactly was wrong, I suspected nothing except tiredness, I delivered my consequences for not attending school and decided I would leave it at that.

Five minutes later Tall stumbled down the stairs, bog eyed and very grumpy. He swore a couple of times and left the house, without his school bag, lunch or the homework he’d spent a couple of hours on that weekend. I emailed school so they knew what they had in store.

Monday afternoon, he bounced back through the front door after a really good day and very apologetic for his morning behaviour. He had just been very tired. I made it clear that being tired wasn’t a sufficient reason for being as rude as he had been but I did feel relieved for his good day and simple explanation. I suppose it is a delightful combination of adolescent hormones and taking things out on those closest to you.

Tuesday morning it was Small’s turn. He didn’t want to go, as he hadn’t the previous Tuesday. I realised there was a definite pattern to this behaviour, same classes same teachers.  He didn’t want to go and that was it, no amount of persuading or encouragement was going to work. I probed a little as to what the problem could be and I finally got something to work with. His maths and drama teacher are at the moment one and the same and he has both these lessons on a Tuesday.

“She’s stressy” he told me.

“Why do you think that, did she say or do something?”

“In maths she told me I couldn’t leave the class ten minutes early if I didn’t finish my work. I didn’t understand the work we were doing and so I copied the person next to me”

“Oh did this make you feel worried?”

“YES”.

Small is allowed to leave each lesson ten minutes early to visit pastoral and check in with them.  I assured Small I would speak with school about how he was feeling and we would get things sorted for him.

Eventually we left for school about half an hour late, Small still a little unsure. On arrival at school, students were wandering between tutor group and first lesson.

“I’m not going in yet” said Small.

“Why?”

“I’m not being seen with you in those yoga leggings” he says nodding towards the lively patterned lycra covering my legs.

So I walk into school alone and Small follows once all students are safely in their lessons. More signs of adolescence starting to set in.

So after two really tough mornings I am apprehensive on Wednesday when I wake, as Small is supposed to be getting the bus to school, for the first time. The private hire minibus has agreed to collect him from outside the house, which is really helpful. As I come downstairs to make myself a cup of tea, I realise Small is already up and downstairs and dressed. He is in a fine mood and I think excited.

Tall also gets up with little prising or persuading and is also in an upbeat mood.

By quarter past eight both boys are out the house and off to school.

Well if only it could always be that easy.

 

In Other News

Small has got the bus to school every morning; I have a whole extra hour in my day now.

Tall and Dad enjoyed a trip to robot wars this weekend.

Small and his girlfriend “hung out” together on Friday at the park and then ate chips together.

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 164

Weekly Adoption Shout Out time…week 164

Welcome back to another week of adoption based blogs within a supportive community. This time we have no theme so we look forward to the posts that you decide to link up this week – perhaps it’s a catch up, maybe an opinionated piece, a poem or even a photo based blog post.

The linky is below for you to add that post to, but before you link up, have a quick read through of our friendly Do’s…

DO Please share your favourites on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #WASO.
DO Type in your blog url carefully, else it won’t work.
DO Comment on the blogs that link up, and let them know you found them through #WASO.
DO remember to add your own link, after reading the others.
DO check back as new blogs are linked throughout the weekend.

And have a think about adding our badge to your blog, or the post you decide to link. This’ll show others that you join in the #WASO community. (If you need help, we wrote a post about how to do it here for blogger and here for wordpress.)

Prose for Thought
<div align="center"><a href="http://theadoptionsocial.com/category/weekly-adoption-shout-out/ " title="Weekly Adoption Shout Out"><img src="http://i1358.photobucket.com/albums/q775/puffindiaries/BADGE7_zps59df311c.jpg " alt="The Weekly Adoption Shout Out" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

 

Anyway, without any further ado, here’s the linky, so go getting adding those blog posts.


Mood Cards – A Review

Today Sarah from The Puffin Diaries reviews a box of mood cards called The Mood Cards by psychotherapist Andrea Harrn

This is a collect of forty cards and each card represents a single emotion or mood, some positive and some negative feelings. The emotion is illustrated with a simple graphic which is not unlike an emoticon, with a short explanation or statement which represents the emotion. So for example on the card representing CONFIDENT the statement is “I am who I am. Comfortable in my own skin”.

On the reverse of each card there are three questions, under the heading Ask yourself, about the feeling, to help a child explore what that emotion means to them. An example of a question on the CONFIDENT card is “In what area of your life are you most confident?”

Then at the base of the card there is an Affirmation for the child to use to overcome a negative emotion or support a positive emotion.

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I bought these cards to use with my children, especially my youngest who often can’t tell me what the emotion is that he is feeling. He may seem angry but I’m aware that there is often an undercurrent of other emotions. What I really like about them is the range of emotions which are represented which offers you the opportunity to explore the subtle differences between certain types of emotions. For example there is a card each for anxious, worried, wary and stressed.  

Also I realised that I tend to concentrate my study of my children’s emotions on mostly there negative feelings but, there is a huge range of positive feelings we can also explore. So I’ve tried to use them during positive times too.

The children seem to really like them, I was worried they might seem a little young for them but at eleven and twelve they have both engaged with using the cards.  In fact to understand the questions and the idea of an affirmation, I think they are more suited to an older child. However, for younger children the front of the card and the simple explanation of the emotion could be used to start with and as they get older you could move onto the back of the card questions and affirmation.

We have used them successfully on a number of occasions to help me understand how both my children feel. My youngest was recently upset when we had guests to stay at fairly short notice. He didn’t deal very well with the unexpected arrangement and was very rude to our guests. Using the cards I discovered a range of emotions he felt about this, instead of just being angry, he was annoyed, worried and stressed.

On the whole I would highly recommend these cards to use with children who struggle to identify their emotions and the subtle differences between some feelings. The only negative thing I have to say is that the use of an affirmation is not easy for my children to grasp and it often hard for them to believe the positive statements about themselves. However that doesn’t mean we don’t try.

You can find out more at www.themoodcards.com

App Happy – Share your App Secrets

So which App do you use the most? Which App is your guilty pleasure? Which App are you hanging onto but don’t remove, Today Puffin Diaries reveals answers to all these questions and you can too. 

The App I Use the Most.  Apart from all the obvious social media Apps which I don’t count because they are a complete life necessity, I think I use Pinterest and Spotify the most. I love Pinterest it’s my go to cheer me up app. All the lovely food to pin, all the lovely yoga postures and quotes, all those stylish people and all those amazingly cute animals. I also love to listen to music whatever I’m doing, the fun stuff like yoga and cooking or even the not so fun stuff cleaning the house.app happy

The App which is my guilty pleasure.  I’ve had loads over time but I end up removing them. Yes I’ve done all the Candy Crush sagas, I also had a spell on Covert Fashion, a long spell, think I was rather depressed at the time. The one guilty pleasure I never tire of is solitaire, I play it almost every day, and love it. I suppose I shouldn’t really feel guilty because when I’m on holiday I play this game with actual real playing cards.

The App I really Should remove I have an app called “Moon Planner” which I don’t understand. All I wanted to know was when it was a full/new moon, all in the name of yoga. However it’s more to do with star signs and biorhythms??? Enough said.

The App on my phone/table which is not for me. Too many is the answer. Sandbox, Clumsy Ninja, Sketch Nation and more… all for the children/young people in my life, obviously. I know you know there are always times when they need the device, even though you also need it. ANGRY FACE.

The App I would recommend. It’s dull but I think it’s so very useful. The BBC weather App. Who doesn’t want to know when the sunshine is coming? It’s also a very clear, well working app, what else would you expect from the BBC.

The last App I used today. My trustee BBC weather APP.  I just checked if we would be having sunshine again tomorrow.

 Would you like to share your App Secrets??? Answer the above questions and email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com