To my wife…

Today’s post is written by an adoptive father, who wishes to remain anonymous.

My wife does it all really.
I go to work each day. I come home, eat dinner, bath the kids and put them to bed, and carry on like this day after day. At weekends I get a glimpse of how my children interact with each other and their mother. I get to see some of the behaviour that wears my wife down each day, the booksstruggles that mean she’s asleep by 9 on the sofa, and the abuse that is hurled at her and makes her weep into her Chablis in the evenings.

My wife, she’s the one who reads the books, researches online, joins in message boards and forums, uses twitter for support, she’s also the one who goes on the courses run by our local authority. She knows, and she learns and she feeds back to me, and I struggle to comprehend it all, not because I don’t want to, but because it’s so bloody hard to accept that these little people have endured so much already in their short lives, and it’s doubly hard to accept that adults – people in charge – subjected MY children to such crap beginnings.

I have the utmost respect for single adoptive parents – doing it themselves, without someone to tag in the evenings when it’s been too much.
But mostly, I have respect for my wife. I have my own demons that I’ve had to overcome, but she, well, she had all those physical investigations during fertility treatment. She fought to get us into the adoption process – it wasn’t an easy ride. She put her all into learning, reflection and supporting me through the self-examination involved. And she parents our children to the best of her abilities.

She is my rock, and my love, and despite the hell our kids put her through, she is the best mother for those kids. She’ll be reading this, and I hope it helps her realise (and all the other parents out there) that although many days are shit, she is appreciated, loved and needed.

Summer Sandpit 1/9/14

It’s our final week of Summer Sandpit…

dens in the woodsOur very last Summer Sandpit is all about dens. I think most children enjoying den-building don’t they? Whether it’s in the woods with sticks and branches, in the garden under the trampoline or in the dining room with blankets over the table.

dens inside
What about your children? Is this something they’ve done this Summer? If so, we’d love you to link up your posts or share your images with the #SummerSandpit.

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 82

Well can you believe it? It’s time for the Weekly Adoption Shout Out again…
WASO 82
This is our final #WASO of August 2014, and we’re really looking forward to reading your posts. Maybe you’ve written about your summer? Perhaps the return to school? Maybe you’ve written a reaction to the recent news about Rotherham? Whatever the subject, come and ink up, and you could even add posts you’ve read that you’ve particularly enjoyed. As always we’ll share as many as we can.

So, add your link below, and do check back to read and support any that link up after you. It’d be great if you could include the hashtag #WASO in any comments you leave, tweets or Facebook posts.



The Adoption Social Times 8

It’s time for our monthly round-up of the happenings at The Adoption Social…

Taking Care
onlogo
We’re still finalising the details for the social event after The Open Nest’s Taking Care but we’ll bring you the info as soon as we have it.
Tickets are selling fast for the actual conference, so if you haven’t already booked – then make sure you do it soon…
read more about the conference here.

Week 80#WASO
Even through the summer you just keep those #WASO posts going – well done. We’ve had a count up this week, and over 60 different blogs have linked up since the start of 2014. That is fantastic!

Forthcoming themes for this month are:
5 September - Sharing
19 September – A typical school morning

Summer Sandpit
sandpit_zpse4b97af5
Our special summer linky is coming to a close soon, with our final post on Monday. However, all of the Summer Sandpit linkys will be open until 12 September, so do add your relevant posts – here’s the section, you’ll find all the themes there.

mr toadHolidays
How have the summer holidays been going in your house? Is it still too early to reflect?
Sarah and I spent a few days at La Rosa campsite – which is connected to The Open Nest. It was great to have a chance to relax in gorgeous surroundings, meet each other’s families (sadly minus Mr. H though), and to see our children becoming friends. You can read a bit about it here.

A blogging story
You might have seen that we featured a couple of ‘holiday special’ posts from The Boy’s Behaviour and The Puffin Diaries. These are tasters of our new feature ‘A Blogging Story’. So many of you wrote a ‘Me & My Blog’ post for us, and this new feature will take over from that, giving you the opportunity to share more about your blog, why you write it, and some of your favourite posts. It’s a great way to promote your blog.

Snap happybrothers
Another new feature that we’re introducing is Snap Happy. This is a picture related post where you can contribute a picture or photo that has a story to tell, or is a memory for you. You don’t have to be a blogger to take part – just send us your photo and a few words and we’ll add it to The Adoption Social. Here’s our first post in this series if you’d like a little inspiration.

And finally, here are a few of the posts we’ve published on The Adoption Social this month:

There’s this post on Difference, from actress Kiruna Stamell. It’s well worth a read, and perhaps worth passing on her details to your child’s school for a workshop?
Sarah writes about transitions, particularly ‘Going to High School’. Useful advice if you have a child moving up…
Do you know much about Coram? No, well have a read of this guest post from them.
No Bohn’s About It introduces herself through ‘Meet The Blogger’

If you have any posts that you’d like to contribute, then please do send them into us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com. We also love hearing your feedback, so do get in touch.

 

 

The Open Nest and La Rosa campsite

This week Sarah, along with Stig and Tink, and myself, with the NC, Mini and Dollop stayed at La mr toadRosa campsite, near Whitby.

This gave us an opportunity to see the gorgeous Swallow Barn which is the space available for adoptive families to use for respite.

Just 8 miles from Whitby, in North Yorkshire, set amongst the beautiful moors, is La Rosa campsite. Tucked away, you’d never know what gorgeousness awaits you at the end of the driveway.

Halfway down the drive is a house, with barns attached, and 2 caravans dotted around. Opposite the courtyard is Swallow Barn – an amazing space, decorated in the unique style of Amanda Boorman, with cooking facilities, heating, and room to sleep at least 5. Two adjoining rooms contain the bath (with hot water) and the composting toilet.
Outside there are several campfire circles, with lots of wood provided, and beautiful views…you might even see the wisps of steam from the train, and you’ll hear the chugga-chugging of it as it passes through the valley.

All the money raised through the hire of Swallow Barn goes to The Open Nest charity, which provides post adoption support, and is La Rosa all bedcurrently encouraging adoptive families to hire the barn to get a feel for it, and enjoy the surroundings. In future, proper respite breaks with trained staff will be available too.

Carry on down the driveway and you’ll arrive at the main house and campsite.
We were greeted by Amanda herself, and a table full of homegrown fruit and vegetables that we could use, and treated to a tour of the site – the toadstool themed caravan that contained a sweetshop (and honesty box); the outside gypsy rosebath (complete with hot and cold water, and bubble bath for those inclined); the shower barn (complete with chandeliers) and then the campsites.

We stayed on the bottom of the two main sites – 4 caravans surrounding a campfire and huuuge table. With a nearby kitchen tent (complete with gas burners, cooking equipment, water carriers and a dining table), and further up, a composting toilet caravan. (For those unfamiliar, you use the toilet as usual, but pop a scoopful of woodshavings down after instead of flushing).

The top site contains more caravans, another campfire circle, and the most amazing big top which houses cooking facilities, comfy sofas and dressing up clothes.

And then there’s the secret caravan tucked out of the way – Mr Toad, with it’s own terrace and campfire, perfect for two.

It’s hard for me to describe this place. It’s one of a kind.
It’s quiet, peaceful, and feels like a retreat. It’s beautiful, with individually designed caravans, lanterns dotted around (because, apart from in Swallow Barn, there is no electricity on site), and a safe, welcoming atmosphere.
Mini is 7, Dollop 4, Stig 11 and Tink 10. Yet, they were perfectly safe at all times – and as a usually watchful parent (overly so if I’m honest), I was happy for them to go off and play, which they did without looking back.

As I say, it’s hard to describe, so I’m going to leave you with heaps of photos instead, and let them do the talking. buddhawaltzerbottom site collage
crumpet toasting

Summer Sandpit 25/8/14

Days out. How many have you had? Where have you been? How have they gone?

It’s difficult to keep the children occupied during the holidays. Days out can be expensive, and sandpit_zpse4b97af5need a lot of planning. But, they give our children great new experiences, allow us to learn, play and be together, and just have fun!

We appreciate that for many, security is an important issue, so of course, don’t disclose your location if you don’t want to. However, if you have reviewed somewhere, then please add your post, and do add your general trips to beaches, parks, exciting attraction and any other days out you feel happy sharing.


Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 81

We’re nearing the end of the summer holidays, in fact for some school has already begun. Are you ready? Shoes bought? Pencil cases stocked? Whether you are or aren’t, tell us about it!

We have a theme here on the Weekly Adoption Shout Out this week – ‘Last weekend we’, and we’re looking forward to hearing all about your weekend. Of course, it’s always optional so if you have something else you’ve written about, then do link that up too.

We’ll share your posts as soon as we can, but don’t forget to share your favourites too…



The Boy’s Behaviour – a blogging story

Today, another holiday special, this time on Vicki, writer of The Leaving home profileBoy’s Behaviour, and co-founder of The Adoption Social.

 

I started The Boy’s Behaviour back in the days where we were really struggling with our son Mini and had just turned to our GP for help. A few months later we also contacted our local Post Adoption Team and were assigned a social worker.

I decided to write partly because I just needed to offload, partly to share the journey with others, and also as a record of what we were going through – an online diary of sorts.
I had met adopters in my area, but wasn’t friends with any, and my support network consisted of close friends and family, who I really hadn’t spoken too much for fear of judgement or misunderstanding.

My very first posts came thick and fast as I rambled on about anything and everything – 3, even 4 times every week I’d write about the behaviours that we were dealing with. I needed to get it all out there. I vented, I raged, I shared (probably over-shared!), I questioned and I ranted. And not all of my posts are necessarily about Mini’s behaviour and adoption. I’ve shared some personal things too – about my dad’s suicide, my pregnancy, and more.
Over the years as we’ve received help – counselling,
theraplay, CAMHS appointments, courses etc I’ve shared what I’ve been told but the posts have slowed down as we’re not in the dire place we were when I began.

 

2013-07-26 10.28.18 (2)These days I write when something particularly good or bad has happened – and I enjoy sharing posts about some of the activities I do with the children, that makes me feel more like a ‘normal’ mum…the one I imagined I would be. In fact, my most popular post is one of these ‘holiday crafts’ posts for Melted Bead Bowls.

In many ways the blog was a starting point from a very low, dark, quite lonely place, and I’m now somewhere very different…

I’ve met (in real life, and virtually) people that get it.

I’m getting help now for the depression that has been in and out of my life for some time.

I’m part of a supportive community of adoption bloggers who can empathise and understand all of the things I’ve written about because their children are the same, they can offer support and advice that has worked with them, and they appreciate the background of my children.
And
family and friends are now more aware of the bits of our life that they don’t see. I can write honestly and freely about situations that I would never be brave enough to talk about.

And my blog led me to my friend Sarah from The Puffin Diaries, without whom I might not be as sane as I am. We launched the Weekly Adoption Shout Out together as a linky to bring adoption bloggers together, and the success of that encouraged us to launch The adoption Social. And now we’re trustees of The Open Nest charity, helping to steer the organisation, using our own knowledge and experience as adoptive parents.

 

When I started writing The Boy’s Behaviour I never dreamt that I would meet so many people, learn so much or have as many opportunities as I’ve had. I’ve become passionate about blogging – in general, and as a support tool, and I hope that through my blog and The Adoption Social I can encourage others to use blogging for support, and for fun too!

Pixelating a Photo in Picmonkey

pixel pic

We are Re-sharing this post as it is our most popular post on Blogging, so just incase you missed it, here it is….

PicMonkey is a great photo editing website that is easy to use and free. There are lots of great effects that you can use when you are editing pictures and it is well worth having a play with, there are hours of fun to be had. In this post I’m going to show you how to pixelate a section of a photo. What this means is you can distort a portion of the picture, like the face or maybe a landmark, making a person or area unidentifiable. This can be useful if you want to post images on your blog that include your children.

  • So first things first go to the site www.picmonkey.com
  • On the home page click on Edit a Photo
  • This will open your files on your computer and you can scroll to find the picture you would like to edit.
  • Select the photo you wish to work on and click open, this will move the image into PicMonkey and your screen should look like the image below.

picmonkey2

  • Select the second icon down on the left hand side of the screen, the little chemistry bottle representing EFFECTS (highlighted in the red circle above)
  • Scroll down through the side bar of EFFECTS until you reach AREA and click on FOCAL PIXELATE 
  • Your screen will now look like the image below

Pic monkey

  • The normal settings for this effect is to pixelate the whole image and provide one clear area, what you want to do is pixelate a small area and keep the rest clear, so first click REVERSE EFFECT.
  • Hover the mouse over your photo and a circle will appear, move the circle to cover the area you want to pixelate.
  • Slide bars on the left hand side will allow you to change the size of the circle and the size of the pixels. The large the pixels the more distorted the image will be.
  • Once you are happy with the image click APPLY
  • Now Save the image onto your computer, selection the SAVE option above the image.
  • You will need to select where you save the image on your computer and it likes you to add .jpg after the name of the image.
  • Once stored in a file you can now upload the image onto your blog.

 

 

The Puffin Diaries – A Blogging Story

Today as a holiday special, Sarah shares the story behind The Puffin Diaries

madnessI never set out to be an Adoption blog, I knew I would write about adoption but I was charting my own journey and life too. I have for a long time suffered from depression and I was and have for a long time been trying to work all that dark crap out, I thought writing might help. There was also a bit of a “can I actually do this” about starting a blog.

I had never written anything before, not since high school, University if you count retail marketing strategies as writing. No my English books were always well graffittied with red pen, pointing out all my failures to spell well or use grammar. I still struggle with all that. However, I thought it was worth a try and that I did with this first post about a challenge I was setting myself in Shall we Start with a Party.

I lasted 8 months, which I’m still proud of, and that period taught me a lot about myself, if not least of all just how depressed I actually was at times.

Of course once I started to write more about my children, people engaged more with my writing and a connection between fellow bloggers and tweeters was strengthened. This is one of my earlier posts that I wrote about Stig, A Love Letter. Through difficult at time, some days it felt good to write about the positives. This writing opened my world to the hugely supportive on-line network and writing, reading and commenting on blogs became very addictive, as I submerged myself into this world.

I still refused to be just an adoption blog and enjoyed being part of the blogger community in general. I think I have always fought that “adoption” thing hoping one day it wouldn’t define us. I especially loved posting pictures on a photographic link up called Silent Sunday. Here is one of my favourite posts I did for this here

Through all this enthused writing I was enjoying talking with people on twitter and also reading other blogs and from that the idea to start the Weekly Adoption Shout Out Started. I wanted to bring bloggers about adoption together so, I asked my newly found friend on twitter Vicki to do it with me.

Together we grew #WASO and from that, a seed of thought about The Adoption Social grew. Could we build a website around this weekly link up?

In my own world things were very difficult at times, including the point when my son was excluded, I wrote about that here.

And so The Adoption Social is born and, unfortunately, The Puffin Diaries suffered. I’m often busy looking for content for one site at the expense of the other, but, I don’t mind, I love the support we give through The Adoption Social and the supportive comment we get mean the world to me.

So now I dip in and out of the world of The Puffin Diaries but I still enjoy writing when I can. One of the things I’ve also found I can do is write poetry, who knew, to leave you here’s the one I wrote about being away from Tink.