Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 94

WASO 94It’s time for the Weekly Adoption Shout Out, oh yes, it’s up and ready for you to add your links to.

This week you may have noticed that we also set up a Collective Response #WASO special, where you’re invited to add any posts you’ve written, or would like to write, in response to National Adoption Week, and/or Edward Timpson MP’s letter to all adopters. You are welcome of course to link up these posts to both this special #WASO and our regular usual #WASO. For more information, and to take part click here.

If you just want to take part in this week’s usual #WASO, then you’ll find the linky below. It’ll remain open until late Sunday evening, and we’ll do our best to share as many posts as we can. It’s our theme free week, so please feel free to add any posts. Advance warning for next week’s theme: ‘At this time of year…’

That’s it for now. If you have any questions about joining in, then do ask, otherwise just paste your details in below…



My girls are being bullied

This week is Anti-Bullying Week, and so it’s appropriate that we bring you a problem about bullying from a mum of two…please share your own experiences to help this mum and her children…

My two girls are 10 and 13. Both are being bullied. PP

They go to different schools, and have just a couple of good friends each – and even those relationships are rocky, so it came as no surprise to find that both of them are being bullied, one because she wears glasses and the eldest because she is adopted.

I’ve talked to both schools and surprisingly it’s the youngest’s school that is most willing to help and support – they’ve offered a buddy, a safe supervised space at lunchtime so she can get away from the playground if she wants, they’ve offered a word with the offenders, and the playground staff are going to keep a slightly keener eye.

But eldest’s school are less keen to step in, and have suggested that she needs to learn how to encounter and deal with this herself to prepare for the future, when they think it will inevitably get worse. I’m disappointed in this approach, but short of going to the Governors, is there anything I can do? My daughter is an anxious person anyway and I worry about the ways she might begin to express her anxiety at this obvious bullying.

You can find out more about Anti-Bullying Week here.

Snap Happy – 1st Christmas

Today’s Snap Happy is from The Puffin Diaries.

1stxmas

I’ve been thinking about Christmas and this Christmas in particular, recently. This picture is of our very first Christmas together, such a special and exciting time for us.

For the last eight years we’ve spent Christmas at home, creating our seasonal traditions and all the little things we look forward to. This year we will be on a beach for Christmas day, the warm sunshine, soft sands and clear sea of the Caribbean will be our Christmas Day.

The boys keep asking me,

“What will Christmas be like this year?”

My honest response is “I don’t know”

I have been away at Christmas and to be truthful it didn’t really feel like Christmas day. That’s not saying I wasn’t having a glorious time, it’s just that it was different.

When I look at this picture it reminds me of the sheer delight we took in celebrating our first Christmas together.  The traditions we have, all started here. It has made me think that, although we are away some things must be continued.

Even though our tree will be small, we will still have one at home, if only to maintain the tradition of choosing a decoration to hang on the tree for birth mum and brother.

We will still be having the presents of pyjamas on Christmas Eve.

I will make sure that “Farmer Nismas” (Stigs name for the big man, started that first Christmas) will deliver his three presents to my boys for Christmas day.

And there will be the traditional beer left out for the Farmer and some magic reindeer food.

Other than that it will no doubt be fun in the pool and a bbq on the beach, it will be tough but I’ll try to get through it.

 

 

 

 

A #WASO special – Collective response to National Adoption Week and Edward Timpson

NAW-2014-logoNational Adoption Week took place earlier this month, and amongst a swathe of media stories about how amazing adoption is, how you could help a child in care, and how siblings should be kept together, an open letter to adopters quietly popped up.

Some of us spotted the letter. Others were directed to it by tweets and Facebook from those who had seen it, and soon via the power of social media, the letter became distributed between social media savvy adopters. It’s clear however that this letter is not going to be seen by all adopters, and I know my own local authority knew nothing of the letter until I mentioned it to them. As a result, they won’t be sharing it to other adopters local to me. Would have been nice if someone’s public relations department had emailed it to all local and voluntary agencies for some help with distributing it, unless of course that it’s irrelevant how many adopters actually see it – perhaps the purpose was just to be seen to be doing something?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then please do look up the letter to adoptive parents that Edward Timpson MP has published.

Now, depending on how you feel about the letter, you might like to see a response – we like this one from Amanda Boorman at The Open Nest, we also support her petition which you’ll find here. We urge you to sign and share it.

All of this took place during National Adoption Week – something that appears to have evoked mixed feelings this year – much more so than years before. We have struggled to find out why National Adoption Week was actually established – back in 1997. Was it to raise awareness of adoption generally? Was it to recruit more adoptive parents? And whatever the reason…what is the reason for it now?
We know that each year the focus shifts slightly – this year it was on ‘Siblings’, and the importance of keeping them together. But generally what is it’s purpose?

As an adoptive parent, it all feels about recruitment these days to me. There is nothing about support – yes, Mr Timpson MP addressed it a little care of the new adoption support fund (and the few social workers and professionals that I’ve discussed it with seem nothing buy cynical about how it’s going to work anyway), but nothing from the main players about support now for those of us on the frontline of adoption, nothing about support for those adoptees that are in or have been through the system and are struggling and nothing about how support will improve for those adopters that are being sought to parent the siblings that so desperately need new families…
And it seems that I’m not the only one who feels this way – several blog posts and many tweets show that many feel the same.

As a result, we’ve decided to set up this #WASO special – a place for you to link your blog posts with your thoughts on National Adoption Week and your thoughts on Edward Timpson’s letter to you. And once you’ve added your posts, we’ll forward this all onto Edward Timpson’s office, and to BAAF (as the organisation who runs National Adoption Week) and invite them to respond.

So please, if you’ve been thrilled, moved, felt supported, rejected, forgotten, annoyed or pleased by the recent happenings, do come and share your blog posts on our #WASO special. If you haven’t got a blog but have something to say, then please write about it (and send it to theadoptionsocial@gmail.com) and we can publish your post either here or on The Boy’s Behaviour or The Puffin Diaries and link that up.
To give everyone a fair chance to take part, this linky will remain open until NEXT FRIDAY – 28th November.


Life on the Frontline – week 9

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.

If there is one thing that is for certain in our family, it is that there is no certainty. No conclusions can be drawn of how one day from the next may go, based on certain behaviour you have previously seen. No certainty that you will be able to be in a certain place at a certain time, based on certain behaviour which has previously been displayed. There is therefore no certainty, ever, of what a week in the life lived on the frontline may hold.

I attended a meeting this week, at the high school, to appraise Tall’s progress so far in year seven.  It was the type of meeting I don’t often attend; it was full of good news. I was pleased that the measure of my boy seemed to have been taken accurately and whilst they are really willing and able to support him, they are also encouraging a level of self responsibility.

He has taken to spending the majority of time, away from his lessons, in learning support. This is a separate section of the school with a whole corridor of classrooms and resources for those children who struggle in the mainstream. Whilst he is eating breakfast at home, he is also going straight into this facility when he arrives, to eat his second breakfast and is then there break time and lunch time.

The staff have gotten to know him well and seem genuinely delighted by his convivial personality.

“He was one of our biggest concerns with this year sevens but the progress he has made is wonderful”

I beamed and agreed a lot throughout and was please to hear of the way they are planning to continue his support. He’s been coached in self organisation skills and will to be expected to spend one break time a week away from them. Withdrawing their support is to happen slowly and will never be a completely gone.

I came away feeling, for once, that he was being understood and managed appropriately. It was therefore with a bit of a blow, I received a phone call, two days later, detailing an incident which would lead to his second half day internal exclusion.

The day I went to school for Tall’s meeting, Small refused, point blank,to attend his afternoon centre. He had not done well on the Monday and by Tuesday his heels were dug firmly in, there was no way he was going.

By Wednesday, I nervously dropped him off and walked away, no looking back, fingers crossed. Relying on superstitious finger crossing is never a good thing. At home time I was called in and informed that Small’s rudeness towards students and staff would result in a two day exclusion.

From what I can ascertain, a series of event have lead to him feel distrustful of the staff, again. Distrust means defensive behaviour, defensive behaviour, for Small, is a level of rudeness that most adults around him find it hard to see beyond.

I suggested on one of the days he struggled to go in, confronting the T.A. with,

“Keep your nose out of my business”

“I sometimes find he reacts better when I recognise how upset he is rather than telling him off for his rudeness. Maybe you could say “you must be very upset to speak to me like that””

In reply “I can’t say that in front of the other students, that’s not our policy”

Head and brick wall came to mind.

Whilst Small has done better at the centre it brought to my attention, again, that this micro school environment is containing the problem, not solving it.

I feel again back at square one with Smalls education, swaying even more so, than ever, to home schooling but desperate to see if a new EHC (Educational Health Care plan) can make the difference. Can we last the distance to find out? I don’t know.

So that was the week that was uncertain and here we go again with another uncertain week.

In Other News

I’m finding yoga helps with the stress, no really it does seem to help.

I went to the cinema with Tall and his friend.  A 12A,it was the scariest film I’ve seen in a long time and I’m glad they will be old enough to go it alone next time. Plus I had to sit two rows away so I didn’t cramp their Eleven year old style.

Whilst excluded, Small did all the work sent home without an argument. I bribed him with sweets but you know what it was worth it.

 

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 93

1415741609931Week 93? Wow, that’s flown by. I can’t believe the Weekly Adoption Shout Out has been running for so long, and with so many of you taking part by both adding your posts and reading them too.

Over the last few years, we’ve also run a couple of #WASO specials, and there will be one next week to, so keep your eyes open for that. On to this week, and it’s a themed week – optional as always, and it’s ‘Secrets’. There are many ways you can interpret this theme, and so we’re looking forward to reading your take on it.

So without further ado, please go forth and add your links, read them, and share them too.

Will I have to choose between them?

Today’s problem comes from adoptive mum Rachel, who is worried about the way her husband is parenting their son…if you have any advice, or have been through something similar, please do share your experiences too.

ProblemI’m really struggling with my husband at the moment. He knows about attachment, he knows about therapeutic parenting, he knows our son’s background, and he knows that our son is very good at identifying and pushing buttons, but…he just can’t put it into practise.

We’ve been a family, him, me and our son for 5 years. We’re not new adopters, and I’ve been on many courses and fed back to my husband (unfortunately he just can’t get the time off to attend himself), he’s come to therapy when he can, and he’s even read and watched Dan Hughes (isn’t YouTube great?!).

He just can’t implement it. I really struggle to see him getting so cross at our son – shouting sometimes, sending him to his room, physically removing our son from situations, rather than moving himself into another room. It undoes all the hard work that I put in. It scares our son.

I’m worried that we’ll soon be at the point where I have to choose between them. Losing his father will be traumatic for our son, but surely this behaviour is just as damaging?

Meet The Blogger – Five go on an Adventure

Today’s meet the blogger is Five go on an Adventure
5go
 
 
Quick 5 – In my life at the moment….
Book – the Science of Parenting Margot Sunderland and The Little Coffee shop in Kabul Deborah Rodriguez
Music-  Fairground Attraction
TV programme- Gotham watching with child 2 and Strictly Come Dancing
Food- Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Asian, traditional roast and toad in the hole, Chocolate – I have had a love affair with food for many years now.
Pastime- Discussion groups, gin and tonic with the girls and eating out.
What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
Patience and dealing with heartbreak.
What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children?
More about attachment and therapeutic parenting and a realisation as to how pro active I have to be.
Why did you start blogging about adoption?
 Initially to share our story with friends and family, our child has to remain anonymous so face book is a danger. But it has become an out pouring of concerns, grief and happiness. I found it to be a way to look out for a positive.
Where do you get your blogging inspiration from?
Every day life, it could be seeing a caterpillar crawling across a path, a rainbow, or something that is so about adoption like a behaviour linked to attachment
Who is your favourite adoption blogger? Sally Donovan
Who is your favourite non-adoption blogger? The Potty Diaries
What made you choose the blogging platform i.e blogger/wordpress that you did?
It was the first one that came up in Google.
Tea/Gin? Tea generally, gin and tonic over ice with a slice of lime with my besties when we need a “board meeting”

What do you think is your biggest source of support?
My parents, my social worker and Kirsty and Nicki, not forgetting the chocolate and the caffeine.
Reward charts yes/no?
Not sure, cynically they didn’t work for my older three, will have to let you know.
What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
Trust in yourself and ask for help when you need it.
My perfect adoption support would include…
A waterproof shoulder and a bottle of prosecco to share.
When I look into the eyes of my child I see..
Uncertainty.
The best thing we did this week was….
Dressing up as super heroes, made up superheroes not the marketed ones.
If you could take your children anywhere in the world to see something where would you go? India to see the tigers or just up the road to the farm to see the cows
What I hope I can give to my child/Children?
Trust and endless, unconditional love
At the weekend I can mostly be found…
baking or at the farm or in the car being a taxi service
What makes you and/or your family laugh?
My husband

News from The Open Nest

Today we bring you an update from The Open Nest Charity, current activities and plans for the future.

severance

SEVERANCE EXHIBITION

Firstly, this weekend 15th and 16th November 2014, sees the second showing of the Severance Exhibition. Hosted this time at Family Future (full address below), this exhibition is a collection of artwork by adopters, adoptees and those involved in adoption and aims to bring narrative to the modern culture of adoption.

From a collection of different medium including installations, photography and film clips, the pieces portray the differing feelings and experiences that those involved in adoption hold and how these can be both in line with and at odds with current media perceptions.

So if you can visit the exhibition at –

Family Future
3&4 Floral Place
7-9 Northampton Grove
Islington
London
N1 2PL

11am – 6pm Daily

THE PETITION

The Open Nest has responded to a letter, seen below, addressed to all adopters (see here) from Edward Timpson, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families. As part of this response the charity has  raised a petition asking that more funding be allocated to support than recruitment. You can sign the petition below.

Dear Edward Timpson,

We know you appreciate all that us adopters do. We are brave, loving and committed people. We provide permanence for some of the most needy children in the UK. Many of us feel that the Government funding and attention given to recruit new adopters far out weights the funding and attention given to support adoptees.

Many of the families who have already adopted are struggling daily with gaining meaningful support. For these families it is hard to watch mass media recruitment drives. We worry about our own children and those children and families entering a system that is not yet ready to fully deal with the issues. These include inconsistent approaches from health, education and social care. Adoption Support is still in development and many of us feel it would be good to get this bit right before increasing the numbers of adoptions.

National Adoption Week 2014 is promoting the adoption of siblings and yet this task is one that needs very careful consideration. Yes, siblings should ideally be kept together but only with a built in intensive and committed package of support before the adoption order is granted. Many of the adoptive families in the UK would like to see support to adoptees as a right enshrined in law. At the moment it feels to some that it is a postcode lottery. Social workers and teachers need more training, funding and support to understand fully the needs of adoptive families.

We need support more than we need acknowledgement of what a great job we do. We are aware of this great job but just as ‘love is not enough’ neither is receiving a PR based pat on the back. We look forward to seeing adoption support high on the political agenda as a tribute to the braveness and resilience of adoptees, our children, who have no choice in becoming adopted.

Please click the link below and sign this petition if you are in agreement with what this letter wh highlights, the urgency for adoption support to be higher on the agenda than recruitment.

SIGN THE PETITION

WHAT IS NEXT

The charity is currently developing training for adoption social workers, which they hope  to start delivering early next year.

After the huge success of #TakingCare conference, more are planned for the new year. These will take place in different geographic locations and hopefully offer more space for participation discussion.

Life on the Frontline – Week 8


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.

The boy Small has moved into a happier place. The half term holiday provided a space for him to relax and the calmness amassed has remained. For me the time out from school gave me the room to gather strength and confidence and we have returned to school feeling in control.

Currently Small is attending the support centre in the afternoon and is at home in the morning. The integration back into his Primary school has been put on hold for now, as we gather more information and allies. I now do not want to attend a meeting without the Educational Psychologist and Parent Partnership being in attendance too. I also have been planning and taking notes on what I wish to be considered and discussed all adding to the sense of control I’ve gained.

I also made another decision this week that I feel confident about. There has been some expectation that whilst Small is at home that I am providing him with some activities of educational value. One morning this week I asked Small to carry out an educational task and he flatly refused, as he sometime does. The wrangle which ensued left us both in tears and me in a difficult position.

The centre expects me to allot a score to Smalls morning to determine if he has met his targets. This whole process has not sat comfortably with me from day one. I am not his teacher and I don’t wish to be. I’m his mother, his confidante, the one person he trusts the most in the world. Scoring his behaviour felt like a betrayal of this trust, as if I am tell tales on him. Right there on that morning I decided I’d had enough, I didn’t want this pressure on our relationship any longer. I resolved to only enter into nurture based or fun activities with Small which encourage our connection and boost his self esteem.

So with that in mind the next morning we set out on a walk up a hill, bathed in the autumnal sunshine. Although it was all his idea, he still complained about the walking but it was worth it for the magnificent view we admired from the summit. We had brought his kite along, an activity he really loves and finds great peace in. As we tried to launch the kite into the air, we laughed and giggled as we became entangled in the cord. Once air born the kite dipped and swirled above our head and we laughed and giggled more. It was so wonderful to see a contented smile on the face of my pink cheeked boy.

“I wonder why you like flying your kite so much?” I pondered.

“I like how free it is” was the reply.

Yes, I though, floating around in the air would seem unrestrained without control, everything that Small wishes his own life could be.

“I wonder if you could write a poem about flying your kite” I tentatively asked.

“no” was the reply.

“I bet I could write a poem and I bet it would be better than yours”

“No it wouldn’t, mine would be the best” he boasted.

Back at home, an hour later he had completed a deep and moving poem about how it feels to be the kite. Daddy judged our poems and of course Small’s was far superior to mine.

So by setting the expectation to not achieve much we achieved the most we’ve ever done and had a lot of fun doing.

I am very much going to be guided by Small on what we do each morning we’ve got lots of things in mind. Together we can look forward to our week ahead instead of dreading a morning battle when I get the maths books out.

 

In Other News

I am delighted to announce that Tall has suddenly started to enjoy reading. He’s been reading the Maze Runner series of books and is hooked. So lovely to see him engrossed in a book that is not about Minecraft.

Both boys have had a meltdown of sorts this week. Tall’s was small and Small’s was huge, you know, spitting hitting,throwing things and trying to run away. The thing is we got over it all fairly quickly because we had the confidence to deal with it and move forward. I think this confidence thing is catching.

My husband and I managed a night out just the two of us, yes we had an argument but it was nice to have the time to argue in peace and yes we soon made up and enjoyed ourselves.