Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 173

Hello folks, how are you all this week? Ready for #WASO??!

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Welcome back to another week of adoption blogs here on The Adoption Social.
We set this linky up so bloggers and readers could connect with each other and become a community and we hope you feel part of that. We couldn’t do it without you reading, sharing, commenting and talking on Twitter – so a big THANK YOU to you all. Please keep doing what you’re doing to make this community safe and supportive.

We have a theme this week. For those of you who are regular WASO-ettes ignore this but for newbies…our themes are optional, and just there in case you need a bit of inspiration, or want something to guide your blog posts. Never feel you have to write to theme.
This time around it’s ‘My bucket list’, so have you got one? What do you think of them? Can you share what’s on yours? Would you consider one? Can you think of a better name for them?

We’re looking forward to seeing what you write about, and will have a little round-up shortly in a few weeks time in our #WASO Top 3.

Here’s the linky, so get linking!


Review: University of Sunderland CPD courses

Today’s review is of a series of short courses run by the University of Sunderland. Many thanks to Suddenly Mummy for this review.

This series of continuing professional development short courses, Children Who Have Experienced Loss or Trauma (CEL&T), is available for study online through the University of Sunderland’s website. There is quite a range of material available, including units designed by looked after children, adoption professionals and adoptive parents.

I have completed two units, Introduction to Therapeutic Parenting 1 and 2, developed and delivered by Sally Donovan. I can honestly say they were excellent. Each unit came with a Powerpoint presentation with a recorded voiceover by Sally, a selection of online reading material accessible from the learning space, and a reflective booklet to complete. A few weeks after submitting my work for unit 1, I received a lovely, good quality certificate in the post, and I’m looking forward to receiving my certificate for unit 2 soon.

If you have read any of Sally Donovan’s books, you will already know what a powerfully honest insight she gives into the world of adoptive parenting, and these short courses did not disappoint. They were packed full not only of theory, but of real-life practical application, all delivered in a sympathetic manner which acknowledges that adoptive parents and foster carers are real people, not just automatons with endless reserves.

Other courses available cover the BioPsychoSocial model of trauma, designated teachers, attachment, foetal alcohol syndrome, and using multi-agency partnerships to support children and young people. New units are being added ready for starting in July. Each course allows ten weeks to complete the material, and is priced according to how many hours of CPD it counts towards.

I think these courses are well worth considering for anybody working or living with a child who has experienced loss or trauma. In particular, I think prospective adopters could benefit enormously from completing Sally’s Introduction to Therapeutic Parenting units as part of pre-approval preparation. They are more thorough, more practical and more realistic than much of the training I have seen elsewhere.

As a foster carer, I am able to use completion of these courses to count towards my annual training requirements. As an adoptive parent, I have found the material helpful, informative and reassuring.

(I paid for my own courses and was not asked to write a review – these are my own, unsolicited opinions!)

Meet The Blogger: Full Time Tired

Today we meet the bloggers behind Full Time Tired – Laura and Diego…oh, and dinner’s at their house!

Quick 5 ­ In my life at the moment…

Book: Diego: I’m not reading anything at moment that hasn’t got the word “child”, “hurt”, or “trauma” on the cover; and foster training hasn’t started yet!

Music: Laura: Bonamassa, 3 Doors Down, Metric. And my only vice: Absolutely 80’s on the radio all day.

TV programme: Both: All time favourite: Mad About You. We loved it from episode 1, scene 1: arguing in the kitchen. Each season that followed tracked a different period our life, to the point it got spooky! Also loved Cheers, and Frasier. Yeah, we are that old. From this side of the pond: Black Books, Episodes, and Catastrophe. We occasionally watch serious programmes too.

Food: Both: A nice homemade pasta, with fresh tomato sauce, extra parmesan on top. Be here by 7 o’clock. Everyone’s invited. Did we mention we are Italian?

Pastime: Laura: Moving, selling, upcycling furniture, and generally creating space for a new double bedroom in the house. And in between all that fun, I’m on the phone with the embassy and various Italian Town Halls in a vain attempt to sort out Ben’s passport.

Who is your favourite adoption blogger?
Both: Do we need to pick only one? We both love Nicole and her blog Coffee Colored Sofa (http://www.coffeecoloredsofa.com/). It was one of the first blogs we came across and one we still enjoy reading regularly. Loved the homely feeling of the blog title too.

What makes you and/or your family laugh?
Laura: Diego, most of the time at my expenses. Ben is getting funnier by the day, although unknowingly. I think I’ll need to up my game.

Why did you start blogging about adoption?
Laura: It started as sort of diary to leave Ben when he grows up. I thought it could help him make sense of what happened, and selfishly I wanted him to know how hard we fought for some aspects of his life, particularly the ones out of our control: losing his British passport, or being unable to meet his brother, for example. Recently I also found out it’s a good way to make sense of what’s going on in my head, and to ask for help when struggling. By the way, thanks to all who came to the rescue.

Where do you get your blogging inspiration from?
Both: Every week we worry we won’t have anything to write, until we start writing. It turns out that life happens faster than we can write about it. And until that stays that way, we should be alright.

What I hope I can give to my child?
Diego: The confidence to live a little recklessly and some values on the side not to lose sight of what is important to him. Oh, and a good soundtrack to go with all of that.

Click here to visit Full Time Tired. You can also tweet Laura @LauraBoccaleone and Diego @DiegoBoccaleone

New appointment for popular blogger

Today’s guest post comes from Adoption UK. The charity has just appointed Sally Donovan as the new editor of Adoption Today – its magazine for members.

We are delighted to announce that Sally Donovan is the new editor of Adoption Today.

Sally is an adoptive parent to two children and is the author of No Matter What and The Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting as well as children’s book Billy Bramble and the Great Big Cook Off.SallyD

Adoption UK’s chief executive Hugh Thornbery CBE described Sally’s appointment as a “real coup”.
Mr Thornbery said: “Sally is hugely respected within the adoption community and has a big following on social media.”
“She has a wealth of experience relating to the issues, concerns and challenges that are important to our members and anyone who has read any of her books will know that her writing is incredibly colourful and engaging – so we’re very excited to see how she will take Adoption Today forward into the future.”

Sally and her husband have two teenaged children, both adopted. She has worked in industry and in horticulture but has written a lot about adoption in more recent years. Sally also works with the Department of Education, in a voluntary capacity, as a member of the Expert Advisory Group on Adoption Support.

She said: “It sounds grand but it’s really about giving a parental and family input into achieving better support around adopted families in England. I look forward to the time when the same engagement is being sought in all parts of the UK.”

When asked about her plans for Adoption Today, Sally said: “I’ve got big boots to fill and hope to build on the work of past editors. The growth of social media presents an opportunity to engage more with members and to hear a diverse range of voices from across the UK.
“I’d also like to freshen up the look of the magazine. I’m interested in fonts, which is not something I talk much about at dinner parties, but I’m hoping to put that interest to good use.”

Sally is aiming to get more readers involved with the content of the magazine. The August issue will set out a number of easy ways that anyone connected with adoption, whether that’s personally or professionally, can contribute to the magazine.
She said: “I’d like to involve those at all stages of the adoption process, children and young people, social workers, volunteers and practitioners.
“I’ll also be looking for original images, so budding and experienced photographers and artists can get involved too.”

Anyone who would like to contact Sally can do so by tweeting her @sallydwrites or emailing editor@adoptionuk.org.uk.

Sally will also be around on the Adoption UK Facebook page.  She said: “I’d really value your feedback on Adoption Today so please get in touch. And if you’re coming to the Adoption UK Annual Conference on November 19 and would like to take part in a small focus group, please contact me.”

Life on the Frontline – 20/06/16

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.

 

We had a death in the family this week. The hamster, Small got at Easter is no more. It was very sudden he’d seemed fine the day before, but there he was all still in his cage on Wednesday morning. Small found him and was devastated, I must say I also was quite chocked by the incident as I’d really liked the little fella. I realised straight away that school would not be good for Small on that day and so kept him home with me.

He tagged along with me to my yoga class, sitting quietly in the corner reading and then we came home and had chilled sofa day with plenty of cuddles. I did a little research and came to the conclusion that the hamster may have had a heart defect which is not uncommon. Drawing this conclusion helped Small come to terms with the loss as he was certain he had done something to cause the death. This way he now believes there is nothing more he could have done to avoid the unfortunate event.

So apart from this very traumatic, event the week was far more plain sailing than the previous week. Both boys went to school when required and as I haven’t had any information to the contrary, I presume they did well.

Tall attended a detention on Monday, the one he had refused to attend the previous week. I was very proud of how he handled it because he was only told about the detention at the end of his school day. I had been informed on the Friday by email but had not seen it and so was unable to prepare him. He went and got on with it, which is very impressive when it was sprung on him.

Tall also attended his therapy this week and we unpicked a few things from the previous week. He quite obviously returned to some really difficult feelings, triggered by our discussion. However, unlike previous weeks, he didn’t curl into a ball but stayed up and open, all be it turned away from me. I did wonder how things would be post the session as he seemed angry with me again but he soon thawed and on the way home,we chatted away easily.

“Sorry” he muttered as we pulled in the driveway, “for in there”.

“You have no reason to be sorry, you did really well and I’m not at all cross with you”.

We had a big hug when we got out of the car and everything was back to normal. A dose of Japanese anime and a delicious pot noddle sealed the deal and Tall was all smiles as he went off to his afternoon in school.

So little more to report from last week, I’m just very relieved it was nothing like the week before.

In Other News

Small has recovered form his loss and now has a new hamster, a girl this time, called Petal.

I was able to escape to two full day yoga workshops with the amazing yoga instructor David Swenson.

I’m also very much enjoying my newly decorated and made over kitchen. It feels good to get all those draws and cupboards more organised.

 

 

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 172

Hello, it’s time again for the Weekly Adoption Shout Out!172

Welcome back to #WASO, it’s time to get your typing fingers ready, and get those blog posts written and linked up.

There’s no theme this week, so this post is a quick one – just add your latest, best or funniest posts, or maybe you have a post that you think deserves a bit more love. The linky form is below, waiting and ready for you. It won’t close until late Sunday evening (GMT).



Book review: Billy Says series by Joanne Alper

Today we have a review by adoptive parent Amy who has read the Billy Says series by Joanne Alper…

This is a set of 6 easy to read, colourful books for children to guide them through some of the issues relating to adoption and fostering. They are written by Joanne Alper, Director of Services at AdoptionPlus.

Aimed at children aged 3-8, I personally think these are better for children age 5-10. But could be used by parents, social workers, therapists or teachers.

20160616_124826Book 1 focuses on helping the main character 5 year old ‘Kirsty’ realise that the shouting in her house is not her fault, and the visitors that come to see her mum are social workers who are trying to help her mum. The books all use the character of Billy – a soft toy who can speak, to help Kirsty verbalise her worries and to help her understand in child friendly language what is going on around her.

Book 2 explains what happens when Kirsty needs to go to foster care, and explains why (that her mum can’t look after her properly). Billy introduces Smudgy the cat who shows empathy after moving away from his own family.

Book 3 talks about the foster carers and acknowledges that Kirsty will have muddles and worries, especially about her brothers who are at different placements. It really focuses on talking about the good, kind things that foster carers do.

Book 4 is called ‘What you think matters’ and it talks about courts and guardians. Billy describes the type of meetings that have to happen and what goes on in them, and also reassures Kirsty that her views are important.

Book 5 is about waiting. Kirsty explains that she’s been making a life story book with her social worker. It also covers a little about the wait for a new family. I do feel that between books 4 and 5 there should be another book about the adoption decision and the feelings that come with that as by the time you get to book 5, it’s clear that adoption is the plan, but it hasn’t been stated anywhere.

Book 6 talks about what it’s like to live as a new family. Again, the bit between foster family and adoptive family has been missed, and we start book 6 with Kirsty having lived with her family for a  little while. Sadly there isn’t anything about packing and moving, introductions, or the early days of settling in.

I find these books brilliant at explaining the bits they cover. They use child friendly language, bright colours, a lovely character in Billy, they are short enough to hold attention. My only disappointment is the bits they miss, which in my mind are just as important.

 Amy received these books free of charge in return for an honest review. You can buy the set here at Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

App Happy

Today’s App Happy comes from Sammy, mum of 4. These are the apps she has on her phone…check them out.

The App I Use the Most.
Hmm. It’s really difficult to say. Probably my email..I use Inbox for my Gmail and I get a lot of email so I check it quite a lot when the kids are at school. I like how I can have certain emails directed into certain folders as soon as they ping in…and I like being able to put reminders on the emails so I can come back to them later.app happy

The App which is my guilty pleasure.
Two Dots. I’ve recently discovered this little game. And it’s a great 10 minute distraction. Only ten minutes because your lives expire and you have to wait a while for them to refill. This is ideal for me, as it limits my game playing time.

The App I really should remove.
Snapchat – I just don’t ever use it.

The App on my phone/tablet which is not for me.
Android Pay – I support it is for me, but the other half insisted I download it, because it would make life easier for me. Honestly though, I’ve not used it once. Maybe this should have been the answer to the previous question?!

The App I would recommend.
WhatsApp – a great way to chat with friends for free. No text message/mms cost and you can you can send photos too. I use this more than texting or FB messaging to keep in touch with friends and family.

The last App I used today.
Funnily enough, WhatsApp – used to make arrangements for a coffee and catch up with a couple of friends later in the week.
Would you like to share your App secrets??? Answer the above questions and email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com

Life on the Frontline – WC 13/06/16

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.

 

In contrast to our calm week off, our first week back included two school refusals, a therapy refusal , a difficult bedtime and one very long and stressful school day for mum.

Tall was adamant on Monday, the first day back that he wasn’t going to school. He couldn’t even be prised from his bed, tugging his duvet back over his head on each request to rise.  I remained calm, realising that heightened tension around the situation would not assist. The boy seemed tired, even though the day before, Sunday, he’d slept until one thirty and had an early night. I made a deal with him,

“Sleep for another couple of hours then we’ll get you up, shower and feed you and get you in for lunchtime, ease you back in”

A grunt of agreement came from the duvet.

So that obstacle successfully conquered on the Monday, Small decided that in the spirit of fairness he would not go on Tuesday morning.

“It’s not fair” was the cry.

I calmly dealt the same deal and hoped that would bring a Wednesday where they both attended school. It worked.

By Wednesday Dad was away for work for two days, and whilst they went to school it was a grizzly morning. It was therefore with some relief I turned up to teach my yoga class that day, thankful for a couple of hours of calm time.

The calm didn’t last, post a dash around the super market, and then during a social worker meeting (I seem to suddenly have SW meetings coming out of my ears again) I received a phone call from Smalls school.

I dashed off to collect the boy who had managed to become so angry, three members of staff had been involved in holding him to the floor. On arrival at school, I was shown into the heads office where I listened to the catalogue of events.

When he finished I had one question in mind, just tell me the consequence then I can take him home and start repairing.

The Head looked a little confused “consequence? no you misunderstand I just wanted you to be fully informed on how we had to keep him, other children and staff safe, I’m not aware there will be a consequence.”

So I scooped the boy up from where he now was calmly playing with a really lovely member of the pastoral team and brought him home.

I did take a phone call from the Head and Senco that evening to plan for the following day. Whilst Small was not being punished, their current shortage of staff in pastoral and support (due to exam invigilating) would mean it would be difficult to unpick with Small what happened and therefore would it be possible for him to have a reduced time table in school. They were very anxious that he was able to come in attend his first Art Therapy session but could I collect him after.

It was going to be a logistical nightmare, as Tall had his Therapy at the same time the following day and I was still without husband support. However Small’s school were keen to support us in any way possible and when I uttered the words “I’m sorry I’m not trying to be difficult, I just need to work out how I can do it all”

The SENCO replied “We do not think you are being difficult”

So Thursday morning arrived and a military style plan was in place to assure all would get to do what they needed to do, but there was one problem. Tall did not want to play ball.

After a difficult bedtime with Tall, he then refused to turn his light out and didn’t sleep until eleven thirty. Extremely tired he did get up but was then unhappy when I revealed the consequence for his actions. Yes I know I shouldn’t have gone there at that point but I too was tired and in fact felt I was being very lenient and wanted him to know and not worry about the eventual outcome. Just to add I was only dealing a consequence because I’d had a number of challenging bedtimes recently had informed him that on the next occasion a consequence would be incurred.

Tired and unable to deal with this blow, Tall decide the sensible thing was to go to school, without breakfast and in a really bad mood.

I informed school and the phone call I had in return was that I needed to collect him because he was not supposed to be in school on a Thursday morning. I was a little bewildered by this reply, what was I supposed to do?

“He won’t come with me even if I come to school” I explained to the receptionist, who was tasked as the go between. “He’s cross with me right now”

The next message the go-between delivered after an hour of worrying about how things were going, so I called to enquire, was “don’t worry we can look after him, we don’t wanting him causing you problems at home”

I reassured the poor receptionist, that it was no problem for me to have my son at home and that I was willing to collect him at any point if he wasn’t coping. I was reassured “that will not be necessary”

My blood was boiling. I felt misunderstood and patronised by this school once again. I spent all day in a state of high anxiety about what was going on in school for Tall and what mood he would be in on returning.

He thankfully came home tired and sorry.

So that was up to the end of Thursday and it was with great relief I welcomed my husband home and saw the end of the week on the horizon.

In Other News

I was very happy to spend Friday afternoon at a spa with friends and a very relaxing treatment of a hot stone massage.

Husband and I also let our hair down at a great party on Friday night.

At brunch with grandparents on Sunday both boys were brilliant. Whilst Tall helped with the cooking and  table clearing, Small played with his baby cousins.

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 171

Welcome back to another week of adoption blogs at the Weekly Adoption Shout Out!

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How’s your week been? Sunny or stormy? Weather wise or in other ways? Tell us about it in your blog posts this week. Or, if you need a bit of inspiration you can use our theme ‘If I had 5 minutes peace’….just think, you could finish that cuppa, start a blog post, even power nap! Tell us what you’d do if you could have 5 minutes peace.

You know what to do…