Weekly Adoption Shout Out – #WASO Week 91

1414358832111Happy Hallowe’en, Samain and All Hallow’s Eve. And we mustn’t forget the Day of the Dead, All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day all coming up.

As well as being the date of a lot of festivals and saints days, it’s also Friday which means it’s time for the Weekly Adoption Shout Out (#WASO)to begin! As always, the linky is open from Friday to Sunday, and we welcome all bloggers who write about, or are in some way connected to adoption.

If you’ve never taken part in #WASO before, then don’t worry, it’s as simple as copying and pasting the web address of your blog post into the form below. Add your email address and a title for your blog post and then your post will appear in the list with lots of others. This means that people who want to read adoption blogs can find them all in the same place, and you might pick up new readers.

We share as many blog posts as we can through our social networks, and encourage people who visit your blog to leave you a comment – we ask that you also read a couple and leave a comment if you can – make sure you include the #WASO hashtag, so those bloggers know how you found them.

We offer an optional theme every other week – use it for inspiration if you like, or perhaps you’ve already written a post that ties in? This week, our theme is ‘embracing online support’ and we’re looking forward to hearing about your best and favourite digital methods of support.

But that’s enough from me, here’s the linky – go paste your post and get reading…


Something different for stockings

Christmas is coming. It might be around a couple of corners just yet, but many are starting their shopping and so we hope this post will give you a few ideas if you need them.

Of course our children have lists like most children and enjoy a whole range of traditional stocking fillers, but I thought I’d share a few ideas that you might not normally consider, but could sneak in without your child realising how useful and important they are…

Chewigem Dog Tags
This site offers necklaces and bangles in a variety of designs – this is a link for some great looking dog tags.

Tangles
These are available in different colours and sizes. This is just one link to a basic junior tangle.

Twist and lock blocks
My own son loves his twist and lock block. It’s one of those things that he can move around and fiddle with when he’s anxious or stressed. He also uses it when watching TV etc, rather than scratching or picking at his skin.

Stress balls
There are a whole host of stress balls on the market – there is a great selection here of different shapes – some to suit children, others plainer.

Recordable Thought Cloud
A great way of expressing a thought, record and playback your thought or emotion, and you can write it too on the wipeable surface.

Mohdoh
Scented play dough – using aromatherapy for different effects.

Massager
Create a nice calm time with a massager (which come in a range of shapes and sizes, from a range of suppliers). These are a good idea for children who can’t manage skin to skin contact, but still allow the relaxation of a massage.

Worry Eaters
My son doesn’t use his very much at the moment, but probably because he dislikes writing. The idea is that you write down a worry and the monster eats it. Fun for some, but not everyone’s bag.

Glitter Tubes
Regulate and calm whilst watching the glitter settle. You can make these yourself, but for a handy ready-made stocking filler this is perfect.

Superhero cape
What a great way to boost your child’s self esteem! Grab a personalised superhero cape and make them feel confident in their abilities.

Play tent
OK, so this one is a little large to be a stocking filler, but nevertheless, I’m including it as it’s a great gift (especially if they have a favourite character, as there are plenty of designs about) and creates a safe space or den for a child to hide/calm/scream in.

Sleepykids bath additive
A fun way to encourage calm, and therefore sleep.

Feelings Cards
We especially love these Todd Parr cards – hardwearing and durable, with opposite feelings on each card. A fun way to introduce emotions.

Hopefully these might give you a little inspiration with your Christmas shopping. I’d like to think that all of these items would be seen as fun, and not a therapy/special needs/disability aid. If they’re not seen as ‘special’ toys, then perhaps they might be used to better effect.

Have you got any other ideas? Add your own links in the comments section…

 

 

Meet the Blogger – Helen Oakwater

unnamedToday’s Meet The Blogger comes from adoptive mum, coach, trainer and writer Helen Oakwater. You can find her blog on her website Bubble Wrapped Children.

Quick 5 – In my life at the moment….


Book
– Baby P the Untold Story by Prof Ray Jones

Music - Bruce Springsteen
TV programme - Sex in the City – missed it first time round
Food – anything gluten free
Pastime - swim

What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
1. Letting go.

2. Watching them self destruct

What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children?
1. That the impact of maltreatment and neglect meant they had massive holes in their past. I would have done much much more babying, regression and encouringing them to act younger than their age.

2. That healing takes time and kids need to know the truth about their past.
3. That BM (birth mother) lied and denied and SW (social workers) were scared of her.
4. Adoption support and therapy are essential must haves
5. The financial cost of not being able to work (due to full time therapeutic parenting) and funding therapy from my savings and pension mean I will have to work for the next few decades (while non adoptive parents and friends are retiring)
6. The body keeps score – the damage to my health through living with trauma for decades

Tea/Gin?
Why not both? Neither with milk

What do you think is your biggest source of support?
1. My friend and mentor Lynda (adopter)

2.Other adopters
3. Swimming habit (stopped my head exploding)
4. NLP and coaching which helped me see things from a different perspective.

Reward charts yes/no?
For traumatised kids no

For parents … maybe, especially if chocolate is involved

What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
Do something about this now … it wont improve with time … it will get worse

My perfect adoption support would include…
How many pages do you want?????

If you blog about adoption and would like to tell us a bit more about yourself, then please email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com and we can send you our list of questions.

The Adoption Social Times

It’s been a while since The Adoption Social Times has been published – but we’re back again this month with a round-up of all things Adoption Social…

Taking Care
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What an amazing event that turned out to be! On 18th October, around 80 adoptive parents, adoptees and others working in adoption came together in York to think about #TakingCare. Speakers talked with passion about their stories, their children, their parents, their thoughts and their suggestions for taking care. Conversations were honest, open and thought provoking, and many faces and names were connected. The evening social also proved a popular event, with many a dancing induced blister being reported!
There are many blogs with reviews of the event, but suffice to say it was popular, met it’s aims, and will hopefully be repeated in other locations.

 

NAW-2014-logo

BAAF National Adoption Week Awards 2014
As you might know, it’s National Adoption Week next week (3-9 November) , and during that time BAAF holds it’s National Adoption Week Awards to recognise and celebrate good practice and exceptional achievement among those working or involved in adoption in the UK.
We’re super proud to share with you that we’ve been shortlisted for the Digital Champion of The Year award!!! Yes, how blooming lovely is that? We have to thank Jenny at Inspired Foundations for the gentle nudge – else we wouldn’t have put ourselves forward, and of course we owe HUGE thanks to all our supporters, readers, and contributors without whom The Adoption Social wouldn’t exist. So keep your fingers crossed for us, the awards ceremony takes place on 4th November.

#WASO
The Weekly Adoption Shout Out continues to be popular, with many a new and old blogger linking up. Please do continue to do so – even you haven’t already got our #WASO badge, keep an eye out in future weeks for the code and let all your readers know that you join in.

Forthcoming themes for this month are:
31 October – Embracing social media
14 November – Secrets
28 November – At this time of year…

Poets needed1414443008157
To help promote National Adoption Week 2014, this year we’ll be posting acrostic poems each day of the week. An acrostic poem is one where a word is written vertically, and then a word or sentence is written beginning with each one of those downwards letters. Here’s an example.  We’re looking for poems to be contributed that we can publish (anonymously or in your name) throughout the week. Perhaps your kids might like to give it a go? Our theme of course is ‘Adoption’ so please use that as your vertical word.

If you have a poem to contribute, please email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com or message us via our Facebook page.

Snap happybrothers
One of our newish features 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.

Using social media
If you are a professional working in adoption and would like to find out more about using social  media to provide post adoption support then please contact us as we’re currently exploring ways of supporting organisations and professionals better so that in turn they can support adoptive families. We can’t guarantee direct help at the moment, but we’d like to get your views on whether you would want support, how you’d like it delivered, whether you would need training etc. Please email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com

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

Author Katie Wrench wrote about The Importance of the Life Story Book.

We published a post on how to create some calm time during the busy month of December.

Suddenly Mummy shared some top tips for introductions.

Our anonymous contributor wrote about that moment when you’re passed a baby…and her subsequent reflections on not having her own child…

A guest post from EyePAT about ‘keeping your child safe on the internet’.

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.

Life on the Frontline – week 7

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.

From the smooth which was last week, to the very roughest of rides that is this week. Who knew that a boy attending school for an hour, on two separate occasions, could bring us to our knees so dramatically?

Small’s integration back into school was eagerly anticipated, mostly by Small. However, it was still with some hesitation that he approached the school gate, on that first morning. He was looking forward to seeing his friends but yes, I knew he was still worried.

He was to be in the classroom for just over half an hour and then out to play for another half hour, before being transported to the centre he attends in the afternoon. I was to transport him and it was with some trepidation I went to collect him.

“He’s been fine” I was told.

“Did he meet all his targets?” I asked.

“Oh Yes” was the reply.

And FINE is the best word you can find to describe a return to school where he does everything you ask of him? I wondered silently. Not excellent or brilliant, maybe even a smile for the achievement he had made?

Still he came away happy, with stories of how all his friends had hugged him in delight at his return to school. He went to his afternoon school without a backwards glance.

Day Two.

“I don’t want to go, I really don’t want to go” he started about an hour before we were due to go.

As we approached school this day his mood was dark and he muttered away, under his breath, all his worries and concerns. I knew as we parted the outcome for today would probably not be as good.

I nipped to the supermarket, stopped to chat with a friend and twenty minutes later as I left, I checked my phone. I had three missed calls from school.

“Could I come and collect him?” He had failed to comply with requests to do work, opting instead for defiant and disruptive behaviour. I collected him and tried to take him up to the afternoon centre. In the car he became increasingly agitated and by the time we arrived he refused to go in. As he started to cry, obviously distressed by the whole episode, I decided to take him home.

Later that day a letter was delivered to us, detailing Small’s one day exclusion from school, due to “persistently disruptive behaviour”. The day was to be taken as this day so he could return to school the following day and start afresh.

This letter shocked us and left us feeling bewildered. A meeting had taken place to organise Small’s reintegration to school, to which we had not been invited. Nor had we received any written notification of what this procedure would be.  A telephone call to the school revealed that they had implemented a three strikes and he’s out procedure.

I suddenly felt sick, really sick, the sickness of an adoptive mum knowing that her vulnerable child is yet again being misunderstood and mistreated.  The penny suddenly dropped, they want him out,  they are trying to manage him out. With this policy he could be out of the school by the end of the week.

The next day I went to the doctors and had him signed off school for the rest of the week. I needed to put space in place so we could think what we wanted for the future. We are still thinking.

 In Other News

Tall came top of the class in his science test, I am a very proud mum.

Also, Tall is getting into War Hammer, a fantasy war game thing. I took him to a shop to get him started and left with a large hole in my purse and a state of confusion in my mind.

Last night, Small and Tall collaborated on operation sneak the DS into bed. I totally foiled them, can’t believe how stupid they must think I am.

I’m so happy it’s half term, I love the calm that having the boys at home brings.

Weekly Adoption Shout Out – #WASO week 90

WASO90

Hi there all and welcome back to the weekly adoption shout out.

What an amazing week we had on #WASO last week. All the wonderful posts were a brilliant way to finish what had been a very special weekend at The Open Nest #TakingCare conference. We hope those who attended enjoyed it and that those, who were unable to attend, were inspired by all the tweets and blog posts.

So this week is theme free, so any post that is written around the subject of adoption can be included. Please remember to visit some of the other posts, comment and share using the hashtag #WASO.


Creating down time during December

Today Vicki from The Boy’s Behaviour shares a tip for finding some calm time with younger children through December…

I want to start by saying yes, I know it’s a bit early to be thinking about Christmas, but this one requires a bit of organisation and time hence the little bit of notice. And I was in a shop yesterday that was playing Christmas music – if they can do it, then so can I!

Christmas can be a difficult time for our children – lack of routine (or certainly a change), excitement, difficulty regulating feelings, missing birth family, preparing for school plays, the pressure of being good so Santa visits, along with a whole host of other reasons.

I want to share something that we do in our house during December that acknowledges Christmas every day, whilst allowing us to take 15 minutes out of the hectic schedule to sit and connect with our children.
Lot of us read everyday with our children anyway both for school and bedtime stories; this activity can be done in place of a bedtime story if you like, however and whenever you choose. And if nothing else, it creates a traditions – and I found that making some of our own traditions, together, has been important.

Each year I wrap up 24 Christmas themed books – I try to buy around four to six new books each year so there is a surprise for the children, and this allows me to remove those that they’ve grown out of. I’ve also found charity shops are wonderful for finding new festive books.

I buy two packs of identical stickers, and put a sticker on each wrapped book, and then the corresponding sticker on a slip of paper in their refillable advent calendar.
The books sit in a box in the living room and the children take turns to find and open the book each day, then we sit and I read to the children.

When we pack the decorations away after Christmas, the books get packed too until the next year.

We’ve done this for 3 years in a row now and it’s a lovely way to spend time with the children but more importantly that 15 minutes of sitting together, calmly, quietly, cuddling and breathing slowly helps my children chill out.

I can’t tell you what books we have, because they’re still packed away, but here’s a list of some of our favourite Wintery books that you might like to use to create your own readable advent calendar…some suitable for the very young…some suitable for primary age children…

  • Stick Man by Julia Donaldson
  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
  • Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs
  • Father Christmas Goes On Holiday by Raymond Briggs
  • The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter
  • A Very Crabby Christmas (Cat in the Hat/Dr Seuss)
  • Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps by Nicholas Allen
  • Father Christmas Needs a Wee by Nicholas Allen
  • Aliens Love Panta Claus by Claire Freedman
  • The Smelly Sprout by Allan Plenderleith 
  • The Silly Satsuma by Allan Plenderleith
  • The Santa Trap by Jonathan Emmett
  • How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow
  • Mr Men and the Night Before Christmas by Roger Hargreaves
  • The Empty Stocking by Richard Curtis
  • The Christmas Bear by Ian Whybrow
  • Santa is Coming To <Our Town> by Steve Smallman…perhaps you could find your town?
  • Zoe and Beans; Zoe’s Christmas List by Mick and Chloe Inkpen
  • The Christmas Show by Rebecca Patterson
  • The Very Snowy Christmas by Diana Hendry
  • How Many Sleeps Until Christmas by Mark Sperring
  • Dear Father Christmas by Alan Durant
  • The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet Ahlberg
  • Dear Santa by Rod Campbell 

It doesn’t have to be an costly thing either. I popped into The Works today, and there were plenty of inexpensive Christmas books – quite a few in their 4 for £5 selection too. It just takes a little time to find a nice selection.

Do you have any favourite Christmas books or stories? What other things do you do to calm the Christmas chaos?

Snap Happy.

Today lovely Suddenly Mummy shares a snappy moment,

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I am asked on a weekly basis how OB gets on with Baby Girl, and I think this photo sums it up pretty well. He was on the swing first, and asked for me to put BG on with him. Once he had her, he curled himself around her and arranged them both into this beautifully intimate cuddle.

At the back of my mind, there is always concern about how my decision to continue fostering will affect OB. I wonder whether the appearance and disappearance of all these children will affect his own sense of security and stability. Maybe it will, but I believe it will also bring incredible benefits and a wealth of rich experiences that we couldn’t have any other way.

We’ll see how it turns out but, if this picture is anything to go by, I am feeling positive.

Do you have a moment captured that we could share?

Contact us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com

Baby Blues

“I’m just nipping to the loo, would you like to hold baby, g’wan I know you really want a cuddle”, says my friend as she thrusts baby at me and heads the other way.   Er, well actually no, I don’t really want a cuddle.  She’s lovely and cute and all that but …………  well I couldn’t really say this to my friend so I’m left holding the baby and try desperately not to think “if only”.
 
I thought I was over not having my own child, I really really did.  I thought I’d got over the failed IVF. I discussed it loads with the social worker and with my partner and had accepted the fact.
 
But I guess I haven’t.  My friend having her baby, pregnant mums in the playground First touch(lots of them), Kate Middleton, endless debates about morning sickness, Holly-flipping-Willoughby, the cover of Hello this week with a new pop star mum. Everywhere there are babies.  Before my friend gave birth, I sat in a cafe listening to her give TMI about the pregnancy.  When I met her after baby had been born she was explaining something about being a new mum  – I can’t remember exactly, probably something about sore nipples – and she used the phrase “you know how it is”.  I laughed with her but what I really wanted to do was stand up, cry and shout “No, I bloody don’t know how it is!!”.  I didn’t send her flowers when baby was born but then she didn’t send me anything when my child came home.  In fact nobody did apart from one acquaintance, not even a friend, just a business acquaintance.  Petty on my behalf? Maybe.
 
Don’t get me wrong, I do actually like babies and my friend’s baby is indeed gorgeous. But it’s a constant reminder to me that I have failed in what should be the most natural thing to do and give birth.   “At least you don’t have stretch marks or saggy boobs”, said someone to me once. Ah well, that’s ok then.  Aaarggh! Honestly, I swap my 34D and smooth(ish) skin any day.
 
I guess I should seek some counselling but I don’t know if I want to discuss it with someone who really doesn’t understand the depth of my feeling.  Of course the people to discuss it with are probably those reading this blog – adopters who have also be denied the joy of delivering a new born baby.
Today’s post is from an anonymous adoptive mum – if you have something you’d like to share anonymously too, then please do email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com

Life on the Frontline – Week 6

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.

 

It’s been a fairly smooth running and calm week in our household. Yes, Small did refuse to go to school on Monday and once there he did refuse to do any work but by Tuesday, he’d come around. He flew through the rest of week in a blazing trail of superness, well he’s always very super to me but I mean as far as school is concerned.

I suppose the big event this week was that Tall started some play therapy. We have been able to access this through CAMHS and we originally asked for a referral about a year ago. However the first appointments came at the time that Tall was dealing with SATs and because he seemed very focus and keen to try his very hardest, we asked for them to be deferred.

So we are hoping that Tall will be able to explore his inner beliefs of himself, confirm his place in the world and understand more about his emotional deregulation. Now this sounds quite a big ask of playing, to me, but the Therapist is fairly confident that we can explore these themes and says we should be ready to commit to up to 30 sessions. I must say this number was at first a shock but I actually feel relieved now that this level of commitment is being given to my son. No six sessions and you’re cured for once.

His eye gave it away, the morning we were due to go to the first session. They darted around in all directions as he sat at the breakfast table, his shoulders rounded down towards his cereal bowl. Again the unusual silence between us in the car told me he was feeling nervous.

It struck me, after he’d disappeared through a door with his therapist, that I too would be committed to 30 sessions of sitting in the not so plush CAMHS waiting room. An enquiry reviled no WiFi so, I wasn’t going to get that online, childfree hour I’d hoped for. Thankfully I’d also brought a book and actually now, an hour of uninterrupted reading seems a glorious luxury.

At eleven, Tall is at the top end of the age range that play therapy is suggested for but in our initial meeting with the therapist, he excitedly rummaged through the different toy boxes and then spent considerable time lining up his soldiers and plotting his war. He is still very much into playing; revealing that his emotional and social ability age is still much younger than eleven.

I was reminded again of this immaturity as he bounded from his therapy room and jumped onto my knee and snuggled into me. I rocked him and caressed him gently.

I personally delivered him back into school to his pastoral manager, who was taking him into learning support, where Tall would spend time before going back into lessons. I was grateful for their understanding and support, knowing that Small was still at home, awaiting going to his support centre in the afternoon. Both at home during the day can be tricky.

So that’s the first session done and I will keep you informed of our progress. I would also be interested to hear of others experiences with play therapy.

In Other News.

Due to me being away at the weekend, my husband announced that on Saturday he had one of the best days he’d ever spent with the boys. So that’s me away next weekend and the next and the next.

Small had a friend over to play, he’d so been missing his pals from school. It was a delight to hear the giggles and laughter that came from his room.

Fatigue is setting in and half term is now on the horizon. Roll on Friday.