How do you find support?

Support.

Sometimes we need help and we don’t know where to get it from.
I suppose the main support sources are family and friends, but there’s also post adoption support, school, school nurses, therapists, counsellors and other health professionals.

These days, I find help from all those sources difficult though. We’ve gone too far along our journey to find many who’ve experienced what we have and as a result I find little comfort in speaking to those who understand the theory, but lack the real experiences, lack the raw emotion of parenting a traumatised child.

I have a few, very close, amazing friends and they are great for letting me sound off, whinge, cry, rant, celebrate and boast, but even with the amazing personal support they give me, they can’t empathise and truly understand what my family lives through. They are fantastic at letting my children just be children though, and I so appreciate that even with all they know (and they know A LOT), they don’t judge my children or pity them for their pasts.

My family simply don’t see much of the violence or challenges. My children are charm personified in front of their grandparents, and turn into gremlins the moment the front door closes. As much as they believe me, and do their best to support me, they simply cannot see the same children and as such don’t really know how to help.

IMG_20141127_153835I’m aware of this…isolation that I’m putting myself into. Don’t get me wrong – I have normal relationships with other mums, we go out for coffee, we talk about the day to day stuff about school uniforms, dieting, the weather, good books, homework and the star of the week. We have family friends that we occasionally manage a day trip with, but again, we talk about work, the car, what the kids watch on TV, how well they’re eating…normal parent stuff.

 

But I don’t talk about the real things that affect me and my family.
That gets compartmentalised and discussed only with other adoptive parents that live the same kind of life that I do. After all, how many people really understand trauma? Or really get neglect? My normal mum friends don’t – one joked the other day about the circle of neglect she was buying for her baby (an inflatable baby nest), it took a lot for me to bite my tongue and not tell her about REAL neglect…the kind my daughter endured.

The Adoption Social provides the links I need. It’s even managed to find me a couple of people in my local area and we’ve connected via email, and hope to meet up. But I need more. I need more people to get in touch with, and I want better local support. All my local adopters groups have been running for years – the people that go have teenagers and know each other of old, and, I don’t fit. I’ve never been one for cliques. So where now? Where do you get your support from? Am I too needy? Am I expecting too much? I never meant to rant about my lack of support, but I’d love to know how others manage…

So where do you get support from? We hope that here on The Adoption Social we can put you in touch with other adopters, tweeters and bloggers who you can chat with but is that enough?
If you want to write about an issue that you feel strongly about, then please do send your posts into theadoptionsocial@gmail.com

13 thoughts on “How do you find support?

  1. Helen Oakwater

    Getting joy back into your life is one way of receiving support from a different quarter, which does not deplete others and benefits everyone.
    What makes your heart sing? Or what used to? Are you a dancer, film buff, artist, runner, gym bunny? Do you watch funny films which make you roar with laughter or weepies that allow tears of relief?
    Personally I swim. I pound up and down and feel some of the tension, stress and anger disapate.
    Also I stopped expecting support from where I thought it SHOULD come and started noticing where it unexpectedly popped up. I also stopped trying to explain/justify to the unenlightened. It was a waste of time. That helped me maintain my depleted resources.
    Yes some conversations become banal. However if you can see the funny side of a conversation when a friend is tearful because her wallpaper was put on upside down, fake concern (don’t smirk) and know you have strength, resilience and learning worlds away from hers.

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  2. ali

    I’ve found so much support from regularly meeting with other adopters and evening discussion groups that are being held across London by We Are Family. I didn’t think I had the energy to become involved in organising events and support but I’ve found what I get back is so worth what I put in. Such a shame your local group is cliquee. In response to the above comment I totally agree that you are not going to change what I now see as willful ignorance however it is just SO tough when it comes from the people closest too. My boy is also a model grandchild/nephew grrr.

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  3. plumstickle

    I have found the best support comes from Twitter! And from the Adoption Social itself But I agree with Helen Oakwater that making more time for myself somehow stops me needing so much support from others. It doesn’t stop my child challenging me, but he can’t do it as often when I’m not there! The support we get for my child is from CAMHS at the moment is also helpful but that’s another story.

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  4. Sarah - The Puffin Diaries

    I completely understand everything this mum has said. It’s exactly how I feel. I feel so isolated and alone, so much of the time. I try and stay strong but sometimes it just gets too much for me to cope with on my own. I phone the PAS social worker and yes she’ll come and see me but she sits on my sofa drinks my tea and makes emphatic noises, then leaves. It does help speaking to her but I wish I had parents around me that really understood.

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  5. Sally

    I’m with this mum too – finding this kind of support is hard and without it life can feel lonely. A lot of my day-to-day support comes from twitter. Plus I have one local friend and we meet up for coffee and moan and laugh a lot. He often helps me back into the right thinking when I’ve drifted. Between us we’ve decided to organise a low-stress local meet up every month, in a cafe during the day. Neither of us do proper support groups but we thought we’d try something casual and light (not sitting in a circle in a smelly hall).
    I went to an LA meeting recently and had to be lectured to by an adopter with a baby. That’s when I realised that the wrong kind of ‘peer’ support makes me feel murderous and is worse than no support.
    For me, I need to engage in hobbies etc, but I also need to connect on a real, emotional level with someone who understands and who I’m not married to. Me and my local buddy were paired up by social services as they thought we’d get along, and they were right. Is there any chance yours could do the same for you?
    Sending love and virtual support xxx

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  6. Richard

    I totally get it. My son will be 19yrs at the end of this month. He has been with me (it has just been the two of us for the last 6 years), since he was 7yrs, and been dealing with his early life, and not so early life, traumas, neglect and learning difficulties ever since. Once he hit 18yrs it felt like that was that, no more support (not that there was much before) needed or offered. I worry about how he will manage if anything ever happens to me.

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  7. Clare

    Hi,

    Sorry very new to twitter so not sure if I’m doing this right??

    I’d just like to say to whoever wrote this article, Thank You! It’s as if you took the words out of my heart and published them. This is my story also, feel free to get in touch

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  8. Sarah

    Thanks for this article – sometimes it’s just enough to hear you’re not alone. It’s so hard to find people who really understand how utterly WEARING dealing with the fall out of Trauma really is. I struggle on a daily basis to find the energy to keep going, and then on top I’m chasing, begging for help from Social Services (which I have no energy for as it’s being utterly sucked up by the kids).

    So thanks for letting me know today, that I’m not alone:-)

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  9. MyBrownEyedBoys

    Over the years I have had to go out and find support from various sources myself. Just finding something to occupy them so I can have a break works wonders. Having to edit what you say to friends can be challenging. A colleague said to me this week that Adoption is like a secret society. Maybe that is the problem, we are so bound up keeping our childrens secrets in order to protect them that we isolate ourselves. I am trying to set up support groups in work and in my kids schools. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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  10. Rachel

    I hear you loud and clear. I used to be part of a lovely support network until we moved. Replacing that support is proving to be very hard going, I wish I could find a friendly local group who meet in the day time not just evenings and do things for the children too. I would set something up myself but time and anxiety issues are against me just now.
    Good luck finding what you need.

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  11. Mending Mum

    3 years ago I felt little support from anywhere. So much rings true with what you’ve written. Friends try to be sympathetic/supportive, but don’t quite get it and family see very little, if any,of the behaviour at home.
    CAMHS suggested attending the local post adoption support group. Luckily Mr O was persuaded to come with me for first meeting I attended. It felt a bit like “Adopters” Anonymous and I also felt it was initially a bit clique. I spent the first 3 meetings in tears, and it took me time to trust and make friends, but now, I meet for coffee, exchange supportive texts and often even go to pub after meeting with some of attendees. Yes I do have teenagers and many others at the meeting do, so I hope it is not our group you tried, I would like to think I could offer a listening, friendly ear to any parent with any age kids – our children were adopted very young.
    3 years on we have better school and social care support and I feel it is often due to ideas/suggestions I have received at the meeting. I do not feel so isolated and have recently started blogging and tweeting for further supportive activity.
    Good luck in all your endeavours, I’ll be thinking of you.

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  12. lindsay

    I get most of my support from HERE!!! I too have a few great close friends who listen and are wonderful to talk to, but at the end of the day they can only ‘get it’ so much. What really helps is knowing a place like this is available and the support of other adopters is always abundant. Would I rather my family and friends in real life be able to understand and see things for how they really are? Of course. But if an online community is where I can get support and be supportive then I’m all for it and happy to have it.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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