Category Archives: A Problem Shared

A Problem Shared – Family Contact

Today we bring you a problem about family contact, do you have any experience you can share.

A Problem SharedWe have recently made contact with a sibling of our children. We went through the post adoption for the area where our children came from. They facilitated an initial meeting with the sibling for my husband and I. We then arranged a supported meeting for the children with the sibling. The sibling is eighteen and therefore does not require the support of another family member and is happy to work independently. Now this contact has been made we are now being asked to manage it without SW involvement.

I’d like to know if anyone else has been through a similar experience and how they have managed this contact. I want this person to be a part of my children’s lives, however I want to remain in control of the contact. My children are now twelve and thirteen and I worry about them all being in contact through social media without our knowledge. We have very firm rules about internet access and use of the internet but I know as our children get older we will need to give them more freedom. Any advice would be well received.

Preparing our eldest

Today’s problem comes from Lynne, who wants advice from second time adopters.

We’re in the very early stages of thinking about adopting a sibling for our son.

He came home in 2009, age just 11 months, and although it’s not been an easy ride, things have settled somewhat in the last few years and we’re doing well as a family. He’s mentioned in passing a few times about life with a brother, and we’ve started to think that now might be the time to apply to adopt again. We always thought we’d want to adopt again, but making sure son number 1 was settled and ready was the most important thing.

I want to know from others who’ve adopted a second time how much preparation I should do with him? How soon? What resources have you used to help you? And what does the process involve for him? Will he be assessed by a social worker like we will?

Looking forward to your answers, and thanking you in advance.

A Problem Shared: Sensory aid providers

Today’s problem comes from Vicki at The Boy’s Behaviour…Problem

My son Mini has recently become diagnosed with sensory processing issues. He’s undergoing sensory attachment therapy which he attends weekly. However, we’re starting to build up more of a sensory toolbox at home, so we’ve got aids here that are useful.

The Occupational Therapist has given us a few bits that she recommends, and has made other suggestions too but can’t recommend suppliers because they use professional-specific providers.

I’m finding it a bit of a minefield as there are SO many companies out there that provide sensory aids. Can anyone recommend good websites and/or companies that offer sensory/disability aids such as weighted blankets, chew aids (though we have a few already) and even seamless socks?

Depression in children

Today Rebecca, mum of 2 girls, asks about your experiences of depression within children.

I’m worried about my youngest girl who is 6. She takes a bit of a beating verbally from her elder sister who constantly knocks her and the things she does. At 9, I think she’s going through a developmental stage of competitiveness; at least her classmates seem similar.

Unfortunately I think my youngest is also going through a typical developmental stage of becoming aware of what those around her think of her. And this is really affecting her self-esteem and self-confidence. She has none at all.

Amplified by oldest’s constant calls of “You’re silly”, “That’s not how you do it” and “No, do it A Problem SharedTHIS way”, youngest’s feelings of self-worth have disappeared and she now feels unable to do anything for fear of getting it wrong, or not meeting other’s expectations.

At home we model ‘failure’ and overcoming it. We talk about how well they both combat challenges. But still, youngest always seems so blue and my gut instinct is that she’s depressed.

Does anyone have experience of depression within children? I’ve spoken to the school liaison officer but not sure where else to turn other than the GP….he’s next on my list.

A Birth Mum has not Received Letterbox Contact – A Problem Shared

Today we share with you an email we have received from a birth mum.  

“To whom it may concern… my children have been adopted and I don’t know how to get the ball rolling about getting my letters and photos which I was promised years ago and I would appreciate any advice on this matter.”

A Problem SharedI wonder if there are any professionals out there who may be able to advise this mum or anyone who has been through a similar experiences. Maybe an adopter can shed some light on how difficult this contact is to maintain or how valuable it has been for your family. We understand that the subject of any kind of contact in adoption can be a very sensitive subject for most, so we just ask that people are respectful of all parties when they reply.


Role models

Can anyone help today’s poster? This adoptive mum is asking for advice…

I have 2 children – a son and a daughter.
My daughter has no known issues and is meeting all her milestones appropriately.
My son, who is older and not biologically related to his sister is another matter. He has attachment difficulties and sensory processing disorder. He suffers hugely from anxiety, and he manages this through attempts to control everything. My son also gets angry very easily, and lives his life in a hypervigilant state. We are having therapy and feel able (currently) to manageProblem our son’s issues.

But, I am concerned that our daughter will see that it’s normal for boys (and therefore men) to behave as her brother does. When he is having a meltdown, we usually remove our daughter for her safety. This of course means she doesn’t see the eventual calming and resolution – just the fists flying.

What is this teaching her about men? Sadly in her school class she also encounters this as there are several children with additional needs, although of course there are many more that don’t. As much as I want to teach her about being accepting towards other people’s needs, I don’t want to teach her to accept violence directed at her.
I’m not sure how to approach this with her without putting ideas into her young head. Or am I worrying over nothing?

What are your Experiences of DDP?

Today our mum from Life on the Frontline asks you to share your DDP experiences.

Recently I wrote about how Tall and I had started DDP therapy. The first session brought about a very horrid evening. Tall was angry and aggressive in a way I’d not seen for a while and, as my husband was not at home, I was actually fairly scared of what might occur. Thankfully I managed to defuse the situation and all was well the next day. However, I was left with a sense of oh my goodness can I cope with this again on a regular bases. Very selfishly I feel that I’m actually starting to get my life back a little, teaching my yoga classes and both boys doing better in school, well at least there most days for a full day.

depressionWe have since had two more sessions and there has not been a similar occurrence afterwards, however, we’ve not been digging too deeply just yet. I know it will take a bit of time for Tall to feel able to share certain emotions. I’m not about to abandon the DDP therapy, I know it’s much needed and will really help us all. I know I was just feeling a little scared after that first session and I now know what to expect might happen and I can prepare for it. I’m sure it’s going to get harder before it gets better. What I’d like to ask of you, is to share your own experiences of DDP therapy?

Did it get worse before it got better?

Did it help your family?

How did it help?

Do you have any tips on supporting your child through this tough type of therapy?

Ensuring safety without forcing fear

Today Emma, an adoptive mum wants your advice on reinforcing safety without heaping on the fear…

A Problem SharedYesterday I was 2 minutes late getting to school, at least 2 minutes later than usual. My normal routine is to go to my youngest daughter’s class exit and then my eldest meets me there. If eldest isn’t out before youngest, then we walk to and wait at eldest’s exit for her to finish.

Eldest has been told on many occasions to go back to her own class if I’m not there, though I (until now) have been there everyday unless pre-arranged with both the girls and their teachers (in the event of playdates etc).

So today, as I’m rushing in, eldest comes strolling out of the school gate with one of her friends who’d spotted my car near that particular school gate (there are 3). Youngest’s class hadn’t CYMERA_20140305_152029even started to come out at that point, so eldest should have gone back to her classroom or at the very least waited by youngest’s class door.

There are security issues with eldest, she knows this…at least I thought she did. But I’m not sure how to reinforce how important this issue is without scaring her.
I could of course insist that her teacher makes her wait for me at her own door, but I was hoping that – at 10 – she would be able to handle the independence of walking around the corner of the playground to wait for me.


Feeling low but can’t move forward

I’ve always struggled a bit with my mental health – with short bouts of depression through my university life, and then at stressful times later. It was touched upon in our homestudy but I was able to show how I had previously recognised my depressive times and sought help A Problem Sharedappropriately.

These days it’s different. Without a doubt my mental health has been affected by my children; by adoption. I’m by no means in tune with my children 100% of the time, but I am a lot of the time and I’m down when they are down. However, it doesn’t work the other way – when they are up, I’m still mentally shelving the bad stuff, and preparing myself emotionally for the next angry and anxiety filled moments.

I don’t know what to do now. I can see I’m suffering with my mental health, and I know why.
I have ‘me’ time and I enjoy it, I take pleasure from it and do not feel remotely selfish (as I thought I would). I have mindfulness apps, I try to lift my own mood, I practise yoga, I’ve tried reiki, I eat well, I’m taking anti-depressant medication and have tried speaking with the mental health nurse at my surgery. Where now?

Many thanks to the adoptive mum that wrote this post, I think many of us can identify. If you have advice, please share it below…

Guessing the future and planning for the unknown

Have you got any advice for today’s anonymous poster?

I am currently embroiled in the process of adopting a very young child that I am fostering, through a non-agency (or as my LA like to call it ‘private’!) adoption. This has involved wrangling with my LA over what, if any, post-adoption support might be on offer, and they have asked me to come up with my own assessment of what I think the child’s future support needs might be, just in case they decide to offer PAS after all.

ProblemThe issue of whether PAS will be offered or not is slightly separate to this request for advice, as I have taken legal advice on that and am fully armed for battle! My question really is whether anybody who is further down the line as an adoptive family might have any suggestions as to what I should ask for in terms of PAS. Without sharing too much of this little one’s story, she is currently very young, and is meeting most, but not all, of her milestones. There is a definite possibility of a future diagnosis of FASD. She has a number of other chronic but fairly common health issues that are not directly related to her early life experiences but are most likely inherited. She has lived with me since she was a few days old.

I adopted my son nearly three years ago, also from foster care, but via a more traditional route. I have looked at his PAS plan for inspiration but it really is a very vague, two sentence affair. I do realise that there is a world of difference between making a plan, and then actually getting that plan put into action at some future date, but if possible, I would really like to cover as many bases as I can at this early stage. Can anybody suggest the types of things I ought to be asking for? Thanks in advance.