Category Archives: A Problem Shared

Adopting for a second time

Should we or shouldn’t we?
We have a 4 year old son, whom we adopted 2 years ago. It’s not been plain sailing as you might imagine, but we’re getting post adoption support and we’re in a routine now.
We’ve been approached about adopting his younger brother, who is now coming upto 6 months. He’s been in foster care since birth but is now ready to move onto a more permanent placement and naturally we were thought of.
My partner and I had planned to adopt again, but we’re wary of rocking the boat and upsetting our family as it is. And timing wise, with our son starting school next September, we don’t want him thinking that we’re replacing him in anyway.

Has anyone adopted for a second time? Has it been smooth or cause problems with your eldest child? Should we wait longer or not miss this opportunity to adopt his natural, full sibling?

Interview with Child Protection – A Problem Shared

Today’s problem is from our Life on the Frontline mum.

Following our family’s involvement with Child Protection a couple of weeks ago, which you can read about here, we have been contacted now by another Child Protection social work. She has asked to come and visit us, as a follow up and to see if there is any additional support they can offer, which I’m fine about. During our phone conversation she also disclosed, “And I’ll need to see the children on their own”.depression

This I am not fine about, and I fervently made my opposition to this request known. I can’t see why the children need to be seen on their own when the incident which led to CP’s involvement has already been resolved and dismissed by the social worker we saw on the day. I know for a fact that Tall was quite distressed by the whole event and would not want to be interviewed by a social worker again. As for Small, I’m certain he will give short change to any social worker, not his favourite kind of people. She has agreed to come out and just so me “for now”.

So I’m asking for help in understanding, can they insist on seeing the children? Has anyone else been through this experience and what happened with the follow up interviews? And can anyone suggest any additional support this department may be able to access for us. The only thing I can think of support wise is that they educate the school on dealing with families living with early life trauma, but I’m not holding out much hope for this.


Desperately seeking help…

I’m so cross I don’t know where to begin.

We have had so many issues with our local authority post adoption support team – they have taken so long to process requests, reply to emails, come and assess us for support, and we don’t feel they are in anyway supportive.
We’ve asked for referrals (to CAMHS, theraplay), that have never happened.
We’ve asked for advice, and been fobbed off or ignored. 
We asked for help with letterbox writing, it hasn’t been forthcoming. 
We have continually requested later life letters, we haven’t had them yet though.Problem
We pushed past our social worker and approached the post adoption manager, we were again fobbed off, with blame aimed at staff shortages, sickness, no record of our request, no record of our complaint etc etc

After 3 years of this, we complained to the head of children’s services. We were promised an internal investigation. 6 months later, we’re no better off.

We’re both suffering with depression, but luckily have very good support from our friends and family. But in terms of support, complaints and help for our children, we just don’t know where to turn? Councillors? MP? Newspapers? Adoption UK? Who can give us the advice we need? And who can help us escalate our complaints and actually get us the help we need?

If you’ve got any help or advice for this parent, please do reply in the comments below.

Understanding school refusal

Today’s problem is from The Boy’s Behaviour – can you help at all?

Two years ago today, Mini started a new school. We moved him from a large infant school, to a small primary school, and back then it was during his Year 2. There were many reasons for moving him, but we basically felt unsupported by the staff, patronised by his teachers and MiniA Problem Shared was anxious daily, hyper-hyper-hyper vigilant, didn’t have any particularly close friendships and we had a couple of security issues too.

We are very happy with the new school. He no longer has nurture sessions because he just doesn’t need them, he has a lovely group of mates, he enjoys school, loves his teacher (and has all his previous teachers too), is doing well academically (because he has TA support that actually works because his needs were recognised early on) and we no longer have the daily  wetting/soiling issues that were problem at old school.

So what’s the problem? Well, we’ve started getting the school refusals again.
We expect them of course around usual trigger times (Christmas and school trips) but they’re becoming increasingly frequent at normal times too. Not quite at the same level as previously – we’ve only missed registration once or twice but I’m worried I’m missing something. Or is it just a 9 year old boy thing? How is the best way to broach this with the school so they understand that we might not always make it in on time? Should it be on his IEP?

Thoughts gratefully received…

How much to share…

Can anyone advise this new adoptive mum who’s wondering what to Problemtell others in developing relationships…

I’m a fairly new adoptive mum to sibling girls age 4 and 6. Both are at school and I’m slowly starting to become friendly, though very warily of some of the other parents in the playground.

We’re also fairly new to the town we’re living in, so it’s been easy to say ‘yes we just moved to the area’ when explaining our sudden appearance at school.

Now, however, as I develop friendships with some of these people, and my daughters develop friendships with their peers, I’m wondering how much information to share. The school knows a little about their backgrounds, and enough to be able to support them if any issues become apparent (though everything is OK at the moment, we’re still in the honeymoon period I’m sure), but what to tell the parents?

I’m not ashamed of being an adoptive parent, but I don’t want to divulge too much as it’s simply not anyone else’s business. But if I become proper friends with any of them, I don’t want to start off by being dishonest or at the very least, not upfront.

How have others dealt with this?

A Problem Shared – Attitude

DS is nearly 9 and currently in Year 4. And just recently he has been full of attitude.

“Sorreee-ah”. I hear that so much these days, with zero feeling behind it. Problem
“If I have to” *sigh*. That’s another one that I get quite a lot.
“It wasn’t me-ah”. Yep, pretty common here.
And of course there is the general huffing and puffing, arm crossing and stomping around that you expect from pre-teens.

I’m sure this is normal nearly 9 year old behaviour, but how we respond to it might be different.

We have told him that we’ll speak to him in the same way, but when we’ve tried that it leads to a full on “stop taking the mickey out of me” meltdown.

When we’ve ignored it, he gets stompier and louder.

And politely asking him to stop speaking to us like that doesn’t get us anywhere.

Any more ideas? We’re at a loss with this behaviour but feel it’s only a matter of time before it starts to spill over to friends, family and school.





A Problem Shared -Disruption

Today we bring you a problem about Disruption
I wanted to share what has happened to me recently and see if anyone else is going through anything similar. On top of everything else that has happened, I am struggling to cope when so few people understand, including my family, and the pressure that the situation is putting on my new relationship is also becoming intolerable. I don’t know who else to talk to.
A Problem SharedWe adopted our daughters 2.5 years ago. They are 4.5 and 9.5 years old. Our older daughter (let’s call her A) has struggled constantly since 2 or 3 weeks after her placement. And, when I say constantly, I mean constantly. For all this time, we have maybe progressed from the odd 10 minutes of peace to the odd 30 minutes. It has been absolutely unremitting. Most of it is not major destruction or anything, just constant, endless, drip drip drip challenging, difficult, annoying, frustrating, mean, attention seeking, lying, manipulative, verbally abusive and gradually starting to be physically abusive. BUT only to her sister and I and ONLY behind closed doors. She manages her feelings perfectly well ABSOLUTELY everywhere else she goes. But the moment she is back with her sister (B) and I, she starts on us again, being totally uncooperative and verbally abusive.
Sadly, my partner and I split up in May, for reasons probably compounded (but certainly not caused) by A. But, since then, my ex has turned on me and is using the endless lies that A tells her about me to beat me verbally about my parenting. A tells my ex that I have done X and knows that it will be instantly fired back at me as Y. She knows she can further undermine what security she has left, she knows that she will get into trouble with me, further undermining our relationship, and she knows my ex wants to believe her and wants to vent her anger at me for the break-up.
Eventually, A even made allegations that my ex took to social services.
All in all, a total nightmare. Everything A dreaded has happened (in terms of believing that nothing is forever), and everything she can do to exacerbate the situation, she is going to do.
Meanwhile, the damage to B became intolerable (as well as to myself). I reached the point where I was just crying and not coping and finally couldn’t get them to school or activities anymore. My new partner was having to take over and let me ‘not cope’ and just let the situation play itself out, however it needed to. I finally let go of trying to manage and cope and just let it all take its course …
Having fought with my every breath every day for 2.5 years to avoid this, I finally asked my ex if she would accommodate A for a few weeks’ respite. She said yes, although this involves a lot of family help and disruption for A. My ex found a small house and my daughter moved out 3.5 weeks ago. She walked out of school that evening without so much as a goodbye (and my ex did not send her back). I ran after her …
Since then, A continues to behave well for my ex (which she has done since our break up) and to behave more and more badly with me. She comes to stay with B and I once a week and visits for another hour one evening. She couldn’t even stay in the room with me this week for an hour, but stayed in her bedroom, having elbowed me and pushed the door at my finger and been mean to her sister. Her lying and manipulation and anger are spiralling out of control. And, although I know why, I find it very hard to just be sympathetic when she can ‘switch’ this anger on and off as and when she pleases. It is profoundly hurtful (which she knows) and watching the damage she has done to B is so painful. It is this damage to B that finally drove me to do what I have done.
I can hear myself justifying my decision to you and to everyone I speak to, knowing that (almost) no one will ever understand. I have one friend that nearly reached this point with her eldest daughter, who understands completely and does not judge and has been amazing. And a few friends and new partner, who heard my laments so relentlessly each day, had reached the point that they were urging me to make this decision, but who seem to think that A’s departure is therefore just a relief (which of course it is in a way), but not to really understand how or why I am grieving for this child who treated B and I so badly. But, then, how could they possibly understand…?
I can’t explain, not without sounding like I am criticising them. But to be told that you should be happy to watch your daughter, who you dreamt of for years and who you know is hellbent on total self-destruction, move somewhere else and flourish and just be glad for them …. well, there are no words. No one would say that to someone who had lost a birth child.
I am glad for A, who clearly cannot cope with having a mummy and sister, if she finds peace with my ex (although time will tell how that pans out), and I am very happy for B, who has had the first peaceful mornings and evenings she has ever had in the last 3 weeks, bless her, as she copes with starting school. She is so happy and I finally have time for her.
But it would be very comforting to hear from anyone else who has gone through anything at all similar.

A Problem Shared – Lesson Time.

Today our mum from Life on the Frontline is asking for advice around school.

As you may know school is difficult for both my children, however one of my greatest concerns at the moment is the amount of time, or lack of it, that Tall is spending actually in his lesson. He has an exit card so he can leave a lesson when he feels he cant cope. Whilst he was using it at times in year 7, things seemed to have changed in year 8. He says he finds the noise levels in class unmanageable and therefore he has to leave. Problem

When he leaves he goes down to the Learning support area and is allowed to calm there and do his work. However I cant help but feel that he is missing out on so much learning content by not being in the class, even if he does have the work to do. I’m sure he genuinely is over stimulated by his surround at times but I’m not sure he’s being assisted in regulating himself and it seems very easy for him to remove himself. Also I cant understand how this problem has escalated in recent times, when it has not been a problem previously.

Does anyone else have a child who finds the classroom environment challenging? What solutions have you found to this challenge? Also can anyone explain why the problem may have escalated in recent times.

Helping with acceptance

This week we have a problem from a mum of 2 – a birth child and an adoptive child who just can’t seem to get along. Do you have any advice for Jan?

Our family is made up of myself, my husband, our birth son, and our adoptive daughter. A Problem Shared

Our son Jack is 8, and has always been a pleasant, well-mannered, relaxed, happy child. When, after some time, it became clear that another birth child wasn’t going to happen for us, we turned to adoption.

Mia has been here a year now, and is now 5. She has settled very well, and we’re lucky that at the moment she’s not showing any signs of attachment issues or anything else really. She’s a happy, playful little girl, talks about anything and everything, is a big fan of Disney princesses, enjoys school and loves affection. Mia clearly loves her big brother and attempts to play with him, share her things, placate him by letting him lead or do what he wants – she’s happy to follow as long as she spends her time with him.

Jack however just can’t seem to accept her. He was involved in every step of our adoption journey towards Mia, and had a big say in whether we had a boy or girl, what age etc, and our social worker was happy that it was a good decision for him too. He just seems to absolutely hate her, and I mean, really hate her. He is jealous of the time we spend with her and of the things we buy her (even if he gets new things too!), he even seems jealous that she has another family. He won’t share with her, won’t play with her, wants to pick fights all the time. He’s not trying to get her into trouble, more like he doesn’t seem to care that his actions will get him in trouble.

We’ve tried all sorts of things to support them building a relationship together, and we also make sure to give each child time without the other. We know it’s hard for older siblings – of any kind – to suddenly have to share their parents, but whilst we were prepared for it to be rocky with Mia, we didn’t really expect Jack to react quite this badly, for such a long time.

Is anyone else in the same or similar position? We really don’t know what else to do and our social worker is like a chocolate teapot!

Are all adopted children destructive?

Today’s problem shared comes from a prospective adoptive parent looking for some help on expectations and risks of adoption…

I have just finished the assessment process and am due to go to panel next month. I am well A Problem Sharedadread on attachment issues and how adopted children need a different style of parenting. I know people who have adopted and have adopted members in my own family.

I came to adoption because I have always thought that it would be selfish to have biological children when there are so many children in care, waiting for a family. Conscious that I could meet Mr Right and he could want his own, or may not want any kids I waited until I hit 40, but he never showed up. I have never had any particular drive to desperately want children, rather that I have a nurturing personality and have room in my house and my life and I think I would do a pretty good job as a parent, albeit as a single Mum.

So here I am, living my nice little life, with my content little existence in the country with my dog and hens and job, knowing that adopting a child will turn it all upside-down but that it will be well worth it. I have been on the adoption training course and follow up workshops and theraplay courses etc etc. and have had more than a dozen visits from the social worker who has just completed my PAR… when I read Sally Donovan’s Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting.  Now, I know there will be ups and downs, but I know I would not be able to cope with that level of violence and undesirable behaviour. I then looked up blogs online and they all seem to also give me the jitters with more examples of destruction and violence.

What I need to know is to what extent this is to be expected of any and all children coming from care. Or, are these examples not typical, but representative of the worst case scenario. Certainly the few people I know that have adopted have not had to endure the destructiveness or the sort of physical and verbal abuse from their children that I have read about. Maybe they are not typical?

I have already discussed matching considerations with the SW and made it clear that I would not be the right parent for a child with a high level of additional need. I expect to have to put away all precious and breakable things in the early stages… what I haven’t been prepared for is that I may not see my precious things again until after the child has left home! And I really could not live in a family where I feared the child may harm themselves, others or the dog.

Some of you will be thinking that I don’t sound like I have got what it takes, others may be thinking that I just need to be clear when it comes to matching, but I need to know which of those is the truth… I want to adopt in order to give a child a happy family life, and would prefer not to venture into it at all if there is a real risk I could let that child down by not being up to the job.

I know that early trauma is not something that I can magically fix in the first few months, but am I being too naïve in thinking that adopting a child isn’t going to be as hard and potentially devastating as some accounts describe. In my head I am wondering if all the professionals I have spoken to have taken as read that I know that this is the reality of children looking for an adoptive family, while my friends are saying that I am reading worst case scenarios and that I am worrying about something that is very unlikely. You guys are the only ones who can tell me….