Category Archives: Bloggers and Tweeters

CITIZEN SMITH #ParentPower

 

 

 

 

Life Story Work – There must be a better way?

Hey Sarah, let’s sit down and look at that book about that time you got molested in the park, I’ve got some photos of your assailant. Let’s have a look at them, I know he loved you really. Look here’s you and the police officer that did your forensic examination. How are you feeling?

There are many important things we have to handle as adoptive or foster parents, but to me helping a child make sense of ‘their journey’ has always felt like the most overwhelming.

In this aspect of our role we must act as both counsellor and parent – because what is termed ‘life story work’ is unquestionably counselling and it is unquestionably work. Work we are uniquely ill-equipped to undertake. Work that, in my mind, is important beyond our imagination.

Life story work makes me feel grossly inadequate and it can turn me into an arsehole because when I hear on the news, following one hideous event or another, that “counselling has been made available” to the victims I actually feel jealous on behalf of my child. Jealous! Jealous that I’m left to bumble my way through helping my child make sense of their own traumatic experiences. Jealous of people who have experienced horror I cannot imagine and who are perfectly entitled to receive support. How screwed up is that!

And I am not sure I believe that the PTSD experienced by those who witnessed, for example, the London Bridge attack is so different from those feelings experienced by an abused child, or one whose very life was repeatedly threatened through neglect. Or indeed the additional traumas of severance following removal.

If I were a counsellor being fairly paid to support a person who had experienced what our children have experienced (Complex PTSD) I would be putting a deposit down on a holiday home after the first meeting. It’s for the same reason that I fully understand why parents delay or avoid it, or those who often, like me, wait for their child to prompt us with an enquiry so that I can steel myself and say “Oh I’m glad you asked me that” before dragging out ‘the book’.

These events need professionals, and when I think of us, the army of amateurs coming to counsel our children through their PTSD I wonder how the media would treat our arrival at the scene of a terrorist incident. Equipped, as in my case, with good intentions, tissues and a spiral bound wipe-clean book of their tragedy.

But we know that there is no army of free counsellors to help our children, it can take 18 months to get just one CAMHS referral, and even all those counsellors who, in my imagination, descend on the scene of a tragedy like robot hoovers have to go back to their charging points until the next time they are needed.

So as always we must step up, and equip ourselves to become the professional, the counsellor, equipped to help our children process the events that brought them to us, and to do so over the course of many years. We’ll buy more books, attend more courses, learn from each other and our mistakes but always with that voice in our heads “There must be a better way than this”.

@mistersglluest

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

Meet The Blogger: Adoption: The Bear Facts

A very warm welcome to Blogfox14, blogger at Adoption: The Bear Facts who is featured as today’s Meet The Blogger.

Book: Trying to read my way through everything by JoJo Moyes
Music: Capital or Kiss radio for dancing around the kitchen; lots of tuneless singing of Uptown Funk with Big Bear
TV Prog: Ugly House to Lovely House to get ideas for our upcoming renovations (that’s the official line, really just to spend some quality time with gorgeous George Clarke!)
Food: Thai always
Pastime: Blogging is rapidly taking over but building my Lego Mini or hunting for vintage coffee pots when I have time

My biggest challenge as an adoptive parent:
Probably balancing the very different needs of my two boys. When there is an incident, who do you go to first? Victim or perpetrator? How do you separate them whilst leaving neither alone? Making sure they feel equally loved and they both have quality time.

When I look into the eyes of my child I see:
Little Bear reminds me of an Armadillo – hard on the outside, soft on the inside. Sometimes, when he allows his gaze to meet mine, I can see straight into his soft, vulnerable centre.

At the weekend I can mostly be found:
In my wellies, trudging after a muddy scooter and balance bike to find really muddy mud. Also, at the zoo or snuggled up on the sofa watching a film.

What makes me/ my family laugh:
Both bears make me laugh a lot. I love it when Big Bear starts a sentence with “Dad, imagine there was a ferret and it…..” or Little Bear decides to wear the play tunnel and waddles around looking like ET.

What I hope I can give to my children:
A strong sense of self so that they can be who they truly are, without necessarily following the path everyone else takes. I also hope I can give them a good set of communication and social skills as they will carry you through most situations in life.

Why did I start blogging about adoption?:
I replied to an email from our Agency offering Social Media training for potential online adoption champions. There were very limited places and when I didn’t get one, realised I really wanted to blog anyway.

As a teenager I was a big diary writer and more recently have dabbled in children’s fiction. I’m just a frustrated author writing about what I know.

Meet The Blogger: A Hopeful Dad

This week it’s LGBT Adoption & Fostering week – run by New Family Social. And so we’re pleased this week to welcome a Meet The Blogger post from prospective adoptive parent A Hopeful Dad, who writes about the adoption journey he and his husband are on…

Quick 5 – In my life at the moment….

Book – They’re all about adoption at the moment.

Music – Whatever’s on the radio…

TV programme – The Walking Dead

Food – Sweet potato & feta frittata.

Pastime – Running

Why did you start blogging about adoption?
At the beginning, I started blogging so I felt like I was doing something while we waited for the approval stage to start. Now it’s a great way to keep me focussed and helps me reflect on what’s going on.

Tea/Gin?
Gin in a teapot…

What do you think is your biggest source of support?
My family and friends. They’re all incredibly supportive of our decision to adopt.

What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
Be true to yourself.

At the weekend I can mostly be found…
Reading the papers and relaxing. I’m doing that as much as possible until the children arrive.

You can find A Hopeful Dad blogging here and more about LGBT Adoption & Fostering week here. And in a double whammy – here’s A Hopeful Dad’s post about LGBT Adoption & Fostering week.

Meet Me: Fostering Hope Through Adoption

Today’s Meet Me post comes from blogger Fostering Hope Through Adoption – be sure to check out her blog here.

Quick 5

  • Book – The Connected Child By: Karyn Purvis; The Whole Brain Child By: Dr. Siegal
  • Music – NeedtoBreathe
  • TV programme – Parenthood
  • Food – Soups-chili, chicken noodle, vegetable, lentil, minestrone and the list goes on 🙂
  • Pastime – Making blanket forts with my little brother.

 

What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
Feeling helpless when my children are struggling with their pasts. All of the therapy, quality time, and sensory toys will help them cope, but it will never make the hurts disappear. Somedays, I wish I could go back and fix everything. It’s hard.

What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children?
I wish I would have taken classes on how to connect with a child from a hard place. We are now taking TBRI classes and we have learned so much. I feel like we would have bypassed many hard days and failed attempts at reaching our children if we would have come to the table with more knowledge.

What inspires you?
Helping people improve their health with nutritious foods.

Who inspires you?
My husband. He’s amazing.

Tea/Gin?
Tea

What do you think is your biggest source of support?
My faith.

What do you do to take care of yourself?
I need to do more of this…oops! I do love to learn. often read research articles, books, and blogs. I also love to run. It gives me time to think, reflect, and pray.

What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
If your children were babies, would you go to them when they cried and meet their needs? Treat your older children the same way. Their cries may not come with tears, but may be filled with rage, neediness, or isolation. Be present in every situation. They need you even when it seems like they would rather do anything else then be with you, they need you.

My perfect adoption support would include:
foster moms, adoptive moms, moms with children who have behavioral and/or academic challenges, and older moms who have been through the trenches and succeeded.

When I look into the eyes of my child I see:
fear, but I also see a sense of renewed hope.

The best thing we did this week was…
spending time with our kids around their first bonfire and eating their first s’mores with them.

If you could take your children anywhere in the world to see something where would you go?
I would take them to their siblings and allow them to play all day long.

What I hope I can give to my child/Children?
Faith, security, love, and a sense of self-worth.

At the weekend I can mostly be found…
watching one of my kiddos play a sport, at the grocery store, or at church.

What makes you and/or your family laugh?
Singing, “Who Stole the Cookie From the Cookie Jar?”

Meet Me: Plainlyamess

Today’s Meet Me post is from adoptive mum and tweeter @plainlyamess, read on to find out more…
  • Book – Three More Words
  • Music -Sing-A-Longs & Lullabies for the Film Curious George
  • TV programme – The Middle
  • Food – Guacamole
  • Pastime – Writing

What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
Maintaining my individuality. Most days, I have little energy to move beyond meeting the most urgent needs of our family.

What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children?  
Attachment isn’t something I can control at all and it doesn’t develop by simply rocking my child and spoon feeding him. He may want those things, and yet he will also have unique and complicated needs due to his individuality and complicated history. My job is to get to know him where he is and nurture him in doses that don’t freak him out. Giving him space is sometimes the best way to show him I care.

Who inspires you?
Adult adopted people and those who grew up in the foster care system who are willing to share their stories

Tea/Gin?
Strong tea with two sugars and whole milk

What do you do to take care of yourself?
Write

What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?  
Your children are telling you what they need through their behaviour. As they begin to feel safe, they begin to communicate that safety through their behaviour too. It’s the parent’s job to help their children feel safe.

My perfect adoption support would include…
An adult adopted person investing in my child, consistently

When I look into the eyes of my child I see…
an intense and strong individual I am still getting to know

What I hope I can give to my child/Children?
Empathy

At the weekend I can mostly be found…
in my pajamas

Meet Me: Anna

Our second ‘Meet Me’ of the day is from our very own Monday columnist Anna…

Book – Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane
Music – Dirty Gold by Angel Haze
TV – The Sopranos (missed it first time round, boxed set binging!)
Food – Homemade woodfired pizza – best invention EVER.
Pastime – Swimming

Most memorable piece of advice
Not really advice but a quote:

‘Who can live with his own truth? it is enough to know it is there, it is enough to know it at last and that it feeds a secret and silent fervour in the self in the face of death’ Albert Camus

When I look in the mirror I see…
…a familiar stranger

If I could travel anywhere in the world…
It would be West Wales-I love it. The sea and the mountains, what else is there?

What makes me laugh?
90’s comedians (mostly Stewart Lee & Richard Herring..) Charlie Brooker, Caitlin Moran, Bridget Christie, The Mighty Boosh, Blackadder, Bottom, The IT Crowd, Father Ted, my children and my friends i.e. most things!

What inspires me?
People, hope, nature and fear

Who inspires me?
My children & family, people who say what they mean and mean what they say.

Ideal support package?
Counselling (accessible from being told onwards) honesty, trauma informed models of working and a willingness (from the adult world) to talk about adoption.

#MeetMe – Kim

Today’s second #MeetMe post is from another reader – Kim:

  • Book – The Explosive Child
  • Music – Sanskrit chants by Kino MacGregor
  • TV programme – Bake Off!!!
  • Food –  Lots of recipes from A Girl Called Jack
  • Pastime – Yoga
    What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
    Helping school understand and see him for the beautiful boy he is.
    Tea/Gin?
    Tea, been tee total for 2 months, it’s the only way for me to cope with disturbed nights and emotional exhaustion.
    What do you think is your biggest source of support?
    Yoga
    What do you do to take care of yourself?
    Yoga
    When I look into the eyes of my child I see…
    So much love.
    The best thing we did this week…
    Was get to school, every day!
    If you could take your children anywhere in the world to see something where would you go?
    Dharmsala, to meet the exiled Tibetan community there and climb the mountains.
    What I hope I can give to my child/Children?
    Roots
    At the weekend I can mostly be found…
    At our allotment.
    What makes you and/or your family laugh?
    Massive burps or any size of flatulence.

#MeetMe – Jenny

Today’s first #MeetMe post is from adoptive mum, Jenny…

Quick 5 – In my life at the moment….

  • Book –   Saving Danny (Cathy Glass)
  • Music–  Take That
  • TV programme  – Orange is the new black
  • Food – pasta
  • Pastime – Making cake pops

What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
Trying to meet the needs of all three children at the same time

What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children? 
I wish I had known a lot more about attachment and early trauma. There are so many things I could have put in place during those early weeks/months had I of known more.

Who inspires you?
My children. They have been through more in their short lives than many people do in a lifetime. They inspire me to carry on fighting for support for them, to educate others about adoption, and also to push for changes to the system.

Tea/Gin?
Can I choose wine instead?

What do you think is your biggest source of support?
My parents have been simply amazing in terms of supporting me, but I would not have survived this journey without the support of other adopters. They are the only ones who truly ‘get it’.

What I hope I can give to my child/Children?
Happiness, security and feelings of trust.

At the weekend I can mostly be found…
Curled up on the sofa trying to recover from the previous week!

#MeetMe – @Treemendouskids

Also today, #Meetme from another blogger and tweeter @treemendouskids

Quick 5 – In my life at the moment….

  • Book –  Us, David Nicholls
  • Music– In the car I go between listening to Rudimental and Nursery rhymes!
  • TV programme – Topsy & Tim
  • Food – Venison roast – My Husband works for the Forestry Commission so we get it cheap!
  • Pastime – tennis – without this I would go insane
  1. What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?  Feeling so tired a lot of the time which means I’m impatient with the children and PLACE goes out of the window.
  2. Who inspires you? Our other adoptive friends
  3. What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received? ‘ Its ok to get cross, you’re not perfect’ – You might not print this, but it honestly took the pressure off trying to be perfect which was my biggest issue
  4. The best thing we did this week was…. don our wellies and waterproofs and play in a stream in the woods
  5.  At the weekend I can mostly be found…trying to find an opportunity to catch up on sleep

Twitter : @treemendouskids
B
log: https://treemendouskids.wordpress.com/