Category Archives: Top Secret

Top Secret Adopter

BABY 

Once again, we find ourselves surprised by developments. X has brought so many twist and turns into our lives but 10 years on we are still surprised by the influence of external events on our delicatw equilibrium.

News comes, mother has had a baby. We all pause and check our feelings. News of babies usually comes with excitement and congratulations. This comes with unanswerable question and unique feelings.

To make a long story short X finds out.

That’s where it starts to get difficult and where the difficult questions come from. There are no easy answers, no certainty or assurances. All the things that cause X to wobble and make the ground beneath X’s feet uncertain are laid out in front of her.

“You can adopt the baby!” she exclaims

Well, it’s not that simple is it? I’m not sure we can, it seems like we’re just coping and a baby wont turn ‘just coping’ into ‘easily coping’.

She’s angry. Irreconcilable loss mixed with blind optimism and sprinkled with a light dusting of trauma informed behaviour are a recipe for trouble. So, that’s what we get more trouble, tempers, tears, sadness and confusion. Anger is directed at us as she shouts, ‘why not?!’

We verbally walk through the challenges and the reasons, ‘we’re too old, we don’t have the room, it’s not our decision, Mother may keep the baby’ the list is exhaustive. X is having none of it dysregulation layered on top of heartbreak, it spills into all the corners of X’s life and consequently our lives. X can’t make sense of the dual feelings of excitement and loss.

This is complicated stuff, more complicated than I’m equipped for and in the middle of all that I’m managing my own feelings. This child feels emotionally connected to me, I feel like I should say yes, that I should throw our hat into the ring. I’m struggling with guilt, uncertainty, trying to figure out how it would work. The right answer is no but I’m struggling to say no, to this point I’ve always said yes but that’s how we got to here, good and bad.

I lay awake and wonder could we but the reality is I’m tired to the core, adoption, or some parts of it has eroded parts of me that will never be restored. There’s been magic too going back to nappies seems like too much, I’ll be in my 60’s when the baby reaches 18, no is the right answer.
On a routine social work visit we’re informed that mother has had a baby. The question is asked, why I’m not quite sure considering the fact we’re still having routine social work visits, would you consider taking the child.

Every fibre of my being says ‘yes’, my mouth says ‘no’.
@AdopterX

 

TOP SECRET

 

This post from ADOPTER X Find them on Twitter @AdopterX

SCHOOL

I found myself in a crowded school hall with 250 children with their parents hovering uncertainly around what had once been neat rows of desks all lined up in alphabetical order. We were early but the polite pleasantness was already threadbare in the teachers smiles and comments.

Like all these events it had been challenge getting there, X was angry. There remained a murky soup of unsaid words between us, I’d been kicked and called that morning and we’d not sorted that out. We begrudgingly sat next to each other waiting for the teachers to nod and indicate that we were next and to make our way to our impending ‘parent learner interview’.

For us this is just ordeal, for X it’s a unique construction of all that dysregulates. Large noisy environments, peers, adults, public examination of performance. A mix of shame and anxiety. Did I mention I’d been kicked and called that morning, I was not happy?

We filed through the process teacher by teacher, my will to live, already at a low ebb, was in danger of flickering out. Like a pre prepared script to a teacher they repeated the same mantra.

‘Intelligent, but easily distracted and if unable to complete the work then is a distraction. Shouts out answers which is not really that appropriate. I really like you X but you’ve got to knuckle down.’

Generally, there was compassion and understanding the words came as regrettable bad news that they had to deliver, followed by encouragement. It’s all in the way you say words.

The RE teacher looked like she wanted to give me a hug, I think she was so upset to break it to me. I think she read me pretty well I had sad eyes. The last teacher used the same words but it was hard to find compassion, more the barked workds of a drill sergeant. On went the lecture. I looked at X and I looked at the teacher. X was lost, eyes glazed and lolling around the room. I was furious, did I mention that I’d been kicked and called. How stupid is this teacher? I stopped listening and was weighing the consequences of saying nothing against the impact of me coming back at the teacher with the full weight of eight years as X parent, with the speech that starts ‘let me tell you about X’s life, about how X feels every day and how X struggles every day’. X would have died of embarrassment and shame for me to have spoken out. So I’m trapped between an teacher and X. I nod with the least amount of politeness politely.

Now I know why X kicked my and called me today, it seems like an appropriate and rational response.

I’ve booked a call to the school, we’re going to have a chat in private.

 

TOP SECRET FEATURE

 

 

 

 

This week another post from regular contributor Adopter X

 

 

Guarded Care

Blocked care has many definitions. For me it’s a reaction to or consequence of friction and abrasion. It’s not a choice, starved of reciprocal love and care and bruised by this abrasion and friction this parent’s love withers, dries but has not yet died.

I set my mind for the long haul quite a while ago when I realised that this was not a blip or a phase. It wasn’t teething trouble or just ‘bedding in’ or ‘adjustment’. Things were outside the broad spectrum of normal and it was clear that they were going to stay that way. So, I started to take measures to keep myself safe, I re calibrated myself.

There is an ebb and flow to my life with X, hour by hour and day by day and I’ve learnt to sense when to gird myself for the fiery words and attempts to hurt. I’ve become adept at second guessing the triggers and the provocations, up comes my armour and I ‘get through it’ the best I can. Sometimes it’s minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes days.
But the opposite is also true, I know when to drop the guard and lower the armour, to open the arms, embrace and soothe with words.

Of course I get it wrong, disarmed by illness or mawkish sentimentality over a birthday or the hopes of a nice family time I open up and let my guard down. Exposed that’s when these fiery words hit home and I wobble. Sometimes my guard remains when it needs to fall when love needs to be manifest in kind words and deeds.

The standards of therapeutic parenting are sometimes immeasurably high but to yield myself to selfless love and open myself to unconditional vulnerability is not an option for me. I promised to parent X and this is how I do it.

@adopterx

TOP SECRET FEATURE

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We realise that it is sometimes hard for adopters to talk about certain topics through their blogs or Twitter for many reasons.

It is the same for adopted people and adoption professionals. We are going to be featuring contributions from anonymous writers in our new TOP SECRET feature.

If you would like to contribute please contact us by email or direct message on Twitter? You just need to email us a submission of up to 2000 words max. There must be no identifying names or places in any submissions. No names will be shared.

 

This first contribution is from ADOPTER X who will be contributing regularly to the TOP SECRET feature as an adopter.

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EXPERIENCE ALTERS PERSPECTIVE

I find I have more in common with X’s parents than I ever thought possible.  We adopted X when she was four and it’s been a strange journey that we have been taken on. Due to increasingly challenging behaviour, violence, self-harm, knife fights and more we, eventually, self-referred to Children’s Social Care. All well and good, they came and did their initial assessments and declared that we were doing more than they could provide, so ‘chin up’ and carry on. We did just that. All that changed when someone else referred us and the Children’s Social Care arrived uninvited. The Social Workers that came were different, hard, uninterested in our story or explanation with no regard for case notes or history. They had a job to do and got on with it with no interest in our version of events or explanations the embodiment of agents of the state. It was not a nice experience.  Experience alters perspective. I find myself revising the things I’ve read about X’s parents. I think of a young mother caught up in the child protection system that I was caught up in. I think of phrases I read like ‘combative’ and ‘not engaging’ then think of phrases that may be used to describe me as I pushed back against the injustices I felt and the unyielding bureaucracy that unfolded before me. I think of the terrifying thought of losing X and thought of a young mum who lost her child.  I feel closer to her than I ever thought possible, a shared experience with different outcomes and different start points but with some shared paths. As I say experience alters perspectives. When I was a member of an adoptive panel I read Child Protection Report after Child Protection Report with the same threads and patterns repeated again and again. Now, I find myself revisiting those stories in my mind, I see a system that removes children from parents, often justifiably so, where I once saw the system as neutral and fair I’m not so sure now.  I know that I’m not the only adopter to slip onto the wrong side of the tracks. I do know that this experience has altered my perspective forever and I feel empathy and have an insight to X’s family that I never thought I could have.
X

I am Adopter X, the adopter of X
X came as a bundle of joy and tears when she was three and now she’s a teenager. Every day is hard, many days have joy and many still have tears.