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Meet The Blogger – The Family of Five

Our new series ‘Meet The Blogger’ is proving popular amongst bloggers and readers alike. Today we meet Mrs Family of FiveFamilyfive

Quick 5 – In my life at the moment….

Book – It has to be the entire Shopahollic range by Sophie Kinsella, they’re all hilarious I couldn’t choose just one.

Music– I love all sorts from Barbra Streisand to Shaggy!

TV programme – ‘Girls’, its hilarious albeit a bit uncomfortable viewing at times.

Food – Chocolate and pasta, not together obviously!

Pastime – sleeping and blogging both of which I never get enough time for!

What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
It has to be school. Finding teachers that understand attachment and trauma is a huge challenge. The recent introduction of the new Pupil Premium Plus has filled me with hope that it can go some way to funding specialist training for schools to help them to understand in order to meet the needs of adopted children in school. We just need to persuade schools to spend some of it on that now!

Why did you start blogging about adoption?
Because I felt alone with my thoughts and feelings, none of my friends and family seemed to understand and I didn’t know any other adopters. I was convinced I couldn’t be the only one that was having a hard time, and I was right. Blogging opened me up to a whole new world of adopters that shared my feelings and fears. Now i blog to reach out to others that might also be feeling the way I felt and to let them know that they are not alone.

Tea/Gin?
Neither really, I’m more of an orange squash kinda gal, sometimes I do get all adventurous and add some lemonade to some fresh orange juice, outrageous I know!

When I look into the eyes of my child I see?
I see different things for each of my girls. When I look in to baby girls eyes I see confusion. She’s very confused about who she is, what happened to her and even whats going on in her life now. When I look in to middle girls eyes I see fear tinged with anger, she terrified of whats happened to her happening again and she’s understandably angry, but I don’t think she knows who to be angry with. Big girls eyes are filled with insecurity, she understands where she is and why and she knows what happened to her but the fear of it all falling apart like before haunts her.

What I hope I can give my children?
I hope to give them the futures they deserve, lives filled with happiness and love and to replenish that feeling of self worth that was stripped away from them.

If you are a blogger and want to take part in Meet The Blogger then drop us a line. We have a quick 5 questions to answer, then you pick 5 from a long list that you want to answer.

Challenge and Champion…

Welcome to The Adoption Social!

Challenge

We’ve been back from our Christmas break for a week now and in that time we’ve introduced a new linky, posted an anonymous, and somewhat challenging post on the approval process for adoptive parents, given you advice on how to use keywords in your blogging, brought you a special offer and review on training with Inspired Foundations and held our first Weekly Adoption Shout Out of 2014. What a week!

We want to take a few moments just to remind you all about what The Adoption Social is about.

Many of you know that this site started as an extension of the popular linky – The Weekly Adoption Shout Out (#WASO), which was, and remains a popular way to share posts from different people who are blogging about adoption. We’re proud that we’ve managed to attract a mix of adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, adoptees and birth family, along side professionals and training providers to #WASO, and we continue to see all of these groups of people sharing, comments and writing on all areas of The Adoption Social too.

We feel that it’s that mix of people who are ‘on the ground’, living daily with the challenges that adoption and trauma can bring that makes this website what it is.

We know we still have some way to go in offering a more balanced view – naturally as adoptive parents ourselves, most of our existing network has been other adoptive parents, but we know that other groups of people are becoming more interested. And we’re pleased about this because we know that learning from other people’s experiences has helped us personally. We really hope that wherever you are in adoption, you can take something useful away from our handy tips posts, our contributed blog posts, or just from reading other blogs that join in with our linkys.

But this post is more than just an explanation of what The Adoption Social is about, it’s a call for contributions:

Sometimes we post challenging pieces. We might post something controversial. But everything is real – it’s all from the people who live with adoption somehow in their lives, and is therefore, all valid. Please, please, if you agree or disagree – comment. Share your experiences. And if you feel strongly about a post – why not write your own – either to challenge it, or to champion it.

We want more contributors, more posts, more viewpoints, opinions and ideas. Whatever aspect of adoption you want to write about – we want it.

We’re happy to share strongly opinionated posts – perhaps you feel passionately about something and you just want to know that you’re not the only one feeling that way. 

Maybe you’ve written a poem that explains how you feel, perhaps you have a photo that says it all without words, or maybe you just want to write a piece in a different style to your normal blog. If so – send us a piece to post directly on the site – you can be anonymous, use a pseudonym, your twitter name or your real name.

We’re easy to get hold of – either email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com, use our ‘contact us’ form, send us a message through our Facebook page or through Twitter. If you’re not sure what to write about then just drop us a line.

Letterbox contact from a birth family perspective

Today’s The Blog post is from an anonymous contributor, and looks at Letterbox from a perspective that we’ve not had on The Adoption Social before. We’d love to see more posts from a wide range of people who have been affected by or are involved with adoption, do contact us if you’d like to contribute.

When I was nineteen, I met a girl my age called Emily.
Emily was warm, bubbly and hilarious. She was the single parent to her six week old daughter, Ella. Emily and I became the best of friends. I love children, and spending time with Ella was the highlight of every day. I was going through a pretty tough time myself, and spending time with Emily and Ella was precious.
I was aware that Emily had a history of mental health problems, but saw little evidence of this in my interactions with her. Emily was an attentive mother to her daughter – Ella was always well dressed and had all the latest toys and baby gear. 

first birthdayThings started to change just after Ella’s first birthday.

Emily became withdrawn and sulky, and professionals commented that they were concerned about the about of stimulation that baby Ella was receiving. It’s a long and tragic story, but suffice to say, Emily’s mental health continued to deteriorate.
At the age of two, Ella went into foster care, and at the age of four she was adopted. Emily has been in inpatient psychiatric care since the week that Ella was taken away. 

I think to bystanders, normal members of the public, adoption is often seen as a good guy, bad guy, clear-cut scenario. The well-educated, financially stable, middle class adopter takes in the child of the person who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, do the right thing by their children.

As a direct result of my relationship with Emily and Ella, I decided to return to education, and I am currently a trainee Social Worker.  I find myself in a strange situation, having letterbox contact with Ella, while also training to support mums like Emily.
When writing to the adoptive family, I feel inferior and inadequate. As if somehow I should have stopped Ella from being hurt, as if I could have done something more to help. I feel like I have hurt Ella, or at least not done enough to help her. Logically I know that’s not true.
Part of the reason for these feelings, I suppose, is the (completely necessary) secrecy that surrounds the adoption and contact process. All I know is the adopters’ first names. I don’t know which town Ella is living in, I don’t know her surname or where she goes to school. I completely understand why this needs to be the case, but it has the effect of making me feel the bad guy. As if, if I knew where she was, I might go and try and see her. As if I’m untrustworthy. As if I would ever do anything to harm that family, who have looked after Ella when Emily, and I, couldn’t. 

letterboxLetterbox contact involves writing to the adopter, it is down to their discretion whether they show the child any letters or pictures that are sent, and at what age. For me, I’m not fussed about whether Ella is seeing the letters I send- I have no doubt that she will have no idea who I am now, she wouldn’t recognise me if she passed me in street. But I do hope that they are being kept. When Ella grows up, she will have a lot of questions, and I never want her to think that it was a clear-cut situation- that she was not wanted or loved.  Its funny because I work with families every day who are in very similar situations to Emily and Ella and don’t bat an eyelid. Yet when the time comes to write the annual letter I cry like a baby myself.

There has been nothing clear-cut about this process. It was necessary for baby Ella to be cared for by someone who could meet all of her needs, I have no doubt about that. But Ella missed every day. Letterbox contact is a lifeline, but it isn’t any easier for the birth family than the adoptive one.