Tag Archives: challenges

Is it good to share?

We’re pleased to share this thoughtful guest post today from Charlotte, an adoptive mum of two…

I had an interesting conversation in the playground this morning which got me thinking…

Mum K: XXX has been really difficult recently. She’s a good girl, they play nicely, but when I leave the room she bickers with her sister.

Me: Oh my two are like that too. The entire summer was just the two of them bickering constantly.

Mum M: Really? I thought your two were really good. They seem so polite and kind and when I look at your Facebook all I see is lovely photos of you all looking happy and smiling.

Me: Oh no. K really hates T. The only reason I only share the good bits is because I don’t want to fill my timeline with negative stuff and I have other Facebook groups where I share the difficult stuff.

Mum K: I’m so glad I’m not the only one. When I look at Facebook all I see are lovely photos of families and happy children, but then I actually talk to other mums and find out that all children are like it, or at least, aren’t the angels that we perceive them to be. 

And so the conversation continued. We realised that our 5 year old daughters were all behaving similarly, and commiserated over the frustrations involved. We concluded that it’s good to talk and not just rely on the projected or perceived images.

That was a conversation between me and two mums of birth children. They both know my ‘status’ as an adoptive mum. What I found particularly interesting is that they’re right of course!
On Facebook, and online generally I share my good days to the world, and my bad days within my adoptive parents groups, and seemingly, most of my adoptive parent contacts do that too.

In some of my adoptive parent groups, you often see a status preceded by ‘I couldn’t share this on my own wall but…’ or ‘You saw the positive pics on my wall, but in reality….’.

On forums and on Twitter I tend to share the shittier days because I know I’m surrounded by people that get it and can give me support. And that’s what I tend to see too. I wouldn’t want to share the good days too often in those places because it might seem like bragging to those who are really struggling.

But from my conversation today, it’s clear that others – birth parents – have struggles with their children too. Of course they do. All children can be challenging at times.

I’ve always felt a little concerned about sharing the difficult days on my normal Facebook page.
– Will I come across as ungrateful, after all I have 2 beautiful children?
– Will I be judged?
– Will I look negative all the time?
– Do people really care about my struggles?
– Aren’t everyone else’s children perfect? Won’t mine look awful in comparison?
– Will it bring it home that I’m crap at being a mum?
– Is it fair on my kids to tell the world they’re being little toe-rags?

But actually, after today, I think all it’s done for me is isolate me from some people who could be understanding and supportive. And it’s isolated them by making them feel that it’s only their children that have problems sometimes.
In addition, it explains their reactions in the past to comments I’ve made about particular challenges and behaviours. I’ve presented such a good picture of my family that on those odd occasions where I’ve talked about the bad days they’ve been seen as recoverable minor one-offs rather than the pretty major, violent difficulties that they are.

So what now? Well, I’ll continue to post about the great days, and I’ll continue to seek support from my adopter-only groups, but perhaps I won’t feel quite so bad about sharing the disastrous days occasionally.
What about you? Do you manage to share a balanced view of your life? Do you keep it all in or are you open?

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….