Tag Archives: DDP

Life on the Frontline – 21/03/16

lotfA weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

Last week saw Dad away from home for three days, that’s a long time in my eyes to be doing it on my own. It always makes me feel so very much in awe of those amazing single adopters out there. It’s an odd one really because often when he’s here “interfering” with my smooth running parenting machine (if you believe this well….), I think “just go away, this would be easier without you”.

Small was an enormous handful for most of the three days, starting with refusing bed on Tuesday night and threatening to run away. In his anger he littered the hallway with anything he could find to throw, bags, shoes, piles of neatly folded washing. I managed to placate him but it was late and I hadn’t had any down time so I ended up staying up later than I can cope with.

So a late night plus bad night’s sleep saw me feeling fragile and vulnerable Wednesday morning and unprepared for a school refusal battle. But that’s what I had on my hands; he just didn’t want to go.

Wednesday morning is also a yoga teaching morning for me at 9.30am, so there was little time to negotiate, bribe or cajole. Running late we collected a book for him and headed to yoga, where he spent the session reading in a corner.

After the class we had time to talk and I could see that maybe he wasn’t a hundred percent well. He had a tickly cough and the sniffles. However, more the problem I feel, he seemed anxious about a certain lesson where the teacher is “shouty and strict”.

I have spoken with school regarding this and hopefully a word in the right direction will see a change in said teachers approach with Small.

Thursday saw Small still under the weather and Tall expected at therapy. We end up taking Small with us and again he reads, this time in the waiting room whilst Tall and I have our session.

There was some progress in this week’s session where we stuck with Tall’s emotions of self doubt and dislike for himself a little longer than previously and started to explore how this felt for him. “ I feel like I am all bad” he explained.

Tall thankfully wanted to go back into school for his Tech lesson after the session, so it was only Small at home for the following therapy review meeting taking place at our house. This saw the therapist, our existing Social Worker, who is about to leave and our newly allocated social worker, all sipping coffee in our lounge. Small is safely ensconced upstairs.

By the time they leave my head is a whirl with our chaotic life. Our new social worker obviously required some background information to understand how we have got to our current position in therapy. I always find it so draining having to go through all the drudge and darkness of our lives.

Thankfully Tall has a good day at school and we are able to relax after school, I relax on my bed very tired and very much looking forward to my husband’s return later that evening.

I know Small played me a bit this week and added to my busy week, with not going to school. I think he sensed I didn’t have the battle in me. And I would have done all the meetings and running around without my husband too, even if he had been at home. However I missed his presence, that other dimension to my life which is a helping pair of hands, a shoulder to lean on or an ear to bend.

So whilst I sometimes complain about dad’s approach to parenting, “all is forgiven, I confess I need you here”.

In Other News

Small and I attended his school production of Bugsy Malone on Friday and wow what an amazing production it was. Small was very impressed and can’t wait to be involved in the next production.

Small has also started going to the gym in a desire to become as strong and fast as Wonder Woman.

I’ve been very impressed with Tall saving his pocket money for five weeks to buy a game he wants. I know how hard it is to not seek the instant gratification that spending his pocket money brings. Something his brother I think would find almost impossible.

What are your Experiences of DDP?

Today our mum from Life on the Frontline asks you to share your DDP experiences.

Recently I wrote about how Tall and I had started DDP therapy. The first session brought about a very horrid evening. Tall was angry and aggressive in a way I’d not seen for a while and, as my husband was not at home, I was actually fairly scared of what might occur. Thankfully I managed to defuse the situation and all was well the next day. However, I was left with a sense of oh my goodness can I cope with this again on a regular bases. Very selfishly I feel that I’m actually starting to get my life back a little, teaching my yoga classes and both boys doing better in school, well at least there most days for a full day.

depressionWe have since had two more sessions and there has not been a similar occurrence afterwards, however, we’ve not been digging too deeply just yet. I know it will take a bit of time for Tall to feel able to share certain emotions. I’m not about to abandon the DDP therapy, I know it’s much needed and will really help us all. I know I was just feeling a little scared after that first session and I now know what to expect might happen and I can prepare for it. I’m sure it’s going to get harder before it gets better. What I’d like to ask of you, is to share your own experiences of DDP therapy?

Did it get worse before it got better?

Did it help your family?

How did it help?

Do you have any tips on supporting your child through this tough type of therapy?

An Interview with Co-founder of The Cornerstone Partnership

Today we bring you an interview with Helen Costa, co-founder of new adoption initiative, The Cornerstone Partnership.

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Helen became an adoptive mum five years ago and has two children through adoption Clare Brasier, the other founder, is also an adoptive mum, with one child. They met through their local authority, brought together by their social worker.

Prior to becoming a mum, Helen had worked for twelve years in the Public Sector including working for the Mayor of London’s office, she also currently runs a children’s fashion brand, Little Punk London.

Helen told me that the idea for the Cornerstone Partnership was born from a great interest in, and some input she had, into policy change around adoption.

Her involvement with the Department for Education included feeding in ideas ”on what adopters need” and from this work, The Cornerstone initiative grew.

Herself and Clare formalised a plan and applied for funding, which they received a successful confirmation of at the end of December last year. At the beginning of January, this year, they were finally able to set up office and begin work on the initiative.

The pilot for their work is taking place in Berkshire and work has already begun on setting up a buddy system.

This system aims to partner experience adopters with new prospective adopters, the practised adopters will then guide and support their “buddy” through the adoption process and into the early stages of adoption. 

I asked Helen how they had recruited the willing adoption buddies?

The majority of the experienced adopters had already been known to the local agency, working with them on preparation courses and information evenings. Those that volunteered and where unknown to the agency, were interviewed and there suitability assessed on the grounds of their experience, where they were in their own journey and their emotional stability and therefore their ability to maintain support over the required period.

I suggested the reason we had not had much response from our on-line community for questions to ask in the interview, was that the scheme did not seem beneficial to existing adopters. This is despite the press release seeming to  suggest that support would be across the board, quoting,  MP Edward Timpson ‘this innovative programme will support adoptive families – from those who have been adopting for years to those at the beginning of the journey – every step of the way.’

Helen set the record straight immediately stating this observation is correct. The scheme is not for existing adopters, is to help new adopters through the system and during the early days of having a child or children placed. Helen recognised that “it’s a massive shock to your system in your first year”

She went on to explain that the there are three main aims on the Cornerstone Partnership.

Firstly to reduce the waiting time that harder to place children often face before a family is found. The Partnership will actively seek and work with prospective adopters to find a good match for these children.

Secondly, the already mentioned buddy or mentoring scheme.

Thirdly to train prospective adopters, post assessment and pre-placement, to prepare them for becoming a family.   Clinical Psychologist, Kim Golding has devised a three day course, based on the DDP approach called “Beginning Attachment”.

From this three pronged approach, Cornerstone aim to offer adopters approximately two years of support.

The pilot is funded for 15 monthly and during that time the National Children’s Bureau will evaluate its progress. During this time and based on out comes, a plan to expand the initiative will be developed.

I finally posed the thought to Helen that sceptics may see this as another cost cutting exercise for local authorities by recruiting adopters to do the job of social workers.

In response Helen said This isn’t something that LA’s can do and it does exist yet, not formally”(referring to the buddy scheme).

She finished by saying It’s adding not replacing and with huge benefit to the end user”.