Tag Archives: questions

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.

An interview with an adopted child

Today we are bringing you an anonymous post from an adoptive mum who interviewed her son.
He’s 9 and has been home for 8 years, developmentally he’s doing mostly fine, although lacks some emotional understanding.
The mum involved wants to stress that this was conducted with express permission from her son, who understands that his answers are going to be published online – he wants to get his views across…

Do you know what adoption means?

Yes I do.

Why do people have to be adopted?

Because their mum and dad can’t look after them properly, even though they might want them to stay.

Do you feel different to your friends?

Yeah, because I’m adopted and they’re not. But I like football and they like football so in some ways we’re not different….I don’t know why I feel like I am. I just am.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be adopted?

Not sure…well it’s a bad thing of course.

Do you ever think about your birth mum?

Sometimes…not sure what though. I want to see my birth dad sometimes too.

Would you like to meet your brothers and sisters?

Yes.

What would you say to them?

I don’t know. We’d probably argue like I do with <my adoptive sister>.

Do you think it’s good that people want to adopt…

Yes, so like the child/ren won’t be treated bad, because the first parents might treat the child bad. They might tell lies to them which is bad, or they might smoke, or do the wrong stuff like feeding the wrong milk, or maybe worse.

Do you think it’s good that you were adopted then?

Yes, kind of…it makes me feel sad, but I don’t know why. But it is a good thing.

Would you like to meet some other children who are adopted?

Yeah, it would be cool.

What would you talk about?

I dunno, like other boy stuff –football probably. Maybe the other things they’re into.

If I had a choice, I wouldn’t want to be adopted – my birth parents might be nice, but they didn’t treat me right and I might have died as a baby.

Do you think children should get to choose their adoptive parents?

Yeah older kids should be able to.

Do you think you should have got to choose?

Yeah, but I was only like a year old, a baby, so I couldn’t have made a choice, and anyway, there was only you to choose from wasn’t there??!!

Is there anything you want to say to people who are thinking about adoption?

Yes, be careful because the child you want to adopt might be ill. Or they might have things wrong in their brain – like me. Like it didn’t all grow properly. Be careful and learn about brain stuff, and having fun because love and cuddles and having fun can help fix a kids brain, even when it’s really broken like I think mine is. Hang on…if my brain hasn’t grown properly is there a hole in it where my memories might fall out? Is that why I forget stuff at school?

Thank you to our interviewer and interviewee, it’s very insightful to see how a young man thinks and feel about adoption. We know that the conversation continued with questions that are more personal and pertinent to the individual, and mum felt like she’d had a real breakthrough and a proper connection moment. This is the first time she’s ever talked with her son in such a structured manner.
Have you ever had a conversation like this with your children? It’s quite frank, is that an approach you would use?

#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!

Anna Writes: My adoption minefield

PhontoAs an adopted person there are any number of scenarios that create an awkward pause, a flushed face and a detour around answers- strangely this doesn’t seem to have lessened with age, but I think it’s a little bit easier to see the mines coming in the road in front of me. The most obvious moments come with meetings with medical professionals, and indeed anyone with an air of authority who requires some family history.

“any family history of X….?”

” I don’t know, I’m adopted”

“oh”

and so it goes, countless times, from a hygienist visit to a massage, from a gym membership application form to an osteopath, the same old questions. The same silence with a hint of pity before we all move on. I wonder what happens for the other in the silence? For me, I see the same big blank space where information could be, the facts that get taken for granted as often as the air we breathe.

“How much did you weigh when you were born?”

“…..”

“Whose eyes do you have?”

“…..”

“Where did you get that lovely curly hair?”

you get the picture….So, even if I don’t consciously think about being adopted every day, there are plenty of reminders.

Here are a few other mines I’ve negotiated over the years…..

  1. Biology, urgh, biology, you know the lessons about year 8 or 9 when we start talking about genes? seeing who can roll their tongue or working out how eye colour happens. Horrible. In the end I used to ask to be excused because the talk of who’d got what from where just drilled me into the ground with shame, shame that I didn’t know, couldn’t join in and generally all round felt like a freak…..Biology- the place where we are supposed to have common ground!
  2. Ante Natal appointments, I’ve done a few of these, I’m very fortunate, but I’ve not been so keen on the focus on history, because of the lack of mine, I had more blood tests, more probings and more curious looks than I can count and sometimes it’s been tiresome.
  3. As the children have got bigger, they come back from school with lots of wonderful homework, but by far the most challenging has been the family tree- which family? …we decided on both and had to start sellotaping bits of paper on, because of course, adoption doesn’t just affect me as an individual but each of my children- because they are also the product of the same genes and the same complex history. The teachers were nonplussed.
  4. donating blood or other parts- near impossible- I dearly wanted to donate eggs when I was younger but was informed I couldn’t without a full medical backstory. Sometimes I don’t get the rules.
  5. watching ‘Who do you think you are’. Just no.
  6. trips to the ED
  7. Children’s questions- often awkward, often unanswerable
  8. Facebook…Facebook is difficult for me on a number of levels (and is clearly a huge problem in adoption generally) it is one of the only ways for me to maintain any contact with my birth family due to geography, but sometimes it feels like self harm- seeing all the interaction between my BM and my half siblings, whilst I watch from the sidelines. I have removed myself more than once, but if I want any contact, it’s pretty much the only way.
  9. No knowledge of my birth father, other than a name. Big hole.
  10. people ‘joking’ – “I wish I was adopted” No, you really don’t. Not if you understood what it means. Not if you understood the ripples that continue to spread, year after year, even when life is ok.Not if you felt the void or touched even the edges of the loss. You really don’t.

As a youngster I found it hard to brush some of these off, some situations stung much more than was necessary, but now I’m older with a bit of a thicker skin I can see questions for what they are- just that- not an attempt to humiliate or belittle, just people doing their job.

Some of my mines will always be there, I just don’t have answers to some of the questions and maybe never will, and thats kind of alright.

But there will always be people who say hurtful things, sometimes intentionally and whatever the story of an adoption, it should never, ever be taken lightly. It doesn’t cost anything to be sensitive and to consider what other people might be carrying across their own minefields.

Let’s all tread carefully.

Anna.W

If you think it’s too personal…

In this, The Blog section of The Adoption Social, we welcome contributions either anonymous or named on any subject related to adoption. In the past we’ve published poetry, emotional pieces, rants and useful information, so if you’d like to contribute, then please do get in touch.

We acknowledge that lots of people who read The Adoption Social don’t necessarily have their own blogs to write on, so please do feel free to use this space to have your say.

Today’s post comes from an adoptive parent who has chosen to remain anonymous…

I’ve been there, through the process, and I have my kids as a result.
I wanted my kids more than anything.
I was desperate to become a mum, especially after spending so much time having IVF, and other fertility treatments. We spent 2 years getting approved, linked and matched and 8 years on I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So what I don’t understand is why so many prospective adopters complain about the adoption process. I mean seriously – you want a kid don’t you? That’s why you’re doing it? If you find the questions too invasive, too personal, too probing then perhaps you’re not the right person to adopt, or perhaps you need to ask your social worker to explain why they’re asking you those questions.Questions for prospective adopters

You think it’s personal when they ask that you’re financially secure? Wait until you have to give up work because your child has so many issues that you need to be there 24/7. Yes even school age children.

You think they’re probing when they ask about your relationship with your partner? Wait until your child is using every trick up their sleeve to rip you away from your partner, trying to make you side with them, using you against each other.

You think they’re being nosy when they ask about your childhood? Wait until something your child does triggers a moment in your childhood and sends you spiralling.

You think they’re being over-the-top by asking you to be reflective? Just wait until you’re in family therapy and you have to reconsider your parenting style, your partner’s parenting style, your relationship, your family routines and everything else is under scrutiny.

You think it’s insignificant when they want to see a strong support network? Wait until all your friends have dropped away because they a) don’t understand the way you parent b) don’t agree with the way you parent c) can’t handle being around your children d) don’t like their children spending time with your ‘wild ones’ e) tell you ‘all children do that’ or f) don’t/can’t understand why you need their support.

There are reasons for every question you are asked in your homestudy. If you don’t understand them then ASK your social worker.
Your social worker wants to see that you can answer their questions honestly, and they want the right answers of course, but they will also want you to question them – no good being compliant just to get through the process.  Use the homestudy to ask questions, research, learn, speak to other adopters, and find out what post adoption support there is – that’s what you need to worry about, not whether the questions are too personal.

Meet The Blogger – Life With Katie

Gem from Life with Katie is a popular blogger writing about family life with Katie and now Pip too. Read more about her here….

Life With Katie

Quick 5 – In my life at the moment…

Book:
I’m reading two books at the moment.  For *cough* fun I’m reading Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy.  I’m not mad about the book though I must say but am going to finish it because it will be made into a film and I want to see how it ends.  I’m also reading “Raising Boys” by Steve Biddulph in the hope of gaining some insight into the brain of Pip.

Music:
Avicii which I’m absolutely loving!  Our other main favourite in the car is Taylor Swift’s “Red” album.  Katie and I love singing along.  Katie asked me to put the song on where they dress up like hamsters the other day.  She actually meant the track “22” where they dress up like hipsters!  I love lots of types of music from classical to rock.  I’m still a Radio 1 girl, mostly because they played The Smiths on Radio 2 recently and I cannot accept that The Smiths are now Radio 2 music!

TV programme:
Oh where do I start?  You would see that I clearly have no life if I listed all the programmes I record and wade through each week.  TCM and I both love Elementary” and “Grey’s Anatomy”. We scare ourselves silly each week watching “The Following”.  I love watching “Girls” which I find off beat and hilarious.

Food:
I’ve just polished off an emormous Toblerone. Does that qualify as food?  I am Coeliac so food plays a big part in my life, mostly having to avoid the things I used to love.  I like to bake tasty gluten-free cakes and biscuits and my brownies are legendary.  Our favourite meals are mussels and frites or fahitas and my favourite restaurant to visit is our local Thai restaurant. If there was one thing I could eat right at this minute, without fear of being ill, it would be a piece of warm French stick laden with butter.

Pastime:
I’ve always liked to dance and sing, performing in many shows as a youngster and becoming a Butlin’s Redcoat in my late teens and early 20s.  I am part of a Reiki healing group and have been doing Reiki for many years.  Since Pip joined us I’ve felt very tired in the evenings so am mostly just chilling and watching TV and going to my healing group.

What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
Knowing how much to talk about or downplay the fact that they are adopted.  I want them to know they can always talk to me about it without fear of upsetting me but I don’t want them to feel that it is everything about them, because it is just a part of their personal jigsaw puzzle.  It is a topic that will ebb and flow throughout the years I am sure and may differ for each child.  I think it will help them that they shared a Birth Mother and can support each other with that.  I also worry about getting the parenting bit right and how many of our parenting challenges are because they are adopted and how many are them just being children who are pushing boundaries and exploring their personalities.  I try not to see every parenting challenge as being adoption related which helps us stay grounded but can be a challenge in itself.

What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children?
I wish I had known how emotionally charged and complicated contact can be.  When going through the adoption process we were encouraged to think quite literally about contact and the fact that we might have to write letters.  The reality of writing letters that are unanswered or letters that are replied to sporadically is far more complicated as is the issue of telling the children about the letterbox contact.  We also have direct contact with Katie and Pip’s middle sibling, Kip which is a new contact and is quite involved plus we maintain contact with both sets of Foster Carers. It’s a lot of contact in one form or another and it can feel intense, for me that is.

Why did you start blogging about adoption?
I started blogging about adoption as a way of keeping friends and family up to date with our introductions with Katie.  I also have an extraordinarily disastrous memory so continued to keep a record of Katie and Pip’s lives.  I also wanted to share our adoption journey with other people to show that it is something that ordinary people can do. Our life as adopters, thus far, has been relatively straightforward but I seek to be honest about our entire journey to offer as full a picture of our experiences as possible.

Where do you get your blogging inspiration from?
From my children and our life mostly but I also have daily bulletins from Google with news articles about adoption and fostering and take inspiration from policies and events happening in the world of adoption.  I also read other blogs, when I have the time, and draw on, and relate to, the experiences of other adopters.

What made you choose the blogging platform i.e blogger/wordpress that you did?
Blogger was the first platform I found and I found it very straightforward to use.  Having said that I am now feeling constrained by its limitations and am seeking to self-host and redesign Life with Katie probably using a WordPress theme package.  This is very much a work in progress at the moment and I am trying to find the theme that best suits my needs.

Tea/Gin?
Can I say wine?  I am mostly a water drinker, with the odd cup of decaf tea or herbal tea thrown in, but generally around about 6pm I can feel the desire for a glass of Prosecco creeping up on me.  Am I a lush or just a stressed parent?

What do you think is your biggest source of support?
My husband, TCM, and also one of my best friends who is a childcare expert.  I am lucky to be able to gain lots of insight into child development from her and assess where my children are experiencing difficulties but it also helps me to see my children as regular children first and adopted children second.

Reward charts yes/no?
I’m still undecided on this one.  We don’t have issues around shame to manage so we use a pot of beads that Katie collects for good behaviour.  There is always a good reward sitting on the shelf for her when her pot is full to add incentive. I do think they only work as an incentive though when Katie wants them to work and I don’t use the beads all the time.  They come and go when a focus on a specific behavioural issue is required.  I spend my life looking for the ultimate parenting tool (rather like looking for the ultimate handbag and diary) but I suspect it does not exist (hence the need for wine and meditation!).

What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
“Pick your battles!”  I have heard this from many people and it is good advice.  Choose one or two things to focus on at any time and turn your back (sometimes literally) on the others.  I often walk away and seek to not feed energy into an issue that will esculate or have an undesirable outcome.  This is generally harder than it sounds though.

What I hope I can give to my child/Children?
I  hope I can give my children the skills and emotional support to live their lives to their fullest ability.  I hope I can help them become adults who feel confidence in who they are and what their abilities are.  I hope I can help them feel whole and grounded and accept their different start in life.  I hope I can support their journey towards understanding their life and themselves. I hope they grow up knowing they are loved without boundaries

What makes you and/or your family laugh?
The children.  The funny things they say and do.  Their quirky ways and mannerisms.  Katie makes some hilarious faces and is ridiculously cheeky.  For example.  When TCM was attempting to explain to her that Mummy was upset when she broke my vase from Greece because it meant a lot to me, she did a very loud fart and said “Well that meant a lot to me!”  What more can I say?

Meet The Blogger – Travels with my son

Today we meet Isobel – the blogger behind ‘Travels with my son’ – read on to find out photo (5)more…
Quick 5 – In my life at the moment
 
Music-
I sing in a choir and we have a concert at the weekend, so Mozart’s Requiem is on endlessly at the moment until I’ve got all the notes. It’s the first piece of choral music I ever sang, and one of my favourites. It’s in competition with J’s choices though… which are much louder and less classical, shall we say. I go to live music events when I can and I like all sorts – recently opera and folk – and I’m just about to book to see the Unthanks in concert in the autumn. 
 
TV programme-
I don’t watch much TV at all, and only really turn it on for the news, QI and Antiques Roadshow. Oh, and I quite like a few of the cookery programmes. 
 
Food-
We love our food! Cooking is one of my ways of winding down at the end of the day. My mother was French and we grew up with delicious food, and my father’s sister ran her own catering company, where I used to help out sometimes at weekends. So food has always had an important place in our family. J is starting to build up his own repertoire in the kitchen too. I think how to cook and how to eat well are two of the most important things we can teach our children. We go camping every summer with our local Woodcraft Folk group, and my role there is KP … or Keeper of the Provender (or as the kids call it, the kitchen person). It’s the best job, as I get to be in charge of all the food for 60 or 70 of us for the week, and watch over the young people while they do the cooking. Everyone except me has to take their turn at washing up. Perfect!
 
Book-
My time for reading is on the tube on the way in to work. Just started Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel which everyone says is great. 
 
Pastime-
The singing is important for me and what I missed terribly when J first came to me and I stopped going out. It took me years to get back into being able to make a regular weekly commitment again, and I wish it hadn’t taken so long. I do Pilates once a week now while J is at one of his things, and swim once a week. In the early days of adoption I found it very hard getting out. Without a partner I could leave J with, and with the sheer cost of regular babysitters, quite apart from finding someone with enough experience to look after my anxious child, it was hard. It’s one huge advantage of their getting older. Nowadays I am free to go to films, plays and music pretty often really. My darling sister and friends were always offering to help but I didn’t want to lean on others too much. Too independent for my own good!
 
What do you think is your biggest source of support?
My number one supporter has been my sister Camilla and I’m not sure now that I could have done all of this without her. She lives up the road with her husband and three daughters. The children have all gone to the same schools, and get on well, so they have been a fantastic support for J too. We shared a childminder when they were younger (what would I have done without them too?). My sis is amazingly strong and a fantastic mother, and I suppose our shared upbringing means we have a particular understanding of why we parent in the ways that we each do. 
I have some amazingly lovely friends. Four years ago, I had long and hard treatment for cancer, and they carried me through that with such kindness and generosity of spirit. 
I’ve written already about how my parents have taken care of J during school holidays while I worked… And employers don’t often get much appreciation, but I’ve had some good bosses. I continued working full time when J came to me, but two days each week I left work early so I could pick him up from school, and I made the hours up at home in the evenings. It might have been easier for them to say no to this arrangement, but they didn’t. Later on, when I wanted to go part-time, they helped with that too. 
 
What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
That thing about faking it till you make it has sometimes resonated with me. In the first year in particular, I had some very low times. My friend who works in the adoption field, told me if necessary, and for J’s welfare, I just had to fake it. I didn’t always manage though. 
 
If you could take your child anywhere in the world to see something where would you go?
J and I are good travellers, and there are so many places I’d like to go with him. I’m very conscious though that the time might come quite soon when he doesn’t want to go away with his old mum! So in the next two years we have to visit Mexico and Peru, travel overland to Australia, and walk several long distance trails in the UK. In my dreams! 
 
What I hope I can give to my child?
I met J’s birthmother once and one of the things I asked her was what she hoped for for his future. She said she just wanted him to be happy and lead a normal life. I think all parents the world over want the same thing really for their children. I hope that I can help J with his life skills, and ensure he has choices in the future. Having choices is important. 
 
At the weekend I can mostly be found…
At the edge of a rugby pitch I’m afraid at this time of the year. In our little London garden when it warms up a bit. Trying to persuade J to do his homework (our biggest battles have always been fought over this). Eating and drinking with family and friends. 
 
What makes you laugh?
J and his jokes. He cracks me up. 

Meet The Blogger – Misadventures of an Adoptive Dad

It’s the turn of Misadventures of an Adoptive Dad today on Meet The Blogger. So read on to find out more about the man himself…

misadventures of an adoptive dad

Quick 5 – In my life at the moment….

Book – Other books have come, been read and passed on but Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning has remained on my bedside table since November 2008. It condenses faith and belief into its essence and faces head on difficult questions that all believers face at some point. Even the title challenges and inspires me.

Music – Through the wonder of 2nd hand CD’s I am working my way through my teen LP collection. So, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple and Ozzy Osbourne. Though, more current I’m mesmerised by Ray Lamontagne’s voice and Lenny Kravitz, who is clearly the coolest and most talented man on the earth.

TV programme – Mrs C watches the usual stuff but I have to confess that I just get wound up by most TV programmes, consequently I follow hardly any. Having said that I watched all seasons of Breaking Bad with Ginger over a three week period, it brought us to the edge of sanity as we were total immersed in that world. He and I also enjoy the mindless gorefest that is the Walking Dead.

Food – Pancakes, no hesitation, they evoke the giddy joy of being 10 again and my mam making them for my brother and me. She would only make them on Pancake Tuesday and even now I insist on rationing them as not to dilute the pleasure, maybe just four or five times a year and I strictly adhere to golden syrup or lemon and sugar. Though I may be fighting a losing battle on that one.

Pastime – Cycling. I take every opportunity to get on my bike; be it taking the girls to school; adventures on the tandem with Flossy; visiting families as part of my social work duties or getting up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning and getting out into the sticks for two or three hours. Any weather any time I’m up for a trip on the velo. Mrs C is happy as she sees it as my therapy.

What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
Honestly, they’re all so unique. I guess at the moment it is identifying what they need and how best to meet it within the context of a busy life and the other children in the family.

What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children?
I wish I had known how to appreciate the fun stuff and the stuff that is fleeting and cant be captured again. I think I struggled for the first couple of years to adjust from going from 0 children to 3 over 10 days of introductions. Consequently I struggled to enjoy them and just chill out.

It is tempting to say attachment, separation, loss etc. as it wasn’t even mentioned to us until we had five children but hindsight is a pig.

Why did you start blogging about adoption?
I guess it’s something that I feel I know about, feel quite strongly about and everyone else is doing it so I thought I’d join the party.

Where do you get your blogging inspiration from?
I try to marry little stories with broader issues, so it’s news stories, press releases, cunning government plans; the conversations that I find myself party to and the cut and thrust of family life that all light a creative spark.

Who is your favourite adoption blogger?
I really enjoy Suddenly Mummy, from what I read there are a few similarities and that keeps me returning.

Who is your favourite non-adoption blogger?
I cant even think of any non adoption blogs that I’ve read, I’m clearly blinkered.

What made you choose the blogging platform i.e blogger/wordpress that you did?
I chose blogger out of ignorance, simplicity and laziness as I had a gmail account.

Tea/Gin?
Neither, I drink embarrassingly small amounts of alcohol and one of my life’s great regrets is that I don’t like tea, I would love to as it is quintessentially English.

What do you think is your biggest source of support?
I’m resisting the temptation to say my lycra bib cycling shorts, however I don’t think that’s what you mean. Mrs C’s knowledge, training and intuition has carried the whole family through some dark days so it has to be her.

Reward charts yes/no?
No, we’re too lazy and we’ve enough disappointment and shame in each day without making up new ways of adding to it. Other opinions are available and if it works for you and yours knock yourself out.

What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
When we adopted the first three a good friend noted recommended that you should “get your children to behave in your own home as you want them to behave in other people’s homes”. That worked fantastically for the big three and made perfect sense.

However, the next two totally blew that out of the water and we have very few friends who can accommodate us and our “peculiarities” as well as the numerical challenges of having us round As for advice “don’t drink poison”(Vic and Bob) never goes wrong.

My perfect adoption support would include…
Someone who can marry theoretical knowledge with practical experience and common sense advice with a hint of compassion and empathy. I’m still looking.

When I look into the eyes of my child I see…
Each of them has experienced a unique journey into and through the care system. Consequently, when I look in their eyes I see very different things but in all I see shadows of birth parents, good and not so good.

The best thing we did this week was…
The sun shone and we opened the back door and we pottered, played, walked, gardened and we felt a bit normal for a while.

If you could take your children anywhere in the world to see something where would you go?
I would to take them all to Africa where my brother lives. All the usual reasons.

What I hope I can give to my child/Children?
They all need something different, love, belonging, identity, purpose, vision would be a good start, but for some just rest and to find a bit of peace in the world.

At the weekend I can mostly be found…
Child wrangling and thinking of new and inventive ways of getting out on the velo, with or without the wee ones.

What makes you and/or your family laugh?
The Pink Panther films used to make the big ones and I weep with laughter, I’m looking forward to introducing the wee ones to them.

Meet The Blogger – Relative Strangers

Today we’re meeting the blogger behind Relative Strangers, make sure you pop over and say hi…

CYMERA_20140401_230433Quick 5 – In my life at the moment….

Book – ‘An Officer and a Spy’ by Robert Harris

Music – Abba and Kylie (how predictable is that)

TV programme – Silks

Food – carb free at the minute (ha!)

Pastime – What’s that? Walking the dog and working on my book.

What is your biggest challenge as an adoptive parent?
I guess it was actually getting to really know the children – to understand them to a level where you can read their thoughts before they can. Everyone talks about the ‘honeymoon’ period of adoption, but after that you need to spend time simply getting to know each other.

What do you wish you had known before you adopted your children?
The above. But also I simply wish that the social workers would have shared everything. There is still a tendency to ‘sugar coat’ issues in case we adopters suddenly get cold feet. Social workers should simply be honest, by the time it reaches a matching stage we are already committed and invested in these children so to be able to understand their possible issues at the start would be much more useful than having to play catch up when issues start to arise.

Why did you start blogging about adoption?
To keep myself sane. I had gone from being a successful business owner to a stay at home Dad whose business was failing, due to the demands of the children (not their fault of course) – so my partner and I decided I would give up work completely and be at home – although more often than not I was in school with one problem or another. But blogging took me back to my first love, which is writing.

Where do you get your blogging inspiration from?
Our lives and the things that seem to happen to us. I sometimes think adopted children see the world slightly differently from the rest of us and therefore, react differently, sometimes with hilarious outcomes and sometimes with more emotional ones.

Who is your favourite adoption blogger?
Probably Sally Donovan or Nick King

Who is your favourite non-adoption blogger?
Angela May – the american chef.

What made you choose the blogging platform i.e blogger/wordpress that you did?
I chose blogger simply because it was easy to use and I am a technophobe (or was)

Tea/Gin?
Tea in the day… gin at night… Heston now does an Earl Grey Gin at Waitrose – this covers both bases!

What do you think is your biggest source of support?
My family and my partner. But professionally the team at Barnardos, Chilston House were amazing. We wouldn’t have coped without them.

Reward charts yes/no?
No

What is the best or most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
Never read parenting manuals – they will only confuse you. The best manual you were given is your own experience of being parented – if you turned out alright then thats probably the best manual to follow. I think I turned out alright…

My perfect adoption support would include…
Therapy for the children when required – and not having to constantly prove a need for support.

When I look into the eyes of my child I see…
Now, calmness, a relaxed calm, a child who is comfortable with himself – if you had asked me last year it would have been a different story.

The best thing we did this week was…
Chase the rabbit around the garden – it got out and we were trying to put him back into his run before the cat got him. Daddy running seems to be incredibly hilarious!

If you could take your children anywhere in the world to see something where would you go?
My eldest would love to go on safari, he adores animals. My youngest would probably enjoy seeing the Coliseum in Rome as he loves sport (although he would be happy with a trip to the Emirates stadium)

What I hope I can give to my child/Children?
Security. Love. An independent future.

At the weekend I can mostly be found…
Cooking and cleaning. When did weekends become more work than weekdays?

What makes you and/or your family laugh?
Playing anything together – I am rubbish at sports which unfortunately means everyone else has a laugh – so I laugh with them. I love it when they laugh – even at my expense!