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Showing posts from 2016

I'm very tired.

Sometimes people say things to me like "Oh my kids used to get up at half five, I remember it well. It's exhausting, but it's a phase and it will pass."

I know they mean well, and I know they are trying to comfort me. Sometimes they don't know the reality, sometimes they seem (to me anyway) to be trying to make us realise how normal this behaviour is. I really do understand this comes from a place of love and wanting us to feel better, but what it ends up doing is minimising our feelings. When people say to Fairy "My brother hits me, that's normal." it makes her feel like she shouldn't mind, like she has no reason to feel scared of him.

Sometimes there's no point saying anything, so I just nod and smile, while I cry a bit inside. However if you're reading this, there's a good chance you really want to understand, so for you, I'm going to be really, brutally honest.

Tickle woke up at 5.30 this morning, and shouted at us because he…

Just a brief update...

Heard back from CAMHS today who have initially offered six sessions with me and Husband to talk through what's happening at home and offer us some 'support'. Non-committal about what they are actually going to offer Tickle, even when I pointed out it's all very well asking us how we feel about him punching us in the face but ideally we'd like them to help him deal with his emotions so that he doesn't punch us in the face in the first place. They are expecting us to travel a 2.5 hour round trip for each session (we were initially told they would come to us), plus if we follow their plan it will be two months before they even meet Tickle. I have explained to them that this is not an acceptable solution in any way, shape, or form. Will see what they come back with.

Yesterday had a much more useful meeting with two new social workers who are doing their own assessment of us and are actually planning on speaking to the children as part of that. Their initial reactio…

A day in the life

Today, one of our new Social Workers (the lovely one who is carrying out our assessment of need) emailed to say she needs to include something about the emotional impact all of this is having on our family, what a typical day is like, and the reality of parenting Tickle.

Here is my reply:
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Hi Lovely Social Worker,
OK I'll do my best..! It's not always easy to talk about I think, because if we stopped to admit quite how much of an impact it is having on us it would be too overwhelming and we'd struggle to get going again! I think most of our daily life at the moment is gritting our teeth and getting on with it.
A typical day would be Tickle waking around five, when he will come in to our room and ask dad to come back to bed with him as he's scared on his own. Sometimes he wakes in the night but will usually accept being settled back to sleep, though any time after about 4.30 he's unlikely to go to sleep again. Husband will stay with him, sometimes listening to …

A story about a Policeman

Yesterday, we had a visit from a Policeman. On the whole, it probably went about as well as it could have done, not withstanding the fact that 'it went well' is about the least appropriate way of describing it. Perhaps 'it went smoothly' is better.

The Policeman was very nice. Softly-spoken, reserved, but happy to get his nice suit down on to our slightly grubby floor and put cars down the slide with Tickle. He asked Tickle a couple of questions like "How do you spell Tickle" [he had no idea] and "When is your birthday" [got the month, no idea about the date] as a fairly rudimentary indication of Tickle's level of comprehension. He also asked whether Tickle would like to tell him about the things that happened to him at his other house that had made him feel sad and worried. Much to my astonishment, it seemed that Tickle did want to tell him. He didn't say much, just one brief but illuminating sentence, then he sort of... folded up, like he …

More crazy

Our tough time is continuing. Since Tickle made his disclosures his emotions have been consistently heightened; he's scared of everything, all the time. He'll wake up any time between 3am and 5am, and will be too scared to stay in his own bed, so either Husband or I will take a duvet and try and kip on his bedroom floor until about 6, when we really can't contain him any more. If he wakes earlier he will sometimes go back to sleep (though will wake instantly if we dare to leave the room) but after about 4.30 it's basically a write-off and it's just about keeping him quiet and calm. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I worry he's going to wake the whole neighbourhood screaming at the top of his lungs.

This is every day, by the way.

Once we give in and let him get up, he's reasonably OK for 45 mins or so while he's playing and having his breakfast. Sometime towards the end of breakfast the eyes will start to glaze over, the head will …

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day; the irony of this is not lost on me as I am yet to force myself out from under the duvet. I've struggled with my mental health periodically since I was a teenager, but then, I really don't think I know anyone who hasn't. (Though I do know people who haven't admitted it...) For me it's particularly linked to my menstrual cycle. There are certain days of the month where I just don't function properly. I have one very strong memory of being a teenager, curled up in a ball on my bedroom floor, sobbing, knowing that although this would all pass within a few days, it was just going to come back again next month.

I am struggling a bit (a lot) at the moment. I can force myself to do the essentials - get the kids fed and to ballet class on time, any urgent work deadlines, chasing up the latest referrals we are yet to hear from - but until I'm needed to do those things mostly I just stare out of the window, or read mindless novels to…

One week on

Its been one week since the disclosure that changed everything, and nothing. Everything, because it finally confirmed what we had been suspecting for months and pushed us across the line from 'what we think we can cope with' to 'what we really can't cope with'. Nothing because... nothing has changed. We still haven't heard from the police, haven't got the extra support in place, and feel totally in limbo - waiting for something to happen but not quite sure what.

I do know that in real life it takes time to get stuff sorted out, but for us at the moment every day is like a huge looming mountain to climb. (That's what it feels like to me, anyway; Husband seems to be very stoically getting on with it.) From the moment Tickle goes to bed at night I almost dread him waking up. I'm anxious around him, on edge because you never know when he might decide to tell us something else. My brain re-plays the video of his disclosures whenever it gets a quiet momen…

Dear God there's more...

This post was supposed to be all about the meeting we had yesterday, and what we are doing to move forward, and I will get to that but I am in shock because there is more. It seems that the damn has opened and Tickle, having discovered it's good to talk, now wants to keep doing it. I'm struggling to find the words... been staring at the computer screen for at least ten minutes trying to work out what to say.

I'm not sure that this will change anything in terms of what happens next - I will have to report it to the social workers obviously, who will go back to the police again. We are starting to do a bit of preparation work with Tickle about talking to the police - trying to explain who they are and what they do, as at the moment he just thinks they go nee-naw nee-naw. So far I have told him that the police are there to help people who feel worried and sad, and that they are they for when adults make 'bad choices' (a phrase he has picked up from school) in the same…

Putting the brakes on

I wasn't quite sure how to title this post, as we're dealing with something pretty immense at the moment, and it's kind of hard to know where to start with writing about it.

I wrote in my last blog post about being rushed in to applying for the Adoption Order, but how I was ready to move on, for Husband and I to have control over our own decisions for our own family. However we've just spent the last week discussing whether we should ask for an adjournment.

We had so many plans for where we were going to get our support from post-Adoption Order, and in the last week or so every single one of those plans has completely disintegrated.

1) We had asked about 6 months ago for a referral to our local CAHMS service, to see if they could help us to unpick which parts of Tickle's behaviour were actually due to the trauma and abuse he has suffered, and therefore whether he would benefit from play therapy. This got bounced straight back, with an accompanying note saying we ne…

Life after Adoption Order

It's been a funny old journey, leading us towards our final court date and the moment when Tickle will legally become our son.

When Tickle was first placed with us, the message loud and clear from the local authority was 'We think it would be really great if you adopted him ASAP (no pressure)'. By the time of our second LAC review, our IRO (Independant Reviewing Officer) was saying we ought to put the brakes on, things were obviously challenging and there was no need to rush in to a decision. After LAC review number three we were called in to an emergency placement planning meeting; birth parents had started getting vocal again, and as we were nearing the anniversary of Tickle's removal from the family home the team were keen to get moving with the Adoption Order so as not to give BPs any additional ammunition to contest it. Enter LAC review number four and the IRO is in a state of near panic, asking why this has all been rushed through and concerned that we're not…

Making a choice

I've had a couple of blog posts rumbling around in my head for a while, but this is neither of them. Something happened this evening, and I just need to write it out, to get my head round it. It wasn't really a thing, as such, more of a moment, but I think a fairly significant one.

All of us, me Husband, Fairy, and Tickle have been feeling the strain of the summer holidays. Funnily enough, Tickle is the one who seems the most predictable at the moment - predictably inconsistent, anxious, loopy, angry, but still, all behaviours in line with the Tickle we have come to know and love. In the meantime, Husband has discovered where the end of his tether is (which came as a bit of a shock to him), I am my usual emotional self, and Fairy... well I'm a bit worried about her at the moment.

For those who may read this and not know our back story, Fairy is my birth daughter from my previous marriage. She's just turned nine (she was six when we started the adoption process) and she…

I want Mum

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The summer holidays have been tricky, but not in the way I expected. I had thought I would find it exhausting having to plan out six weeks of activities, filling the time, making sure we were on an outing every day, dealing with Tickle bouncing off the walls at home. In actual fact (helped enormously by my fabulous back-garden-water-slide construction skills) this hasn't been so much of an issue.


I'm finding it difficult to put in to words why I have found the holidays so exhausting, not necessarily because I don't know what I want to say, but because it's difficult knowing how to write about it.

I have been quite aware recently about the stuff I am sharing online about both my children, but Tickle in particular. The purpose of this blog originally was to help me process my thoughts, vent some of my feelings, let my friends and family know how I'm doing without having to tell them all individually, and - in a hopeful, idealistic sort of way - to perhaps let other p…

One foot in front of the other

As Tickle's social worker was leaving yesterday she said, just as an aside, that she didn't think anyone had really realised how challenging Ticke's behaviour was. It made me feel a bit better actually, as I'd been feeling like perhaps I'd been a bit naive or had deliberately ignored information about the difficulties because I was so keen to go ahead with him as a match. It has emerged that T's birth mum was pretty good at hiding what was going on at home, and in particular how much she was struggling. We get little snippets of this from Tickle, when he repeats stuff that she used to shout at him. (That's leaving aside the disclosures of actual physical violence from his father of course...)
I also wonder if Tickle's behaviour wasn't quite this bad before because his developed was so stunted, and he wasn't able to process what was going on, or accepted it as normal. Or perhaps he was just permanently frightened; from what we know of him now he c…

Hurting

We're going through a(nother) difficult time at the moment. 

Tickle travels to school in Local Authority funded transport. We've had so many problems with our particular taxi, and they all came to a head at the beginning of last week; the other child Tickle travels with had a severe and violent meltdown in the car on the way home from school (which had been brewing for weeks), and the untrained and completely inappropriate adults the taxi company had provided handled it so badly that Tickle was completely traumatised, and was an hour late home from school, having been sat crying in the back of the taxi for over 45 minutes on one of the hottest days of the year while the adults tried and failed to manage the situation.

The other child had bitten one of the adults repeatedly (and drawn blood) and according to Tickle had tried to bite him too. Given that Tickle has only recently disclosed to us that his birth father bit him, I'm sure you can imagine how traumatising this was fo…

Update: Adoption order time

I'm trying to put off the work I'm actually supposed to be doing right now, so it seems like the perfect time to update you all with where we're up to with all the official stuff.

Although Tickle has been living with us for a while now, legally we are not his parents yet. The Local Authority and T's birth parents have shared parental responsibility, some of which is deferred to us so that we can make basic decisions, like giving Tickle's school permission to take him on a trip to the park, without bothering the social workers.

In order for us to become Tickle's legal parents, we have to apply for a further court order - he's already had a Placement Order (which is the one that allows the social workers to remove him from his family and put him in care) and we are now applying for an Adoption Order.

It's a slightly weird process, and once we have put in the application we don't actually have very much to do with it. Once the courts receive the paperw…