Showing posts with the label disclosures

Blending families: Fairy's story

Fairy was only five or six when we started the adoption process. We did what we could to prepare her, as you do, and being the beautiful, empathetic child that she is, she really got it. She instinctively understood about her future brother being worried, about having to teach him that we are kind, that we would look after him. That it would take a while for him to settle in. Throughout the process, both Husband and I, and various Social Workers periodically used to ask her if she had any questions, but she only ever had the one:
"How long will it take for us to get to know each other?"
She knew it was a question that couldn't be answered, obviously, but regardless, that was the thing she most wanted to know, and she held it clutched to her chest like a talisman. 
Fast-forward nearly four years, and she and I were chatting about this in the car, part way through our half term break. To me it feels like something has slightly shifted this week, like she is starting to find h…

Support: Why I want you to watch Three Girls

Over the last three nights there's been a drama on BBC1 called 'Three Girls'.

Three Girls tells the story of three of the children involved in the Rochdale paedophile grooming investigation. I wasn't sure whether to watch it, initially. Considering what we're going through at the moment it was quite possible it would set me off crying for a week, or in to deep depression. In the end though I did; I'm not entirely sure why, but mostly I think because it's important to face things head on. The girls were brave enough to tell their stories, and they deserve to be listened to.

I'm glad I watched it. I want you to watch it too. I want all my friends to watch it.

It's taken me a good hour mulling it over to work out why that is. At first I thought perhaps I wanted people to see what it was like to have a different life. If I'm really honest, I'm pretty jealous of most of my friends at the moment. I see my Facebook newsfeed full of everyday problem…

It's been a tough week

It's been a tough week for us, my Little Man.
A week in which you've pushed your sister down the stairs
Yet stroked her back while she lay coughing.
"It's ok, sweetheart" you said,
Not three days since launching a missile at her head.

It's been a tough week for us, my Little Man,
As your hard veneer at school has cracked
In spectacular fashion;
Hitting teachers
Throwing plates
Overturning tables and chairs
Pushing, shouting, spitting.

I see you, Little Man.
And I see the Monster you struggle with inside.
I see him rushing to protect you from the danger he senses
but doesn't really understand.

I see him in your board-stiff limbs.
I see him on guard in every vein
I see him shove your sweet nature aside without a second thought,
To attack, bite, spit, and claw
When he thinks he's the only thing
Keeping you safe.

It's been a tough week for us, my Little Man.
Your Monster is close, overpowering you.
Protecting you.
He screams, drowning out the raging …

Police #2

We had the police round today. I'm writing about it so I can try and straighten it all out in my brain, as it's something I'm struggling to get my head around. I don't find it easy to think about.

Today we had two police officers, plus an intermediary. The intermediary took the lead; her job seems to be to assess Tickle's abilities in language, communication, understanding, that sort of thing. The police need to know whether Tickle can give reliable evidence about what happened to him - so does he understand the difference between the truth and a lie, does he have an idea of when things happened to him, could he be interviewed and asked questions. I think if things continue to progress then the intermediary would advise the police on how to approach things with Tickle, what he can understand, and generally continue to be involved and keep an eye on things. Of the two police officers, one was leading the case, and the other is trained in interviewing children.


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 …

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…

I want Mum

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…


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…

Biological children do that too, you know...

I love my friends. Really I do. I am totally blessed to have made friends with some truly awesome people throughout my life, and thanks to the invention of social media, have been able to easily keep in touch with them even when our lives have diverged and we no longer see each other regularly. I have been truly touched by the amount of support I've had during this process, not just from the people I interact with regularly but also from friends who I haven't seen in years.

One thing that I find most difficult though, is that despite how awesome my friends are, occasionally one of them will offer the comment that I'm sure all adopters will be only too familiar with: "Biological children do that as well, you know..."

Now, I *know* that they mean this in the best possible way. (Not everyone who says this does, granted, but my friends are FAB.) They are trying to reassure me, in my time of need, that Tickle's behaviour is perfectly normal, and I shouldn't wo…