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Showing posts with the label support

Support: Why I want you to watch Three Girls

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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…

LAC review updates and Good News

I've just come out of our LAC review slightly gobsmacked. Not least because it was our first one that clocked in under three hours (by five minutes, but still!) but because it seems that people have actually listened. 
I feel a bit as though my chronic preparation for the meeting may have been a bit unnecessary - nobody mentioned the email I wrote yesterday outlining the main points I wanted to cover, for example - but, sure enough they were discussed, and what's more, people had actually come to the meeting prepared with solutions. 
By far the most surprising was that Social Services said they would like to offer us four hours per week of respite, to take the form of someone coming in to our home after school to give us a hand. We have been asking for respite for the best part of a year and had been told categorically no on many occasions, so this is *huge*. Next step is taking this to their senior managers and resource panel to get it approved; I may have subtly interjected at…

All aboard the self-care shuttle!

My lovely Twitter friend Hannah Meadows wrote a great post about mental health for adoptive parents recently. (And I am *not* just saying that because she linked to a post of mine in it..!)

Mental Health has been right at the top of my list of priorities for the last couple of weeks. It's been odd, and it feels slightly weird to be consciously doing things for myself. Unfamiliar.

However, we have a LAC review on Thursday, and apart from anything else I want to show that we are active participants in the 'supporting Mum and Husband' club. I want Social Services to see that we are not giving up. (We are not. We decided the other night.)

[I know this is utterly the wrong reason to be doing things, and I don't really think it will make a blind bit of difference to Social Services, but I'll take motivation from wherever I can get it at the moment.]

I feel very strongly that self-care is absolutely vital for us to survive this. If we don't keep on top of this, our fa…

Fairy's morning

Here is a post I wrote this morning, but couldn't upload because the internet was down:

It gets worse before it gets better. I know this. But the worse is happening right now, and the better is only a hope for the future.

I want to make a better log of what is happening, and what I’m doing, so I can try to work out what works and what doesn’t. If any of my adoptive, therapeutic friends would like to make any suggestions then I would be delighted to hear them.

This morning Tickle was worried about school, as usual. It doesn’t help that his teacher left with one days notice, and they don’t seem to be actually doing any of the things we discussed that might help him cope a bit better.

At breakfast he was banging the table, and saying he wanted to hurt the cats. Each time I asked him to come in to the sitting room with me, to have a sit in the comfy chair and calm down. The first time I said I had to keep Etta safe, as he’s not allowed to hurt her; he has to come and sit with me unti…

Reflections on this week

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It's been a funny old week. (By which I mean I have journeyed through the depths of howling despair and back again.)

Less than a week ago I genuinely thought we might have to disrupt. Weirdly, today I'm feeling more positive about things than I have done in quite some time. This has been achieved, I think, by a few significant shifts in the way I'm thinking.

The first was to do with self care, though actually it's more than that. We all know that we should look after ourselves, do nice things, make sure we get a break now and then. However, this week I realised that what self care actually means is placing my own needs on equal footing with those of my children. Or maybe even above them, sometimes.

For the last 18 months our entire household has been a slave to Tickle's emotions. He has blossomed under this approach, but the rest of us have suffered.  This week we gave ourselves permission to step away from him and focus on ourselves and each other, even at the ti…

The Key

I've had a really crap few days.

My friends reading this will know that I had a big event last weekend; an event I've spent all year working on, which hundreds of people came to, and something of which I am very proud. I honestly don't know how I got through it - the build up, the preparation, the event itself. I've got a team of amazing people working with me, but I'm the big boss, so the buck stops with me.

It's my favourite weekend of the year, usually, but this year I didn't enjoy it. I mean, I did - I smiled, I laughed, I saw my friends, I felt proud of it all... but it was like I was viewing it through a lens. I didn't feel connected. I could see everyone having a great time, but I couldn't get a hold of that deep down in your stomach happiness. I just felt a bit hollow.

I've been feeling this way for a while. Not all the time, certainly, but I have noticed a definite reluctance to connect with my deep down feelings. Sometimes it's bec…

Attachment may not be the massive deal we all think it is...

I am aware that in the circles I move in this will be a contentious post, but I'm hoping that people can read it with an open mind... here we go:

I wrote a post about attachment some time ago, mainly because I was fed up with the massive mis-appropriation of the term, and the lack of understanding surrounding it. Unfortunately this sort of stuff is still being pedalled, so it's worth having a quick recap with some of the key points of what attachment is, and what it is not.

Attachment is a descriptive term which denotes a dependant relationship, i.e. the relationship a child has with a care-giver. Attachment is not a term for the relationship you have with your partner. (I have heard of people being given 'attachment questionnaires' by Social Workers to determine what their attachment relationship with their partner is like. While this may be useful on some levels to reflect on the relationship you have with your partner, and while yes, there is a school of thought tha…

The Walnut under the Mountain

I'm drowning.

I'm in bed, at 10.30 on a Saturday morning, because I can't bring myself to get up and face the day. Face Him.

On Thursday afternoon, Tickle head butted me, full in the face. In the nose, actually. It was incredibly painful, and would have been even worse if I hadn't read his body language and reflexively started to move backwards. I suspect a trip to A&E would have been on the cards.

Since the incident, I haven't really spoken to him. Husband and Gran between them have picked up the slack, and I've not had to do much more than say goodnight.

I'm struggling with the idea of being in the same room as him. I was thinking earlier that he doesn't even feel like my son any more, though when I came to write it down I was relieved to find it didn't feel quite right. I do still have that tiny knot, deep in my stomach that connects me to him, though at the moment it feels like a walnut buried under a mountain.

Mostly at the moment he feels …

Happy Mother's Day

Picture the scene. It's Mother's Day. I'm reading a book in bed, Husband is about to get Tickle dressed to take the kids out swimming, and just pops in to the loo. Fairy comes out of her bedroom, and starts to walk downstairs to get herself some breakfast. I hear a shout.

"Tickle! Stop it! Daaad!!"

I jump out of bed. Tickle has tried to push Fairy down the stairs, and is now thumping her on the head. I grab him, and take him upstairs to my room. I know I ought to stay with him, he's obviously in a bad place and needs me to stay close and regulate him.

But Fairy is crying on the stairs.

She has done nothing to deserve this. She was just walking down the stairs.

I go to her, sit on the stairs with her, put my arms round her and kiss her head.

Tickle appears at the top of the stairs. He's holding the bottle of water that was next to my bed, and before I can do anything he has launched it at Fairy's head.

A few days ago, I didn't have a plastic bottle…

Therapy

We've just had our first meeting with our new psychologist - the one who specialises in adoption and trauma. It was just an initial discussion and we only scratched the surface but there are a couple of things she said that left me a bit stunned.

Firstly, I described to her how we manage Tickle when he's disclosing, or goes loopy, or gets violent. I described grounding him, giving him sensory input, bringing him in to the present moment, helping him to find the words to talk about what he's feeling, the gentle but probing questions, the wondering, etc etc.

She looked at me, and said "What you are describing is basically what we do in therapy."

In their big, full on trauma therapy. In safe spaces, with a trained therapist, for a limited amount of time, in a dedicated environment, with supervision and support for the therapist. Husband and I are doing that, all the time, at home. With no support, with no escape, with no limitations on how long we will let these big…

Oh, how quickly things can move with a little motivation...

Earlier this week we had a Professionals Meeting.

I turned up to that meeting with a twelve page document, outlining all of the concerns we have about the placement, with a detailed timeline quoting emails, phone calls, extracts from my diary, meeting notes and minutes to show exactly how each of the issues have progressed. I explained to all present that I had prepared this document with the expectation from the Court Guardian that I would send her a copy when it was complete, and that I had also emailed a copy to everyone present.

The issues were under the following headings: 1. Updating the Adoption Support Plan to accurately reflect the high level of need and proposed support that will be in place. 2. Access to appropriate support for Tickle 3. Suggestions from Social Services that Husband and I are not engaging with services 4. Deterioration of the relationship between Adopters and Social Services 5. Difficulties in finding a way forward in accessing support, due to working acros…

Updates

Yesterday I spent three and a half hours with our new Independent Reviewing Officer (at our slightly overdue LAC review), trying to bring her up to speed on our case. I wasn't massively impressed with her (and neither was our Social Worker!) although she did warm up a bit as the meeting went on.

I did have to say to her at one point that I would like to stop talking about 'managing' Tickle, as really what that means is minimising the impact that Tickle has on people around him. I'd rather focus on supporting *him* to cope better with the impact his environment has had on him. Tickle's headteacher (who was also in the meeting) had picked up on this terminology a couple of times already, and had corrected the IRO when she'd asked about managing Tickle!

The head and I both had a bit of a rant in the meeting about how difficult things have been. I was quite surprised at how visibly cross she was actually - plus she had originally said she'd have to leave early …

Parking

I need to get myself in to work mode today, but I need to park something first.

I feel awful. I feel like a massive ball of tangled up mess, and it's taking all my energy to keep it together. I know that the only way to feel better is - ironically - to let myself unravel, but I can't do it. I've got that thing, where you need to have a really big cry but it's just not coming. Occasionally something tweaks it and a couple of tears escape over something silly, but I just can't seem to let it all go. I suspect it's because I don't quite feel safe enough myself at the moment. There is no one for me to fall apart on, to pick me up afterwards. I'm doing it daily, hourly sometimes, for my two children but there's no one for me.
That sounds a bit silly, even as I write it, because I've got a fantastic support network including a loving Husband and my mum very close by, but they already have to deal with a lot of the same - Husband is the one getting up …

I went on a course...

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As some of you might know, yesterday I went on a course, which was about some of the Big Stuff that we are having to deal with. Although some people reading this will know more details, I'm not comfortable with being quite so blatant about the Stuff in this post, because really, it's Tickle's Stuff, not mine. So, for the purposes of this blog post, the course was about how children are affected by significant trauma, and what parents can do to help.

I was pretty anxious about it beforehand; I didn't really know what to expect, and was worried that I'd find it difficult and emotional. However, I found the day as a whole to be a really positive experience, and I came away with a lot of stuff whirling around in my head which I'm going to try and sort out in to a post here. Advance warning - it might end up quite long!

We started off talking quite generally about trauma, and what the word means. Apparently it comes from the Greek word literally meaning 'wound&#…