A letter to one of my struggling adoptees...

Dear little one,
I know you are hurting. I know you feel loss and are confused. I know you cannot make sense of your life story and I know this is making you act out and rebel at times and generally want to control every aspect of your world and I know you cannot tell me why or how you feel and cannot express exactly what it is and I know you may never be able to express your loss and pain even when you can read all the words and comb through all the Social Worker reports.
I know this is why, for instance, on a ferry to a foreign land on a mini cruise, you spent time screaming and turning lights on and off and slamming the bathroom door. I know it made you hide under the bed whilst laughing at us for doing this. I know you were trying to find some control in an unknown place. I know you didn’t mean to be challenging and I know you don’t know why you were being like this either.
So, should I not take you anywhere new? Should I keep everything the same, day in, day out, safe in your not-so…

National Adoption Week- What are you waiting for? Do it!

We are in the middle of National Adoption Week. This is hosted by the website and organisation First 4 Adoption. The idea is to put out a national drive for adopters to come forward to adopt the 1000+ children currently in care. Adopter figures rise and fall and currently there has been a drop in people wanting to adopt- meaning children spend longer in care.
You can adopt in several ways, through your Local Authority or a surrounding Local Authority (L.A.) or through a Voluntary Adoption Agency (V.A.). The L.A. will try to place you with children in your local area (or the area local to them) and a V.A. will help you to seek for a child across all of the U.K.
Why adopt? This is not an easy route to take in the U.K. but it is not as daunting as you may think. Why do it? Maybe you long for a family and nature has denied you? Maybe you have a birth child or children but want to offer a child in care a home? Maybe adoption is your first choice? There are many reasons that people come to a…

Holiday blues

When we took them on their first holiday (to Northumberland) they loved it. I don't think I am looking back with rose tinted glasses, I am pretty sure they loved it. It rained and it was frustrating but they were full of wonder and excitement and yes, no doubt, some meltdowns and certainly the ever present sleep issues. They enjoyed new experiences and there were a lot of smiles. I remember being shocked that they didn't seen too bothered by a literal change in scenery. We spent ages on the packing (having read how difficult packing a bag and going away can be for adopted children).

Fast forward a year and things were totally different. Similar holiday (this time mid Wales), a cottage again and largely a repeat of the holiday with different scenery. We expected heat and got rain most of the week, so again, pretty much the same weather as well.
This time they were unconcerned about packing and they made some attempt to pack their things but really weren't bothered. they wer…

"Where's the mummy? Where's the daddy?" the not so normal viewpoints...

Sometimes it is little things that remind you that your child is not a 'normal' child ( I hate that word- what is normal? Everyone's 'normal' is something different!). I am not sure what else to say though- we don't need anything to remind us they are  adopted as it is a living and breathing thing that is always with us as adoptive parents, well I believe that to be true. So, I am sticking with there term 'normal' in this case.

Beyond needing to know where their own parent is- 'Where daddy?' (in the loo), 'Where mummy?' (in the kitchen), 'Where daddy?' (gone to work, you know that, you said goodbye to him...), 'Where mummy?' (in the same room as you, just look around)- we are reminded that our children don't have the same viewpoint as other children- or maybe they do but we know it comes from loss and adoption so it is deeper rooted as an issue and not just a passing question or concern. How are we reminded?   Films a…

Top 5 of everything! Adopting start to finish.

Last week I attended an adoption open evening as a guest speaker for Coram. I was nervous and excited - I wanted to come across as truthful but not negative and certainly not all rosy tinted specs- a good mix of my story, what to expect and positive vibes for the process. I want to give back to the community- hence I became a media champion but also I want to talk to others, to encourage them that this step is a positive one, a hard one, but a positive one. It was an enjoyable evening and I hope I have helped in any small way. it was lovely to see everyone there signing up to proceed into discussions :)

Before you begin

1) Don't listen to advice from anyone who hasn't been through the process in some way or who doesn't have a good working knowledge of the process. Birth parenting is very different to adoptive parenting in many ways. Certainly  don't take any 'horror stories' of disruption (when a placement breaks down). extreme 'poor' behaviour or a terri…

We wanted this didn't we? What do we all want from adoption?

We wanted this so badly specifically I wanted it the most. It got to the point where I couldn't accept that I was childless. It was not the path I had wanted for my life and I had not been able to successfully bury these feelings (see much earlier posts for my feelings about this!).

After some shocked and bemused discussions we dipped our toes in and skirted in the shallow end for quite some time, gathering information and time after time being astonished that we were a viable couple for adoption.

In truth, I kept being astounded by this fact until the day they came home!

So what did WE think adoption was?

I knew in my heart you didn't get babies anymore- this was not a shock to me to find this out.

I thought the process would be grueling and we would be weaned out at some point.

I thought it would take a while before a child or children would call me Mummy.

I thought I would end up with a child or children with a seriously sad background of abuse.

I thought I would be lucky t…

#adoptionrocks- or does it? (with an adoptee guest writer)

I have seen and used this hashtag on instagram and twitter on many occasions.

I first saw it used on instagram and it spoke to me  of happiness, new beginnings and all the positivity of the children's lives now they had found stability.

What was 'ROCKING' about adoption for me? A number of things and in no particular order:

The fact they were settling and thriving.
The fact they were sometimes sharing wonderful sharing moments (especially as mine have more reasons than 'normal' to not share well).
The fact they were in wonder at new things, places, experiences.
The fact that they tried new foods, new activities and in many cases overcame fear to do them.
The fact they were showing how loving and caring they could be, first with the dogs and then with us and family and friends.
The fact that there are moments of utter joy and happiness for them and us.
The fact that some of their delayed learning and development is coming on leaps and bounds (largely caused by negle…