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Work life and Home life and when it all goes wrong...

Friday 6th March 2020 was my last 'working day' (or rather, not working as I have been signed off with stress and anxiety since before Christmas- so at this point just over 2 months) in mainstream school. In 2004 I rook redundancy from a call centre manager job, I did this as I knew I was to be training as a teacher later that year. I chose to change my career and plunge us into debt by training on an unqualified wage many thousand less than I was on in call centre management. Overall, I still feel this was the best decision and certainly gave me career more rewarding that sorting peoples' bills out-though at least I left all that at the door and only ever worked the hours I was paid for.

For many years I was relatively happy teaching English in a secondary school, I especially loved teaching A level Language. I  worked hard for a pastoral promotion and eventually got one but further promotions were not forthcoming and I became frustrated. I loved my pastoral role, helping…

Is it ever really just a cuddle or an 'I love you'?

I have been thinking about this for a while and littlun's actions last night have prompted me to put pen to paper so to speak. He came to me in the middle of the night for no apparent reason other than to cuddle, a really tight cuddle.

When you adopt a child, you long to hear them call you mummy or daddy and say 'I love you'. For the most part, they do. We had 'mummy/daddy' from the moment they met us (age 2 and 3). We re not sure they had much of a concept of what a daddy was and we were the homogeneous 'mummydaddy' for a couple of weeks.

Next comes 'I love you'. We said it often and still do, we said it until we felt it and continue to this day, several times a day along with the 'you are safe' mantra that they need to hear. As adoptive parents, it will take a while for the love to grow. none of you know each other, no one loves each other from day one- in love with the idea of loving them, in love with the actuality of having each other, …

Confessions of an adoptive mother- all about fear.

Adoption is full of heartbreak. Yours, my darling child and mine. We come together not through pure joy (that fleets in and out of our lives) but through heartbreak. We are all filled with fear. Your fear is most likely about being abandoned, not fitting in, not belonging and not being able to even pinpoint what exactly you feel. You were far too young to make sense of it all (can you ever really make sense of what has happened to you?). I think you may feel you are not loved and never will be, I think that you show me this and will continue to share this fear, even if unspoken, in your behaviour for the rest of our lives together. I try to piece together your fear and not project it on to you but I read the thoughts of adoptees and birth parents and I try to arm myself to support you in future years. I fear I cannot be good enough to help you with this fear. I fear that you will blame me for all the past trauma that I couldn’t stop or help. I fear that you will reject me as I am the…

A letter to one of my struggling adoptees...

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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!

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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…