Friday, 25 October 2013

The Future....


I am feeling excited about the future. As I sit here writing this post I can’t help but think about what’s to come both in the near future and over the next few years. For starters we have our first Christmas as a family around the corner and, if we have the time and energy, we will be making this Christmas larger than life for the girls. Hopefully we will get some snow and it will be great to build snowmen together and relive some of my childhood memories.

Looking more long term, we have the joy of watching the girls grow, their Celebration Day, their dedication and sharing these special moments with family and friends.

I’m sure there will be some not so fun times too. Like every adopter, we have the possibility that our children will want to leave our family in search of their birth family. There maybe times when we will need to wade through the past in order to help the girls piece together their lives and this potentially could be a painful journey for all of us. However hard this maybe it will be a necessary journey and one that my husband and I need to support and allow to happen.

I hope that in the future our family will grow in size, maybe one or two more children, and perhaps we will have a boy next time round – birth or adopted, we will love them just the same.

One day, I guess, I will have to think about going back to work. This, I must admit, does scare me a little. How will I cope going back into the work environment? How will I juggle work and home life?
Whatever the future holds, good or bad, I know that it is all in God’s hands. As hard as it is at times I must trust in his plan and that all things will work together for good. However, right now I need to try and focus on the present. I tend to be one of those people that get carried away with the next dream that I want and I often don’t sit back and enjoy the moment. Another practice I need to learn!

This post was written for the Adoption Social, this weeks theme is ‘The Future’ #WASO.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Let's Dance...

Sometimes it's the little things that make this journey of parenting seem hopeful and worthwhile.

My eldest daughter has been the one who has sat on the sidelines. She has waited to say I love you, waited to call me mummy, waited until we could kiss her or hold her close. She hasn't always wanted to hold our hands or join in with various games or family conversations.

However little by little she has let us in.

Sometimes when no one else is around we dance like two nutters. One of our favorites is to dance to 'Everything is Gonna be Alright' by Bob Marley. On some occasions she lifts her arms up to me and as I scoop her up we glide up and down the room as though we were professional ball room dancers; twirling as I swing her round and round.

These moments are precious, it's in these moments that I can feel the love and bond growing between us.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

At a Loss....

When I saw that this weeks theme on the Adoption Social was loss I wasn’t sure what to write or from whose perspective I should write it from, the girls or mine. So I decided to just start putting down some thoughts and see where it lead.

I guess I haven’t experienced much loss in my life, I feel that I have been fortunate. I think the biggest personal loss I have had to face to date has been coming to terms with the possibility of not having birth children. I thought becoming an adoptive parent would take away the desire to experience a newborn. I feel that the loss has healed over significantly, however, at times there is a pull in my stomach when faced with pregnancies and newborns. I wonder with time if this pain will heal or whether it will always be something that lures its head from time to time.

 My girls at 6, 5 & 2 have experienced more loss than I have, and will probably ever do, in my life. I can’t imagine at such a young age being taken away from my birth family, placed with loving foster carers for a couple of years and then moved again, in the process losing not only loved ones but friends, toys and the familiarity and comfort the little things bring.

Being so young, the girls don’t talk about their losses a great deal, and when they do it doesn’t reach any major depths. I can honestly say that as the girls grow I want us all be able to talk openly about their previous lives, the happy memories and the sad losses.   I want to be able to provide support and understanding as the girls ride out their emotions as they question, ponder, analyse and reflect over their early lives.

Whether I will be that support they need, time will tell. But my hope is that I will be able to help the girls come to terms with the losses they have experienced.  

This post was written for the Adoption Social, this weeks theme is loss #WASO. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Keep your Sweetness

 The other week we were driving to school when my eldest daughter pulled out some phrases from her pocket. She read them out to her sisters and I before saying that she wanted to give me one to keep. It read ‘Keep your sweetness’

It was one of those moments when you sit back, pause and reflect upon your behaviour and wonder how others view you. I folded up the piece of paper and placed it into my pocket, determined to remind myself to stay sweet.

I asked my daughter where she got the phrases. She replied that her teacher keeps a jar in the classroom full of various sentences and her pupils can come and take one at any time of the day.

I couldn’t help but think what a lovely idea that was. I love that as well as teaching the kids educational things they are teaching them the importance of loving and caring for ourselves and others. 

This post was written for The Adoption Social #Memory Box. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

I need patience and I need it NOW!!!

Whilst caring for nephews, nieces and other people’s children I have always thought of myself as a patient person, that I could ride out any tantrum with ease. Whilst being assessed to adopt I thought I would be a patient, nurturing, understanding and, dare I say it, a near perfect mom. As we knew our girls before they were placed with us for adoption, I would at times watch them and think how perfect they were, so cute, so pretty, playing nicely and well mannered. I can recall saying to our assessing social worker that the girls were angels.

Now I am their mommy, I still believe they are angels and they are beautiful inside and out. However, their behaviour can be questionable and I do not always understand it – is their challenging behaviour due to their past or are they just being kids… or is it both?!

 However, what I have been more taken back by is my reaction to some of their behaviour. I am not always the calm, patient and understanding parent that I thought and hoped I would be. I can find myself overreacting to some behaviours. I find it hard when my girls don’t listen and I have learnt that I like to be in control and when I’m not I feel I need to make my point louder (yes I have shouted at my children on occasions.) Then the guilt has kicked in. How could I shout and get frustrated with my beautiful children who have been through so much already. I worry that shouting and picking the wrong battles only reminds them of where they have come from.

I am the type of person that is constantly reflecting and analysing. Whenever I am going through a challenge I need to reach out, I want to speak to others who have been through the same situations to seek help, support and advice. The support I have received has arrived from various directions. Family and friends have spoken about their experiences. They have reassured me that my feelings are normal and that every parent reaches their limits.

I have read several books aimed at adoptive parents. Sally Donvan’s book ‘No Matter What’ was helpful as parts of the book reminded me of our experiences and as a result I did not feel so alone. I am also making my way through Dr. Amber Elliot’s book ‘Why Can’t my Child Behave?’. Her book has helped me understand that I must maintain my empathy for my children and to take a look over their past to remind myself of what they have been through. The book also reminded me that I must care for myself if I want to be able to care for my family.

Our post adoption support worker is also working with us to help put a plan together in order to parent in an empathetic way and to move away from ‘reward-punishment’ techniques. The social network of adopters has been a good source of support. Reading other people’s blogs has been helpful, but also speaking to another mother who adopted three children two years ago has helped me. She shared with me with her experiences of parenting, how she had coped with the highs and lows and again reassured me that parenting is a journey, none of us are perfect and we must go through the questioning and analysis of ourselves if we are to become better people and parents.

I am still learning and I am determined to take each day at a time, to stop putting so much pressure on myself and to make time for relaxation. I have placed empathic responses to everyday situations that arise on our fridge, so in those moments when the kids are sulking, crying or throwing tantrums I don’t have to think of a response, it has already been written out. I have re-read our girls’ history and will pull out the paperwork every so often to refresh my mind of what they have been through and to keep the empathic responses at the forefront of my mind. My husband and I have undergone some Theraplay training to help with some of the everyday situations we find ourselves in and the girls love the fun and attention these games bring.

I hope this post will help others if they find themselves in a similar situation. I would also welcome other parent’s thoughts on this subject if you are struggling or have 
struggled and have found a way through.

Thank to those who have and are continuing to support us – you know who you are and I am truly grateful.