Friday, 19 September 2014

Dark Days....

I have been quiet on the blogging scene for awhile, the reason I hear you ask is because things are difficult in our household at the moment. I often like to write about things in hindsight, once it is all done and dusted. I worry that people may judge us, criticise or just simply won't be able to understand the complexity of what we face as adoptive parents. To be honest I am not sure that I will press 'publish' once I have written this post and I am sure there will be plenty of editing and if I'm brave enough to press publish, I will await people's responses with apprehension.

However, these difficulties we are experiencing are not clearing up. The longer they go on the harder it seems. One way I have found help in order for me to cope is to reach out to other families, especially adoptive families. The online community of adopters has been great and I WELCOME any help with what we are facing.

So what are the issues?

Where do I start?

I desperately want this adoption to work.

I desperately want to make a difference to her life.

I desperately want to love her.

I desperately want to bond with her.

So why is it so bloody hard??

For over a year I have struggled to bond with my youngest daughter, KS. I have worked and worked on this issue with a counsellor and my social worker, not to mention reading various articles, books and talking to friends and family. However, I am still unsure of exactly why this is case. Things over the last few weeks have hit crisis point and I have asked myself a few times whether I can carry on. Needless to say it has taken my husband, social worker and friends to put me back together so I can keep on going.

Since spring last year KS has been wetting herself daily. It started with just once or twice a day, but this has slowly built up and pretty much she only uses the toilet if promoted or if she needs a no. 2. To say that I have been frustrated is an understatement. She used to be potty trained in the day and was doing really well. Thoughts of why she has regressed have plagued my mind. My husband and I have tried everything we can think of - reward charts, praise, anger, asking her sisters to take her and sticker charts. Nothing seems to work or hold her attention for long enough. She will be four in a couple of months and as time goes on it leaves us feeling more and more desperate. Our social worker has explored the reasons behind the wetting and why the above may not be working. She has suggested that I need to work on my relationship with her and then, God willing, the wetting will cease. This sounds easy in principal, however, how do you do this when you feel so low and you are struggling to build a relationship together. Many people have said it maybe due to her little brother arriving, and this may not be helping, but it started before he arrived and I don't think it is as simple as that.

KS for a long time now has been displaying intense needs. Given her past it is understandable but funnily enough that doesn't always make it easier when dealing with it in the moment. Over the last couple of weeks, with the help of my social worker, I have been working hard on trying to meet her needs, sadly this is often through gritted teeth. Interestingly, once I have met one need she immediately displays another. I can find this extremely exhausting as she keeps on moving the goal posts. As a result I am left feeling drained and as though I cannot meet her needs. My social worker and I discussed this at length this week and it is a possibility that she is trying to sabotage the relationship as on a macro and micro level this is what she has been used to. This behaviour can often throw me and at times I have sat there overwhelmed, feeling inadequate, with tears in my eyes asking myself again and again, how can I meet her needs and I am the best mommy for her?

Some good news to throw into the mix is that she has begun to settle down at night. She had got into the habit of lying in her room singing at the top of her lungs until 9pm or beyond! We are not sure what has changed to make her go to sleep quietly. We are just happy that she is quiet!

It may sound silly and I hope the point of what I have learnt does not get lost in translation whilst trying to explain. Recently I spoke to an adopter who has experienced the dark days that we are currently negotiating our way through.  She was full of good advice and one thing that she said that stood out was that we would never be a 'normal family'. It suddenly hit me that I had been subconsciously striving to be 'normal'. I have thought that if I can just solve the wetting and the intense needs, then all will be fine! Well that's a load of rubbish because actually, as parents of adopted children, there will probably always be some complex, deep-seated issue that we are trying to help them with.

I was also advised by an adopter to try and separate my feelings for my daughter from her behaviours. This is something again that had become deep rooted in my thinking that I didn't realise. Again, I thought that if I could just solve her current issues then perhaps it would be easier to build a relationship.

I haven't wanted to admit it for months as the shame of not coping has felt too great, but I have had to face it recently. I am at times battling depressive thoughts. I have started some herbal medication and I hope this can take the edge off the low feelings. I have also built in 'me' time which seems to have helped as it recharges my batteries and gives me a chance to relax and smile.

We made the decision this week that little one will attend nursery full time. This has felt like a huge weight has been lifted and the anxiety reduced. This will hopefully allow me to better meet her needs when we are together.

Time will only tell if these changes will help sustain us through the hard times. I desperately hope so as we did not enter into becoming adoptive parents lightly and ideally my husband and I want this to work. We want to look back when they are older and think "yes that was hard work but well worth it."

There are two reasons why I am sharing our story with the world. One is to gain any help and advice from those who can relate to the above and secondly, to let others know if they are experiencing the same that they are not on their own. It would be lovely to connect with you if you sit in either camp....

Thank you for taking the time to read this looonnnggg blog post....

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Our Summer in Pictures....

Our summer has been a little crazy, but we have made it to the other side. Thought I would share some pictures so you can see what we have been up to....

Lazy days on the beach...

Day trips out

Bank Holiday fun

Picnics in the cold

Fun in the Park
Plenty of this stuff to keep us going....
Birthday Celebrations!!!
& finally I am learning to have a bit of me time.....