Sunday, 29 March 2015

Taking Care!

This weekend has been amazing, re-energizing, quiet and peaceful. A well needed break from the chaos and drama that plays out on a daily basis in our household.

My parents have been kind enough to have our three diamonds for a weekend stay. It is something that we are hoping will be a regular set up as my husband and I feel the need to have respite.

Over the last 70 + days myself and a few other adopters have been taking part in the #takingcare100 challenge. The idea is that you post a picture of something you've done to care for yourself once a day for 100 days. This helps you to make sure you do something caring for yourself at least once a day. I think when you are sharing this with others it encourages you to take the time to have a treat.

Self-care appears to be a hot topic in the adoption world at the moment and rightly so! If we as parents are not in a good place then how can we give the best to our children? I don't know how we could cope as a couple if we did not have the emotional and practical support from our family and friends.

So, this weekend we have enjoyed a walk in the forest, stress-free roaming around the shops, yummy food, bottle of wine, good T.V. and quality time together. This time is priceless!

As we walked through the forest today, I smiled as I realised how much nicer my husband and I are to each other when we are not having to constantly pick the kids up on their behaviour and the stress is just not there.

Do I feel guilty about feeling so free? No, not at all! I'm sure the girls are enjoying themselves and are enjoying being spoiled by their grandparents and we also deserve a break, a rest. I also have to think how I am going to manage the next two weeks and it's a great start to have a breather at the beginning of the holidays!

So, thank you mom, thank you dad and thank you to those who will be helping me survive the next two weeks!

Here are some pictures below of the things I have been doing to take care of myself - Yes, most of the pictures contain food! If you would like to join in on the taking care challenge click here.

A fellow blogger, Hannah Meadows has written a lovely seven week series on self-care. Within her posts she gives some great ideas on how to care for yourself. If you would like to read her posts please click here.

Hannah has also set up a survey to research into adopter's thoughts on the topic of self-care. She aims to write a book to help parents to care for themselves. If you have a couple of minutes to spare please stop by and complete her survey - it would be much appreciated. Thank you! Please click here to go directly to the survey.

I hope the holidays are a happy time for you and your family and that you manage to find time to rest, eat chocolate eggs and take care of yourselves.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Doing this alone...

The other night as we sat down for dinner my husband shared how his day had gone. During the conversation he mentioned how he had attended a meeting for a teenage lad who had sat through the discussion displaying disruptive and challenging behaviour.  I questioned as to why nobody i.e. a room of professionals had not taken control. My husband replied that no one quite knew how to handle the situation and it was silently agreed to just ignore the behaviour.

This led me to think about how alone we are as adoptive parents. There has been a number of times where we have been clueless about a certain behaviour or situation. We have often felt torn and not known how to respond. Do we go down the therapeutic route? Do we take the Super-nanny approach? Do we discipline by taking treats and favourite toys from them? Or just ignore the behaviour? I have to say I think my husband and I have tried every option listed above and we are not convinced that any have had a profound or life-changing impact. Am I expecting too much? Probably! Does it take longer than a few months or a couple of years to change behaviours? Probably! This may be the case but I keep asking myself how much longer can I keep going? I feel as though I am constantly firefighting rather than building loving relationships. How can I do both, I ask myself daily? How can I help these children who we decided to take on, whilst I enjoy my life and live above the chaos and the drama?!

The firefighting is becoming more and more. I thought it may increase as they grow older, become independent and hit their teens. However, the decline in behaviour hit an all time low yesterday when we received a call from the school stating that one of the girls had taken a couple of items from another pupil's bag and then on top of that, had spun a number of lies and had tied herself up in them. I felt sick to my stomach mainly because of the lies she had told, but also how could she make such a wrong choice. Selfishly, perhaps, I couldn't help but think how does this all reflect on us as a family? What do the teachers think of us as parents? Do they judge us or can they see the bigger picture?

Next week we have a meeting to discuss two of our girls and how they are developing, any areas of concern and how these areas can be addressed. I pray that the school are able to understand how the girl's early trauma has impacted upon their lives and how they respond to certain opportunities. I also hope that our Social Worker can support, and if necessary, advocate on our behalf and that the points my husband and I would like to raise will be taken seriously. 

I think I find it harder as I am constantly analysing, are these behaviours due to their ages, their past, their new school, their new friends or maybe it's a mixture? What leads me to further frustration is that at the end of the day I can feel so alone. Sure we have people around us who care and support us, but when all is said and done my husband and I are alone trying to figure out the best way forward. I have to say at times it feels too much, too overwhelming and suffocating. At times I get a glimmer of hope, maybe we can make a difference, maybe we can help these girls. I guess I have to cling to that hope right now and trust that God will work all of this together for good.

Recently the subject of taking care appears to be prominent in the world of adoption. It's as though this must be at the core of every adopters daily existence otherwise our worlds are going to collapse inwards and the effect this would have on ourselves and our loved ones would be devastating. I received an email today from someone who is working to raise the awareness of adopters needing more support, in the hope that this may reduce the amount of disruptions that take place. She is also working towards supporting those who have experienced a disruption as there is a lack of support out there for these families. It's as though the subject is uncomfortable for some and a definite taboo for others.

More desperately needs to be done by adoption teams to support and equip adopters from the moment they inquire to when the children are living in their adoptive homes. I feel that the only way things will change is if we as adopters stand united and make the point clear that we don't want and can't parent these children alone. We need informed teams of professionals and loved ones working with us daily and not once in a blue moon after an incident has occurred, parents are drained and relationships have been strained.

We need more support. We need to take action. We need to be heard. We shouldn't be doing this alone.

A group of adoptive parents' have been taking a picture daily, as we have been trying to take better care of ourselves. If you would like to take a look at some of the pics or join us in the fun then please see the link below or check us out on Twitter using the #takingcare100.