Wednesday, 28 July 2010

adoption paperwork

Nearly managed ICLW (26 blogs visited and commented on) - but it's been difficult fitting it in with looking after our nieces, and trying to do more adoption paperwork. But the good news is... we've nearly finished the last piece of work that we were given... which is looking at placement considerations, what we think we can cope with in terms of a child we are going to adopt!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Adoptive parents

Argh - failing badly at ICLW at the moment... with good (or not) reason. I will catch up, later, but I will!

Last week we went to met some adoptive parents that our social worker put us in contact with. For those that are interested (by which I mean Caroline!) they live in the next city to us, but on our side of it! We had made the appointment a couple of weeks previously and had randomly being writing questions down ever since.

They have 2 children, adopted separately but who are full siblings. They initially adopted with our adoption agency, but the second adoption went through next city adoption agency. We share our social worker with them.

We started by talking about panel, and how much our agency wants people to succeed. They backed up what we had been told by our social worker, that we will be given the questions 15/20mins before going into Panel, and that we will sit and talk through them with our social worker.

We talked about their experiences of introductions, of the things that they have learnt. Including that we will not want to think or do anything else during introductions. That we should take notes - and lots of them, not just about routine, but also stories that we are told about the foster parents, so that we can share them with our child in future.

That to start with we need to focus just on the child, that for about 6 weeks, they introduced one new person a week and then only for short periods of time. This is necessary to help the child to bond to us, but also because the child will be grieving. Any adopted child (in the UK) has had at least 2 massive losses - they have lost their birth family and their foster family (and that's if they have only had one set of foster carers).

The trauma of those losses has a massive impact on adopted children. It effects with their behaviour and their capacity to deal with emotions. The trauma rewires their brain, and it cannot by itself right itself. However as adoptive parents there are things that we can do - THERAPEUTIC PARENTING - making sure that we have have contact, baby massage, stroking hair, maintaining eye contact, allowing them to regress as well as providing boundaries and routine. As adoptive parents we need to both nurture and claim our child.

We spoke about loving an adopted child - that it is natural for love not to occur immediately. That it took about 12months for them, both times. That they had an immediate commitment to the child, but it's not the same as love. However they did say 'fake it until you make it' works well in that situation.

They spoke about how they expected to adopt a child, but also got an extended family. Their elder daughter when she was adopted had 2 full siblings, and 4 half siblings. Her parents then went on to have another child - which this couple also adopted.

They advised once we know about a child - once we are preparing for matching panel to start thinking about what we are going to say (and practise it) about our child. That people will have all sorts of questions and make all sorts of comments, and that we need to prepare for them.

They backed up what we already knew, that for 6 weeks after introductions we would see a social worker weekly. That after that, we will see social workers monthly until we go to court for the official adoption. They said that there was no need to rush to get to that formal adoption state - whilst a child is officially 'looked after' there are lots of resources that are available. They also said that it's worthwhile viewing all offered help as support not interference.

Their key points that they wish they had known:
- the report on the child may not be up to date - and go with your gut
- stick to the foster carers routine for a few months
- the more time off work the better
- that there will be grieving, not just the child but us as parents as well
- that the BIG journey starts at placement

We also got to see the photobooks that they made for their families during introductions.

Friday, 16 July 2010


In no particular order - things I need to say:

Adoption approval panel - booked for 18th Oct, which everyone but us thinks is a long way away, but we were thinking Nov!

Got more paper work to fill in, what about this, what about that.

Got a spare bedroom, and a second spare bedroom! We have reorganised things, so that what was our study is now ready to become a child's bedroom. We sat in there earlier in the week planning.... it felt real.

Phone call from a long time friend last night. She was told yesterday morning that she is post-menopausal -not what you want to hear when you are 32. You also possibly don't want to hear 'well what about...' or 'well you never wanted to children' or many other 'helpful things'. I just sat on the phone and cried and swore with her, because there is nothing else to do or say.

In dog house with M... supposed to be going to his sister's tomorrow to build a wall around her patio. For a variety of reasons it would be easier for her if we don't take our dog. Her suggestion leave with M's elderly parents for the weekend, where she isn't allowed out in the back garden without being on a lead (it's not dog proofed). She won't get more than a 10min walk all weekend. We are going away next weekend, and have already asked them to look after her that weekend, because I am at home the week following. I can't leave her there 2 weekends in a row, it's not fair on her or his parents. He is refusing to argue with his sister - I've given two other alternatives, neither of which he is happy about, either I stay home with her, or we go only for the day, not the weekend. He is presently not talking to me!

I only have one more week at school for this year, in fact 4 1/2 days to go. Then a weekend in London, nieces for a week, and one week away, that leaves 3 weeks of me time! Hopefully it will be the last time!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

300th post - home study stories again!

I realised yesterday that I hadn't updated after our social worker visit last week; it seems like a pretty poor 300th post - but I'll work on something better for my 303rd post...

When the social worker visited last Tuesday, we looked mostly at our support network (our Ecomap). We spent a lot of time talking about who would give us what support, emotional, physical, and care. We spent time talking about friends, who we would phone and wouldn't say 'well you wanted to adopt' but instead say helpful things. We talked about which friends we would be happy to meet with a child who may be disruptive. We talked a lot about who would bolster us up, and who wouldn't understand.

I talked about a few of my friends, but especially my friend R who I run Brownies with. I talked about her, because she attends lots of groups and activities where we live, and I know that when we are settled with an adopted child there is no way that she will let me hide. She will take me out places and introduce me to people. We talked about how difficult it can be with a toddler/pre-school child suddenly arriving, and not having the friendships that build up from baby groups.

We talked about therapeutic parenting. She told us that she is running a course on theraplay in September and she'll make sure that we'll get an invite for it. We talked again about our hopes and fears - it's telling that more of our fears are focused on the process now. She also had a look around our house.

This week it's individual visits, and referee visits. M has had his visit, as has our first referee - who described me as a stick of rock with 'mother' written all the way through. I think I'm grateful.

As to why no post until now...

Last week was spent preparing for the y11 prom on Friday evening. Me and one of my colleagues spent a long time blowing helium balloons up on Friday afternoon... but it was worth it to see all the pupils having such a great time.