We Are Family


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The world outside our front doors has drastically changed over the course of this week! Which means a drastic change for us and for our kids.

Our son M had his last day at school yesterday, like most of the children in the UK. However, for us, it was the last day ever at this school as, after a very long fight, he has been given a space at our local SEN school for after Easter. 

He has been there since day one in Reception, when he cried his heart out and had to get pulled away from my leg. It broke our hearts but we knew we needed a break and he needed to socialise and receive an education. Onto day two, it was me in tears as he told me he was a big boy and just walked through the door like he owned the place. I held my tears in for him then, just as I have this week.

Our guy has an EHCP and a social worker, so he is fully entitled to go to school during this pandemic crisis we are facing. However, we made the decision that it would be too stressful for him, too much unstructured routine, too much unknown and huge changes which (with his diagnosis) would just tip him over the edge. 

I cried last night at the thought of four weeks minimum trying to help him regulate at home and form some kind of structure so that he doesn’t lose all the basic skills that he has gained, like how to hold a pencil, how to read some words and how to count to ten.

I hide most of my worries and emotions away from our son; it’s really important that he doesn’t take on any unnecessary worries that he doesn’t need to. We're here to shelter him and help him try to live a childhood. This week some of that has been taken away from us, and I do not for one second blame the government - it just means that our jobs are even harder during this time. Our guy does not for one second understand social distancing, he barely understands stranger danger and is over-familiar with everyone we meet. So, for us, staying at home is the only option.

I accidently left the news channel on last night and my son heard the prime minister say that if you can work from home then you should. He had some very strong words and angry faces to pull and say to my husband's employer, which made me smile but also broke my heart that he should have to feel that heightened emotion over something that he can't control.

You’ll hopefully notice a common theme all the way through my points and that is the way we are trying to protect the kids. This isn’t something new this week, this is everyday; this has been every day since we adopted them. But without the heightened state of society you may not always remember that protecting them is our key response: responsibility, duty - what every word you want to use - it’s ingrained in us!

But what I want everyone to remember is that, sometimes, no one is there to protect us. I feel that at this time I need my support from my friends; the people who understand my children the same way that I do; you adopters. Since becoming part of WAF I’ve drawn my strength and support from all the other members. I’ve made close friendships that get me through tough times and right now I’ll need these more than ever! 

Whether you are new to WAF, whether you’ve never been to a group or go every month without fail, maybe you are reading this as an adopter on social media and have very little idea of what WAF is, let me tell you that we are a lifeline. Sometimes we cry, sometimes we vent, mainly we listen and most of all we support. To every member or member to be, I am here, we are all here, even if you don’t need us during this time, we'll be here in the future. Reach out, talk, it may not be the be the same without the hall and the cups of tea but let's email, let's message and let's stay strong for ourselves and our children during this uncertain time.

 Stay safe everyone.

There Is A Light Side

There’s been a thing going on, as there often is. The kid has decided that he’d like to use the opportunity of the topic ‘Who Am I?’ at school to discuss and display things from his birth family.

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The Depression Dragon

I don’t have an elephant in the room. I have a haggard, spiky, gnarly terrifying dragon that stalks me everywhere. For most of my life, when expert therapists have suggested that this is linked to my adoption, I have retorted that it has absolutely nothing to do with that, thank you very much, and headed back to my absorbing and much more important Facebook conversation.

Now, I realise that the experts might have been right.

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Connection Down

This spring, our eldest boy will have been living with us for longer than he was at his birth parent’s. I was just thinking about it as I lay in bed listening to the rest of the family get up this morning. He came in for a cuddle and asked me when our next adoption celebration day would be. Clearly he’d also thinking about us and how long we had been together.

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The Power Of Sorry

The boys had been with us for a couple of weeks when it happened. It had seemed to be going fairly smoothly (apart from thinking I had lost the eldest - top tip: never play hide and seek in a strange playground), and, permanent state of exhaustion aside, we were all adjusting to our new lives. Or in a state of shock... take your pick.

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Contact Trauma

Last night my daughter awoke just as we were going to bed. She staggered into our room, disorientated, on the verge of tears. She looked as if she was struggling to get out of her own skin, twitchy movements, evident discomfort, flinching when touched.

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Just Like In The Movies

We haven’t heard much of the birth family lately. Although our Christmas was difficult (thank God it’s over), it felt pretty ‘normal’, unlike previous years where the ghosts of Christmases past have definitely been stalking our rooms, clanking their chains and scaring the bejeezus out of us.

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Do They Know It's Christmas Time At All?

Children generally seem to like knowing what’s going to happen and what they’re going to be doing next. It’s reassuring knowledge that takes away some of their uncertainty and helps quieten their anxieties.

But for our children, it can be much more than that. The changes and lack of structure in their early lives can give them a dread of the unknown. The anxiety can be overpowering; the need to know can be desperate.

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