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Congratulations, you have almost made it to half term! This is a milestone! However it does mean yet another transition. A change to the routine you have only just managed to recreate from when last term ended.

Although I enjoyed primary school, these transitions were tough. Although the school was the same, everything sounded, felt, looked and smelled different. Some  teachers had left and new children had replaced the older students in my playground. I had changed classrooms, teachers, timetables, uniforms, and all of these made the once familiar school seem alien, threatening.

Looking back, my parents must have  wondered why it was so difficult getting me ready for school in the mornings at the start of term. ‘She was OK at the end of last term...’ But it was familiar then, Mummy and Daddy, and then it changed. The new term created a new ‘normal’ which resulted in me losing and having to say goodbye to the old familiar ‘normal’ of before. And we all know that adopted children have had to endure more goodbyes (and often traumatic goodbyes) than most adults will ever experience. In my head, goodbyes can never be positive, they re always something to fear.

Autumn was, and remains a tricky time for me. Although 26, I still struggle with the changes that this brings. They’re tiny changes for the everyday civilian, but not for some of us. The light : it’s darker, more claustrophobic. The air, although more  pleasant because it’s crisper, changes  nonetheless. I wear more scratchy wool, and tighter layers which, as a child, genuinely hurt my skin. There was no physical reason for this pain, it was psychological, but it meant that clothes shopping (and I grew fast) was a huge ordeal for my poor parents.

As the weather begins to change I feel a  loss; I’m saying goodbye to something. Perhaps it’s a residual feeling from  childhood. Every Sunday afternoon, around three, feels like a weekly autumn. Just as I’ve relaxed into the weekend, it’s Monday again; a goodbye, a change.

Although I am more susceptible to feeling  these things, I’m aware of it now which gives me power and control. I can’t choose the way I feel necessarily, but I can choose how I react.

When anxious or threatened I used to  internally shout at myself, abuse myself. But now I realise that shouting at a terrified grieving inner-child is counterproductive. It results in me sobbing down the Northern Line. 

Instead I acknowledge the inner child. I crunch back through the autumnal leaves to that child. I check for signs of danger, and if there are none, I kneel down beside them. 

Sometimes I lift them up and hold them, their little feet dangling by my side in their yellow wellington boots.

‘Hello little one, I know you’re scared, but you’re not in danger. I’ll hold you until you’re calm.’

I pause, and breathe. I notice the things around me. Five things I can see, four things I can touch, three things I can hear, two things I can smell, one thing I can taste.

‘It’s ok you feel like this. But you know deep down, that it’s not the horse chestnut or the orange leaves that are making you frightened. It reminds you of goodbyes, and those are scary for you. You’ve had a lot of goodbyes, and are scared you will have many more. But you will manage this. I, for one, am not going anywhere’.

Thankless?

I started a parenting course a couple of weeks ago. It’s run by Social Services in my local area, and I've found it really interesting. It doesn't take into account any form of disability or mental health issues but I'm sticking with it, as I've made some nice connections there. However, a Social Worker made a statement towards to end of a session last week and it's stuck with me. She said that parenting an, "adoptive, tramatised or disabled child is a thankless task."

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You've Got It Easy

Today, I was having a casual chat with another mum at my son’s school and she asked me the details of his diagnosis. I’ve known this woman for a while, we’ve swapped tips and ideas about many things and she’s very open about her daughter’s condition, so I decided to tell her about FASD. Her response was, “Well you’ve got it easy then.”

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New Term, Same Old Story

Every new school year since the eldest started, we have had a meeting with a new SENCo. The new SENCo always tells us that they have no information about the children.

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Sorry Is Not About Shame

As an adopter who is also a teacher, I read last week’s blog with interest. It got me thinking about how we can square the needs of the children, the parents and yes, the teachers.

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Say You're Sorry

One of the hardest areas for me as an adoptive parent is to help others understand why saying sorry is not appropriate for our son.  I was very much reminded of this just yesterday.

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Missing Dad

My husband has just come back from four nights away. For many families, there’s nothing unusual in that. Weekends away and work trips are regular occurrences, and many families take them in their stride. It is unusual for us, though. In the four years since the boys came to live with us, I’ve never spent a night away from them, and my husband has only been away twice, each time for two nights. 

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That Niggling Feeling

Here is the last blog of our 'Therapy' series. Trusting your instincts can be very hard to do when you start out in adoption. But, as we go further into our parenthood, we realise that we're usually right. This mother felt that constant demands to play just weren't quite 'normal' - and eventually sought help in family therapy. 

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A Whole Different Story

In the fifth of our 'Therapy' series our blogger recalls heart-breaking hostility from her daughter. When they turned to The Great Behaviour Breakdown, a shift in thinking enabled life-changing shifts in their relationship.

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The Wrong Therapy

The wrong therapeutic intervention doesn't help - and can be dangerous. The writer of our fourth 'Therapy series' blog shares how her home life and relationship with her son was compromised, and gives valuable advice on finding the right approach for your child.

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