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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.

At times like this, which are not so very rare, I rejoice that this boy and I, who come from such different places, have somehow formed a telepathic connection. He laughed and said, ‘I read your mind!’ to which I replied, ‘Again.’

But I don’t have that connection with my younger son. The reason I was lying in bed listening to everyone else get up was that I’d had 24 hours of a nasty stomach bug and wasn’t well enough for work. But did the younger one come in to say hi? I didn’t even see him.

I wasn’t surprised by this. Although he can be very affectionate, he doesn’t seem to have room for much on his radar. He is very single minded. It often feels as though he doesn’t know or really care who is with him or what day it is, as long as a specific need is being met. I guess this takes us back to his neglectful start.

I was listening to what he was doing and saying for the 40 frenetic minutes before their dad managed to get them out of the house. Dad was trying to be extra loving and patient but our son quite easily and deliberately got Dad to the point where he was impatient and annoyed. He had a need to do that. I listened to him argue about everything his dad said until the relationship snapped again.

I can write things down and come to some sort of rationale about his needs and behaviours. But I don’t feel that telepathic link, like I do with my elder son. I wonder if this is because he is actually blocking me out. I suppose that part of attachment disorder is just that – the unwillingness to connect because you don’t trust. And as a parent, that lack of trust can hurt in its rejection. When we are hurt, we defend… and so it goes on.

It must be so hard to be him, a disconnected little soul who needs to be at odds with people to feel that he has any control. His childhood has been a place of constant conflict. It’s heartbreaking to know that more than half of that time he has been in our family. We haven’t been able to fix it. We find it very, very difficult to deal with.

And where the eldest knows he is loved and can love back wholeheartedly, for our younger son that comfort isn’t there. He can’t make that connection because he can’t believe that it’s trustworthy.

He's very good at making connections with others... I think that's more to do with other connections not being so dangerous and deep...?

I suppose what I’m trying to think through is how, as a parent held at arm’s length, one can eventually connect. We do special time, but he spends that time pushing you away. We sit down and do puzzles, games, art or homework together but it’s all about him being better, me being dumb. A denial of friendship and love.

I’ve just had a few hours away from this with the kids home from school, trying to spend some quality time with the youngest and reflected that, actually, a connection with him IS there. I am aware of his feelings. Only they are hostile, broken ones. I’m not sure if the connection is faulty, or things are faulty at either end.

As usual, I just don’t know what to think, feel, do or not do. If there was an IT department for attachment, would they ask me if I’d tried turning it off and on, or have some other, similarly obvious-to-everyone-else solution?

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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How It All Began

As soon as my husband and I met we knew we wanted to be parents, one way or another. We chose not to go down the medical route after years of trying naturally and what felt like hundreds of tests. We decided to adopt. We attended workshops, as well as meet and greets before deciding which agency to adopt with.

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The Taming Of The Poo

So I'm writing about poo pants. Nice. But actually, in battling this problem for the two years since our daughter came to live with us (she's 6 now), it reflects some bigger lessons I've learnt about adoptive parenting – how our attitude to our children is so influential, the value of fun (yes even with poo!), and needing to see the bigger picture.

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Who's The Daddy?

Our son taught me a valuable lesson in parenting the other day. To be fair, it has been a long time coming, but it left me chastened and realising I was some way short of the parent I thought I’d be.

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Time For Another Change

It’s all going to kick off. I have a new job, which is exciting and scary. It also means that our kids will need to get used to a new carer.

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