What they DON'T tell you on prep groups!
This is a blog of the things we have learned as a new adoptive Mum and Dad to three children under the age of five. For 'Mum' you can read 'Dad' and 'parent'. It is also a record of some of the things no-one told us on the prep groups. Some of it is what children get up to in general and some of it is adoption-specific. Regardless, it should be an interesting read for any parent, prospective and adoptive. Feel free to add your comments, which I shall publish.
13 Apr 2011
5 Mar 2011
...jumping up and down with happiness and relief that my oldest has been asked out on a play-date by a friend of his in his class. He was the only one asked too! This is HUGE. He doesn't have friends, he can't make friends, his 'friends' from the past have always been adults because he has needed the adults to help him to survive. He struggles with his peers, he drives them away because he doesn't know how to behave properly with them. Well now, he is on the road to proper friendships - yayyyy!
3 Mar 2011
1 Mar 2011
...having to think for the children. What I found the most mentally tiring was having to think for the children when I asked them to do something. For example, cleaning their teeth, I couldn't just send them into the bathroom, I would have to take them in, stop them from squabbling as to who stands where (each now has their own step stools - that was the answer!), who gets to use the toothpaste first (Mummy does it now because they can't squeeze the tube carefully), who turns over the timer (each take it in turn each day), showing each of them how to clean their teeth, stopping them from playing with the toothbrushes like swords or trying to clean the plughole with the toothbrushes or poking another's eye out, trying in vain to get them to spit out the toothpaste, showing them how to rinse the toothbrushes, reminding them to put the toothbrushes in the pot rather than chuck them in the sink...the longest two minutes of my life!
14 Feb 2011
...having to buy multi-vitamins to help stem the tide of colds and illnesses because of the poor diet you are on, which can only oh so slowly be tweaked because otherwise the children would flip - or have nothing to eat!
29 Jan 2011
...suddenly having to be:
Every day we have to be all these things AND SMILE when we ourselves are also in desperate need of these experts.
- An expert weather 'woman' - what to dress the children in for school
- A child nutritional expert - what to feed the children
- A fully trained nurse - diagnosing minor illnesses and knowing when to call in the doctor
- An experienced therapist - helping your child when they lose it
- A counsellor - to talk with your child and help them through every dark day
- A teacher - helping with homework, spellings, reading, numbers, etc
- A Special Needs Coordinator - to identify when your child needs additional support and to fight for that support
- A legal, social, medical, educational, family, therapeutic, etc, advocate for each child individually and for your family as a whole
- A daily launderer (of clothes!) - without ruining the very special clothes bought for them by birth family, foster carer and so on
- An expert in all the REALLY child-friendly play places and parks, and not just those that SAY they are child-friendly!
- An expert seamstress - for taking up hems on countless pairs of school trousers / skirts, replacing buttons and repairing all the tears in the knees and elbows
- An expert in carpentry - for repairing broken toys
- An expert mind reader - to work out what is the actual emotion behind the angry face - kangas
- An expert in all types of stain removal - Duckling
- An expert in home maintenance and repair especially unblocking toilets and sinks - Duckling
- An arbitration expert with the wisdom of Solomon - Duckling
- An optician - for carrying out minor repairs to specs several times a week - miss cherry
- A children's entertainer - for those times when they just won't or can't amuse themselves - miss cherry
- An expert lobbyist and advocate for your child so you can battle for under-funded yet essential resources such as medical, therapeutic, educational - Moonstar
- An expert in child development and the impact of trauma on the developing brain - Moonstar
- A Welfare and Benefits expert - Moonstar
- An expert on all things mechanical, technical and electrical - so that you can work out what the hell your child has done to the tv/mobile/xbox/satellite tv... and undo it - Donatella
- An expert translator - being able to translate what your daughter is actually saying, i.e. when she wanted strangled eggs she actually meant.... yes, you've got it!! - Donatella
- An expert time-keeper - in order to get to all the meetings for our children, and any family / child events that crop up? (Have the feeling this is a bit flippant) - Mummamoo
- A mind reader - when siblings ask for contact, then change their mind, you have to just know not to get your child's hopes up - squash
- An incontinence nurse - fruitcake
- An expert finder of lost things - little bear
- An expert fixer of broken things (mainly DH [Dear Husband]) - little bear
- An expert in fiddly craft activities with instructions that don't fully make sense even to a reasonably educated adult - little bear
- An expert in Ben 10 - 10 flipping aliases, all with several heads, arms etc. Nightmare! - Choochoo
- An expert hairdresser - for complicated plaiting requests, etc - Me2
- An expert seamstress - to make costumes for plays! - Me2
- A Personal Assistant - to work out the diary of where everybody should be and when! - Floppy1906
- A comforter - because sometimes only Mum / Dad will do - Floppy1906
- A top chef - to work out all those different meals for the fussy eaters in the family - Floppy1906
- A qualified accountant to work out the budget for the family - Floppy1906
- A therapist, psychologist and psychotherapist - M
- A Personal Assistant to the entire family - record keeping, telephoning various authorities; making and keeping appointments and ensuring others do too) - M
- A Careers Adviser - helping with CVs, application forms, job search, interview techniques - M
Every day we have to be all these things AND SMILE when we ourselves are also in desperate need of these experts.
...not being able to celebrate your children's birthdays online with your friends, e.g. "my little girl is three today and we have made it her best birthday ever, with fabulous presents and a wonderful cake made by Nanny :) ", because that gives away their date of birth and makes them potentially traceable by the birth family
...thinking the foster carers were a complete cheapskate and meanie by not replacing the batteries in ANY of their toys. Then, within moments of replacing them ALL, realising EXACTLY why they were never replaced and wishing you had bought ear plugs instead!
24 Jan 2011
21 Jan 2011
...remembering how long the process has taken to get you here and having doubts along the way, partly because the process takes so flipping long that it is ALL you think about and so those doubts creep in. If you get married, or go on holiday, you think about it then do it, set a date and then it consumes your whole life (more or less!) until the day arrives. You count down the days, weeks, months and so on. Planning every meticulous detail over and over. Adopters don't have that luxury, it's like the vicar saying yes you can get married but I'm not going to tell you until a week before, and then two years later you have to buy the dress and everything in a week!
19 Jan 2011
17 Jan 2011
...your littlest one being old enough to walk middlie to nursery and back without the pram, being liberated (from the pram), going the long way around the park, splish-splash-sploshing in puddles, racing to the next puddle with Mummy, wiggling our arms in the air like aeroplanes, getting absolutely soaked to the skin and not caring a jot
16 Jan 2011
13 Jan 2011
...hearing them shout at each other in the most horrendous way and admonishing them. Then wondering where they got that terrible screaming from and it hitting you in the face it's the way you scream at them when you have lost control. And then the guilt of wondering just what damage your parenting is doing to them :(
...listening to the children's social worker talk about your children and realising that they never really got to know them or their needs properly at all, because in the short time your children have been with you, you know everything the social worker has just told you about your children and their personality, is completely wrong
...not knowing what to do when your child has a high temperature as you've never had to deal with that sort of thing before. Good job I have a 'hotline' to the grandparents, although I think they might change their number soon!
12 Jan 2011
10 Jan 2011
...not having any time for yourself - or even to THINK about yourself. In eight months I haven't had my hair cut, had my eyebrows shaped, when it was hubby's birthday I forgot to buy him a card as I was so busy getting him something from the children, I haven't pro-actively sorted out my paperwork / post / emails, I haven't pro-actively contacted a lot of friends, I haven't written thank-you cards to people who gave us things for the children when they moved in / for their birthdays / for Christmas...
8 Jan 2011
...realising that middlie is hyper-vigilant - took nearly an hour to walk a 20 minute return trip to the shops, as she stopped at every door on the way and asked, "What's that?" "It's a door, Middlie." "What's that?" "It's still a door, Middlie." "What's that?" "It's the same door, Middlie." "What's that?" "It's a, sigh, door, Middlie." "What's that................?" Although I did have to laugh (not out loud of course!) at one time when she was standing at a door and it opened - she shot down the path back towards me like greased lightning!
...not being able to help laughing at Daddy chasing after one of the kiddies balloons that blew away whilst getting in the car. Especially when we put it back in the car and before we could close the door another gust of wind took it through the boot and off again and he had to chase after it all over again. Tears in my eyes :D
...making the quote of the day: when dressing down the oldest one for saying the visit to the fire station was boring, "How can you say it was boring when the really nice fireman let you hold his hose?" I purposefully didn't catch Daddy's eye for fear of laughing instead of admonishing!
...upon telling oldest one we were going to stay over at my parents, he said he thought he was going to have to stay there and move away from us. It wasn't until we said 'sleep-over' that he seemed to understand. Poor thing :( How long will it be before he understands the word 'forever'?
...watching the children in the garden help Daddy move the BBQ from one end of the garden to the other. When I say 'help' I mean one of them is holding the tape measure, one is holding the spirit level (or rather whacking the other two with it as she turns around!) and the third is holding an empty box - cos there was nothing else for him to hold. Just don't tell him it's empty - he thinks he is doing a very important job!
...'G' word alert! Being an adoptive Mum is... realising you have run out of chocolate and searching through the fridge you find the kiddies chocolate and think, "What the heck..." Then the next day when they ask for it for their snack, you have to make up some excuse and feel racked with GUILT, thinking they can see right through you and think that you are a fat Mummy
...realising too late not to get McDonalds toys - we got three duck callers. All of them are parading around the lounge squeaking and squawking as loud as they can. I think I might have to get my hunting gun out...