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.

29 Jan 2011

Being an adoptive Mum is...

...suddenly having to be:
  • 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
And having to be these - with much help from my AUK message board friends (thank you my wonderful expert friends):
  • 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
These are all unpaid roles with no holiday entitlement or even time off in lieu; and no remission for good behaviour! - M

Every day we have to be all these things AND SMILE when we ourselves are also in desperate need of these experts.

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