I keep starting posts and then stopping. It feels like at the moment I have so much to say, but my brain is exhausted from churning it all round and round over and over again, so that at this point I can’t really see the wood for the trees.
We’ve been in a bit of a crisis over the last few weeks. The boys’ behaviour at times has been so difficult to manage, it feels like we’re running a gauntlet, never sure where the next strike will come from. I keep reading books about trauma, anger, attachment… all of the buzz words you hear associated with adopted children, in the vain hope that some magical answer will present itself. Hoping that somehow, there’ll be some secret word or action that will suddenly make the boys feel safe and secure, and loved and happy.
There is a very fine line between developing the thick skin required to be a good parent to traumatised children, and not blocking the world out so much that you end up isolated. It is a line I’m yet to find!
Norman has struggled hugely with the first half term of year one. His anger can begin early in the morning, carry over into school time, and spill into home time. Or it can be saved just for home time. Or he can have a chaotic day in school. We’re putting strategies in place to help him, but so far nobody seems to have come up with the right answer for him. Self regulation is another adoption buzz word, and unfortunately it is a skill our boy is severely lacking. It leads to a permanent state of parental guilt – guilt that I can’t make it better; guilt that I wasn’t there for my own child sooner; guilt towards the other people who wind up on the receiving end of one of his rages; guilt for every single time I rise to him and lose my temper, this list goes on and on.
Marvin, for his own part, sees the gaps in Norman’s behaviour, the moments when he is relatively peaceful, and exploits it thoroughly with screaming, hitting, and, a new treat, spitting! Whilst his experience is slightly different insofar as he was younger when he was taken into care and didn’t bear the weight of responsibility that Norman did, he has still experienced losses that no child should have to face, and I fear that we are only just beginning to see the effect that it has had on him.
We think it’s time to call in some help! We’ll see what post adoption support has to offer up, and I will, of course, share our experiences.
Our little family is tired, and we’ve lost our way a bit, and that’s doing none of us any good whatsoever. Mrs S and I didn’t go into this expecting sunshine and daisies every day, but nor did we expect to simply be surviving.
I expect that there are people around who think that the boys should just stop all of this silliness and be grateful that they found a loving family. Sometimes I am one of those people. I know they’re safe, I know they’re loved, and if I tell them it’s true then they should just believe me! But the reality is that our children believe adults to be untrustworthy, they have no reason to believe me. I would challenge the people who believe that to walk a day in my shoes (assuming they’re a size five too of course, I wouldn’t want them to get sore toes!) and see how they felt then. I met a lady who described adoptive parenting as “parenting… and then some”. I thought it was a perfect description!
We may come out a little bit bashed and bruised, sometimes quite literally, but this too shall pass.