Saturday, 23 November 2013

Stories: for WASO


I really feel I should apologise for my lack of blogs lately.  We've given up on nap time now and when we get to the evening I've just been collapsing in a heap.  We've just had a stinker of a week.  Squiblet had a really nasty cold and was up every two hours in the night and just generally feeling miserable…then I got Squiblet's cold…then I got some hideous bacterial infection of my uvula (the waggler at the back of your mouth) and couldn't eat/drink/talk.  Antibiotics and crazy painkillers later and I'm able to sleep, eat a bit and drink a bit.  Mama has taken Squiblet out while I sit by the fire and I thought it seemed like a good time to sit down and write.  So here goes…stories…what a lovely theme.

Squiblet loves books, she loves stories; one of my favourite Mama and Squiblet moments was when Squiblet pulled her 'tend [pretend] book (a folded piece of blank cardboard) and asked Mama to tell her a story.  Mama was so brilliant!  I had no idea!  I was doing the clearing up in the kitchen and I could hear these tales of Squiblet riding on a swan and frogs granting wishes and all sorts.  Squiblet was completely enchanted and so was I!  It was a really precious moment to be able to eavesdrop on.

It seems to me that there are so many classic stories which bring up quite poignant issues for adopted children.  I made the huge error of watching Dumbo with Squiblet.  What an absolute idiot!  I thought it was a cheery tale about an elephant…somehow I had forgotten the part where Dumbo's mother gets violently angry and is then taken away.  Squiblet was so upset.  It took me ages to console her.  She was talking a bit about the daughters of her foster carer and I thought; how scary that all that really is just bubbling under the surface waiting for a catalyst to make it emerge.  I felt so stupid.  But we had to see it through to the end when he is reunited with his mummy and then Squiblet was OK.  But it just made me think…stories are so powerful.  They may be make believe but it doesn't change the impact they can have on children (and adults.)

Squiblet loves us talking about how she came out of her birth mother's tummy and the story of how she came to us.  It's a very familiar story now and one she likes joining in with.  She likes to end it by saying "I grow in your heart!"  Which is very cute.  We still don't have Squiblet's life story book which isn't great.  I think she would be able to use it now and it would help bring colour and clarity to the story.  I need to try and chase the LA but her social worker has been unwell so it's got lost somewhere.

I'd love to write a story.  In fact, I must!  It's definitely on my to do list (although I don't have much time for to doing at the moment!)

Take care everyone. x

Monday, 4 November 2013

It's National Adoption Week: Be kind to yourselves!


As parents (any sort of parent, not just adoptive ones) we are so good at beating ourselves up and feeling guilty.  I'm touching on this as yesterday I had a horrible migraine, the like of which my super mega migraine pills couldn't even stem the flow of vomit, and I felt guilty that Squiblet was crying whilst I was throwing up.  It had been a long day!  A lovely day but she was tired and consequently had a mini melt down which I was just totally ill equipped to deal with, with my body functioning as it was.  So I ran away from my screaming daughter and left my wife to pick up the pieces.  I vomited, I cried, I felt awful, I calmed my self down, I slept, I felt better.  And I had to give myself a talking to, both last night and this morning.  I'm a human, not a robot.  I can't be the best that I can be when my brain is manufacturing flashing lights, pulsating sensations and throwing up.  I should NOT feel guilty about this…it's ridiculous!

Enough about me.  National Adoption Week is about celebrating adoption, encouraging others to adopt and helping find homes for those children that so badly need them.  So this is my message…

The adoption approval process makes you look at yourself in a way nothing else really does.  But not only that, other people are looking at you too…as well they might!  You will ultimately be given a life to cherish, to grow, to nurture to love….could you be given anything more precious?  It's understandable that people would need to check that you are prepared, sorted in your own head and the right people for the job.  But it doesn't always feel like it!  It's easy to feel scrutinised and judged, but mostly because we judge ourselves…and often way more harshly than anyone else.

So be kind to yourselves.  Celebrate your strengths.  Remember that sometimes it's OK to be "good enough" that it's OK to show your children that being a human is alright!  You don't need to be a calm, jolly machine all the time to be successful, and to be a parent.

Our five year wedding anniversary is coming up this week.  I'm beyond excited.  Mama hates surprises…I'm planning quite a big one!  I told her to trust that she will like it!  I know she will.  I've loved her for 12 years and been married to her for 5 of them!  Adopting our daughter has definitely been the best thing that we have done together as a couple.  I feel like our relationship took a big backwards step to make room for all the attention Squiblet needed, and that didn't feel quite right.  The love was always there, always strong and warm and secure but the time for each other some how slipped away.  But it's coming back!  Phew!  As Squiblet gets more secure, she demands less of us and I feel like we're coming to a good sort of balance where everyone is getting their emotional needs met.

I love my family.  I wouldn't change how we got here or who we are.  I just love my wife and daughter so much!  For those of you adopting…be kind to yourselves, you're doing a great job!  For those of you in the process…be kind to yourselves, you will get there and all these thoughts and ideas will help you later.  For those of you parenting birth children…be kind to yourselves, you're doing a great job too!

Funny how a migraine can make you sit back and think and actually come out feeling better about your life….