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In The Cut

So, been thinking for a while about sharing our story of adoption in the hope that it might help other families and because it is such an incredible journey, it feels somehow important to document. Maybe one day it will also be important for our daughter who shall remain anonymous as this is her story too and she may not want to share it. I’ll call her Angel as we called her our ‘angel child’ for the first six months of her time with us, knowing full well that as soon as she felt safe enough, a more fully rounded two-year old would emerge. She was also referred to as an ‘angel child’ by her birth mum and dad who had lost a previous pregnancy and so were very grateful when they fell pregnant with her.  Angel is 9 and will be 10 in July. Right now we are what I call ‘in the cut’. We have just come out of our longest spell of equilibrium (about 3 months) and I felt a new baseline of her self-worth had been reached. It probably has but when the wound opens up, it’s incredible how deep it g
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Panic Attacks Part 2

  We are a month into bedtime and middle of the night anxiety episodes every night. Things are calming down though. I’m calming down. Hubby took over doing bedtime and middle of the night duty for a week so I could regain some equilibrium. Being able to sleep through the night again made a big difference.  Hubby said she had been crying at bedtime because she wanted me to do it. When I did it, she cried because she wanted daddy too.  Angel - I’ve got used to daddy holding my hand. Me - Well let's get daddy too! Once we are both there, me lying next to her, daddy squidged in at the end of her single bed, each of us with a hand, her breathing eases and she usually goes to sleep within 30 minutes (before it had only ever taken 15).  Of course the next night she wants me to do bedtime again. I tell her I will alternate with hubby but both of us will be there for the final hand holding. She nods, satisfied. She knows I can’t do it all now. She strings out getting ready for bed as long a

Panic Attacks

Angel - Rose’s Mum’s said if she had been a boy, they were going to call her Rex? Me - (laughing), I know quite a few dogs called Rex so lucky she was a girl! Angel - What was I going to be called if I was a boy? Me - I don’t know but we could ask your birth mum when we next write to her? We are sitting on a rock in the paddling pool swirling our feet in the water.  Angel - When am I going to meet my birth mum? I want to meet her. I want to know what she looks like?  Me - Can’t you remember what she looks like? We have lots of pictures but I know sometimes you can’t get a sense of someone from a picture. It’s not the same is it?  Angel - No. You said I could meet her when I was 13. Me - Is that what you want? Angel - Yes. Me - Well that’s what we will work towards then. That’s why we are getting some support; to prepare you for meeting her.   I quietly kick myself. Maybe I just should have said, ‘Well if I had had you and had a boy, I would have called you George.’ Maybe that’s all it

Is my child a Bully?

  I found out this week Angel has supposedly been bullying another child in school, in fact two kids but one to a much lesser extent. The kids are leaving the school along with her best friend Tara, who was apparently involved, to an extent. It emerges that it has been going on since February and no one has told me. Not the school, not the mums involved or the multiple other mums that knew. I am floored. Five days later I still feel shell shocked.  The first thing I do is text the mum of Lily, the kid being bullied. She verifies that yes it has happened and Lily is leaving the school because of it. She apologises for not telling me. Says she thought the school would talk to me about it. She doesn’t blame  Angel or myself but the school for not handling it. I feel badly let down too and very angry and disappointed that the school didn't tell me, as well as devastated for Lily and also Angel who clearly was not managing either, if this is what she was doing. I talk to Tara’s mum. She

Emergence

It is still a struggle but rather than punching through newspaper, Angel is going to the park every evening, sometimes twice! ‘Mummy, I need to go out,’ she mouths silently to me across the kitchen. The longer evenings help. Just keep moving.  I’m not sure if we are emerging from ‘the cut’ or just learning to live in it, but change is afoot. A wise person once said that you can’t change other people, you can only change yourself. I realise I need to change.  It starts with a podcast. It is an interview with a woman called Mary Joy who is a therapist specialising in helping adopters. She is also an adopter. She says there is very little provision for adopters and all the support is aimed at adoptees; that parenting children with trauma can cause secondary trauma particularly for those adopters who already have childhood trauma of their own. She finds many adopters who have coped for years reach a threshold where suddenly they can’t. She ends by saying you are not going mad, you are not