AdoptResources's Blog

blogging about adoption, attachment, parenting & family life

Posts Tagged ‘family

Holiday time

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We’ve just had our half term holiday and it’s back to school tomorrow… I know lots of others are just starting their week’s holiday so I thought I’d post a link to my surviving the summer holidays blog. There’s a few tips in there that might help, especially if your child is one that finds the lack of familiar routine hard to handle.

cycling in parkIn a nutshell, the things that can help are building a sense of what’s happening next. Using visual cues – planners, calendars etc. Avoiding overwhelm, keeping things simple. Another biggy is to take the pressure off yourself to have perfect family moments all day, every day. Savour the moments of magic no matter how small they seem…

Enjoy your holidays, I’ll be thinking of you on the school run tomorrow!

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February 21, 2011 at 12:15 am

It’s not about the numbers

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calculator and graphMartin Narey, the outgoing CEO of Barnardos and Tim Loughton, Children’s Minister have called for a reconsideration of current practice in relation to matching ethnicity in adoption to increase the number of adoptions. This is definitely an area that needs to be addressed but the whole matching and approval process would benefit from a bit of TLC. Media attention has focussed on the ‘increasing numbers of adoptions’ message but the real aim should be  better processes for everyone involved, not just trying to increase numbers on any side of the equation.

In an ideal world, there’d be fewer adoptions because children would be cared for in their own family. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. So, in the event that a child is not able to be cared for in their own family, the next aim should be to make their journey to a permanent home as short and untraumatic as possible. It’s not about aiming solely to change the figures and stats around adoption but to:

  • improve the processes for approval of prospective adopters – with less variation in criteria between agencies
  • provide more resources for effective planning and decision making for children taken into care
  • improve the matching process and cut down delays in moving children to permanent placements
  • improve post-placement support through:
  1. better assessment of childrens needs at the time of placement in foster care or with their adoptive family
  2. improved access to support for foster carers and adoptive families
  3. matching support and resources to the child’s needs and not to their legal status (fostered or adopted)

By focussing on the processes and not just numbers you can improve the outcomes for children and families and surely that should be the aim.

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January 23, 2011 at 9:59 am

A weekend away…

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map and keysI was away this weekend, leaving my husband and the troops at home…

It can be difficult for any child when one or both of their parents is away but, for children who have had significant separations and loss in their life, even a short and well planned absence of a parent can be stressful. Some of the things that can help are:

Before you go

  • time when you introduce the idea carefully – if you do it too early they might get more stressed in the build up to the trip, and this could affect behaviour. But if you wait too long, it may come as too much of a surprise
  • talk about where you’ll be and how you’re travelling – this helps build up a picture of where you’ll be. Show them on the map or show a photo if it’s somewhere they’ve never been
  • talk about what you’ll be doing, who you’ll be with – again this helps give them a picture of what you’ll be doing when you’re not with them
  • talk about what you’ll do when you get back, plans for the week etc – this helps reassure any anxieties that you might not come back!

I sometimes leave post it notes or a note with my phone number on it – this gives something physical to hold to reinforce the message, they can take it to school etc and also gives a bit of security that they can phone you if they need to.

While you’re away

  • make sure you ‘check in’ when you can throughout the trip – chat on the phone, text or email
  • let them know when you’re likely to phone and try where possible to stick to the schedule.

When you get back

  • don’t be surprised it you’re given the cold shoulder, or if after the initial welcome home, a bit of rejection or button pushing sets in
  • they might be a bit clingy and not let you out of their sight, just keep things as normal as possible and reassure them by talking about what’s happening for the rest of the week…

Visual cues with weekly planners, calendars, diaries all help and physical things like notes, photos, comfort blankets or a tissue with your perfume (or after shave) on it all give reassurance on more than just a talking or language level.

How does your child cope if you’ve been away? Add your comments below on what’s worked for you.

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January 18, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Top tips for a tip top festive season!

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winter landscapeI’ve just finished a teleseminar discussing some things to think about over the festive season.

You can listen to the replay on the event page and here’s a quick run through of what was covered…

Things to think about:

  • Expectations: ours’, children’s, family & friends’
  • Excitement and anticipation
  • Overwhelm
  • ‘if you’re good…’ or ‘if you don’t behave…’ messages
  • Birth family:  memories, contact
  • Triggers

Some of the things that can help include managing expectations, not aiming for glossy mag perfection; using calendars, planners, albums and visual cues to help build a sense of what’s coming next

and the Top tips:

  • keep it simple
  • talk about what’s happening next
  • stick to the plan/routine if you can
  • look behind the behaviour, think about what’s driving it
  • aim for fun, not perfection…

Essentially, it’s all about understanding the potential triggers and things going on behind the scenes, and finding ways to manage expectations and feelings. Leave a comment with your survival tips for Christmas…

PS as mentioned on the call, here’s the link to the bbc news video where an adoptee discusses his feelings on his birthday…

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December 15, 2010 at 4:17 pm

teleseminar debut…

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I’ve just finished my first teleseminar and, although not the slickest of presentations, I managed to negotiate technology and do an OK job! Have a listen in to the replay if you’re at the thinking about stage and want to know more… (the sound doesn’t start straight away, don’t adjust your screens!).

Next one tomorrow, on top tips for Christmas – hope to see you there…

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December 14, 2010 at 8:41 pm

School’s out…

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pulling sledgeIn my part of the world there’s been a lot more snow than usual for this time of year and our schools have been closed since Monday, with decisions made daily on whether they would re-open or not… I’m not sure the shutdown is entirely necessary but that’s a topic for a different kind of blog…

At the start of the week, I enjoyed the reprieve from the Monday to Friday school routine and treated it like a long weekend. Now, four days in, I’m getting a bit stir crazy and want to shake off the in limbo feeling and get back on with things.

For the kids, it’s been a whole lot more exciting and school has not been missed! Initially, there was great excitement about sledging* but now the excuses not to sledge have started to be invented… wrong kind of snow, it’s a bit cold etc etc.

Our days have been filled with a bit more negotiation, discussion, sibling relations and chill out time. We’ve not had to resort to homework yet, but it’s there if I need it!

Have you been affected by the snow? What’s kept you sane?

*PS big thanks to @adoptionali for prompt to get sledges early this year, allowing me to feel like a domestic goddess/supermum when the first few flakes started to fall…

Related posts
Surviving the summer holidays…

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December 2, 2010 at 1:47 pm

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Making memories

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black and white photosSometimes in adoption, our attention is drawn to the gaps in our shared history, to the times when we were not together as a family instead of to the memories we are creating all the time. Albums and photos focussing on the early experiences are important to help children build a sense of who they are and to keep hold of some of the important people in their lives. But to help children and families grow together, this reflection also needs to include looking forward and to laying down new memories.

Here’s a few things that can help you and your family build your shared history:

Parallel journey chat about what happened before you became a family, what age you were when they were born, where you worked what you were doing and so on. Look at photos and albums. This helps join bits of your lives together without keeping things in separate worlds. A little PS to this one, don’t expect a captive audience, just gently trickle the information in…

Reminisce chat about things that you’ve done together, what they were like when they were younger, talk about feelings around things that happened – the funny moments, positive times, even sad times. The focus of day to day stuff can often be on difficulties so a reminder of the good old days/moments can help give a bit of a boost…

Commemorate take photos, mementoes, scrapbooks, postcards etc… these help build tangible memories of the things that you’ve done together and helps children not able to hold memories well to have a physical reminder to hold onto…

Celebrate in your way, create memories to look back on and your own family traditions. Choose the events that mean something to your family, these may be adoption related, they may not. Be sensitive to the fact that for some children Adoption Days can be a reminder of loss.

All of these things help build security in families and help us to feel like we belong. I’d love to hear your comments…

This post was published in my Autumn newsletter sign up to receive the next one…

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November 25, 2010 at 1:48 pm