Last week roundup results #27

Week #27 of the Adoption and Fostering Weekly Roundup are in. You can find the results in the list below.

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate new articles or vote for their favourites. And of course, congratulations to all our winners this week.

If you are new to our roundup and want to know more, have a look at this page.

This week top 5

Did you know a new roundup is always on? You can visit this week roundup, or add new article to it.


adoption-and-fostering-roundup-badge


You can now add the roundup badge to your website and make it even easier for your readers to vote for you.

You can find all the details on how to do that on this page.


And if you would you like to receive the results of our roundups delivered to your inbox each week, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Fostering Doubts

I lost count of the number the training I took part to during the adoption process and some more not long ago for our fostering assessment. A multitude of classroom training, books and online courses, to cover all the topics we could think about: attachment, autism, FASD. first aid, child development, recognising trauma, neglect & abuse, domestic violence… Any parenting problem you are having right now, I probably had some form of training about it.

Even so, lately each day sees me unprepared, confused, tired, puzzled, and most of all, questioning myself.

Life with Holly, out foster girl, is not easy. We have come a long way over the last month, and I’m glad I’ve found it in me the strength to carry on even when all seemed to be lost. Now the days are definitely much brighter and hopeful, but still incredibly challenging.

Holly is unpredictable at the best of times, and all the training in the world is of no help in trying to decipher this young girl and to make sense of her erratic behaviour.

One day she rejects me and just wants to deal with my husband Diego. She won’t hold my hand when outside the house, she won’t let me change her nappy, or let me console her when she falls, she won’t even listen to me when I talk. Since Day one, Holly has been more prone to let Diego get closer to her, but I thought that time would have changed that. It’s hard to keep loving someone who doesn’t want you close, doesn’t show affection, doesn’t hug you, doesn’t let you kiss them. I worry I will dry out of love for her, and that I might start to keep her at a distance, although not on purpose of course.

On other days she is jealous of my son Ben. She would hurt him in any way she can, just to attract my attention. Sometimes she hits him, scratches him, shouts at him. Some other times she bullies him and tells him horrible things. Who knew a child so young could be so malicious? I know her behaviour is dictated by her own fears, but I feel as I’m failing in protecting my son. When our 2 and a half years old foster daughter tells my 3 years old adopted son “she is not your mum, she is only mine” pointing at me, what do you suggest I do? How can I make everyone feeling safe and secure? The more Holly tells Ben I’m not his mum, the more Ben feels threatened and anxious, and the more I lose control over the situation.

Some other days she is angry. Angry at me for not being her mum. Angry at me because I give her boundaries and rules to follow. Angry at me because I don’t give in to her when she screams and hits. So many times I wonder if she even knows the reason igniting her anger. I want to ask her how she feels, how I can help her to feel better, why she behaves like she does, but she cannot tell me. Will I loose my patience next time she takes off her shoes and throws them at me while I’m driving? Will I loose my cool at the next unprovoked attack? Maybe that’s all she knows, violence has been part of her world after all, and no good would come from me reacting to it.

And then there are some days in which all she wants is to please me. I think I can hear in her voice a plea for help when she tells me “I want to be good for you”. But she still doesn’t behave that way. I’m inclined to think it’s something she really wants, but she doesn’t know how to go about it. At times she tells me she wants to be alone with me, but as soon as we are left alone she leave the room and she won’t spend time with me. Was been quite something she needed to be when she was living at home? Is that what she thinks being good means?

I’m just struggling. I’m struggling to understand the reasons behind the conflicted behaviours of this little girl. I’m struggling to help her settling down, to make her happy, to give her what she needs. I’m struggling to give her the best of me.

Last week roundup results #26

Week #26 of the Adoption and Fostering Weekly Roundup are in. You can find the results in the list below.

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate new articles or vote for their favourites. And of course, congratulations to all our winners this week.

If you are new to our roundup and want to know more, have a look at this page.

This week top 5

Did you know a new roundup is always on? You can visit this week roundup, or add new article to it.


adoption-and-fostering-roundup-badge


You can now add the roundup badge to your website and make it even easier for your readers to vote for you.

You can find all the details on how to do that on this page.


And if you would you like to receive the results of our roundups delivered to your inbox each week, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Enough love to go around

Which one of Ben’s cheek I’m going to kiss in morning before leaving for work is largely determined by where Holly, our foster child, is standing or sitting in the room. That’s because, since her arrival, what Ben craves more than affection is to show her he’s receiving it. So, while I kiss him goodbye, he contorts his head in her direction to make sure she’s watching.

Between the two of them, they keep a precise score of how many kisses, hugs, and spoken words each gets, and as soon as the score is perceived to favour one of the two, the other ends up crying, usually because the one losing resorts to physically attacking the other.

Holly’s arrival was always going to stir up a rivalry, but they kept up this game for months now and there’s still no truce in sight. I’m growing increasingly tired of it, although I suppose it can be seen as progress.

The first few days with Holly were very different. She didn’t want anything to do with us, we were complete strangers and she was confused at first, then she got angry. She started turning her anger towards Ben, and for a long time I couldn’t understand why. Was it her way to get back at us? Did she realise that by hurting him she could indirectly hurt us? I resisted the notion that a 3 years old child can behave in such an indirect manner, but sure it looked that way.

More recently, her aggression became more instrumental. Now she fights with Ben out of jealousy, to get all attentions for herself. We’ve suspected that to be the case for a while, then–to make it clear to everyone–she came out and actually told us. “I don’t want Ben to live with us”. Us? Since when it became us? I almost asked what she proposes we do with Ben, then I decided against even entertaining the idea of throwing him out. In a way, she cares for us, in a very possessive way. That’s progress. I think. Although, something tells me Ben would not agree.

But how do you explain a 2 years old and a barely 3 years old that their fighting is pointless? That because we care for one it doesn’t mean that there’ll be less love for the other. That there’s enough love to go around.

Last week roundup results #25

Week #25 of the Adoption and Fostering Weekly Roundup are in. You can find the results in the list below.

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate new articles or vote for their favourites. And of course, congratulations to all our winners this week.

If you are new to our roundup and want to know more, have a look at this page.

This week top 5

Did you know a new roundup is always on? You can visit this week roundup, or add new article to it.


adoption-and-fostering-roundup-badge


You can now add the roundup badge to your website and make it even easier for your readers to vote for you.

You can find all the details on how to do that on this page.


And if you would you like to receive the results of our roundups delivered to your inbox each week, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

All The Mums In My Life

Maybe it’s because it will soon be Mother’s day that I keep thinking at all the mums in my life. They are so different, and yet they all have something in common. Despite what happened in their lives, despite the wrong choices, and the adverse fortune, they all love their children, deeply and unconditionally, even if they’ve not always been able to show that.

Our foster daughter’s mum

When I first saw our foster daughter’s mum, it was just a couple of days after Holly moved in with us. She was a broken woman, tired and scared. She hugged Holly so tight, and for so long, that I thought she would never let her go. Sincere tears were running down her face, slowly and silently. I want to think that was the moment in which the gravity of the situation finally hit. I cross path with this woman three times a week, she is always on time, well presented and with a smile on her face. She talks to me kindly, and somehow she is able to find affection and appreciation for me. I can see a woman that is trying her hardest to put her life back together, a woman who is fighting to have her daughter back, a woman who doesn’t forget her mistakes, but who is asking for another chance in life and above all, a chance as a mum. I wish I could tell this woman to be strong, to carry on with what she is doing, to hold on thigh on the prospect of a future with her daughter.

Our adopted son’s mum

When we adopted our son Ben, I was terrified by the possibility of having to meet my his birth mum. How could she ever hand over her son to me, and be fine with it? I felt like I had to show her I could be a good mum, and prove myself to her. Ben’s birth mum is young and made many bad choices in her life. At times it looks like someone else made the wrong choices for her, someone failed to protect her as a child, or to remove her from an abusive and neglecting family. How can I blame her for not being a good enough mum, when she never had a positive model in her life, when mum to her was only a source of pain, when she never knew the safety of mum’s hugs growing up? I’m sure this woman is thinking about our son often, remembering him at every birthday, Christmas, and Mother’s day. I wish for this mum to find the strength to change her life, and the courage to make the right decisions, so that maybe one day her life will fill up with love and happiness that a child can bring.

My mum

I love my mum, but it hasn’t been easy growing up with her. I read about depression often, but always from the point of view of the person who suffers from it. I rarely hear how it is for the children to grow up with a depressed single parent. Let me tell you this: it’s hard, it changes you, it hurts you.
Every time I hear of someone who is depressed I cringe always a bit. It’s wrong and maybe insensible, but all the bad experiences I had come flashing back in mind and fill me with hostility. I had alway to fight that feeling growing up. I had to learn how to excuse my mum and forgive her. I had to learn not to care about the accusing words she kept spewing at me, all the dangerous situations she put me in, and all the financial implications of her actions. I tried hard not to blame my mother, but I often asked myself how I could make a good mum when I myself never had a model to follow. I worried I will get into the same dynamics, and push my son away. I wish for my mum to never remember our past together, and to live in the knowledge that her kids love her.

Me mum

I could have been any of the mums above, but I’ve been lucky enough to have in my life a wonderful man who helps me to be the better me. I make mistakes every day, I apologise and I try to learn from them. Parenthood is hard, it can fill you with love and kick you down on your knees, all at the same time. I just want for my son to grow up in the knowledge that he will always have a safe place where to come back, no matter what.

I could have been any of the mums above, but I want to be the one who broke the cycle. I want to keep believing that a woman can rise above the adversity of her own childhood and be a better parent for her children, but whether that is possible or not, I will have to prove it to myself first. And as much as I want to think I could do it all on my own, I know I can’t. I also know that, unlike all the other mums in my life, I can rely on a wonderful man by my side, who helps me find the better side of myself and helps me believe I can be a good mother, and at times even an excellent one.

Let’s take a trip

In celebration of this year’s LGBT Adoption & Fostering Week, we are very glad to welcome a guest post by Daddies Diary, which narrates his rocky experience as an aspiring adoptive gay dad.

Lets take a trip down memory lane!

Where did it all begin?

Jack and I have been together for 7.5 years, 8 in November. We married back in a very wet and cold but beautiful and perfect September last year.

We arrive for our ‘pre-approval’ interview in a cold a soulless room. Having dreamed of this moment all my teenage and adolescent life I was anxious. I couldn’t quite believe we were here! Sat waiting nervously. Despite this the lady with whom we were to spend the next four hours sharing our very being with emulated warmth and made us feel at ease immediately. She reassured us she was not looking for ‘the perfect parent’, as they simply don’t exist. So we began, we began our journey.

The social worker asks “when did you first discuss having children?”. We respond with “our first date”. She seems a little surprised, almost taken aback, like she was hearing something for the first time. I found comfort in her response which was one of comfort and approval, this allowed her to understand how our desire to be parents, our desire to be a family was ingrained in us individually and collectively.
Quite literally from date one!

So lets rewind…
Date night, the first of many. We were in the local pub, making polite conversation. Full of nerves, the burning urge to impress. The desire to be the best version of ourselves.

I remember being told I’m too honest, too upfront, “You need to learn to play the game” I was told. Something I was never any good at, ask Mr Burles. My secondary school PE teacher who would regularly use me to demonstrate to the class how not to do things, like catch a ball that’s thrown at you with no forewarning from across the hall causing an immediate roar in laughter from everyone, followed by a deep sense of shame and embarrassment for me.

So, needless to say, I don’t hold back or play the proverbial game.

I can feel it coming up with no ability to silence it, it at this point has become involuntary:
“Just so you know I plan on having kids, lots of them and probably all with special needs.”. An immediate sense of relief coupled with a sense of panic. “SHIT I’VE DONE IT AGAIN!!!”
And in the same moment and breath here it is, I’ve said it, it’s out there and much to my surprise he’s still sat facing me, smiling knowingly. Smiling knowingly then and now 7.5 years on, my husband and father of our children to be.

We explored the possibility of fostering but decided that the permanence was an issue for us both. So we withdrew.
In January of 2016 we made some initial enquiries with our Local Authority.
We were knocked down at the first hurdle. I casually explained to the gentleman on the other end of the line that we were moving in the February to a property that was better suited to our plans to have children. A secure tenancy. Our family home.

“I’ll stop you there”, I was abruptly told, “in no uncertain terms would we consider your application until a few months after your move as this is considered a significant life event”.
I was surprised, in fact disappointed and frustrated. I then continued to confess with caution that we were also due to marry in the September. ANOTHER ‘SIGNIFICANT LIFE EVENT’

Life event: Any major change in person’s circumstances–eg, divorce, death of spouse, loss of job, etc, that affects interpersonal relationships, work-related, leisure or recreational activities; life events can be usual, i.e. not unexpected and therefore not evoking stress, or unusual–ie, unexpected and commonly associated with stress.

Computer says no!! We have failed this pro-forma based on what we and many others consider to be positive life events. The gentleman’s parting words where “call back sometime early next year”.

This rang in my ears for several days, weeks in fact! How had we been refused on such basic grounds? They didn’t know us? They had no understanding of our workings as a couple.

I felt angry. Angry that we had been so causally thrown to one side without being given the opportunity to present ourselves or our relationship to a real person. Instead we had failed a tick box exercise. Angry that we are told all the time about the amount of children in ‘desperate need’ for their loving forever home.

The assumption was we would not be able to move or marry whilst being assessed for our suitability to parent. Surely getting to know us during this time would have been advantageous to our social worker. To see that we do in-fact continue to function as a couple? And do not fall apart during such ‘significant life events’.
On the note of significant life events surely taking on and parenting children is much more ‘significant’ than celebrating your love or moving (having done it in excess of 20 times now, move that is, not parenting, I’m quite the pro), right???

Happy Birthday Full Time Tired

Today is Full Time Tired first birthday.

It was in fact one year ago when we hesitantly published our first post on the site, and back then we could only have dreamed to get this far.

A bit of history

The site has changed quite dramatically in the last 12 months. Some of these changes have been purely cosmetic (and long overdue), some have marked a clear change of direction, but in all this the purpose of the site stayed the same. Our logo tagline sums it up well, really, we write family stories of adoption and fostering, and we hope we will be able to continue to do so for a lot longer too.

Thank you

We want to thank all the people that read, commented, and shared our posts. Your support and help makes all our efforts totally worthwhile.

We’d like to thank The Adoption Social for spreading the word about our site when we first started out, and for introducing us to so many awesome bloggers.

We also want to thank all the bloggers who linked their wonderful posts on the Adoption and Fostering Weekly Roundup, we genuinly can’t wait to see what each week will bring.

And finally, a big thank you to all our guest bloggers, your contribution to the site has been invaluable.

Thanks to all of you. We are so looking forward to another year together.