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2.5 years in .... Raising a Traumatised child

Ironically I have just logged back into here to start the Blog up again and noticed that the last post I wrote (1.5 years ago) never published... that's how tired I was. So here is the 1-year update...

"I had visions of myself being an amazing blogger like others I read - charting the highs and lows of our adoption. The reality is I've been too busy dealing with the reality of our son. I also have some odd blogger guilt that I am trying to let go of.

This post will have to act as a summary of our first year of parenthood. As I write this our little one is out bouncing on his new trampoline that we got as a treat for his celebration hearing this week. He's been bouncing since 7.45 am.

So what have I learnt about being a parent to a highly anxious 7-year-old in the last year? It the toughest thing I've ever done ... and sometimes it is totally worth it, sometimes not so much.  It has put a huge strain on my relationship with my partner and I have never been so tired…

3 months on

In many ways it is odd to think that it's been 3 months since we met our little man. It feels like forever and no time at all.

This last month has been very challenging, school has had a huge impact on his behaviour at home. We have seen extreme physical and emotional outbreaks as he has struggled to control his emotions and tries to control as much as he can.

We had a meeting with the head of CAHMS and he offered some great advice about how to deal with the emotional breakdowns. In essence he said to "not care so much" - obviously we still care for him and stay present when he is upset but we are trying to stay calm and not take it personally. With our LO he seems to occasionally need to have a good vent of frustration. We have also started to exercise him more after school to run off the excess energy. These changes have started to have an impact, he struggled with the change but it has made the big meltdowns much easier. We have daytime star charts and a bedtime chart…

2 months

i have consciously chosen to step back from blogging since LO came home with us. This has been for two reasons, safeguarding concerns are the main reason but also wanting his journey not to be detailed online. I could have blogged most days about the ups and downs but it feels wrong for me to write so much about him without his choosing to be involved.

So I have decided to keep updating with catch up blogs to hopefully help others looking into the process and also to keep some sort of timeline for us in the future to look back on.

We have known our little man for 2 months and I'm not sure we really remember life before him. When he moved in we had a few nights of extreme behaviors  at bedtime but that settled fairly quickly and after a few weeks he was sleeping well and settling into family life. There were testing times but they felt like "normal" summer holiday tantrums/tiredness. Then as we built up to going to school his anxiety came back and we had issues around bed…

End of intros and first few days at home

Apologies for the lack of posting but the end of intros and moving in was hectic and full on. It is 11.55pm and I have finally sat down and am able to type this up.

The theme for the end of intros and first few days at home are pretty similar. Lots of amazingly lovely times with feeling of bonding and love growing with big moments of being tested and pushed and thing what the hell are we doing!! Those moments are brief and totally outnumbered by the good stuff.

the hardest moment has been driving away from the foster home - the look on the foster carers face broke my heart then asking LO if he was sad and he breaking into massive sobs was so hard to watch. I was sitting in the back of the car with LO and could only cuddle him and say it was good to cry and that he was so brave. Speaking to the foster carer later in the day she was so upset it was really tricky. They have really giving our little one the start in life his birth family couldn't.

If I thought the roller coaster of ad…

Day four

Day out today and can be summed up with the 5T's.... Trips, tantrums, testing, trains, tears.

But overall it was a good day and we are learning all the time. It is hard to find the line between issues from a disrupted start in life and being a "normal" 6 year old (although developmentally maybe better to think 5 year old). The best thing about LO is his ability to repair and be aware of his naughty behavior.

Today was the first day when he gave us both s kiss and cuddle out of the blue (not saying goodbye) and these moments of connection and bonding make up for the 3 or 4 difficult moments - all three of us were very tired today and this had a huge impact.


Day three

our first outing just the three of us ... It wasn't on our plan but LO wanted it to just be the three of us, foster carer agreed that she thought we could cope and he promised her he'd be a good boy. We went to a swimming pool with slides and water cannons. It's fair to say LO can swim but he has no fear and wants to get in the pool and not hold on. Swimming lessons are now top of the list ... Thankfully mother in law is a swim teacher!

We then went out for dinner, and he was pushing boundaries and there was lots of testing but the lovely thing is that he will repair, he's great at saying sorry, for listening when you are correcting him. I think we will need to toughen up but we were able to address and deal with issues as the arrived.

Another tiring day, but some real moments of connecting and feeling real affection for him.


Day two of intros

We started the day with a meeting with a worker from the fostering team who had supported the foster carer when LO had moved in. The worker hadn't met him so it was a theoretical approach to reported behaviours some we know the foster carer has taken on and some haven't fitted into her approach (mainly because of other foster children in the placement). We had read the summary but this meeting helped because having met him it was easier to relate, also the worker was able to fill in the gaps more theory. We found it helpful to remember what we know about attachment and also think of how we can best support his transition.

Then we picked up LO at 11 with foster carer and went to the beach until 6.30. This was a really good experience (first swim in the sea for me this year and not too cold!). The three of us spent some good time in the sea with lots of bonding taking place - we had to carry him pick him up when he fell because of a wave, get sea water out of his eyes etc. he wa…