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 but sometimes I get glimpses of the man our son might grow up to be and I feel privileged to be part of his life.

Our main struggles come at bedtimes and these can still be explosive, but sometimes they can be lovely. Having him drift off to sleep whilst I'm reading him a story is lovely, but we can also have two hour screaming and throwing events. The bad ones are far fewer and generally, we have a good routine.

The other area that is very challenging is the difference in how our son responds to my partner and I. This probably causes us as a couple the most strain. Our son can be very dismissive of my partner and can reject him this is hard to watch and is obviously really upsetting for my partner."

Now for the 2.5-year update .....

I wish I could write that things are better, I wish that I could say our little family has blossomed and we are all thriving, I wish. But the reality is that our lives are pretty tense and stressed. Our son started play therapy in September and whilst we know it is doing him long term good the short term impact has been huge. We have also been having family guidance whilst our son is in his sessions and this has allowed us to acknowledge how difficult our life is. The Therapist has said she thinks we are suffering from Secondary Trauma and having done some research I would have to agree.

Our main struggle is that our son treats us both so differently and this is putting a huge strain on us individually and as a couple. He is very rejecting of my partner (and most other adults in the family who try and look after him) and only really wants me to deal with him. So much so that he will actively act up to get them to call me or for me to have to step in and take over. For me this is exhausting and for my partner it is upsetting.

We have also discovered that his level of Trauma is way higher than first thought and that the abuse he suffered was at a much higher level and for a significant amount of time. The problem is that you know how much he has suffered and you feel guilty that you can't cope with him and you get stressed at him. But the truth is that he is an expert at getting adults to treat him the way he thinks he should be treated, i.e that he is a bad boy and that love is expressed with anger and violence. It is hard to live in a home filled with Trauma, it is hard to care for a child who is so conflicted and angry and it is hard to see your partner withdraw and retreat.

I feel that this blog gave me so much during the adoption process that I will endeavour to find the time to keep this updated. I have just sent out a stream of emails trying to get us some more support so am hopeful that something will come of it.


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