Saturday, 3 September 2016

3 months into Placement...

I have not been blogging for a while and I am sure most of you can relate to me when I say it wasn't because nothing post-worthy happened or I had nothing to say; just the opposite! So many things happened on so many different fronts that my head is still spinning so this post might be a bit of rambling. Blogging sometimes helps me to organise my thoughts and feelings and I am hopeful it will do the trick again...

So, today we passed the 3 months mark - exactly twice the time the boys have spent with their previous adopters before they have given up on them. Is it a success? The SW seems to think so. Most of our friends agree. The boys are still too young to appreciate what a 3 months time period really means (for them a 5 minutes time-in is already 'fooooooreeever'). For us? Well... we are still alive. The boys are still alive. They still live here. Success?

It is impossible to capture what we have been through in the past weeks so I will not even attempt to do that. I was debating with myself while in the bathroom (yes, that is the only place I can get a few minutes of peace, though they still shout 'muuuuuuuuuum' through the door every 15 sec) what structure should I use for this post and for starters I thought stats with comments will do.

Number of times 'Muuuuuuum' was shouted in the house: 135*24*30*3.

The plus side is that both boys refer to us as Mummy/Mum and Daddy. Just the other day we were looking at some of their old photos, all 24 of them! Let's just pause for a second and imagine your 6/7 year old child and the number of photos you have taken of them over the years. Now throw away everything from the first 3 years, select one standard photo with a birthday cake for each year (never mind the different people who stand around them each time), pick a picture with each school uniform and classmates, pick 1-2 blurry shots where their other siblings are there too and a few happy moments from 2016 and THAT IS ALL YOUR MEMORIES. (for those in the know, their Life Story Books are still not done so here is hoping we will have some more pictures later)

But I digress; back to us looking at their pictures. There was one blurry picture of their birth father. Goofs was telling me the misadventures of that one photo and the fights he was in to keep it. So, that was 'dad'. Snoops was confused and asked 'which is daddy? This one (pointing at my husband) or that one (pointing at the photo)?' Umm, yeah, about that, kid... We agreed to refer to the man on the picture by his first name and hubby remained 'daddy'. This is convenient for us, it will make everybody's life easier in the future, but it also stripped away another piece of their past.

Number of pictures taken of them - mostly by me: ca. 1000.

I know it does not make up for the missed past, but maybe with time they will appreciate my good intentions. Out of these we used 24 to fill 2 big picture frames and put them on the wall next to our pictures - apparently nobody has ever done that for them before!

Number of meltdowns in the house (because that is the place both boys feel safe to have one! When others are around or we are out and about they are terrified and 'save it' till it's safe): 23*30*3

This also means some of our friends probably think we are liars or constantly exaggerating about how difficult our daily life is, because they only see 2 little angels...

Number of night terrors: 3*30*3.

Yes, that means we have them almost every night, often 2-3 times a night. Poor little boys developed a sad rhythm; Snoops would wake up screaming around 9 pm; by the time we get to him he is sitting up on his bed, face and pillow wet from a flood of tears, but he himself is not awake. We put him to bed, stroke his face till he settles down. Around 11 Goofs would cry in his sleep, which wakes Snoops up who comes to our room to complain about his brother and demand that we 'make him stop'. Again, I go back to help both boys to settle by stroking 2 faces with my 2 hands simultaneously. Usually around 3-4 am we get a loud knocking on our door; it's always a gamble which boy is there. Either Snoops wet his bed (and here I mean soaked it through completely as they both wet themselves every night but the magic DryNights pullups usually keep it all in) and he can't sleep until we change him and the bedding or it's Snoops again sleep-walking while crying.

Number of useful help/comments we received from professionals regarding the point above: ZERO

Number of fist fights and bruises on bodies (combined score of all 4 of us): 100+

Goofs is a very aggressive little boy with massive control issues and according to the play therapist he wants to punish every adult for his parents' mistreating him. CPV (child to parent violence) suddenly became a daily reality for us. I remember when a friend of mine was talking about it I seriously struggled to believe him, not what he said per se, but the helplessness he felt every time. Now I fully understand it and imagine MY friends going through the disbelieving bits. When Goofs attacks my husband (usually for something simple as 'brush your teeth') we all feel powerless. Me watching this little piece of xxx hitting my husband, his brother as he is just stands there being confused, Goofs as he doesn't do it because he is evil and wants to hurt somebody, but because he feels his control is taken away and his natural flight/fight mode kicks in and also mu poor hubby, who could stop the kicking/punching/biting with one swift hand movement... That would probably diffuse the situation, confirm in Goofs' mind that 'all adults are evil' and it would cause this adoption to break down as well. Naturally, we don't do it. But we can't do either what the play therapist suggested 'why don't you just keep your cool and in a calm and controlled manner tell him you love him and reflect back to him that he is sad and afraid now that is the reason why he behaves this way.' Riiiiiiight! :(

Goofs is also jealous of his brother who seems to have a slightly easier way of settling into his new family and again, his way of dealing with the situation is to punch his brother whenever he has a chance. His latest proof included slamming the car door onto his brother's hand - it's only by God's grace that Snoops' hand is not broken!

Number of play therapy sessions: 1.

20 min with each boy. Nothing to say at this stage except we are sure we will be seeing her face for the next many many years...

Number of times the 'A' word was mentioned: 200+

I am not referring to the general ones, rather to the 2 most common themes: 'Are you ready to put in the adoption order request?' and 'Mummy, when can I have my passport with my new name?' Naturally the first one is from the LA and SWs who keep reminding us that the placement is 'past the 10 weeks mark and is progressing so well that this is the next obvious step'. The second one is much much harder to dodge! The truth is, we don't know when; we don't know if ever (and yes, I appreciate what I am saying here and all the implications). We also don't know what should change that would make us say 'Now we are ready!'  

Number of times we were told 'we are doing sooo well': 3-4*30*3.

Depending on our mood and on the number of fights we already had that day our response varies between 'thanks', 'if only you saw the other 95%, which is usually ugly' or just a quick eye-roll then smile and exit left.

Number of arguments between hubby and me: uhumm.... loads!

They usually start from having slightly differing views on how to raise children, which I suppose is a daily struggle in any birth family, too. But agreeing on how much therapeutic tolerance is too much when he is stealing your money, when he is knocking down your favourite flower pots on purpose, when he threatens to call the police with an allegation because you told him no bedtime story tonight for bad behaviour... Let's just say we disagree a lot and add to this mix a healthy portion of lack of sleep and work related stress and you can understand our predicament...

I have so many more numbers to share with you and hopefully in time you'll get to hear about the number of happy moments that lasted at least 1 hour - I promise as soon as this happens I will write about it!


  1. I found the whole first year with our son to be extremely difficult on our family. There were loads of good moments, but also a whole lot of really, REALLY hard ones. And there was only one of him! Regardless, it does sound as if your doing really well - it's just that doing really well and feeling really well aren't the same thing. It took me months to feel well in my role as Buddy's Mom. All the best to you!

    1. Thanks for stopping by and for your comments! Yes, as you know there are good moments too and we do try to remember those as well!

  2. I understand that my analogy in no way equals the horror of what you guys are dealing with, but I hope you read this in the spirit it's intended.

    When it comes to Kat and I having kids, or my looking for a new job/setting up a business there came a certain point where I realised that there would never be a good time. There's always a really good reason to not do it, and very few reasons to do it. In the end we just decided to do it, or to try. To work through the negatives and make it work. take out the choice and leave us no option but to make it happen.

    I dunno if that helps at all. Like I say, your situation is far more serious and far more devestating to all involved should anything go wrong. All I will say for certain is that God has put these kids in your lives for good reason, and He won't abandon you regardless of whether you feel you're doing a good job, or if things are going well.

    Hope that helps :(

    1. Thanks Chris for your comments, yes we do take it as intended and yes maybe we should just do it and work through the negatives... :)

  3. It sounds like it's been a challenging few months but that you're doing great (even if it doesn't feel that way all the time) - remember none of us are perfect but as long as we're doing the best that we can, we're doing ok. I'm in the approval stages of adoption and really appreciate others sharing their experiences, it's certainly not a walk in the park this adoption malarkey but all those challenges make us 'super-parents' in the long run. Good luck for the next 3 months 😊

  4. Hello Sarah, thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. All the best for you! :)