Saturday 30 January 2021

Befuddled by being a grandparent

In August I found out that my son would become a dad at Christmas. 

As I knew they would, and as we had frequently discussed,  his early life experiences, fear and trauma retriggered him so his behaviours and anxieties caused the relationship to breakdown down and this has hugely impacted his mental health. 

Since his daughter has been born, he has been excluded from information and it does not like he will have any contact with her without a fight. His actions have consequences that will affect the rest of his and now her life.

As her grandma this now puts me in a difficult position . How do I support my son to have contact with his daughter and also our side of the family including myself.

Finding out I was going to be a Grandma was exciting and I was looking forward to being part of new life with all the fun and love that being a grandma entails as my mum has experienced for the past 16 years . Now I just feel sad that it's not going to be like that and that a baby girl is now being kept from a family who love her and would love to be part of her life. To  be able to watch her grow and develop as all families should be able to . Knowing what my son has lost through adoption makes me more sad and aware that this should not be happening to her . 

Children and babies should know their families and their family histories and should not have to be excluded from this or need to go seeking answers for themselves when they are old enough or curious .

I am torn between wanting to fight for us to be her life but equally not making things harder and causing conflict with her mother that really doesn't need to be there.

For me this is another side of adoption and trauma that nobody tells you about and that you don't expect to happen . 

Tuesday 30 April 2019

Befuddled at 21

We did it!

He's 21 years old!

It hasn't been easy over the last 3 years, and 18 til now feels as if it has been the hardest and most challenging part of this adoptive parenting lark, and not always because of his experiences and trauma.

We have to live apart because of the family dynamics, not easy for either of us but better for our relationship.

There has been involvement with many professionals who breeze in thinking they know the answer and will change our world, they don't!

There have been times when his trauma means he ignored me or overwhelmed me with his behaviours, hard as his mum to manage.

We are still a family though and I am still his mum.

Sunday 14 October 2018

Much wanted contact

My son met up with his birth dad yesterday, it wasn't the first time this has happened but its only the second time they've met alone.

I always knew that my son misses his birth dad, they always had a positive relationship from what I can gather in the information I have. His birth dad (or dad as we call him) was never a risk to him, more that he didn't cope well when things went wrong with his relationship with my sons birth mother.

His birth mother is a different matter, he's been clear he doesn't want contact with her and has blocked her to protect himself from her lies (his words) after she made unwanted contact last year.

I'd always promised my son that I would help him to find them when he was older so it wasn't a surprise when he searched facebook for his dad when he was 18 and it didn't take him long to find him. A phone call followed and a meet up which I was fully involved in at both of their requests.

I've never felt worried about them seeing each other, mainly because there's no risk but also I don't know whether I feel less threatened as I'm a single adopter. He's always had good male role models within our family but its not just about that, its about doing what's right for him.

My feelings around whether he wanted to see his birth mother are around the damage her actions have caused and the resulting behaviours towards me, I feel angry for him and towards her, as he does.

He and his dad have seen each other a few times since he made contact and my son finally has his dad back as he always wanted.

I hope it's a relationship he will always have.

Saturday 25 August 2018

Befuddled by friendships

Today I feel resentful and overwhelmed!

Overwhelmed by trauma and resentful of its continuing impact on our lives.

My 20 year old can only manage one friendship at a time, these are all with slightly older men who financially and emotionally exploit him. It costs him money, tobacco, cannabis and all of his time to keep these friendships that he views as important to him. They overtake his life and follow a pattern that he's unable to see being played out. He gets up in the morning and rushes out and only returns to his supported living late at night. Showering, eating and household tasks are forgotten as he's so desperate to see them.

The last friendship is just ending as they all do, in trauma being replayed and me picking up the pieces.

After being ignored I'm again expected to be the main entertainment til he drops me again for the next friend. I'm expected to drop everything to meet his every need and stop him becoming bored. The emotional and verbal abuse if I don't (when I don't) is unbearable and triggering.

I can't wait to get back to school (work)!!

Sunday 11 March 2018

Befuddled by Mothers Day

I don't really like Mothers Day!

I understand why.

I get that

He can't manage it
That it reminds him of his birth mum
That after 13 years he still doesn't see me as his mum unless its to his benefit
That he can't trust me still as his world in those first 5 years was scary and unsafe
That he will feel badly of himself tomorrow
That if he does acknowledge it the reason will be he needs something from me. I am still only here to meet his needs, no other reason

But it still hurts

I am not her, I have consistently put his needs before mine for the last 13 years
I have not neglected and abused him
I accept who he is and why he is like he is

I am still here and always will be

Meanwhile our family struggles on while she will no doubt have happy family pics on social media of her new family ~ I'm glad he's finally blocked her so he doesn't have to see them.

Motherhood has not turned out as I expected or hoped

Monday 13 November 2017

Contact - A guest post

I've blogged before about our unwanted contact from birth family and it was well received, I suppose it's most adoptive families worse nightmare and can be scary at times. It's important though to recognise that not all contact is unwanted or negative and I've been lucky enough to be given permission to share this anonymous blog. I really wish them well. 

By an anonymous adopter

I need to get this out of my system, but I am doing it anonymously, as there are so many risks involved with sharing this, but so much information that may help others in the community.

We have been a family brought together by adoption for over 10 years. There are a few of us in the family, however, it always struck me that given we read our children’s CPRs and all the other information we receive, if we are lucky enough to receive it all, there are extended family who naturally become our family.

My children’s siblings are always a part of my life, they are family too.
Over the weekend we were lucky enough, after three years of trying, to meet the now adult siblings of our children. A surprise message out of the blue 3 years ago instigated this meeting. It has taken us all this length of time to be able to feel able to do it. Our children were not involved. You may think that cruel, but right now they are not read for it, and they may never be.
We met in a train station coffee shop – we felt that it needed to be somewhere that we could all feel as comfortable as possible in – as we all knew that the anxiety for us all would be immense.
I hugged sister – I was not sure how it would go, but she hugged me back. I got emotional but kept it together.

We bought coffees and we began to chat. There were no awkward moments…. It flowed.

Our first lesson: We knew all about them…. They knew nothing about us – NOTHING. They lived for the first few years not knowing what had happened to their siblings. No one had told them they had been placed for adoption. Youngest was removed from a holiday he was on – and that was the last she saw of him.

Our second lesson: Appreciation that they had been adopted. Despite the first few years of their not knowing, they have learnt enough about our children to know that they have been well looked after, and cared for, attempting to repair the damage that they have all experienced. They acknowledged that the trauma will have been more intense for our children as they had differing placements and the worst experience of our care system you can imagine.

Our third lesson: If only we knew then what we knew now… Yes, contact is a scary thing…. And it would have needed careful planning, facilitating and reviewing… but had I known that these siblings sat not knowing, not knowing where they were, who they were with, were we monsters, were we cruel, did we love them – that could have been easily remedied.

Their first lesson: Their siblings have been loved and cared for… to see the relief on their faces was worth every single minute of over ten years.

Their second lesson: Their siblings have very similar issues with attachment, trust, anger to them.

Their third lesson: Never assume adoption is always a bad thing. Family and friends had been rather critical of adoption….. as you would expect, and that was the siblings impression as a result. They see the difference it has made.

I did cry… I felt so patronising and insulting to these two brave souls in front of me, who had been through just as much in their childhood as my children – and I was the one crying. To be told that they are grateful that their siblings have such fantastic parents blew me away. I sniffed, sister held my hand, and I gave myself a good talking to – this was not about me.

We spent three hours together, and we have so much in common. We will meet them again, and that was a mutual decision by us all. We feel they are more a part of our family now than ever.
Their decision to share what their message will be when they do all eventually meet was upsetting, and I leave you with some of it:
“If you are expecting to meet our parents and for them to be the parents you hope for, then don’t – you will be very very disappointed.”

Thank you for reading.

Thursday 19 October 2017

Befuddled for 13 years

13 years ago today as I walked up a foster carers path I could already hear my new son shouting 'new mummy here' and as the door opened he landed in my arms.

I've always been really positive about adoption as it gave that little boy the mummy he so desperately wanted and needed and gave me the chance to be a mummy.

Little did I know then how the next 13 years would pan out. It was never easy but the last 2 years have been harder than I ever could have imagined. This is because of a mixture of childhood trauma, a lack of post adoption support and little or no understanding from professionals of the impact of trauma and adverse life experiences on children and adults.

Yet again we've had another appointment where I've ended up in tears at the lack of support and understanding as ' hes making choices' or ' hes an adult and has capacity' which I can clearly see isn't the full picture of what's going on with my son.

That little boy is now 19 and although his early life experiences make it difficult to support him at times I hope he knows that I will always be here in his corner and i will never give up on him. That's what I texted him this morning.