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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.

I don't know how I can go on.

(56 Posts)
exhaustedmumofone Tue 18-Apr-17 20:30:50

Regular poster but have NC for this, will try to be as brief as possible.

Adopted a little girl 11 years ago. She is now 12. From an early age she was extremely hard work, persistent defiance, lying, stealing, oppositional. I tried many different approaches to parenting and muddled through. I became a much firmer parent than I'd ever anticipated and had to put boundaries of steel around her. It worked to a greater degree. This was in the days when the issues around early attachment and trauma weren't widely known. The situation nearly cost me my relationship with my DP and I fell out with a number of family members and friends who saw my parenting as the cause of her problems rather than vice versa.

At around age 7 school finally became concerned and we went to CAMHS. She was diagnosed with attachment difficulties. All the pennies dropped with me and I read everything about therapeutic parenting I could get my hands on. Not one person was able to give a single piece of practical advice. They just told me to keep on doing what I was doing as it seemed to be working.

It has been an extremely difficult battle but by the age of about 10 things calmed down considerably. She and I have a very close relationship most of the time. We spend a lot of time together, she has become an emotionally intelligent girl and we have worked together on helping her to regulate her emotions. We have a lot of fun most of the time and lots of shared interests. I love her very much.

About 6 months ago her behaviour started to plummet (serious illness in a family member, an increasingly dependent parent I care for and adolescence all in the picture so no surprises really). The stealing, lying and defiance have been ramped up. Her attitude is awful, she can manage for a couple of days but then the crap behaviour and attitude return. I'm on my knees with it. I'm physically exhausted, on the brink of sinking back into depression and my blood pressure is high again.

I don't know what to do. I have a partner but we don't live together, not that he can manage her. I have no babysitters as either I'm not confident in them being able to manage her or they won't babysit for fear of false allegations of physical abuse which she used to make regularly.

She's having therapy at the moment and the therapist is aware and trying to work with her. I am paying privately for therapy for myself. But I'm so low and exhausted. The early years were so very hard and I can't believe we're back there. I don't know how to find the energy to continue.

When she was around 7 years old school finally picked up on it. We went

exhaustedmumofone Tue 18-Apr-17 20:44:59

Ignore that line at the bottom, wifi problems, got disconnected during posting.

greathat Tue 18-Apr-17 20:49:40

Can't really help but there are some links here are any of them any use?

exhaustedmumofone Tue 18-Apr-17 20:59:25

Thanks for your reply great. The thing is i know just about everything there is to know about attachment, I could probably write my own book. I know what to do I just don't have the energy or patience to do therapuetic parenting at the moment. Understanding what's going on is easy, it's the sheer relentlessness and hyper-vigilance that's crippling me.

luckylucky24 Tue 18-Apr-17 21:37:59

Would you consider some respite care so you can have some me time to recharge?

exhaustedmumofone Tue 18-Apr-17 21:47:54

lucky there's nothing available, and we're using all of our ASF money on her therapy. My partner had her a few days last week to give me a break but I'm so depleted that it's just given me a brief break but not re-charged me.

PurpleBirch Tue 18-Apr-17 22:03:18

I wish I had something more helpful to write but as an adoptive parent of a very difficult 6 year old, I can truly empathise. Sometimes you know and understand every theory going but we are only human and it is very hard to put into practice when you feel at rock bottom. It's so tough and relentless at times. Be kind to yourself flowers cake wine

exhaustedmumofone Tue 18-Apr-17 22:15:51

Thanks purple, having someone understand how hard it is helps, doesn't resolve it but makes me feel less isolated.

flapjackfairy Wed 19-Apr-17 06:26:02

It all sounds incredibly hard and i sympathise.
I think post adop team need to look at some proper respite, maybe carers coming into your home so you can go away overnight can work well.
It is so hard when it is relentless and you sound an amazing mum . You need to take any little bit of time you can to do your own thing. Be selfish when your dd is out or at school if you can and try to find something for yourself. Get signed off work if need be. This is about your survival as there are others leaning on you and you have so much on your plate. I have a ltfc who is hitting puberty and it is throwing all sorts into the mix so i get it to some extent. Teenagers are draining at the best of times but hopefully in time it will settle down . Bloody hormones i say !
Finally try not to think about anything past today .
I really hope you get some help and support and send v best wishes xxx

JustHappy3 Wed 19-Apr-17 10:28:59

I'm so sorry - i have nothing useful to offer as you are far ahead of me in experience. Just wanted to send
flowers and cake

fasparent Wed 19-Apr-17 10:37:06

Contact they may be able too offer some advice or help also they have rest bite facility. Google site if no direct access.
Wish you luck.

B1rdonawire Wed 19-Apr-17 12:03:11

This is so hard. Firstly, can you get to the GP for you, to get support with your blood pressure and discuss whether medication would help with the depression symptoms? I 100% get that your feelings are from a very real set of circumstances and reasons, but if there is medical help to get you feeling stronger to cope with the reality, that seems like a place to start. Caring for a sick relative, and trying to manage your child, are going to have a physical toll on you, and you need to take care of yourself first if you possibly can.

I second the advice to contact the open nest, or national association of therapeutic parents, who might both be able to give you back-up and help you access support.

I can see your post is just dreading having to dig so deep, again, and put so much in, again. You sound beyond exhausted, and that makes it so hard to ask for help (and keep asking when people aren't listening). You have done an amazing thing already in supporting your child through their pre-10 problems. You can do it again, but not on your own, no-one could.

fasparent Wed 19-Apr-17 13:39:37

See that The open nest webb seems not to be running for some reason
how ever they do have some excellent links and therapeutic advice , on a equal good Adoption Help site " Adoption Social " Lots of Adoptive parents share issues and concerns on this site.

user1465479085 Wed 19-Apr-17 13:52:06

sounds incredibly tough, I can empathise with much of what you're going through.

When you mention about the fact it was before issues around early attachment were known, do you mean your daughter displayed attachment difficulties early on but you weren't aware of the signs? My boy came to me aged 1 but had a few different primary carers even in those few short months.

He was diagnosed with ADD aged 6, then FASD, before attachment issues were even considered, by me or anyone else. He's 9 now but i'm still struggling to find someone to take the issues seriously, or find a way around them.

I sincerely hope things improve for you, is a good suggestion

exhaustedmumofone Fri 21-Apr-17 21:39:49

Hi all, thank you for your kind words and advice.

I am on medication for my blood pressure already, it's very hard to get my GP to understand the difficulties of caring for a child with attachment difficulties, they, like most people, seem to think that adoption is 'happily ever after' and just don't get the daily grind. I can't take anti-depressants as they don't agree with me. Fortunately I don't have to work at the moment but don't know how I could return to work tbh due to her high level of need and lack of childcare. Nor do other people around us 'get it' which makes it so much tougher.

I will have a look at the open nest, thanks to those of you who recommended it.

B1rd that's absolutely it, trying to dig deep for further patience and energy when feeling depleted. The dread that comes when difficult behaviours return.

flapjack you too are right, the bloody hormones on top of all the pre-existing challenging stuff make getting through the day very, very tough.

One of the most difficult and perverse things is that I have worked myself into the ground with severe consequences to my mental and physical health in the past to get us to this point. She had terrible social skills and emotional regulation which interfered with most of her day to day interactions with adults and children. Me and her have gone through hell to get her to a better point where she is liked by others and involved in social activities. But it some ways I think this work we've done is acting against us as it's made her 'disabilities' quite invisible to the casual observer. As such other people cannot understand why she exhausts me so much. Does anyone else experience this paradox?

User yes, she displayed difficult and challenging behaviours from day one of placement which I now know were attachment difficulties but they weren't formally acknowledged or named until she was around 7. Prior to that I was labelled as either an over anxious or over controlling parent. My approaches to school, school nurse, health visitor etc were met with 'all kids do that'. However as I said upthread, even when we got our diagnosis no-one seemed able to give me any practical advice.

fasparent Sat 22-Apr-17 09:21:51

You should still be able too access Adoption support fund via LA see under support then funding for information as too what is available.
As for school's would contact LA's Schools statutory disability team for advice .
Webb site also has details of how Pupil premium should be used.
Would also contact your or a local support group as in Parent partnership. You should not be alone problem is better shared.
wish you all the best.

fasparent Sat 22-Apr-17 10:14:42

Regards school would suggest you enquire too disability team of an assessment by the way of the pathway plan, which will lead too an Educational health care plan being put in place. , this replaces the old statement procedure , supposed too be better as children do no longer need a diagnosis too access the system.

B1rdonawire Sat 22-Apr-17 12:11:41

National Assoc of Therapeutic Parents has some brilliant "open letters" you can use to give people who don't get it - they have different versions for friends/family, or for "professionals". Might that be helpful for your clueless GP? There is a cost to joining but worth looking into maybe?

For free, have you considered joining the Therapeutic Parents group on Facebook? There are a lot of extremely experienced people in attachment on there who can be a supportive virtual community, and offer practical advice. It's run by Sarah Naish (among others), a foster carer, adopter, and author on trauma and attachment.

fasparent Sat 22-Apr-17 12:27:00

The School's Statutory Disability team is run by your LA. Would be perhaps better too contact them direct rather than through school
this is what we did , takes time we are now at final stage with Educational Phycologists assessment , but have had lots of support on the way too this stage, such as OT's, therapist, eating, play, speech and language. etc

exhaustedmumofone Mon 24-Apr-17 00:29:36

fasparent we're already spending all of our ASF money on therapy for my DD. We're coming up to a year of therapy but in financial years that 3 years worth of funding due to dates of application/assessment etc IYKWIM? So nothing left in the pot financially to ask for further support

She's mostly ok at school, bright and sociable. School are on board with me, sympathetic and supportive but as the problematic behaviours rarely present there there's little else they can do. So pupil premium and senco involvement isn't an issue.

B1rd I've just joined the NAoTP today, thank you for the recommendation.

I totally appreciate all of your responses. I'm still left with two questions though.

1) where do you find the energy to keep going through it after 10 plus years?

2) does therapeutic parenting lead to hiding the problem? I'm not suggesting we parent differently but when we've worked hard and our kids present as 'coping' and we know they aren't how do we square that with our experiences and continued daily struggle?

iamnotstinky Mon 24-Apr-17 09:36:44

I have been told that early years behaviour will represent in the adolescent years and so I look forward to that! In our case I am not sure what that will mean exactly. But to answer your point 1, the way I see it is that this is not forever, many troubled teenagers grow into fine young adults who cope and who are independent, and what you put in now will pay dividends for decades in the future! 10 years now, but decades of a good adult relationships with eachother and others.

In relation to paragraph 2, no I don't think so. I think that is because of what I have said above. You are setting ground work for healthy mental health in the future we hope, so it is down to faith and hope at the moment, and the fact that she is coping elsewhere is a very good start.

I am in a very positive frame of mind today, as you can see.

When i hit the brick wall i basically accept that dc's needs trump mine and that is that, and that somehow helps me to dig deep once again.

fasparent Mon 24-Apr-17 11:05:24

Do see where you are coming from have 3 with disability's now adult's.
Two with full fas fasd both are fine now in work , drive , and live independent still have their lifetime conditions. Did not have support as is available today. Main thing is too enjoy life get involved with inclusion's.
We are in the same position with little one just starting out not used ASF as yet due too multiple issues.
If you were out of area your own LA takes the ASF reigns' once the 3 years are up there is supposed too be no time restriction's under new system. LA puts in support request on a monthly Basic too central Gov.

OlennasWimple Mon 24-Apr-17 14:12:12


That's a great question about coping strategies leading a masking of the problem, so that outside observers don't think that there is a problem. I'm watching with interest for others' replies, as I am still struggling with this one myself (with an added dose of distinct disapproval from some people who do get to see how DD behaves when she gets into a downward spiral, and clearly think that I am being a crap mother to put up with the things she says and does....)

exhaustedmumofone Mon 24-Apr-17 15:27:05

Olennas I'm pleased that you commented on this. The sheer volume of work that goes into parenting a traumatised child, work that very few other people witness or experience, just to enable them to fit in and manage is not only under the radar to most observers but also sometimes the subject of criticism by them.

I wonder how 'feral' my DD might be turning out now had I not parented therapeutically. Sometimes peoples' thresholds for challenging behaviour is throwing furniture at school and disengaging with education. My DD doesn't exhibit any of this kind of behaviour so, therefore, people can't understand how exhausting parenting her can be.

OlennasWimple Mon 24-Apr-17 15:57:34

I hear ya!

My DD behaves brilliantly at school and for most other authority figures. She saves it all up to take out on me, DH and DS...

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