Hels20 · 05/09/2018 06:41
Thanks for starting this post, OP. We have adopted two DSs who are gorgeous but our 7 year old (who we adopted at 2.6) is v challenging - I sense there is a lot of anger and we struggle with school. We definitely parent differently and lead by what he wants (he still likes to sleep with us from time to time when he is going through an anxious period).
My question is - did you tell people at school your background? Ie that you were fostered/adopted. I have not told his class mates as I want him to tell people - but over the summer, he told a friend quite matter of factly that he was adopted (no further information) and I was secretly pleased that he wanted to share it but also a bit worried that he won’t be able to deal with the whole class asking him questions...any advice?
(You seem so grounded and it gives me hope that he will get through his very angry phase.)
Ellen7262 · 05/09/2018 10:52
@Hels20 I'm so happy that you adopted!
I am grounded now but I definitely wasn't when I was younger. I think it's normal to go through a very angry phase to be honest, I remember feeling very rejected and isolated due to the fact I felt my bio mum had not wanted me/let me be taken into care. All you can do is be as supportive as possible and show that you won't leave them. I remember even when I was about 15 still getting into my mum and dad's bed when I was feeling anxious and abandoned!
In school everybody knew I was fostered as the teacher had explained it to the class. I only told people I was close with as I got older that I was adopted as I didn't want to be viewed as any different to them. It's a good thing that he has a friend he can share with that he's been adopted! I think you just have to leave it up to them and decide, and also show that it's okay to be adopted and it doesn't make them any different to their classmates. I commented earlier that my mum said we were always meant to be a family, it just took us a bit of time to find each other - I think that's very true and I think if you use that concept with your son it will help him see that he's no different from other kids. I don't know if that will help, but some of the feelings I felt were definitely related to feeling very different from other families x
Ellen7262 · 05/09/2018 10:57
@Hels20 oh and questions - people asking questions was horrible. I hated it. Especially as when I was younger I didn't know much and I felt like I had no answers for everybody. I just got used to it in the end I think. One of my foster parents told me if I don't want to answer the questions I don't have to - and that's what I did. I just used to say 'let's talk about something else' and eventually that did stop them pestering me. It's something that comes with the territory unfortunately :( when my mum and dad first fostered me and we moved schools, they asked the teacher to ensure nobody pestered me about it too much as I didn't like talking about it. The teacher would tell the kids not to ask questions if they heard them doing so x
kaytee87 · 05/09/2018 13:07
Neighbours called the police after hearing me scream for about 4 hours non stop. When they came to the house, they found me with 3 broken ribs, a badly healed wrist fracture, a black eye, my head cut open and a concussion.
My heart breaks for you op. I have a 2yo and I just can't imagine this at all, it makes me sick to my stomach. I'm so sorry you were let down by your bio parents (and first foster parents). I'm so glad you and your real parents found each other eventually. Don't be scared to have more counselling if it might help you form stronger relationships with others.
Ellen7262 · 05/09/2018 15:27
@kaytee87 thanks so much for taking the time to comment ❤️. I am considering it, I think I need a chance to talk through why I find it so hard to form a bond with people other than my parents and brother. I am such an advocate for counselling! I wish I could make it mandatory for all foster/former foster kids to have counselling to talk through their time in care and work on the issues they have developed because of it.
Hels20 · 05/09/2018 17:05
Thanks Ellen for doing this thread. My sons are gorgeous and DH and I love them so much - just wish our eldest would trust me.
Thanks for answering my questions and realising that it may be a long road but hopefully we will get there.
And I agree about counselling - just wish my eldest would open up more.
Ellen7262 · 05/09/2018 18:56
@Hels20 it will come with time! I don't know his story, but I know any child in the foster system will have had their trust broken. You just have to show them that they can always rely on you no matter what the situation, no matter how naughty they were. When my brother and I were naughty our parents used to tell us off, but also drill it into us that it didn't matter how bad we were they weren't going to leave us. That kind of behaviour really helped us see we could trust them x
Ellen7262 · 05/09/2018 19:20
My mum has passed on some advice for you! She's said she's so happy that you are considering fostering/adopting, and the fact you want to do it already shows you are the right person for fostering.
Practically speaking you will need a stable job (she was a teacher and my dad is a policeman), with a stable income that doesn't fluctuate too much. A decent sized house will help, 3 bedrooms minimum is usually what they look for. A garden is pretty much a must. The hours you work have to be child friendly, any very long hours won't work. A good support network looks good, as does living in a decent area close to good schools. Having great references is essential. But really the most important stuff really is the emotional. Patience, resilience to stressful situations and the ability to examine situations and be the person you need to be in that scenario help too. You have to have an open mind. You never know what is going to come through your door, and when. You have to be able to make quick decisions. Empathy is probably the most vital part of it all. Most situations you come across you will have never come across before. You will hear stories and wonder how that's ever even happened to a human, but you have to show them that you understand what they have gone through and you are there for them no matter what.
My mum says just an overwhelming sense of kindness will go further than anything. She wishes you lots of luck and sends lots of love xx
pippety · 05/09/2018 20:43
Huge thanks to your mum for her advice OP, and thank you for answering so thoroughly It’s really useful to hear her perspective on both a practical and emotional level - that combination of resilience and kindness is definitely something to aspire to. Realistically we’re a few years off being able to foster due to working hours/house size, but we both just feel that providing a child or children with love and stability would be a real privilege and I’m so encouraged by your mum’s words. All the best to her and to you - you both sound wonderful! x
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