Monday, 30 December 2013

So that was Christmas and 2013

Our second Christmas with Missy has passed; such a long build up and then, whoosh, it's done.

It was lovely to see Missy far more excited this year about Christmas, about Santa coming, about receiving presents, about making mince pies and, well, Christmas in general.   Santa brought her, as requested, a cat onesie and a big dolls house full of furniture and people (my mega-find on ebay!).  Daddy and Mummy got her a bike and a few other presents, alongside the mountain she got from other friends and family.  

For the first time ever Missy visited a church, first of all to attend the Christingle Service and then the Crib Service on Christmas Eve.  I think she liked it.  I certainly did.

On  Christmas morning a very excited Missy was in our bedroom at 4.06am and then again at 4.30am.  I managed to get her off to sleep again and then we actually had to wake her up at 7.50am so we could all go downstairs and see what Santa had left.

My Mum stayed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day nights and spent a lot of time with Missy.  Missy loves her grandmas -she also spent a lot of time on Daddy's mum's knee when we went to visit his family for a few days.  Interestingly, previously when our families have been around, Missy hasn't screamed or shouted, but this time she certainly exhibited some less than festive behaviour - I suppose in a perverse way we should see this as positive as Missy is now beginning to feel comfortable enough with them to be herself and express her feelings.

The weekend before Christmas I was ill, completely off my food for nearly four days - thankfully my appetite was almost back to normal by Christmas Day.  However, since then I've had bronchitis and have been coughing like a mad thing.  This past year I've been ill so many times which just goes to show how stressed I've been.  That's one thing I really need to change in 2014.  My diet has been dreadful this last year and that will definitely change.

Another lovely thing this Christmas was sitting down and watching films.  Last year Missy couldn't hold her attention long enough and was constantly up and down and asking what was going on.  This year however we've all thoroughly enjoyed sitting and watching Polar Express, White Christmas, The Jungle Book, It's a Wonderful Life, Gangsta Granny to name but a few.  Mary Poppins is on in half an hour and I'm pretty sure Missy will like it.

We've only had a couple of big meltdowns in the last two weeks which is great.  Yes, we've had tantrums, strops and the word 'No' is the most used word in Missy's vocabulary, but on the whole, all things considered with the lack of school routine, visiting Daddy's sister's house for the first time, excitement of Santa coming, food anxieties etc, it's been an ok Christmas I reckon.  For me, it's been made all the better by having Daddy home full time too.

Looking back over the year, it's been a heck of a ride and I'm looking forward to a calmer 2014.  There's still lots we have to learn about therapeutic parenting; I'd give us 5/10 this year.  We need to learn to not sweat the small stuff far more than we do, not to take things personally (most times we don't but there's only so much verbal abuse one can take), we need to empathise more, accept more and learn how to deal better with situations so as to diffuse them rather than escalate them.  But we're doing ok.  We're still here. We haven't imploded and ended up a chocolately sticky mess on the floor.  Daddy and I need to get out more too, get a bit of life back for ourselves.

Right, time for Mary Poppins.  I wonder what she'd be like as an adoptive parent?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A Secret Santa Blog

The lovely ladies at Adoption Social arranged a Secret Santa whereby we write a blog post for another adopter blogger.  I've received a lovely post written by Adopting Safe Mummy Ways at and I'll definitely be making these:-

Guest Post

Adoption Social told me I was randomly picked to share a blog with Dear Daughter and I was quite excited about this.  The similarities of Sezz “Keeping sane with cake, chocolate, reiki and EFT” and my own calming, distressing tools of baking, chocolate and hypnotherapy are very well matched!

Christmas is a tricky time in our house and we do lots every year to reframe and reinforce the good stuff around Christmas.  Of course, it also needs lots of time with my girls to connect and calm, so baking in our house, is the go-to resource.  Therefore I thought I’d share one of my newer baking events and hope that it may be new to Dear Daughter or some of the blog readers.

Christmas Surprise Buns

It all starts with a basic bun / cake recipe. 

125g sugar
125g butter or margarine
125g self raising flour
2 eggs

Make a flat tray of sponge (like a swiss roll type).  We use Gas 4 for about 15 minutes. Cook for minimum time possible until just baked then allow to cool. 

Using small cutters, stars, tree, stocking shapes (whatever you like really) cut out the shapes from the cooled sponge mixture.  Then freeze the shapes.

Later or next day, make another batch of mixture, we often do chocolate version for this one and put small dollop into bun cases.  Then take the frozen shapes and push into the uncooked bun mixture.  Make sure you push the shape in quite firmly (first time I just sat the shape on the top and they turn out so well!).  Then bake as normal.

You should end up with some lovely Christmas Buns which you can decorate or just leave as they are!  Enjoy.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Identity Theft

In an article in this month's Adoption UK magazine, nine adoptive mothers talk about their experience of a change in identity.  They talk about moving away from their old role to a new role, with some transitions coming as a shock for some of the women.  This really resonated with me as I think I'm still in shock.

I'm really not sure what my identity is, I feel I've lost something over the last year and I can't quite put my finger on it.   I think the speed of our approval, match and placement left me in shock even though I thought I was ready for motherhood.  I'm still not sure I feel like a mother yet, though I'm not exactly sure what I should feel like.  I look at birth mothers and wonder if there is something different they feel, or maybe being a mother is a shock to many, be birth or adopter.

The article talks about 'public identity' and here I struggle too.  Whilst many of my friends and acquaintances know that we've adopted, only one of the 'school mums' knows (well, actually two know - an acquaintance told the second mum and it wouldn't surprise me now if most of the mums knew thanks to second mum), and it's these mums I come into contact with most nowadays. I don't want to be judged and I don't want Missy to be judged.

Before we adopted, I was self-employed and prior to my self-employment I had been a full time PA.  But I don't know what I am now.  I don't feel I can go back to self-employment as logistically it won't work, plus it's also very hard work and takes up far more time than being an employee.  I loved the industry I worked in and the work I did sits strongly with my core values.    Maybe that's it, maybe I need to look at my core values and rebuild/rebrand myself.   I'm going to start another blog in the New Year under my real name with the subject matter that is dear to my heart, nothing to do with adoption, and that will give me something on which to focus and maybe I can rebuild my identity upon that.  I don't want to be seen, or view myself more importantly, as 'an adopter'.  Some birth mums I know who are mums full time still talk about themselves in terms of their jobs, even if they are having a five year break until kiddy goes to school full time.  I don't know what I am going to do and Missy is already at school full time.  I'm confused and the more I think about identity the more confused I get.

One quote in the article hits the nail on the head for me  - "It's all about confidence isn't it ...."   My confidence is one thing that's disappeared faster than a bar of chocolate after Missy has gone to bed.  So I guess I need to work on my confidence as a base for my identity.

In other news, I've done all my Christmas shopping and it's only the 13th!

Monday, 9 December 2013


I've read many posts from adopters who have constant struggles with their child's school appearing to have no understanding of adoption and the issues adoption can present in a child.

Thankfully, so far, Missy's school have been great.

We had our bi-annual PEP meeting recently where Missy's social worker, our social worker, me and Daddy, her teacher and the advisory teacher from the LA attended.  The headmaster is also the person in the school responsible for LAC so he attended too.  I'm glad he did as he's quite a cool dude, very willing to help where he can.

The report back from the teacher was that Missy is doing fine in school, is happy and quiet.  I pointed out that "happy and quiet" could probably be read as "compliant" as Missy hates the thought of her teacher being angry with her and is desperate to please.  We explained the anger Missy was exhibiting recently and how the girl they know at school is very different from at-home Missy.  However, because she is doing ok academically, the general concensus is that, as far as school is concerned, there is nothing for us to worry too much about.  And actually Daddy and I agreed with that.  Yes, we have to keep an eye on how 'compliant' she is, and it's obvious that she's holding a lot of emotions in at school, but on the whole we are happy.  Her workbooks look great, her reading and writing has come on leaps and bounds and she has lots of friends.  Her teacher is very happy to work with us and the headmaster suggested a couple of things to which Missy's Pupil Premium could be applied, such as emotion cards.  They realise that Missy struggles with the social side of things and have suggested a few things they can do to help her.

All that said, I still attended a workshop arranged by our LA on how to support adopted children in school. The day was led by an educational psychologist who certainly knew her stuff and definitely came across as understanding where parents are coming from.  We all shared why we were there and it was awful to hear of some parents' school stories: condescending headteachers, children being punished for their behaviour, parents being blamed by the teachers for their lack of parenting.  Whilst we have no issues with Missy at school at the moment, we know it could change, particularly when she goes to secondary school, so it was good to get tips and advice so we can be prepared.  Even though Missy is in Year 1, many of the parents said it definitely wasn't too early to start checking out the local secondary schools.

Straight after the workshop, I met up with the Play Therapist who offered to spend some time with us talking about Missy's current anger.  I explained the strategies Daddy and I were using and I admitted our patience was being sorely tested, and it was good to hear that she felt we were doing everything right (even if at times it feels like we aren't).  She gave us some other techniques to use and we'll catch up with her again in a few months.

In other news, hurrah for Kian being crowned King of the Jungle.  I've only just cottoned on to Kian - even my Mum was a Westlife fan years ago!
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