I've just re-read some of my blog posts from our first few months with Missy. It wasn't a good time. What really strikes me is just how little prepared we were to deal with her trauma and how little we really understood about attachment.
As a prospective adopter we had a two day training, we had regular visits from our SW during home study and we had some brief reading to do. We were given a file of photocopied articles and a particular book by Margot Sunderland was recommended. But that was it. It wasn't insisted by anyone that we read a whole load of books and I don't think we even got a reading list. We didn't meet any adopters other than a chap who came to talk on our 2 day course. No wonder we were so naive in the early days. What I've learnt about attachment, trauma and being an adoptive parent has been since Missy came home and has come from reading other adopters blogs, meeting up with other adopters, chatting and getting advice on Twitter and FB, and reading loads including Dan Hughes, Louise Bomber, Holly van Gulden, Bryan Post and Sally Donovan. We also had some excellent training from PAC earlier this year.
I don't know what the stage 1 and 2 training consists of now (it wasn't known as stage 1 and 2 when we did it). I only hope prospective adopters do have a greater understanding of attachment and trauma than we did before their children come home. Via Twitter I gather that some prospective adopters have a three line whip as far as their reading list is concerned, whilst others do not. Some are talking about attachment and regulation, others are not. One friend is attending a training on PACE which I think is brill. Once again, processes seem to vary hugely among LAs or even SWs. Of course, things can look very different in practice from how it's described in a book, but one hopes at least adopters will be more prepared than we were.
If we'd understood more back in the early days I don't think we'd have started Missy at school until after Christmas, we would have done a lot more nurturing and done more to help regulate Missy (and me). Hopefully we would have had a better insight to her behaviour. I cringe when I read about going to her Christmas school play, just five weeks after placement.
In other news, I am being very prepared for Christmas for once. I've nearly finished the present buying and written most of the cards! I think I deserve a Baileys later.