The first time I asked for help with parenting my children, I remember having to work up to it. I remember feeling that if this was something that I wanted for so long, why wasn’t I able to do it very well? I remember feeling like asking the social worker was a big thing and I was worried about it. When I asked for help the first time the response I got was, ‘Post adoption depression is a thing you know.’
A few months later, my husband and I both asked for help. We requested a meeting with our social worker and the girls’ social worker. I mentioned the girls’ sensory needs, Big’s language delay, and the fact that Big really struggled to play. I was told, ‘Maybe you need to stop focusing on being a teacher and just enjoy being a parent.’ We then mentioned that we were very worried that Big didn’t seem to feel safe with us, that she was starting to be violent in her response to us. We were told, ‘You just need to give her some time and to relax a bit.’
We stopped asking for help for a while.
Over the last three and a half years, things have becoming increasingly difficult. We asked for help again. I was told that the fact that I ‘seem to parent them differently’ was the cause of everything we were experiencing. At that point we requested an official minuted meeting to discuss support for our family.
The support that has come from this period of difficulty has been the department agreeing to pay for my husband to be off for one day a week. I understand that we were very fortunate to get this. At the meeting we said that this was the one thing that really needed to continue. That it was just about giving us chance to breathe before we went into the weekend.
It was decided that a ‘professionals meeting’ should be held to discuss how people could support us further. The outcome of this meeting was to take away the day off for my husband.
When we ask for help as a family, it is to try to get help for our children. It is to try to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to support them. Big’s trauma is huge. It is all encompassing. Little is being engulfed in it. (As well as dealing with her own trauma.) I have run out of words to try to describe what this is like. How every single part of every single day has to be managed so carefully.
When we ask for help it is because we need help. It would seem that in our region, either people aren’t asking for help or, because there are relatively few adoptions, we’re the family that are experiencing such difficulties or, that we’re doing a terrible job of parenting our children. It is clear from the responses from the department that they think it is the latter. That really everything should be tickety-boo by now and why do I keep pestering them?
But we need help. So do I keep asking and keep being told that this is to do with what I’m doing and for them to tell me that I need to do better? Or do I stop asking? I don’t know. But we need help.
The best bits
Big floated in the pool last week. She let me hold her to get her set up then she let me let go so that she could try it by herself. And she did it!
Little and I did some very early in the morning baking yesterday. We made mince pies. We discussed the word ‘mincemeat’ a lot. (We actually mostly made jam tarts and a few mince pies.) She proudly carried them to the person we made them for and announced, ‘Here’s some meat pies for you. I don’t like meat pies. I like jam tarts. Will you share them with me? You can have all the meat pies though.’