This week we had our second DDP session provided under the Adoption support fund (ASF).
You can read about our first session here.
Since our first session I took part in The Adoption Social Twitter chat on the ASF which you can read about here. This lead to us getting further clarification on what the ASF can provide and what our LA should have done initially.
To cut a long story short there are very few providers of DDP locally and those around have long waiting lists so if we tried to change we would likely not be seen for some time. Fortunately following our first session our psychologist also came to the conclusion that it would not be in Tom’s best interest to do 3 hours of travelling for a 1 hour session just as he starts school. Between us we have a plan which she is going to take to the LA (so pleased not to have to do that again), my husband and I will continue to see her on a consultation basis and she is going to work with her colleague who lives near us and will see Tom to do some life story work (this other lady is not DDP trained but very experienced and will be working with our psychologist). This means we will not have to restart and be put on a waiting list. In all it looks far better for Tom than this time last week.
Knowing that we don’t have to deal with negotiating school and travel is a big weight off our minds.
The second session:
We were a little early this week and again got a much needed cup of tea, we then spent 20 minutes sat in the waiting room discussing our disgust of wallpaper made to look like distressed wood paneling in a magazine. Now this may sound silly but to have 20 minutes to discuss such trivial things and drink tea was lovely.
Dr S started by asking how the last few weeks had gone, we said “not a lot has happened, it’s been good actually.” We then spent an hour telling her how hard everything had been, she did point this out to us that maybe things were slightly harder than we suggested in our opening statement!
This session was similar to the first in that we talked about what had happened and how we felt about things Tom was or was not doing.
Generally we feel he is showing significantly less violence and when he does it is for a short time and he now spends more time talking about being sad or people dying (in a strange abstract way).
We have found the sadness easier to deal with in some ways but also very hard to watch and we were unsure if it was progress or just another thing to deal with. Dr S reassured us it is progress as it shows he is starting to understand his emotions and seeking comfort in a more appropriate way.
We do feel the violence is better with the sensory things we’ve been doing but the sadness is far more complex which is why Dr S suggested we try the life story work, we still don’t have the life story books and he did not have any life story work before he came to us. Tom has so many questions about his siblings and has started making up lots of stories about “when I was a baby…”. Having some expert support on how to help him express and understand his past should be great.
We have 2 more sessions booked in before Tom starts school (when child care is easiest). Dr S is going to try some mindfulness things with us next time as she pointed out we do think about what / why / if all the time and I especially never switch off. There was an interesting discussion about how adopters are trained to analyse and potentially over-think every aspect of their child’s behaviour! We’re also going to look at how we respond to different behaviours.
So far it has mainly been us talking about our experiences and it will be nice to start think about different strategies and have a few more tools under our belt.
Special thank you to @PsychGina for advice re. different providers, @NadjaSmit for ‘higher up power’ and @AdoptionSocial for providing an amazing platform to discover what we can do if we try and don’t blindly follow what LA tell us.