I bruise easily.

  

Summer is coming and I normally see this as a good excuse for wearing dresses everyday, however this year I’m not sure I can brave it. My body is covered in bruises from our eldest boy, they are a reminder of the pain my boys go through on a daily basis.

The bruises come from when he can’t control himself, it usually starts small, he lies on the floor screaming, I try to smooth him and acknowledge his pain, sometimes it ends there sometimes he just can’t control what he’s doing. He starts doing these ear piercing, life draining, screams and kicking and punching wildly. If possible I give him space and sit close by, but usually I need to move him to prevent injury to him or his brother, this is a dangerous move! Most of the time it ends up with me holding him like a baby while he crys, possibly through shame of the injury / damage he has done, the state of the room is a reminder but by this time it can be impossible to move him without restarting the screams, we can only move this time when he is ready.

It is hard to see him in pain, but it is also hard seeing the risk he is placing me and his brother in (he doesn’t usually do it when daddy is home). He can’t see what he is doing as he is so focused on getting any emotion out in any way he can.  We are yet to find a trigger as they can start from nowhere we can see, once he told me he screamed and hit me because he couldn’t remember his sister’s name.

More recently we have seen a change in his violent outbursts, he has started to ask me if certain things hurt i.e. hair pulling or hitting, if I say yes he then does it harder. We have also started to find marks on him from where he has hurt himself, a few days ago I came into his room to find him hitting the floor, he told me he was hitting it as I had been hitting him in his dreams, it broke my heart. 

My precious boy can be so caring and attentive at times, but he can also really scare me. 

We had been telling the social workers that things were getting difficult and I don’t think they believed us, then during a recent visit Tom just started attacking me without any prompting mid sentence, he was hitting and clawing at my face with his hands around my neck. The social worker was shocked. They promised us some support form CAMHS, that was a few weeks ago, we’re waiting, hoping.

So far the advice we have been given is to not hide the bruises and ensure he understands we are in control. I can not keep the bruises on show as I can not deal with all the questions from those around us and see the heartbreak on his face, I will let him see them but only for a short time and where he has space / time to react, I know this is not what they want us to do but I just don’t feel it’s right for us to do more at present. As to asserting our control, I find this difficult, we encourage him to have some control and choice around things in the house and he seems to thrive on that, but we always ensure he knows we need to keep him safe and we are in charge of him, we have struggled taking the control away from him and are desperate for a more structured plan as we don’t feel this is right for our boy, so again we are not doing as adviced.

Over the last few days I have found Twitter and The Adoption Social really helpful in letting me know I am not alone and it has given me the confidence that I need to push for what’s right for my son, also to finish this post which has taken about 20 drafts!

Not my favourite week!

  

So this last week or 2 things have not gone the way I thought. I have really struggled to write anything as it’s hard to think logically on so little sleep.

Firstly let me address a problem I come across regularly from people I love, yes I am very lucky to finally have 2 beautiful children after a long wait but that doesn’t mean I am going to like them all the time and I can’t complain about things related to them when I want to. Some times they are a pain in the backside! We never entered into adoption thinking everything would be rosy from the start, however some of our friends and family did seem to think that and have been added to my ‘pain in the backside’ list (it’s got quite long recently). I shared with some friends and family a link to a article called “10 things adoptive parents wished their friends and family understood“, I thought it was a helpful summary but wasn’t well received. That feels better to get it off my chest.

We have had some big challenges in the last 2 weeks. My uncle passed away unexpectedly so my emotions were on edge, never a good start, the boys were able to pick up on this especially as I haven’t had time to grieve properly. For a few weeks Tom (3) has been screaming at length over very small and inconstant things (teeth brushing, steps, flowers etc.), this we think is related to some regression and have been going with it (thanks to some lovely twitter people’s advice), we had just started getting the hang of this when it all changed. Last week Tom started to get really really angry, this cumulated in violent outbursts usually hurting myself or his brother (rarely daddy), this unfortunately was witnessed and affected some other children from church (the parents were amazingly supportive). We tried all the PACE stuff but he didn’t seem able to regulate himself and just couldn’t stop. Fortunately (or not depending on how you look at it) this coincided with a social worker visit who witnessed the dramatic change in our little boy, she was fantastic and went through some play therapy bits with him to help identify some motivation – he really wanted to hurt me. The social worker was quick to offer support from CAMHS which was such a relief, she thinks it is likely an attachment issue. We had spent the whole week feeling like failures unsure if we had understood everything we’d read right, it was great to get some reassurance. We are also really lucky that we had help offered so quickly, within the first week of violence. Now the violence hasn’t stopped but we feel more confident in doing what we do knowing help is round the corner.

James (1) has been sat quietly observing everything that’s gone on, the screaming, hitting, kicking etc. and in the last few days has started to think this is normal behaviour and tried to join in – ahhhh!

Then as if I wasn’t fed up enough already I find out a friend has used something she found out accidentally about our boys and been telling people without our consent. This had lead to some confusing conversations. Then to top it off the Tories are in power again so I can say goodbye to a decent education system and my job (I am an NHS professional).

After a frustrating few weeks I just felt like it was too much and I couldn’t carry on, I wanted to hide away, then they both show their winning smiles and give me an amazing hug and show real affection. Then when Tom was ill this week a friend took James for the day to give me a break and focus on Tom, it was a great relief, my faith in humanity was restored in a few simple gestures.

Today I feel like everything will be manageable in the end and that I am not alone. I also got the chance to meet up with a lovely lady to pray with from Home For Good using their local link up (here), never underestimate a real life person to share with who doesn’t judge you and will pray without prying.

Sorry it’s a ranty post, but putting it down helps me process it. Any survival tips greatly received!