Is it time for a therapeutic Santa?
Journeys of an adoptive dad
by Andrew
1y ago
22/12/2022 Christmas can be stressful at the best of times. From family politics to getting the arrangements sorted for a family celebration, it’s a full-on time for most families. For children, the excitement can reach fever pitch with kids being like coiled springs before the big day. Often the excitement co-exists with end of term tiredness and with the possibility of becoming seriously overwhelmed. Alongside the magic of Christmas, we have traditions, which I feel need a little bit of a reboot. While watching a number of Christmas specials on Netflix with my daughter, I’ve lost count of th ..read more
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Navigating a world that isn’t trauma informed
Journeys of an adoptive dad
by Andrew
1y ago
25/07/2022 Parenting a child with early trauma is tough, really tough. It can be rewarding, challenging and of course keeps you on your toes. But for me, a few years in, one thing is a constant – trying to explain to professionals and others the impacts of early trauma and often getting blank looks in response. It isn’t to say that our little one hasn’t been treated by excellent professionals or had extremely caring teachers, because she has. It’s just that the root of the challenges is so far off the experience and knowledge of many people encountering her, that it can require constant explai ..read more
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Waking a hibernating blog
Journeys of an adoptive dad
by Andrew
2y ago
When I started this blog, I had meant it to be at least semi-regular – but sometimes life just gets in the way. Towards the end of last year, I was working on lots of writing aside blogging about adoption and keeping this up went on the back burner. More recently, I just had to simplify things. A number of bereavements, our daughter becoming ill and various other personal things going on in a short space of time meant focusing my energies on family, staying well and ensuring I was doing my day job as effectively as I can. Things are getting back on track and life seems to be settling down a to ..read more
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The adoption process is invasive and challenging, but for good reason
Journeys of an adoptive dad
by Andrew
2y ago
21/09/2021 Like many people, I found the adoption process challenging, but once we were approved and on the road to adopting our little girl, I felt all it had been necessary. The Government has over time made its intention to speed up the adoption process clear. Former Education Secretary Gavin Williamson stated that the only qualification you need to adopt is “the ability to love and care for a child,” which is a idea thoroughly disputed by the experience of adoptive parents, adoptees and professionals alike. A little while ago, I had a couple of conversations with someone considering adopti ..read more
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Routine, transitions and the summer holidays
Journeys of an adoptive dad
by Andrew
3y ago
17/08/2021 Like many children who have experienced early trauma, our little one thrives on routine. In the early days of her placement with us, she’d need micro-detail about what was going to happen. For her it had to a be a minute-by-minute breakdown such as “we’ll put our shoes on by the front door, go out and cross the road, take the bus into town”. She’s made huge progress over time.  As I’m sure has been the case for many children, lockdown benefited her enormously. While there were some challenges early on, the extra time in and chance for additional re-parenting did her a world of ..read more
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Adoption: Expectation vs reality
Journeys of an adoptive dad
by Andrew
3y ago
05/08/2021 No matter how prepared you are or how ready you feel, the realities of adoption will always be a shock. They certainly were for us. We’re still relatively new to being an adoptive family in the grand scheme of things, but I feel we’ve come through quite a few challenges while learning on the job! Our approval process was long. At the time it felt like an eternity. We were asked to take time out between stage one and stage two to take stock, as well as having to undertake adoption focused counselling. Initially it was a frustration, but we embraced it and decided to roll with the pun ..read more
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The isolation and loneliness of adoption
Journeys of an adoptive dad
by Andrew
3y ago
19/07/2021 Adoption can be really isolating. Really isolating. From the challenges of having to be separate and not introduce family early in placement, to the isolating impact of challenging behaviour caused by early trauma, a sense of separation and loneliness can easily creep in with adoption. Parenting in general can have this effect, but adopting can create some very particular circumstances. Early in our placement, once I had gone back to work after taking extended leave, the door would close, and my partner would be on her own. Of course, I’d do whatever I could to ease the loneliness s ..read more
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The importance of contact
Journeys of an adoptive dad
by Andrew
3y ago
25/05/2021 Adoption has rightly changed enormously over the years. Where once it would have been seen as the right thing to ‘protect’ a child against issues arising from contact with birth family, we now know the importance understanding life story, knowing who family members are and being in touch where safe and appropriate.   In recent weeks, conversations around contact have exploded and the issue has worked it’s way into the mainstream media, with a Today programme feature and attendant BBC article about the breakdown of an adoptive placement.  In this case, teenage boys moved ba ..read more
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Why I’m not an adoption evangelist
Journeys of an adoptive dad
by Andrew
3y ago
22/04/2021 When I discuss adoption and my views on it, I often find there’s a disconnect between where people expect me to be and where I actually am. In wider society, there can understandably be a simplified, rose-tinted view of adoption that comes to the fore when as an adopter, you discuss it with someone who isn’t actively a part of this world. What I’m referring to is the idea that adoption is essentially an unequivocal good. It’s a view grounded in a massive simplification that goes something like this; child is in a bad place, they need a home, a family comes along, and they all walk o ..read more
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Framing contemporary adoption
Journeys of an adoptive dad
by Andrew
3y ago
There is a gulf between perceptions of adoption within wider society and the experience and understanding of adopters and adoptees. This is obviously no great revelation to anyone involved with adoption. What is interesting to me is the dynamic that exists between societal expectations and understandings of adoption, the way adoption is marketed to prospective adopters and the realities of the challenges faced by adoptive families. Like many, I experienced gushing wide-eyed responses to telling people that we are considering adoption. Adoption can sometime be presented as an end point, a desti ..read more
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