Four years ago at this time we were sat on our settee with my camera on its tripod taking our first photos as a family having picked Sqk up from his foster carer’s house at around 9.30am. Following 12 bizarre days as we went through Introductions we brought home a little boy who was to become our son. Now the little toddler is a happy confident year 2 school boy – although he reverts to baby at times. Particularly as his childminder (of nearly 3 years) in August started looking after two babies.
Those 4 years have not been easy at times – we are currently in the middle of paediatrician led investigations into whether we could have pre-natal alcohol exposure of possibly ADHD. We definitely have some mild attachment issues and sensory stuff going on. However I always say Sqk is an easy child – he is in adoption terms compared to so many children I know – but that phrase causes other school Mums to look at me oddly. We have an intelligent boy who loves learning, happily reads with the top level group in his year and loves Maths. Even his handwriting is improving – I was amazed last week looking at his homework. This is thanks to some real support at school where he has support with him at all times during lessons alongside a number of modified policies. Like so many children of trauma consequences have to be immediate and relevant to what has happened. He can respond to reward charts but mainly for things like toileting where we are currently gathering ticks towards a toy he wants if he has a dry day. The fun with him is reading the behaviour – is he being naughty or is it deeper? All of us involved with him know the cheeky smile that currently still indicates the former – long may that continue. As I am forever saying he is probably two years behind emotionally and socially much of the time – on bad days we have a 2 year old rather than a 6 year old. School however intend to enter him for SATs and we have hopes – even if he did fail his phonics screening test (he hates nonsense words).
T just commented (I am writing this post to be scheduled) the first eyar was magical, the second year difficult, the third year horrendous (but in the main due to us & jobs stress) and the fourth year has been an ever improving picture.
In the last 12 months we have had a sensory assessment from Sarah Lloyd and a referral to our local paediatrician who is a FASD expert. Both via post adoption support – who have signed us off again but left matters open for us to go back. We are dealing with the move to a Regional Adoption Agency and long term we are seriously thinking about moving to the city where I now work partly down to the policies of the city council.
We both hope the fifth year will bring us an EHCP and hopefully a diagnosis for the attention and focus issues be that FASD or ADHD. We both hate ‘labels’ but also know that for accessing support educationally they help so much. We suspect the EHCP is going to be a fight even with the full backing of school as Sqk has no learning difficulties per-say. My in-laws one regret is that they did not fight harder for T to get a statement so he didn’t get the support he needed till 6th form college unlike my brother where Mum fought tooth and nail. T said he wants that support for his son – as I do. DLA is also potentially under discussion as we do have to do things differently from so many of his age.
In this the National Adoption Week in England I have to say that we have no regrets about adopting Sqk – he is the light of our lives and a lovely boy. However T has basically said not again so he will remain an only child – we were not allowed to be approved for more than 1 due to my healthy issues so siblings never raised themselves for us. The focus of this week does sometimes make me wander as what we adopters desperately need is support and people to understand that trauma cannot be fixed by love alone. And yes even children removed at birth have experienced trauma.