‘A Carers Life’ August 2020 – Sarah

Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would be here, not only a mummy and daddy to an amazing nine year old daughter, but living through a virus you can’t see, you can’t hear, and yet has left behind its awful scar and heartache.

You see, we figured this is pretty much what life parenting a child that had suffered extreme neglect, abuse, and significant loss due past trauma would be like.

We know her past – well what we and the social workers are aware of!

But no one, not even prep training or having a history of working with children, can prepare you life as an adoptive parent.

Social workers can only tell you what they know about your child’s history, but there are so many unknowns. It is like a jigsaw puzzle being unpicked and trying to put the pieces together and most importantly putting together again right.

Over the past four years we have worked hard to help our girl, understand her feelings and how to work on her emotions and how to handle them. She struggles with change and this has taken us a long time.

As time has passed, we have discovered she has autism, attachment disorder and sensory processing disorder. We weren’t aware of any of this prior to the adoption, but it is what it is, and we are learning as we go on.

Lock down for us was another change in our lives and it has come with great memories and a lot struggled and anxiety.

Sleep had been always been a big issue for her and she only has an average of five hours sleep a night, she wakes constantly and is fully awake at 3am. Daily routines for her haven’t changed, because she is home educated as school proved to much for her emotionally. She presents as a baby/toddler most days and has a bottle and dummy. We never make an issue over this and just go with the flow.

Lock down has caused a lot of triggers of past trauma – having to queue for food and, in the early stages, lack of food. Food is her biggest worry due to going days without food. Secondly, not being allowed to go out when we want to the places she loves. She was not allowed out of her room for days.

But there also has been a good side in all the lovely family times together

We have survived making it fun using lots of imagination, we have not worried to much about academic and educational topics. We have learnt since we deregistered her from school, that what our girl needed was a chance to fill in the gaps in her wall. Also, a chance for her to experience what she never had from us when she was a baby.

We have figured out Zoom and she has continued her singing, dancing, and jazz lessons online.

She has discovered her love for acting and singing, we have been helping her each week with the homework given. She has won star of the week twice in singing, tap and jazz because of this.

The biggest killer is the lack of sleep and having to fight for the support for our girl.

Once the adoption was final, we definitely felt we were on our own and anything, and I mean anything, is a fight to make life easier for us as a family.

As I’m sat here at exactly 2.35am trying to help miss mop to understand that her birth dad is not coming to take her or me away, it kind of makes you feel so angry at life and how if we had met sooner, all this heartache and trauma may not have happened.

I wish that I could take all her worries away and she could sleep without being so scared of being taken away.

I feel like I am doing something wrong and I am failing her, because even after four years of being with us she still feels so scared her birth father is coming to take her away. But then I realise that it’s because I and her daddy are making her feel so loved and cared for, she is so scared of being taken away from us as a family. It is so bittersweet!!!!

Tonight, she has been particularly anxious, and we have had to try to think what may have triggered a memory for her. We figured that when we went shopping there was a man smoking and she said that birth dad used to smoke and blow it in her face.

Who could have imagined how the brain keeps score on something so simple as this.

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