New Struggles

We are in a hot mess of new routines, new jobs, new daycare and new germs (cough, sniffle) and with it has come new situations to navigate…

I’ve been back to work for two weeks now, and really what I mean by this is I’ve been around more adults in the last two weeks than I have in over 9 months.
It’s been lovely, but I am struggling with a couple of things. That is a few things besides having no energy/brain power left for the few hours I get to see Jonathan in the evenings now and trying to mash dinner, clean up, housework or laundry, bathing him and bed in a really small window of time. Oh and we try to play too. Occasionally. We’ll get this new routine down soon I’m sure…right?

Struggle number one: I’ve heard “he’s so lucky to have you” more times than I care to mention during these past couple weeks. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, I know it’s not coming from any place but the person being happy for us, but for some reason it really does irk me. Plus I still don’t have a good response besides the grit my teeth and say no no, we’re the lucky ones…So any advice would be fantastic. Preferably if it contains sarcasm or some insider adopter humor.

Struggle number two: I’ve given more information to the daycare staff about Jonathan’s history than I thought I was going to. And I feel a bit icky about it.
My (our) intentions all along have been like most adopters – to not share Jonathan’s story with others because it is his to share when and if he chooses to. Even most of our close friends and family don’t know much of the details of the reports and information we have about his past. But, after a couple of rough days adjusting to his new daycare I felt that it was important for the staff to understand where his behaviour was coming from as they were quite panicked…and so were we!

I took a great idea from Claire at Family of Five and adapted it; basically it’s an explanation of his different behaviours and where they are probably coming from (ie. need to feel safe, doesn’t trust grow ups etc.) and how we deal with them at home (reassurance, describing his role as a kid and ours as a grown up etc.).
The letters itself isn’t my struggle, but in a conversation I had with one of the directors the next day I ended up giving much more detail than I thought I would to a non-family member or friend.

I struggle with it too because I don’t want a pity party or special treatment given because they feel sorry for him, or want them to feel like they should let him get away with things because he’s had it rough, or not tell us he’s had a rough day because he deserves a break. But, in order for him to be successful I feel that they need extra information so they can have an understanding of where he’s coming from and maybe a bit more patience and perhaps a different approach to behaviours than they are use to. But, in order to get this from them they need information…more than what I thought I wanted to share. Curse you vicious cycles. I know this will come up from here on out with teachers and other people along the way, so I suppose we start figuring it out now!

How do we do it all? How do we work and spend time together and run a house all at the same time? How do we deal with all the irking comments? How do we know when too much info is too much and when it is needed?

This going back to work thing is a lot more than just showing up for work and coming home. It brought a wholelotta baggage to the game. Just plopped them down on the floor and threw them wide open so all the stuff inside started spilling out.
I know the best thing to do is welcome all that baggage with open arms and make them a cup of tea while they settle in.
I will try to embrace all the change, be open to it and try to roll with it. And the stack of cookies beside me sure do help too;)


7 thoughts on “New Struggles

  1. Ah your doing so well, I would love to go back to work, I miss it (never thought i’d ever say that!) being a working mum is tough, but being a working adoptive mum is even tougher!

    As for telling too much, Nar I don’t think you did. Your child has a special need, but it’s a hidden special need, for carers to be able to care for him properly they need to know what they’re dealing with. I don’t share my girls story with anyone, except their teachers, and it’s not because I want them to feel pity, but because I want them to understand that my girls aren’t the same as every other child in their class, they have a special need that can’t be seen and in order to help my girls, they need to understand them. I think you made the right choice, don’t be so hard on yourself hun πŸ™‚

    • I presume you tell them all about his hearing difficulties? They can see that ‘need’ and it’s a common need, so is much easier for them to address. But he also has an emotional need, so that has to be explained because they can’t necessarily see it and probably have never come across it before πŸ™‚

      • Yes exactly! Really his hearing (right now) is secondary to his emotional needs but it does give people/teachers a visible signal to slow down and/or remember the info we’ve given:) Good point!

    • It’s true isn’t it? Their needs are invisible…when you say it that way it makes sense. Logically I know the teachers need to know in order to help him better but I think it’s because I decided that I wasn’t going to say anything and I changed so quickly – guess I needed more of a transition! Hahah.
      Thanks for your kind words and thoughts:)

  2. I totally agree with the comments above. As a former teacher myself, I can assure you that professionals who work with children are used to having private information disclosed to them and need to know some things so that they can do their jobs effectively. There’s a difference between broadcasting your son’s story to all and sundry on the internet, for instance, and selectively telling trained professionals the details they need to meet his needs to the best of their abilities. You’ve done fine, so don’t beat yourself up!
    As for people saying that he’s lucky to have you, well, when people who aren’t so familiar with the complications of adoption (or fostering) make well-meaning but slightly icky comments to me, I just make them into something I’m ok with in my head! Somebody said something like this to me the other day, and I’m so used to thinking how lucky I am to have my son that it brought me up short to think that anybody would think he’s lucky to have me! I just decided to take it as a compliment about my parenting, rather than a comment on his adoption and leave it at that. It depends who’s saying it. With most people, there’s no point in trying to explain the nuances of life as an adopter, and no need to put them right, or embarrass them when they’re just trying to say something nice. If it’s someone really close who you’d hope would understand more, then perhaps it’s worth a conversation.

    • Great to have your perspective as a teacher – thank you:)
      I agree – most time peoples comments are genuine and it’s not the time or place to embarrass or educate when they are just trying to say something nice. I’ll just keep it straight in my head!
      Thanks for reading:)

  3. “He’s so lucky to have you.” Most of the time, I ignore it, but if I’m caught on one of *those* days it’s a “yes, he is lucky isn’t he…except for the neglect he had to go through first hey?”. I’m afraid I don’t manage to bite my tongue every time.

    I completely agree with Claire. You told them about his visible needs and his non-visible ones. They need *some* background to make sense of those needs. It’s hard knowing what’s enough and what’s not, but if you’re open with daycare, at least they’ll feel able to come to you if they have future questions.

    Thanks for linkin’ up with #WASO x

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