My daughter Amy is now on her way back on the bus after her visit to her birth family .As far as I know it was a successful trip ,seeing and leaving Kirsty's children has been hard .I am so glad Nick escorted her , and it has hopefully given him an insight into Amy's complex past .
Dawn was drinking still, and got quite verbal after her day in the pub.
I am so proud of Amy as she refused to stay at her house as she was not prepared to put up with her Birth mothers behaviour.Being assertive and being congruent is something Amy is very capable off ,but I am sure that may have come as a shock to her birth mother .
I am sure I will get a complete picture this evening when she arrives home.
In my last blog I spoke about meeting with Kirsty for the first time .We decided to do the first visit alone with Kirsty and the girls ,as everything had been left hanging in the air when Kirsty ran away.We also decided that it may be better for separate visits as the age gap was very close between the four younger siblings and we were concerned that Kirsty may get left out .
Working out venues ,were always difficult and it meant driving to meet at a half way point to make the journeys less stressful for everybody concerned. We also had to meet in a neutral place that neither group of children had regular connections with .Events were organised via Social Services and times and dates arranged at least two weeks in advance.
Trips were usually organised to co inside with school breaks ,to allow the children time to process their feelings (play out) before returning to school.
We organised a visit with Toni and Kieran, the older brother and sister who were in long term foster care ,several weeks later after Kirsty's visit to to catch up .
Another trip was organised at Paultons Park ,where we felt the children could have the freedom to run around and be themselves.
The children were very excited again about the visit .Before the visits we would usually look for a small gift for their siblings and Toni and Kieron would do the same .We found the children enjoyed this ritual and it gave them a token reminder of a happy day.
The first meeting was scary as we had not met the children ,and a bit of anxiety set in as we drove to our destination.
Toni and Kieron arrived with a care worker ,she was Irish and it was pleasant to have an understanding person to communicate our anxieties .I had packed a picnic to save some money .The contact visits had become very expensive ,entry and food and drinks were escalating .In the end I communicated with the girls social service department and they agreed £100 a visit.
The one issue that was never a problem was finance ,they were always very helpful and provided us with sufficient monies to provide extras for the girls.
Kieron was a sweet young boy ,and very superficially tactile like Amy .Once when he was communicating his sadness about not seeing the girls as much as he hoped. I replied "it won't be long until the next visit and we would see him very soon ." Kieron replied, its only three times a year which is 16 hours of my 365 day year ,it's not much "That was such a sad statement from one so young .
Toni suffered from Bulimia , making herself also vomit after meals and would play sickness to get more attention from myself.
We heard from Susie ,the girls social worker that she asked their siblings ,"what sort of parents they would like " and they said "we want a mum and dad like Fiona and John ".
What was worse, she said "We will see what we can do " .
From that very flippant, not very professional remark the children were doing everything in their power to get us to like them and maybe just maybe .We would take them as well .
Living with the RAD It was not even a consideration that I would take another two children on especially older siblings.
My husband on the other hand was wanting to rescue them and would have given them a home straight away .
I was fortunate that Wendy ,our Social Worker pointed out the difficulties .
The day was great fun for the children but was never long enough .
It was very strange being with them ,they were all so loud and looked so alike .People would stare at my husband and I as if to say "How did you manage that " .
The support workers were only contracted for a certain period and driving to and from the venues was part of the visit time .
I found myself feeling very cross as it felt the children were being cheated of special time together but we had no choice.
We once did a visit to Marwell Zoo and there had been a traffic holdup ,the children were all very stressed by the time they got together and we only got a few hours which caused no end of grief to the children .
Nearing the end of the visits ,we did our count down and then it was the very sad goodbyes and the tears .We told the children it would not be long and they had lots of pictures that we would forward to them .
It was very difficult keeping an eye on the older children and often I would catch Kieron asking what school they went to,or what was their address ?
It is almost impossible to keep anonymous in Adoption these days ,and we used to get visions of the siblings arriving on our doorstep having been able to find their way to Dorset .
As time goes on ,situations ,change ,the children grow up and Contact arrangements alter .Just because you agree something at the beginning, doesn't mean it will stay the same .
.in my next post I will discuss these changes and the effects they can have on parenting children with complex backgrounds and how the children change their feelings to visits with their siblings.
I would defy any of you reading this ,who are totally against contact .Not to feel a smile come across your face when you look at how happy those children were to see their siblings even if it was for 16 hours out of 365 , 24 hour days.