Who looks after you? (Part 4)

Family copyFamily pressures

Families are great aren’t they! We don’t choose them and we can’t get away from them (well we can I suppose). Whatever your extended family is like today I can guarantee having adopted children has changed that dynamic in some way or another. Whether they are finding it difficult to understand your children and your approaches to parenting, or whether they are fully involved and on board – there are always pressures that arise.

The thing I’ve noticed recently is around claiming and belonging with my children. It’s a very strange situation when you adopt – it’s like being in no man’s land. Certainly for us when we adopted our children who were 4, 5 and 7 at the time. It was like being a new mum with all the new mum feelings and challenges but with children going to school, talking, walking, expressing feelings and opinions. All my friends had grown into being a parent in the natural way – from pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers to children at school. For us it’s more like being parachuted into this world of parenthood and having to get used to those emotions and experiences in 10 seconds flat.

Claiming and belonging is about your children knowing they belong to you and you knowing they are yours. With children who are ‘looked after’ there can be the feeling that everyone is responsible for them – the school knows best, the GP knows best, the social worker knows best – and what about you as the adoptive parents? Where do you fit in?

So how do you build that bond while dealing with any family pressures that may be there? Someone described it to me recently like a board game. Your core family is the board and how you want it to be played is up to you. So if you need people to back off, then you have to write those instructions in. If you need more support from your family and more understanding – then you write those instructions in.

Whatever you feel you need is in your control. This is the difficult part I know and for many of us those patterns of how we relate to our families are well entrenched. BUT this is your time to take control. For your sanity and the wellbeing of your core family you need to take this game seriously.

So if you would like more tips to maintain your sanity on this great adoption journey I have written a book ‘Relentless Life – How to find the extraordinary in the ordinary’, looking at many different aspects of life and how we can take a new perspective on things – available on Amazon.


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