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Hi all

It's been a long time since I have posted here so many of you will not know me, but for those of you who do remember me - hello all!!

I felt I had to post to update you all, and also because it highlights an area of adoption not often talked about and I felt strong enough now to share my story.

You may remember I was placed with 2 children Smiler-3 and Dancer -8 and brought them home April 2007. At first all seemed well- a true "honeymoon" period but within weeks it was clear that there were significant problems. After they were placed lots of "additional" information started coming out from SW about the children and we realised that our older daughter was suffering from extreme behavioural issues caused by early life trauma experiences. Our younger daughter had been described to us as being a bit behind her milestones, especially speech but actually warrented a diagnosis of global developmental delay when she was placed.

We persevered and to our delight Smiler began to progress. It was the weirdest thing watching a child flying through all the developmental stages on fast forward. Now at the grand old age of 4 1/2 she has caught up on 3 years worth of development in just over one year. She has gone from saying 8 very unclear words to sentences containing infinite words and has the ability to hold conversations. Her temper tantrum (were up to 10 times a day) are now few and far between and totally age appropriate when they do come. She can run and skip , hop and ride a bike, do forward rolls and jumps about like Tigger. She copes with dance classes, nursery and other social activities like a pro. I can hardly believe that my angry, delayed little wildcat has blossomed into a popular, confident, articulate, friendly and loving little girl who will soon be starting school and is busy practising writing her name for when she starts.

Unfortunately the same did not hold true for my older daughter, as her sister progressed Dancer regressed. Her behaviour became harder and harder to manage. Worryingly she was directing extremely negative behaviour towards her sister and there were several incidents involving them where Smiler received an injury or damage was done to one of her possessions. Dancer also began shutting out my partner and would respond only to me, which had to be 24/7. She would not tolerate any interaction between myself and my partner or Smiler and would act out accordingly to show her anger if I did not give her exclusive attention. Frustratingly she was able to flip a switch whenever anyone outside the family came in and act  the part of the loving daughter and sister until the second the door closed behind the visitor.

We tried every strategy we could to turn things around, we felt totally let down by Social Services who seemed to be under the impression that everything would be fine in the end if we just kept giving it more time, and then more time and so on. I fought to get psychological input for Dancer. I fought to get people to recognise she was in a very bad way and her behaviour was becoming more bizarre and destructive with every passing week. It seemed she could not cope with her sister's rapid progression as it highlighted her own difficulties in developing.

Eventually, we discussed terminating the placement with our SW but by a strange twist of fate, only a few weeks later and unaware of the discussions going on about the future of the placement, Dancer asked to go back into fostercare stating that she did not want to be adopted. The irony was that she said that if she had wanted to be adopted then she would have wanted us to be her parents. I guess she had not realised, or been prepared for what she would be leaving behind by being adopted and her links to her birth family were so strong that she chose fostering over adoption. Tragically she also asked to go alone and did not want her sister in the same foster home.

Finally in December the placement disrupted. Our older daughter was removed from our care and placed with a therapeutic foster carer. We hear she is doing well but sadly we, who cared for her and loved her as our own for over 8 months, are not automatically entitled to be given any information about her. Instead we make do with phrases such as...she is settling well, she likes her new school etc.

On top of it all, we had to endure weeks of nail biting agony to find out that we would be able to keep Smiler and be able to legally adopt her. My heart breaks for her because you would expect her to be missing her sister, sadly this does not seem to be the case. Instead she has blossomed even further- it is almost as if she can now become the person she wanted to be without the negativity of her sister.


As I have told so many people- the behaviour that Dancer exhibited was not the actions of a naughty child, they were from a child in pain who was hurting because of the life experiences she had lived through. It has been suggested to us that the reason Dancer played out these behaviours was because she felt confident that we could 'contain' her and that no matter what she did we would not judge her. I really hope that is the case and I really hope the system does not let her down because I feel she has a chance if she is allowed to progress at her own pace with intense support.

Until I lived through this, I would never have advocated for siblings being separated, but having seen the benefits to Smiler, and I believe the same to be true for Dancer (who is apparently thriving without the competition of another child) then I have changed my views to recognise it is sometimes in the best interests of the children.

So here it is- my sad story, 5 months on and I only now feel able to tell it. I hope it will be of help to others on the adoption path. Strangely enough I do not think we failed- I think we gave Dancer a firm building block on which to build from. I think that it was just not meant to be. We were given 2 very damaged children, both have progressed but their paths have now split in different directions.

Morgana
x
 

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Morgana ^hugme^ I have tears reading this story. You and your DH have been through the mill and back and I hope that the future with Smiler brings you much joy and happiness. I hope that Dancer also gets the love and support she needs.

Sending you much ^reiki^

Deb
 

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The piece below that I have quoted from your post is what you must focus on you did your absolute best for your little girl, you made her realise what she wanted from life and that is a wonderful thing!

I am sorry it didn't work out and you must have been distraught. Yu will have made a difference in Dancers life for that she will never forget you.

So glad that Smiler is progressing well and I wish you all much happiness in the future

Rachel xx


"Strangely enough I do not think we failed- I think we gave Dancer a firm building block on which to build from. I think that it was just not meant to be. We were given 2 very damaged children, both have progressed but their paths have now split in different directions."
 

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Morgana

That must have taken such alot to write  :'(  I'm so sorry that things worked out the way they did and i'm sure dancer will always be apart of your lives, you did your absolute best for her and could not have done more.

I too hope that Dancer receives all the help support she needs and that Smiler continues to flourish.

^hugme^

Kimmy x
 

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Your post had me in tears  :'(, such a brave and heartfelt thread.  You have done everything you could for Dancer, I hope she will continue to get the care and support she needs and perhaps one day these siblings could be reunited (i'm not sure how these things work).  In the meantime I wish you, your DH and your darling Smiler all the health and happiness in the world - you are truly inspirational  :-*.

Bev xx
 

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Morgana

My heart is thudding and my stomach turning over while reading your post.  I know EXACTLY what you are talking about.  We are experiencing an almost carbon copy of events in your house.  Smiling Boy is our equivalent of your Smiler and our Princess is the equivalent of your Dancer.  I said within the first week of placement that our two should not have been placed together.  It took months before the professionals saw what was as plain as the noses on thier faces and agreed with me.  

Princess is still with us.  About 4 months ago Smiling Boy told us he thought Princess would be happier going back into FC, Smiling Boy also indicated that he would be happier if she no longer lived with us.  Princess overheard this conversation and said that she didn't want to return to FC and that she loved living with us.  

The professionals now acknowledge that Princess has significant attachment issues.  We persevere with Princess, but it is mainly hard, unrewarding work.  We have also had very little support from the children's SW.  I have also fought for therapy for Princess and it is due to start soon.

I thank God for Smiling Boy as it is he that keeps me going and keeps this placement together, it is so rewarding to see how much he has progressed in our care.

I also feel that too much emphasis is put on keeping siblings together when sometimes it is not in their best interests.  As you say, some adopted children are very damaged by their experiences.  They need very intensive one to one parenting.  Sometimes their needs as individuals are so great it is simply asking too much of adopters to parent more than one of these children, adoption breakdowns are almost inevitable in these circumstances.

Give yourselves a huge pat on the back for what you have achieved.  I am so glad that you have managed to work through this to a solution that is best for all concerned.  I wish you all much love and happiness for the future.

Sanita
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sanita

I feel for what you are going through, it feels like nobody else can understand. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more.

What I have included in my post only scratches the surface of our day to day lives. Dancer has so much potential but she was in direct conflict with her sister. In every aspect of our daily lives she saw Smiler as the enemy. I could not leave them unsupervised in the same room. I was a mother to Smiler when Dancer was at school and then I was 'taken over' when she came home from school. As a family we were simply lurching from day to day- family outings were a minefield of anxiety and if I dared to go out and leave Dancer with her dad then I got hell to pay on my return. I could not leave her with any other person other than my husband and still to this day (13 months on since placement) my husband and I have not had a single evening where we as a couple have been able to go out by ourselves. This was because of Dancer while she was in placement and after she left we opted not to leave Smiler to begin with because she was anxious for quite a time that she was going to be taken away too. We have promised that we will have a night out (locally) within the next month as Smiler is so much more secure now and as we now have a trusted friend who has built up a good relationship with Smiler.

The moment of clarity came for me when my husband collected Dancer from school one day. As they walked in the front door Smiler, who had been cuddling on my knee, got down from my knee. I jokingly asked her where she was going and she replied ......."dancer" home, me have to get down. That moment will be frozen in my brain for all time. That was the moment I realised the damage that was occurring to Smiler because of Dancer's behaviour. That was the moment I realised things could not continue, psychologist involvement or not, social work support or not. The fact that a 3 year old was responding in such a way to her sister returning home left me devastated.

In a strange way I could support Dancer 100% as she regressed, wrecked things, said horrible and hurtful things, I could even forgive her for the previous hurts she had done to her sister and for us now having to supervise them at all times to prevent further occurrences. I could cope with her only wanting me (although my hubby was really upset by it). I could ignore the stares of passers by in the supermarket when she kicked off. I could do all that but what I realised was that, in being there for her 100% to help her heal, left a little girl who would get down off my knee in order to let that healing begin for another day. A little girl who needed me just as much but who, at the tender age of nearly 4, was prepared to share me unselfishly with her sister until her turn came again the next school day. I knew it could not carry on. I realised then that Dancer had a chance to heal but in order to do that she needed to be an "only" child so that someone could meet her needs 100% but 24/7.

I understand Solomons choice now. If it had been just Dancer we could have fought for as long as it took- but with both of them then at what cost to Smiler. Whatever way I looked at it I was a mother to 2 but was struggling to meet the needs of both because 1 persieved her needs to be greater.

I will forever be ripped in two by the outcome, my heart wanted it to work but my head knew it was never going to.

Everyone involved with Smiler said that for the first time in her life she had secure attachments to someone (me and my husband). She did not have the same level of attachment to her sister despite having lived with her most of her life. The professionals decided that it would be wrong to remove her from our care as she firmly saw us as her parents. The family psychologist actual said it would be bordering on child cruelty to remove her from us. Dancer, on the other hand, saw us as carers who were doing "a good job" in her words. The only logical outcome they decided was to remove Dancer and leave Smiler with us. We are to be allowed to adopt Smiler as planned but Dancer will now be in longterm foster care.

Bev-
The official disruption report has been done, with all the relevent input from various specialities and important people in the children's lives and the recommendation is that they never be placed together. This means the door is effectively shut for any chance of her returning.

Thank you all for your words of support- It is easy to feel a failure in these circumstances but I refuse to allow myself to think like that. We were faced with the hardest decision you ever can make in the adoption process and if I ever have any doubts then I look at Smiler and she is like a cooling balm on my wounds. I did this for both my girls so they could both have a chance at life.
 

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Firstly a big hug ^hugme^ as I can totally understand how hard that must have been for you

I want to say thankyou for sharing the other side of adoption when things don't go according to how you planned them and life takes on a different course.

I am a "therapeutic" (we call them specialist) foster carer and take it from me you have set a wonderful building block for the foster carer to work with dancer :)
For one thing she can rest easy that her sister is with people who clearly love her and will take care of her and for siblings even if they don't seem to get on , she will be at ease with it :)

It is great to hear that smiler is doing so well :) I have a 2yr old little chap with me who came in August with severe attachment issues and was behind in almost everything. 9 months on he is above average in lots of ways and you would never know he had any language difficulties :) He still has slight attachment issues but nothing like he did have. He will only go to family and friends of ours. (before he would go with anyone, including strangers in the street :( )
The therapeutic team are amazed at his progress ( I agree with you when you say that smiler is doing so well being the only child in the home ) He has just been allowed to be him :) no chaos or others needing attention , just him learning all the things he needs to learn to become an amazing little chappy :)

I truly wish you all well :)  I hope smiler loves school and makes lots of great friends :)

You have done the right thing for all of you by the sounds of it, it doesn't make it any easier I know ^hugme^
My last foster placement was very difficult and we made the desicion that the end of August he had to be moved which is always a difficult desicion to make

Many good wishes for all of you :)

xx


 

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Hi,

I just wanted to say how sorry I am that your placement ended the way that it did.  It sounds as though you have been to hell and back in a battle to get the support/care/treatment that both your daughters neeeded (esp Dancer).  I pray that she will be happy in her new home and that all the hard work during her time with you will bring huge benefits for her once she gets the support she needs.

I am also pleased to hear that you will be able to go forward with the legal adoption of Smiler and hope that you enjoy great happiness as a family in the years ahead.

Magenta x
ps - my daughter and each of her siblings have been placed separately due to the individual needs of each child. As far as we know, each is doing as well as can be expected and better than if they were placed together. So it goes to show that some sw's can see past the 'together is always best' mantra.
 

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I am so sorry to read your post, you must have had a terrible time deciding what to do for the best.

You certainly haven't 'failed' in anything, Smiler has obviously come on in leaps and bounds which is down to you and your DH.  Dancer has had unconditional love and support, its just such a shame she is suffering so much pain from her earlier experiences.

Its great that you are able to continue adopting Smiler.
Love
OT x
 

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no words really just  ^hugme^ for you and your family

ritzisowner.
 

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Morgana, i am sat  :'( :'( you are very special to have unselfishly put the needs of both your girls first. It's so very sad that things have turned out this way but you have not failed in any way  ^hugme^ ^hugme^ just look how well smiler is doing, as Ritzi has said it's so sad that dancer has suffered so much pain from earlier experiences and all the love and support you gave her could never be enough to take it all away and help her heal  :'(

thank you for sharing your story with us, i know how hard it must of been to write and can only imagine the pain and anguish you have all felt as a family  ^hugme^

pam xx
 

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Morgana,

I too am sitting here in  :'(  :'( after reading such an honest and heartfelt post.

It must have been one of the hardest decisions to make, and from the little you have said in your postings; it seems you made a brave decision and one that was best for all of you.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us all  :-*

Laine xx
 

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Morgana,
Just to echo what has been said. I can't tell you how sorry I am that all of you have been through such a hard time with such difficult decisions. I think we would all agree on here that you and DH sound like pretty special and strong people and I wish you all the best in the future.
Love JD x
 

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I'd like to send you my love and  ^hugme^.

xxxx
 

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Sanita,
I want to send all my best wishes to you too, sounds like you too have been through the mill!
Take care love JD x
 

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just wanted to send you a  ^hugme^ morgana..you have had to make the most difficult decisions and i cant imagine how hard things must have been. I'm so pleased you have managed to get through it and have a wonderful settled little girl who clearly loves you dearly. you did your best  and more for dancer and you couldnt have done anything more.
thank you for sharing your story..

kj x
 

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Morgana

Your post just shouts out what a compassionate and commited person you are.
You have shown immense courage and love - what a sound role model you have provided for the two girls who have been lucky enough to have you in their lives.

Love and best wishes to you all

HH






 

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Hi Morgana

I remember you & I remember reading your exciting news when you were matched.

I have sent you a PM & a hug! ^hugme^

Love
Andrea
xx
 

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HI morgana

I sat here in tears when I saw your post.

I feel so much for Smiler and I know that you have done the right thing for both children.

I am not adopted I am an older sister of two. My sister is 5 years younger than me.

My sister has always been very demanding of my mothers attention, (24/7 till she moved out of home aged 33 (yes33!)) and can get her way in everything even now when we are 40 and 35 respectively. She has my mum wrappped firnly round her little finger and I dont get a look in. I always have to give in. In some ways its made me far more independent, but its given me some deep scars over the years too.

I got threatened with the childrens home over the back of our house when I tried to fight back when I was in my teens and get some attention, but not knowing what care was like I ended up just towing the line. 

Even when I had my boys it was my sister who dictated when my parents could come visit us after the birth. She wouldnt let them come without her so they had to wait 4 full days before they got to see thier first grandchildren!
I always have to step down and give in on everything. Its either that or have a full disney stylie firework display over something, in which I dont normally win either, but at least my thoughts and feelings get heard.

I wasnt lucky enough to have the situation that you have had where a separation of children was made for their good. I had to live with it. My mother still doesnt see how much my sisters actions hurt me, she's got so blinkered by one child being so attention seeking.

Both Dancer and Smiler will be able to grow up as rounded individuals, but will also be able to build a strong relationship at a later date that hasn't been too scarred by events when they wer younger as you had the confidence as an adoptive parent to realise that living together wasnt the right thing for them.

Copngratulations on your courage and may you work with Smiler continue, she has a very special mummy.

Chris

 
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