When you decide to adopt a child with Diagrama, one of our first tasks is to ensure you understand as much as possible about the children in need of adoption – including the experiences they may have had and the trauma they have likely experienced.
We provide dedicated support to help you and your child overcome those tricky times and, if needed, we will help you access specialised assistance, perhaps through therapy or other interventions, to get you all back on the right path.
Many of our adopters find talking to one another is a great source of support – learning from one another and sharing tried and tested methods of tackling difficult issues.
Today, on Big Adoption Day (March 29, 2017), Diagrama adopter David Beales shares his experience of helping his little boy to fight his demons. If you have adopted with Diagrama and need support with any challenges you are facing, our team are there to support you 365 days of the year.
Taking control of the monsters
I want to talk about the scary monsters. How our children carry them about with them all the time, and how a little vulnerability and understanding can help equip your little ones with the tools they need to fight their demons.
Let’s be honest, as much as we’d like to pretend at times that the traumas of adoption - be that the BIG move to their new life, or past traumas with birth family, will fade away to nothing over time - they won’t. There, I said it, the scary reality of our children’s lives. Fact: all people, kids, adults, in-betweeners, carry the monsters of their traumas with them.
Monsters are scary, right? We should probably hide behind the sofa, shove them in the closet, stick our fingers in our ears until they go away. Here’s a spot of advice that may be one of the most important things I’ve learnt about adoption so far: NEVER HIDE FROM THE MONSTERS!
We let them into our life
Your little one needs you to be brave, buckle on that shiny armour, grab a shield and lance, and charge headlong into those monsters. Show your little ones that you can rage at those beastly traumas just as much as they can, that you can feel their fear, their pain. Don’t ignore it, embrace it! After all, how can any of us be whole if we don’t accept all of ourselves, if we don’t learn to integrate those scary things into the narrative of our day to day lives.
The funny thing about these kind of monsters is this - when you stare them down, when you name them, you take away their power. You tame them. Go on, give them a gentle stroke, soothe them, they’re not so bad after all, they’re just part of us we weren’t ready to accept, to integrate or reframe.
Right, enough of metaphors, let me give you a real example before you think I’ve totally lost the plot. Our little man has a monster called Insecurity.
We let him know we were there
This monster tells him he’s going to get left behind if we move, that he’s somehow not special enough to us and that he has to try harder. Sometimes he rages, sometimes he’ll smash and spit, kick and scream. Sure, we could have shut the door and battened down the hatches. Instead, what we did was take the odd hit, sit and just let him know we were there whilst he raged, held him as he sobbed and shuddered, wracked with fear and guilt, cried with him and showed him that we felt his pain.
We spoke to him, told him it’s okay to feel like this, that what happened in his past is a sad thing. We built a tummy mummy out of Lego and drew a picture of her with him; we put these totems up in his room for him and anyone else he cared to show.
Has the monster gone away? No, of course not, that’s my point. It won’t.
A problem shared
But he has a name for it now, he knows it’s okay to hang out with that monster from time to time. He saw how his pain could be shared and that with our armour, shield and lance, we could charge at his demons when he wasn’t strong enough to keep it all in.
The result, you ask? He doesn’t rage at that monster anymore. We hug and talk, give him a little kiss and cuddle up and we remind him that in his life he will never be truly alone. He's learning that a problem shared is better than a problem hidden. Now he knows that help is there, no matter how big the monster.
Diagrama adopters meet regularly with the support of our team. We also hold several activities throughout the year for the whole family where children can meet up and spend time with those who have had similar experiences. If you would like to find out more about adopting a child with Diagrama, please get in touch today.