Not much can put a bigger smile on my dial during the work day more effectively than receiving personal PACKAGES in the mail. Even better, personal INTERNATIONAL PACKAGES. I used to get them sent to my place, but after the Christmas 2010 Personal Package Delivery Fail, which I will spare you all a post on – as tempting as it is – and after witnessing a colleague’s glee upon receiving rare bike parts from foreign countries be delivered to the office, I started getting all online shopping sent to work.
yesterday two days ago, I gleefully received two books (of four) I recently ordered from Book Depository (Booko helped me figure out that the US version was cheaper than the UK one in this instance). The Connected Child by Purvis, Cross and Sunshine, and Nurturing Adoptions by Deborah Gray (a 500 page, hardback tome for $26!).
last night Monday night I came home from work and launched right into The Connected Child. I got through 72 pages before I hit the sack and I’m really looking forward to ploughing through the rest. Except I’m writing this, I’m about to duck out the door to see a movie with my Grandpa and ANOTHER book turned up today that also looks fantastic – Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison. (OK, so this post was drafted last night if you hadn’t already figured that out. Movie was thought provoking, by the way, and I read two chapters of Harrison’s book when I got home).
Anyway, what I am enjoying about this book so far is that it begins with the base that your adopted child will have special needs and works onwards from there. There’s no pussy-footing around. Understanding and accepting the reality that a foster care adoption will see me parenting a special needs child is finally clicking into place for me. It’s certainly been mentioned to me before, but this book probably provided me with the ‘Ah ha’ moment (am I quoting Oprah again?!). And while the earlier the kids are removed from situations where they are unable to form attachments and are exposed to abuse and neglect the better, even the youngest of babies that are placed in new families will need a lot of support and attachment work. Dannie explains over here how much work she needed to put in to developing attachment with her 4.5 month old daughter that she adopted from foster care.
The book provides a lot of insight into the child’s view of the world and how it can be so disparate to our own due to their rough starts. The authors also share practical examples to illustrate some do’s and don’ts when helping an adopted child work the world out in their new family. They speak about avoiding sermons and big lengthy explanations about why a behaviour isn’t approrpiate or why something has or has not occured. I’ve worked with kids in the past and I do have a tendency to get a little wordy when muddling through an issue or an explanation, so it’s useful to know that ‘simple’ and ‘to the point’ is encouraged. I love this example they give in the book, on p.57:
Imagine the impact we would have if instead of simply shouting “Fire!”, we yelled to a distracted adult, “On the second floor of my home is an old appliance that inadvertently was left on while my brother-in-law lit up a cigarette. The gas combusted, and now we have a life-threatening situation”.
This post isn’t supposed to be a book review though, so I’ll stop reviewing the book. I do plan on doing book reviews, and Hypatia has a book review post on the go over here.
I’m supposed to be saying this – after dipping into the The Connected Child, I felt a distinct gear shift in my attitude towards this upcoming process. I feel engaged, positive and even a wee bit excited, which is probably a little counterintuitive since I now know that I’ll be parenting a special needs child without exception. But hey, how much better is it to go in with eyes wide open, rather than spending years trying to figure out what may be going on with a biological child that may have undiagnosed special needs? See, I’m all ‘glass half full’ right now.
It’s probably not just the book – obviously after my last post, I tried reorganising things in my head for a few days, and was drawn back strongly to committing to the permanent care process first. I also had a breakthrough conversation with a close girlfriend of mine over wine on Saturday night. I find talking aloud to people about my plans always gives me a booster, especially when they nod, smile and say the right things. And then there’s the wine too.
I called the Department after this new found energy kicked in, just to check all was well with my paperwork and the plans to attend the June education sessions. I find it amusing how light on they are with the paperwork in the early days, given the avalanche that is inevitable. Le sigh. All is well and I should receive an invite closer to the date.
Bring it on!