Friday, 28 November 2014

Isaac and William do Movember

Today I'm delighted to bring you a guest post from Daisy and Peter, parents of two gorgeous little boys who have had a bit of a journey in their short lives.
You might wonder why I'm publishing this post on what is essentially an adoption blog and the reason is because both of my children were born before their due dates, my niece was born prematurely, and I know a number of adopted children were born early in many cases due to the poor antenatal care their mothers received. The right care and support for premature babies and their families is vital, so please take a moment to read the post, watch the video and check out the fun fundraising initiative that Daisy, Peter, Isaac and William have set up to help Bliss.
We are honoured to be able to write this guest post on such a wonderful blog.
Our boys were born at just over 28 weeks, and have had a rollercoaster of a journey through hospital. William was born at home with the help of a paramedic who arrived just in time (much to the relief of a very worried dad!). Isaac arrived an hour later in the ambulance on the way to hospital. They were born at around 3lbs, which although sounds very small, was a very good weight for their gestation.
What followed was them overcoming every hurdle that was thrown at them - from stomach infections and brain seizures, holes in the hearts to blood transfusions. They were so brave throughout it all, and every day we watched them getting bigger and stronger, until we eventually got to bring them home after 66 days in hospital. We made a video of their experience:

All the help and care both the boys and us received during their hospital stay has prompted us to try and raise as much money as we can for Bliss, the premature baby charity. For the whole of the month of Movember, the boys have been wearing a different style of moustache each day, and have gathered quite a following on Facebook. We are asking people to donate anything they can to this great cause.

A huge thank you for taking the time to read this! Please share the links and help spread the word, and between us all, we really can help make a difference to babies lives.

And from me, a big thank you to Daisy for writing this piece. All of us at The Boy's Behaviour send you all love, and hope that perhaps one day we'll get to meet your beautiful boys.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Why I love spending time online

This week's #WASO theme is 'Embracing Online Support' and we've also announced that The Adoption Social has been shortlisted for the 'Digital Champion Award' at BAAF's National Adoption Awards during National Adoption Week.

So guess what I'm writing about this week?!

I just really wanted to share all the reasons why I use online and digital support, and perhaps you might too...

  • I write this blog to share our journey, and hope to help and inspire people. I also get useful and supportive comments and emails via it.
  • It keeps me sane - I can tweet and blog about the serious to the silly, and it doesn't matter.
  • I have found a wealth of other people involved in adoption via Twitter. They all understand, and I know that a simple 'help, I'm having a bad day' will be met with support and empathy, without judgement even though I haven't met most of them.
  • Facebook enables me to share my blog with a wider audience, and share other titbits of
    information to my followers. 
  • I've learnt to be more concise - you have to be when Twitter limits to 140 characters!
  • Through blogging and tweeting I have found so many people, some of whom I'm proud to call my friends, and have developed amazing relationships with them. 
  •  Without social media I'd never have met my friend Sarah from The Puffin Diaries, and therefore the Weekly Adoption Shout Out and The Adoption Social wouldn't exist.
  • Through setting up The Adoption Social and tweeting, I met Amanda Boorman, who invited me to be a trustee for The Open Nest - what an amazing experience, and I'm very proud to be involved.
  • I'm no longer isolated. I can reach out and meet people who know what me and my family are going through. 
  • I've learnt lots - I can follow conferences without being there using #hashtags and can take part in Twitter chats and parties. 
  • I have found different websites to help me online like PicMonkey for editing images and Google drive for storing and sharing documents.
  • I've found recommendations for apps on my phone/tablet like Whatsapp - another way of connecting with people.
  • More websites are springing up, and I can now find them easier, these also support me and others in my circles.
  • I've been invited to guest post for other organisations and bloggers - I get a great sense of achievement through this, and validation too. 
  • I've had a poem published in a book, which I'd never have known about if it wasn't for Twitter. Again - another sense of achievement and validation.
  • My blog has been shortlisted for several awards (though I haven't won any yet), which gives me confidence and inspiration to continue writing. 
  • I've found a whole host of other bloggers - a brilliant, supportive community, where people are writing about their lives, so many similar to my own. They pick me up when I am down, they make me realise that my life could be worse, they make me laugh and cry. 
Without the internet, and especially twitter, facebook and blogging, I wouldn't have any of this.  Are there any cons? Yes, I've had a couple of trolls, but they're easily blocked, and I've found a new addiction which involves sitting on my bum for several hours a day.
But the things I now have, far outweigh those couple of cons. If you're in any doubt about stepping into the social media arena, then I hope this helps you see why it's so important to me.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

In the words of Stevie...

Heather Small I thank you for this amazing song. At the moment I'm feeling pretty proud of myself, of my friend Sarah, of the entire online community of adopters, adoptees and those working in adoption that I find myself a part of - many of whom I'm also proud to call my friends, and especially of my family. So today, there's not a lot left to say - just, be proud.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Rediscovering old tools

Many parents speak of their toolboxes - a physical or metaphorical toolbox that is, full of useful tips and strategies.
Adoptive parents are no different, except perhaps that we need to have a mini version of that toolbox strapped on at all times! And some of the equipment might be a little...different.

Over the years we've adapted our tools and equipped our toolbox with many different things. Some work for a short time, others work for a long time, some we can swap around so they don't become ineffective. We also have some tools that didn't work at all, but we've kept to hand...just in case.

In fact, only this week, Mini himself has instigated the use of two such tools that didn't really take off before...

The Worry Eater
My mum bought Mini a Worry Eater - a little stuffed monster that has a zip up mouth, in which worries can be placed, without the need to talk to us. Mini liked the novelty of this for a few weeks, but then it just became another stuffed toy on his bed.
However, this week Mini's sought it out and used it several times. He knows that we read the worries he carefully, but not discretely pops in the mouth of the monster. This week, a big worry was put inside, and he sat around waiting-but-not-waiting for us to read it. We did, and managed to reassure him that although he was worried, now he'd shared it with us we could work on it together....he clearly was reassured because he triumphantly threw the paper into the fire.

Fleece blanket
During our time with Dave-the-therapist, we came to realise the importance of fleece blankets. Dave used them to cover the sofa in the therapy room, we used one to blanket-swing Mini in, there were theraplay games involving a big fleece and the softness and warmth provide a lovely, but not overwhelming sensory experience. So we bought a special Lego fleece for Mini. We explained that he could sit under it, wrap in it, hide under it, talk from behind it - whatever he wanted. Effectively we were giving our then 6 year old a safety blanket/portable den. It sat folded up in the living room for months.
Today, Mini asked for it. He was ashamed about something that had happened this morning, and wanted to just hide and feel safe. Through the blanket we could hug and talk, but without that scary eye contact.

So there are two of our tools that were useless a year ago, but even if only for this week, have proved their worth. Have you got anything that you use regularly, or things that have only worked once or twice?