Thursday, 14 July 2011

Day two of preparation training

It's been three weeks since we did day 1 of prep training, and we've been nervously waiting to find out if we were accepted to the next part of the prep group. We hadn't heard anything so on Tuesday night I nervously emailed the adoption manager at the council. It's silly, but you're so aware that these people hold our future in their hands, that I was almost scared to enquire in case I got a bad name for being impatient! Turns out I shouldn't have worried, had a lovely phone call from the manager yesterday very apologetic, saying that our acceptance had been emailed to us 10 days ago but had bounced back!

So this morning we headed back to the training centre for day two of the prep course.  It was much less nerve wracking today than day 1 had been, and it was lovely to see the other 5 couples on our prep group - we had all got through which was good news!

Today was a great day, day 1 was very much about us, whereas now we're in to looking at the 'parenting plus' strategies that will help us to get through adoption.

We spent time this morning looking at abuse. Having been a child protection officer for a youth charity for several years, I was fortunate here as nothing was too shocking, but it was nevertheless a useful session. We then had an adopter of two children come to talk to us about her experience. This was very moving, she got really choked up at one point as she said how her children were her world, and I don't think there was a person in the room who didn't feel as emotional. She talked with passion about her family who she has had for five years. She talked about the challenges of her daughter who was 3 1/2 when placed, and about her experience of contact with the birth family. It was moving and thought provoking, but great to hear a real success story.

We also looked at attachment and bonding. I've already done a fair amount of reading around this subject but the session really confirmed that there's loads more of research to be done.

The social workers keep talking about 'parenting plus' and how we need to consider the child's behaviour in the context of their early years experiences. This all sounds really motivational in theory, but I do have a bit of fear about how that will be practically on a day where we're knackered and feeling close the end of our tether. I think we're going to need grand parents support!!

We finished our day looking at 'theraplay' and some real practical example of the sorts of games you can play with even very young children to aid bonding, calming, physical closeness and emotional support. This was a really good session, it was nice to get some really practical parenting skills time.

The day also really bonded the six couples in our group, who all seem to have hit it off.

We're back tomorrow for another packed day, these sessions are exhausting!

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