Thursday, 27 June 2013

Chapter 11 – The Second Preparation Day Pt 2 - The Curious Incident of the Playfully Accepting Empath In The Afternoon.

I know my P(L)ACE!

We returned from our lunch break ready and raring for more. The afternoon session started by introducing a concept which will become familiar to all preparing for adoption... PACE.

Playful – Accepting – Curious – Empathic

Now some people prefer to refer to this as PLACE rather than PACE – the L standing for Loving. Our trainer, Maureen pointed out that since “Loving” ought to be a given in any case and in any circumstance then it didn’t count... so PACE it was.

There’s no way in which I can do justice to the elegance of the PACE concept (and the whole of Dyadic Development Psychotherapy, of which it’s a guiding principle) in the space available here. Safe to say, though, there’s plenty of literature out there to draw on and both Caroline Archer and Dan Hughes are not a bad place to start. All the books mentioned in the previous blog use this as a foundation to their approach.

One has to admire the elegance of the technique in teasing out vital information from a confused child unwilling or incapable of expressing how they feel or grappling with the reasons for those confused and fractured feelings.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Chapter 10 – Introducing Attachment and Loss – The Second Preparation Day Pt 1

Back for more...
The second preparation day arrived and, after our early morning cross country rally, so did we... on time... just! The first Prep day had been pretty exhausting but, as this day was due to concentrate more deeply on the journey of the child in the run up to adoption we were ready to be put through the emotional wringer. We weren’t far wrong.

To begin with the trainers, Maureen and Doreen, helped us build up the bricks in the strong foundation which children need to develop securely. This was done both figuratively and literally as we sought out hankie boxes which had been covered, Blue Peter-style, in wrapping paper and carried words such as: affection, shelter, warmth, clothing, praise, love, nurture, comfort, food, security, safety... And then came the opportunity to have that wall come tumbling down.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Chapter 9 – It’s all about ME!!!!!! – The First Preparation Day Pt 2

Who watches the watchers?

So, the introductions had been made and the ice breakers had been broken out. It was time to get into the programme in detail.

Now, at this point perhaps it would be interesting to muse a little on personal dynamics and group sessions. Having been around the corporate world for some time in our jobs we were both used to these – the concepts of formin’, stormin’, normin’, performin, and so on. We were also savvy to how group exercises work. The trainers invariably stress that you should just be yourself and relax. After all, no one is assessing every word you say or every thing you do.


Monday, 10 June 2013

Chapter 8 - The Preparation Days Pt 1: First day at school;

And MORE delays!

It was the first week in February and, frankly, we were getting a bit nervous. Wasn’t the first Preparation Day supposed to be some time in mid-February? Shouldn’t we have heard something by now? A quick phone call to the office was in order.

Yes, our paperwork had been sent off a couple of weeks ago. Yes, they would have expected to have had sign off by now. No, they hadn’t heard back from the Medical Advisor. Check with his office? Why yes, certainly...

Later that afternoon we got a phone call.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Chapter 7 – Marks out of 10; receiving the initial screening report

Shock horror!!!

Working many miles apart it was only on the very odd occasion that we ended up following each other up the road and pulling into the drive together. The day that we received Sandra’s report was one of those rare days – and a good job too as when we read her report both of us were pretty much fuming.

Lying at the top of a deep pile of the regular bills and junk mail was an ominous looking manilla envelope bearing a now familiar franking. We ripped the flap open in a mixture of eagerness and trepidation. A quick scan confirmed our worst fears. “The incident” did seem to have coloured all of her perceptions of us as a couple. The portrait which was painted in the report seemed at best a caricature and, at worst, a wildly inaccurate expressionist mess. We were clearly a buttoned up and anal-retentive pairing whose lives were ruled and regimented by our strict routines. This was a flag which would need to be explored in much more detail during any home-study period to ensure that this would not hamper our ability to adapt to life with a child. Great!

Chapter 6 - Come on in; opening our home for the first time – The Screening Visit

So finally, after submitting our own little version of War and Peace we got a letter from our local Children’s Services team. We had passed through the first hoop. In a few weeks time we would be visited in our home by a social worker who would make an assessment of our suitability to progress through the adoption process. I think that this was the first time that it really hit home that we were now in the fully-fledged process. And of course that brought mixed emotions. We were both relieved and delighted that we were through to the next stage. Of course, with that came an increased level of pressure.

Right, we were through the first heat – now each match was a crucial one in this knock-out tournament with our family as the ultimate prize... yes, unrealistically melodramatic, of course. However, up until that point we’d felt that we were just pushing at doors; finding out. Now there was the real prospect that, having had the prize dangled before our eyes, it could be snatched away at any moment.