On Monday we had contact with Robbie’s older sister and brother. As always it took place on “neutral ground”, a park in a city that’s more or less within equal distance of the three families involved. Robbie was very anxious about it the night before, worried that they wouldn’t get on or that he’d be challenged about past behaviours when the three of them lived together with their birth parents. He feels so much shame about it. He was also sad about not being able to see his siblings more often and once again queried the reasons why he can’t live with them. As it was, the kids got on very well. They played together without needing much supervision and enjoyed each other’s company. Because of this, we extended the contact time beyond the agreed two hours, which wasn’t a very wise thing to do as the kids started to annoy each other and returned to previous negative interactions.
We expected Robbie to externalise some of the things that might be going through his head afterwards, but he didn’t. When we got home we had a lovely afternoon and he went to bed just fine.
Yesterday we had two appointments with the post-adoption support agency. The first one was just Glen and I, and we got some feedback on our Sensory Attachment Intervention assessment. Some of it we expected and some of it was surprising. They offered some good advice and we found out more about the sessions to come. The second appointment was another DDP session with the three of us. We talked mostly about the summer and contact, since it was such a recent event. Robbie was quite engaged during the session, which we were pleased about.
Once again we expected some sort of outburst straight after, but Robbie appeared to be fine. It was only at bedtime that things went very wrong very quickly. There was a lot of violence. We were punched and I was beaten with cushions. I remained calm and supportive, asking Robbie what was going on and trying to empathise, until he threatened me with a pair of scissors. I then had to remove myself as I was really shaken.
When he eventually calmed down, Glen had a long chat with him. Robbie burst into tears and then blurted out a lot of revelations about how he feels, including feeling that we hide his past from him, his fear that he’ll have to go after 3 years with us (the same way he had to leave his birth parents and his foster carers after 3 years), thinking that he’s just like his birth parents because he hits, and saying that everything (the violence the kids had to endure, not being able to live with birth parents) was all his fault. He also uttered the line we’d hoped we’d never hear, or at least not until he was a teenager: “You’re not my parents”.
Glen listened and tried to address his concerns, but Robbie was too disregulated to listen. Eventually, Robbie fell asleep. The three of us had a long chat this morning and addressed all of the issues Robbie had mentioned. Amazingly, he allowed us to talk for a long time without any avoidance techniques, and he engaged with what we were saying: replying and asking questions. I think some of what we said went in. We also told him we’d probably have to discuss them with the adoption support agency too, which he didn’t like.
School starts tomorrow and I’m a bit sad about it. With the exception of the bad moments, I’ve enjoyed the last few days with Robbie and having a chance to do fun things as opposed to having to do routine school and homework stuff. I hope the return to school doesn’t lead to any more anxiety and negative behaviour.