Friday, 10 January 2014

Life Stories...

Well, after the debacle earlier this week both boys are now back at school and loving it.

Interstingly, this was the week that our younger son TJ, decided that he wanted to look at his life story book with me. KC won't even acknowledge it but TJ loves it.

The life story book is given to the children by their social worker once they have been adopted. We are lucky, ours is very comprehensive and its well written in a child friendly way - It also has quite a lot of photos from the birth family - photos that TJ loves to look at. He doesn't want to see the pictures of his birth mum or his birth dad - he just wants to look at pictures of himself as a baby.

But where normally thats all he wants to look at yesterday he decided he wanted to read on - to the bits where 'the bad things happened.'

The book is structured in such a way as it goes from TJ's current life with Daddy and Papa, back to his birth history, then through the 'bad things', onto his foster carer's and then back to his adoptive family and our future together.

We usually skip the 'bad things' simply because he wasn't able to understand it, nor did he want to acknowledge it. But yesterday was different.

He sat snuggled up to me as we read it slowly and carefully together, allowing him to stop and ask questions about what things meant.

The most interesting thing was not his reaction, which was inquisitive and curious as to why people wanted to hurt him and his brother but my own reaction. I had to stop reading as I was having trouble. I didn't want him to see my crying and getting upset - after all its not my story, but at the same time it was good for him to see that I was genuinely upset by what I was reading. It was all stuff I knew - but now I was sharing it with the person it had happened to. It was like reading one of those 'misery' books that dot the shelves of WHSmith but with the author sat next to you - the author as a child. The author who until recently believed that all Mum's and Dad's were mean to their children.

I was obviously emotional and TJ suddenly stopped and said to me, "Why are you crying, it didn't happen to you?"

I looked at him and said, "But I wish I had been there so I could have stopped the bad things from happening to you."

Tj looked back, shrugged and threw back up his defences, "They didn't happen to me," he said, "They happened to KC. Besides," he went on, "I look like a monkey so they didn't want me."

It's strange to think that not being abused is seen as a negative - TJ was so young when he was watching his brother being abused that in his eyes he was being ignored by his parents who weren't beating him - for a child any form of recognition is a form of attention and all children want from their parents is attention and time - the rest is just fluff.

So I promised him that he would always have my attention and my time - not out loud, of course, but internally. TJ then went on to look at his baby pictures and laugh at how ugly he was.

That just upset me even more - how can I help him rebuild his shattered self esteem. His godfather recently pointed out that TJ constantly refers to himself as 'rubbish' and only sees KC in a postive light... My guess is it stems back to these early experiences... where KC was getting all the 'attention.'

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