Seven years in


Seven years ago today I met my daughter.

I remember walking into her foster home and seeing her for the first time.  Her worried little face.  She called me Mum straight away – mum come and see my room, mum these are my shoes, mum this is my bed.  I had taken a camera to take a photo of her and it wasn’t long before she grabbed the camera and took a million photos of me.  It was her way of being able to look at me with the excuse of taking a photo.  She took photos of me from every angle, asking for me to show every emotion, all the time she was behind the camera, bossing me around.  Click, click, click.  Six years in and she’s still trying to tell me what to do and how to do it.  My own little bossy knickers.

I wouldn’t be without her, because I’m a bossy knickers too.  That’s why we are perfect together.  That’s why I’m her mother.


Funding therapy and early interventions

black-girl-with-teddy_12.jpgToday was my small lady’s last therapy session. She has been going for a year now to help her transition from Junior to Senior school. It’s worked.

I have been incredibly fortunate. The Local Authority (LA) post adoption team applied for funding and got it. I did not adopt through this LA – they didn’t know me or my child but they too saw an opeertunity for early intervention.

She got to talk to someone about friendships and how to create and let go of them. About the importance of who and how she chooses to tell her story to. Support during a time when her sibling was feeling unable to continue with contact.  Guidance and sometimes a telling off for behaviours at home that at times spiralled. To create a sleep routine that worked for us both. She was listened to, and she listened. She said she wanted to make her life better and I was so lucky that someone who could fund this made it happen.

Her year 7 has been a success.  Compared with Primary she’s shone. Hit her educational targets and made friends. I chose to send her to a school where none of her primary school friends were going. Where she could be who she is now and not a list of “unacceptable” behaviours her move to me created. She didn’t have a label at her new school. It’s a move that’s paid off.

The LA have also agreed to fund me having ongoing contact with the therapist despite my daughter no longer going.  So that I can continue to get support on issues that may crop up, help me deal with the unexpected.

I’m posting this because I want people to know early intervention helps.  Funding therapy is crucial to successful outcomes.  I’m aware that there are so many families who don’t get the help they need. Where early intervention could have changed outcomes. Where LAs don’t support adopters. I would love this to change. For access to be available – for people to feel it’s ok to ask for outside help – and if they do ask that they will get it. For it not to be a postcode lottery.

I’m not deluded. I have a feeling therapy will probably play a role in our future – this isn’t the end of complex emotions and crisis points but for now my daughter is happy that her therapist has said she’s doing well, that she doesn’t need to see her anymore. That she should be proud of her year 7.

I hope somewhere inside she is proud, even though she finds it hard to show it.

A lady who can travel.


My little one is away for two nights, three days on a school trip (yes, I’m boozing and watching Love Island with no school run tomorrow) but it got me thinking about how nights away with or without me used to be.

Whenever we went to stay with friends overnight we would have to transport half her room.  Take her three favourite dolls.  They’d need beds and clothes too.  There would be the Cinderella nightlight, books and precious things. The car would be filled with stuff, as if we were moving house and not going away for a night.  Of course that’s the point.  She was so worried it would all be gone she’d take it with her.

Now when we go away overnight together she takes a small rucksack with her mobile phone, charger and maybe a teddy. But this is a different ball game – this is two nights without me.  She has gone on an overnight school trip before, at primary school they did a week but she could take her phone and it happened to be very close to where her grandmother lives so she knew she could be ‘saved’.

There are no phones allowed on this trip. Her first senior school trip.  As she piled stuff up on my bed to pack the pile grew and grew.  It was clear she wanted to take the massive case, not the more suitable medium sized one.  She wanted to fill the case we took when we went away for 10 days, for both of us.  She wanted to take her nightgown, slippers, three outfits for each day, all her hair products and shampoo.  All this, for two nights away.

I told her she would have the biggest case there, that it was crazy she was only away for two nights she wouldn’t need all of that.  Then I stopped.  So what if she needs all that, so what if her friends with their tiny cases shout “Is that case big enough for you?”, so what if she can actually fit in that case and probably will struggle to lift it.  The priority is she is feeling able to sleep a couple of nights away from me.  She’s going to do it.  With her blanket and pillow safely packed in her case.

Maybe her past means she has high anxiety without things that are familiar around her.  Or maybe she’s simply a lady who never travels light.

Either way, the point is, she’s a lady who travels.  


Adoption, a story in hair.

Hair.  It’s played a huge part in my adoption story.  I have lank greasy hair.  Boring, brown, unsexy.  My daughter has thick, difficult, incredible, memorable hair.   When she arrived, aged 5, hair was a major part of our daily life.  I had no idea what I was doing and a million questions…

  1. Every Sunday would it take 2 hours to wash and comb it? (YES)
  2. Would I wish I’d used the Girls World I got for my tenth birthday more? (YES)
  3. Was I going to find a hair band big enough to contain it? (NO)
  4. Was I going to find a shampoo, conditioner or serum that would work? (NO)
  5. Was I going to have to take out a second mortgage to pay for all the products? (PROBABLY).

Between the leave in conditioners and olive oil sprays I felt constantly guilty that I was hurting my child.  That to her it felt like I was hurting her on purpose.  Pulling her hair because I didn’t love her.  That I was traumatising her every Sunday and no amount of explaining worked.  So, in the end we reached an agreement…


And so began our journey of learning to do each others hair.  She got to grips with the greasy slippery lank, I go to grips with the unruly curls.  I gave her mohicans, braids of all descriptions, hair extensions, bunches (sometimes up to six bunches).  She combed my hair out, sectioned it, tried to give it some sort of life.  I’m not going to lie, an 8 year old brushing your hair for hours hurts, a lot, but our pain was shared.   We both endured it.

In the last year or so my daughter has taken over her own hair. She is brilliant, developing new styles, looks.  She’s proud of her hair – her afro out wanting it to reach the sky, in a bun and sleeked back, straight and curly.  I love how proud she is of it.  I love that we found a million and one things to do with it together.

But the best bit… She still does my hair.  So this Sunday I got a hair wash, blow dry and straighten – along side a hand massage and manicure.  The whole process took about an hour and half.  An hour and a half of being pampered for free, by my daughter.  An hour and half with no TV, no social media and a chance to talk about her life…

Hair.  When I think how much we used to argue about it, it makes me smile now how close it’s brought us.