History Is An Angel Walking Backwards Into The Future

The Ships Mate. A handsome man with the blackest eyebrows. Olive skin, a sea heritage and five ladies he loved. A father and a husband. He was a brave man.

As his twenty eight year old body was ripped apart, his Young Wife sat at home nursing their baby. The Youngest daughter of four.

Did The Captain think it best they pull in the mine protecting the fishing fleets that toiled beside them…. Or was it just a deadly catch.The Ships Mate paid with his life. As the mines lethal contents blew him out of the water his family’s lives were changed forever.

The Ship Mates Youngest Daughter didn’t recall him, but held the scent of him deep within her brain. Six months lying against his chest made sure of that. She had his eyebrows and a hereditary something nobody would be able to tell her about. By the time it properly showed itself her tired, bereft Mother ( once a Young Wife) would have given up.

The Seaman’s Mission could put food on the table but they couldn’t explain why The Shipmates Youngest Daughter was different, why she raged and hit out and ran away. Not like the others they were good girls. Not her. Mental. Not all there. Subnormal.

The Ship Mates Youngest Daughter needed help for the hereditary thing that nobody knew…..but she got hell. Would The Ships Mate have murdered those that abused his Daughter in the name of care, if only he were there.The Youngest Daughter dreamed that he would and the rage grew.

The Youngest Daughter was thirty, adrift and drunk when the Stubborn Old Soldier saw the good through her defiant dark eyes and fell in love.

The Youngest Daughter became The Mother… Too many, too quick. No time to mourn the one in between that died as he came out of her early and onto the hallway carpet.

The Mother raged and cried and drank and laughed at things that weren’t funny. Like her fist in his face.

Stubborn Old Soldier was at a loss. His first wife, god rest her soul, was not crazy like this. Nor were his grown up children…had no trouble with them.

He had heard The Mothers vile tales of care and it scared the life out of him. More than the fear he felt in war. But his three young children were suffering. Wide eyed and shaking in the midst of loud and constant chaos. Their Granny (once The Young Wife) tried. Their Aunty (once the Eldest Daughter) tried. The Stubborn Old Soldier (once a War Hero ) tried.

But this war, a war in their collective minds, was lost and the challenge too big. The household crumbled under the violence and shame.

Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.

The only one The Mother could visit was the dead one. So she did. She howled to him of what could have been if only The Ships Mate were there.

The Stubborn Old Soldier and The Mother stayed together. He cared for her. He was dutiful. He saved The State a fortune. On a bad day he wished he had help but he wasn’t called Stubborn for nothing. The Mother felt her sentence daily, like a noose around her neck. Some nights she was sure Her Children visited her in her dreams but as the years passed their faces became mist. One unexpected day when they met Their Children, The Mother and The Father told them their story.

The Mother apologised but It didn’t make the pain go away. It sat in Their Children’s minds alongside the history written by The Strangers, that sat on their files.

Their Family History. Their Story, Their Reasons, It all knotted together to become an invisible anchor. Left by the The Ships Mate who couldn’t be there.

In Memory Of My Grandad.

In Memory of my Grandad

Isolation Cave


This is my first ever attempt at publicly sharing our story after weeks of navigating my way around the technology. A new thing for me being a luddite country bumpkin with only a phone and no broadband connection. Fingers crossed I get it out without deleting by accident…..

Since I adopted Big Bear 13 years ago, we have had to deal with feeling excluded and isolated throughout much of our journey. Our confidence has been shattered and the toxic shame has made us shy about our voices. Upon finding the online adoptive community I now believe we can give hope and solidarity through our story, and gain strength through the bravery of others sharing their common experiences.

I adopted as a single woman and was completely unprepared for what was to unfold despite attending “preparation” groups for over a year.

When Big Bear arrived all scraggy and wild and beautiful, it was very quickly obvious to me that I could not go it alone. My five year old was amazing, and funny, and loveable, and enraged, and frightened and violent… and stuck to me like prickly glue.

Having lost my job, unable to return due to the constant care needed, I wrote to social services two weeks into the placement politely asking for support. I specifically asked for information and advice on dealing with her fear and subsequent anger, as well as help with the failing school and time out for me that wouldn’t in turn stress her further. I was a recently qualified social worker, specialising in outsider groups and not unknowing around the psychology of deprivation. I was so very sorry for her and always thought her reactions were valid. Misplaced and uprooted she was a whirling dervish dancing to the stress hormone tune only she could hear in her busy little head. Watching the pain manifest itself outwardly has images etched on my mind that I will never forget.

What followed in response to our requests and eventual begging for help was literally years of misunderstanding, harmful interventions and eventual exclusion from everyday life for my daughter and I. Her violence escalated in its power as she grew up physically and in time she became more frightened of herself than anything. We hit rock bottom when she asked her social worker “can you put me down cos I’m really frightened I’m going to accidentally kill mummy”.

The response to this was not therapy or medication, nor a break for me but the suggestion that my clever, brave, honest girl should perhaps be put in an out of county secure unit. We carried on regardless.

We were matched perfectly though. Both of us laugh in the face of crisis and fight ferociously against the odds. We know that we are right and that our guts have the answers.

The title picture for this blog was taken when we presented to A and E to gain psychiatric support in an emergency (the only LA suggested crisis intervention plan!). We had been in a secure room for seven hours with no windows, food or drink. I was “allowed” to get play dough and music magazines which are calming distraction tools for Big Bear. As yet another doctor who knew nothing about trauma related behaviour eventually arrived and asked me irrelevant questions, my daughter stuck a sticker on her forehead that she had just found in the magazine.

I THINK WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY

Behind the doctors back she was doing that thing with her finger twisting against her head suggesting that they, not us, were the “mad” ones. That sums up her magnificent sense of humour and spirit which has carried us through.

The following day, after being turned away from hospital, and ignored by the Duty Social Work team, my vulnerable, innocent, sixteen year old girl, in the throes of a mental health crisis, was seriously harmed by unknowingly putting herself at risk with a predatory man. My heart was broken.

To mend ourselves, we have worked together to create a charity that harnesses the belief in hope, resilience, kindness, truth, listening, individuality and creative solutions. One which does not rely on LA assessments or commissions!

In taking part in this and showing herself, my daughter has found strength and courage to help others, and this in turn has widened her belief that she is worth something beyond our family. The self confidence to fight the inner voices that tell her she is stupid, wrong, or a loony to be thrown away or put down by euthanasia. She hopes to mentor other children and plans to write her own blog.

Finally we may come out of the Isolation Cave… Out into the sunlight… Hand in hand… Big Bear and Mum Bear bruised and battered but still laughing and certainly not beaten.

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