A Poem (Inspired By Lemn)

This Pome is called why I think I got askbrugees

What seams quite to u is very loud to me

What seams hard to u is ezey to me

What seams nothing to u is massive to me

What u might think off others I cart it’s to hard for me as why cart it be about me?

What u think is ezey to go to one place to u is so hard for me I hate change ad people coming ad go ad different opinions

What u mite think is a nice hug to u is too much for me

What u think a normal person can cope with I cart

What seams dark to u is to bright to me

What u mite think when I kick off is not what I’m thinking

What u think is resting face is angry to me

What u mite think to come to mine without asking is not ok to me

What u mite think is one minute late to me is 10 minutes late

What u mite think when I look happy can mean I’m not ok

What u mite think when I crying I’m some times happy but when I’m laughing some times I mite be me heart or sad

What u mite think is good when u come for hug from behind I don’t like

What u mite think is normal to ask me to do don’t ask when I’m in my head box I cart come until I’m finish or bored

What u think is too kid like is perfect to me

What u think is normal 22 year old watch 18 films that is hell to me

What smell nice to u is over powing for me

What u mite think when I’m over talking it’s the opposite

What u mite think when I been rude is the opposite to what I felling

What u mite think when I cart sit ad concentrate is the opposite

What u mite think is normal heat is not funny for me

What u mite think to do when I cut my self is the tottel opposite its need distracting

What u mite think is mad me putting my dvds records books in abcdefghjklmopqurstvz makes tottel sense to me

What u mite think u right it’s not it’s my way or hi way

What u mite think it’s ok for tea at 7 not 6 no it’s not rewten to me

What u think was a one off to u is now rewten to me

What u mite think is clean it dearty to me

What u mite think to my room tidy it’s disorganised to me

What u think is mad when I do my funny moves is happy to me Im full or excited
What u mite forget I never will

What faces u mite forget I never will

What car u mite forget I never will

What song u mite forget I never will

What music beet mite be getting on your Neves is luxury to me

What u mite see as dangerous I love

What u mite think is good change I never will I hate any change

National Adoption Week Thoughts #NAW2016 

A guest post from an adopted adult:

As I sit down and try and think where to start, I find that the first part of my process is self censorship- How can I make this ok to read? How can I protect the identities of the people I grew up with? How can I say what I need to without causing offence?

It’s like putting up hurdles where this was supposed to be a sprint.

Where does this come from?

The need to protect other people. I learnt it very early on. Conversations around adoption were sparse when I was growing up- but I didn’t know any different or that there was even the possibility of asking questions- so I stored them up, ready to be unwrapped as and when the law dictated that I should be able to find out about myself.

I don’t think that my parents would have shut me down if I had asked, but I know exactly the look that would have appeared on their faces, like a slight shadow falling across them- they would have been hurt.

How did I know at such a tender age (from around 5/6) that speaking about adoption would upset my parents?

Perhaps it was the way I was told? Maybe it was the messages I received from outside when I shared my news ( ‘ but they are your real parents though’ ‘you were lucky to be chosen’ ‘you should be grateful for the life you have’…) that kept me quiet and in my own head? Or it could just be that it was the culture I grew up in- respect your elders, accept your lot, this is what it is.

I’m not lamenting that things were this way, I am glad that I have grown up with the ability to understand the world from other points of view- It’s just a reflection- but it’s not how I see adoption written or spoken about in our world of non-stop twitter feeds and updates and blogs.

I don’t see (in this country anyway) a thriving network of adopted people sharing their experiences, openly talking about the challenges and joys of growing up in a non-biological, non nuclear family. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough? (although many, many hours have been spent looking for this very thing…) I can’t seem to find open forums, supported by leading adoption charities, or government agencies, where adopted people (over the age of 25…) can discuss, share, empathise and educate each other, and the world about how it is for them (Really, truly, non sanitised, honestly.)

Make it happen! I say to myself, and in the times where I have- put the feelers out, started some online conversations with a few fellow adopted people, it’s fallen flat- I think- because it is incredibly hard to get past the feeling of not wanting to hurt anyone. From adopted people who wait until their adoptive parents have died to find their birth family (out of a sense of loyalty and often too late to find surviving biological relatives) to those who burn with questions they are too afraid to ask, painting on the happy face so as not to risk being rejected by a second set of parents. It’s really difficult to have the conversation.

I don’t like the idea of being ‘given’ a voice, as I have so often seen when people invite contributions or a token inclusion- (one day out of five in NAW?) it is implicit in its ‘power-over’ dynamic and says, I have a seat at the table which you can borrow, but only for a minute- and don’t be controversial…adoption should be (and really always has been) a communication between a vast number of people. Not one of those people should feel or be silenced.

If birth parents are demonised, it’s a disservice to the children, if adopters are criticised for not being ‘therapeutic’ or ‘attachment aware’ enough, it’s a disservice to the children, if social workers are made pariahs because of a decision- ultimately it’s the children and young people who are let down.

What would be perfect is adoptive families- writing together about these things- how great would that be? (and I know there is some amazing work happening along those lines, in a spirit of collaboration and openness, but it’s the exception not the rule..) I know this is my idealistic rose-tinted fantasy, but the idea of families making their own story together- I find beautiful and trusting. I do sometimes wonder how it will be for some of those who are children now, growing up and reading about their parents experiences of them. It takes resilience from all corners to be able to hear what it’s really like.

There is no easy, comfortable answer- people need to share- that’s part of our human experience, to document and resonate, to feel connected and able to vent or celebrate and so we should- I would love for it to be accessible for everyone. Sometimes, it feels to me like the discourse needs to catch up with the reality- new language is created all the time and so too in the world of adoption- we can learn it together, not apart.

Thank you to The Open Nest for supporting inclusion and transparency. x

Cherished Memories of Summer 

One of the most cherished moments of last year for me was spending time with a group of amazing children. They came to The Open Nest to spend time together and with our support workers at a Summer camp. Some of them are not used to being able to feel relaxed. Some of them always feel excluded when amongst their peers. Some of them are described by teachers as low in concentration and sometimes viewed as low in achievement. Most of them had anxiety and fear of new situations.

During the few days I was moved to happy tears on several occasions. Images and words etched in my memory forever. Inclusion. Achievement. Relaxation. Happiness. Understanding. 



Day 67: The clients are revolting #107days

We at The Open Nest feel very strongly in the voices of children, young adults and their supporters being heard. When your child needs extra support in some areas of their life it makes you extra protective as a parent. This blog post is in defence and support of @sarasiobhan whose son was not cared for properly in an assessment unit. As a result of this neglectful practice he died. Instead of getting a meaningful apology Sara and her family have had their grief compounded by institutional fobbing off and fake arse covering apology. If you can please support the campaign. It’s personal but its also political. #JusticeforLB


Day 67 was adopted by Amanda, pictured here with her daughter, Jazz.


Amanda is founder of The Open Nest and in this post she shares her own thoughts, feelings and experiences as a professional, as a mother, and as a supporter of #JusticeforLB.

When I was a social work student I specialised in working with groups of people who needed to access social care but were often voiceless or suppressed within the system. As with all those who seek state support these people were referred to as ‘clients’ of the services. This is actually where it began to irk me. Clients as a word suggests business. Not as is in ‘clients have a strong voice and will not be messed with’, but rather clients are one cog in the big wheel of the business and the huge industry of care that we seem to have developed in this…

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Hope For The Future

We had some great training this week from Geraldine Casswell who is in the group of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy therapists who work alongside Dan Hughes. dyadicdevelopmentalpsychotherapy.org

It was positive and reassuring about having hope for the future of teenagers and young people who have experienced attachment issues and trauma. Of course we had to fund privately and were given a very fair deal but just knowing there are people out there who want to spread the words of hope and love is encouraging.

We hope to raise funds through The Open Nest Charity to help other families access training with wise mentors like Geraldine but in the meantime would like to share a video we were shown.

Loss: My Name Is Jazz

Blog number 12

when I was littel I was taken away my mum and dad and my 2 brothers. And then we all had a good by contact in a whizzy wakey werhouse tap off place.

when I was taken from mum and dad the Ss band my head on the side of the door and I was sceeming begging my dad to let me stay and I proble cry and cry.

i don’t remember and went in lots of diffent Forster homes and now I rally angry to words my mum for been such a shite mum but I love her but hate her at the same time and when I see happy family’s it rally herts.

i blame mum and the ss but at the end of the day mummy bear is my mum and no one els is and Claudia is like a mum and my mums friend Dave is like a dad. And my mums very good friend Andi is been like a dad to me and my brother.

my littel bro I’ve haven’t seen for a long time and big bro is living in Whitby and it bricks my Heart not been with them.

i fell rally giltey because I some time think it my folt they haven’t got ther littel and big sister because I was the girl and proble hardiest to look after but I love them both so much.

the end.

My name is Jazz…



My blog number tow

When I was 8 I met my berth mum and dad. It was a very hart pulling day. I ran up to my mum showting mummy I cried a lot. It was for all of us.

why was it upsetting?

because the ss said loads of horibiail thing about my mum and dad but pitikicley her.

We met in my home town which was hull we met at a a hotel we went for some lunch and then we went to get a bubble gum mashsean. I loved it I’ve been seing my mum and dad for 10 years.

How duse it mack me feell?

It’s a very mix fellings because some times I hite her but utther times I love her to bits. she can be a pain in the back side when se wont to bee when I see her it brings fellings Up fellind like why I’m a adopid.
See seams like a very nice person but then I look at her then I understand why. But the fellings like Duse she still love me? And Im I still her little girl? When she goes I some times get Vialent it mack me fell very mad.

Why do I get vialent?

because it brings up very hobble things up like haveing Flash backs of her been not very nice but I just try and put my brave face but peopel like my adopid mum No that some think isent right

Do I regrt meting her?

some times ya but the I look at her little face. Then I smile the I think no. I don’t regret meting her because I look and think she got the problem not me I’m like the mum .

But I just tink some times mummy bear is my rall mum I love them both very much.

The end

Mind The Gap


When I decided to adopt I was someone who had qualified as a social worker and had consequently worked within “the system”.

My political interests informed my practice and my specialism was outsider groups. I had worked with travellers to support the writing of letters to Government, learning disabled adults to form a clients committee, people with HIV and Aids to gain holistic health treatment, and a project to achieve an anti racist education model.

Very soon I realised social work wasn’t the job for me as I felt one could not afford to care properly, emotionally or financially. I made the decision to commit to actually caring for a lifetime. Better to try and make a difference to one person properly than manage budgets for an industry, that by its very nature, was too unwieldy to have true empathy.I believed empathy to be a key requirement in caring. The cliched but true “walk a mile in my shoes” thing.

When I was first handed a file with several children’s faces looking out I wanted to vomit. The potential match paperwork didn’t allow me to see, hear or smell them. Their fate was in my hands and it sent a shiver. They had no choice.

The “chosen” one arrived with little physical baggage but a whole lorry load of the emotional kind. Like a million tiny piece jigsaw (still haven’t completed it).

There was a life story book that began with life at the foster homes. The bit before her reaching four years old came in a damning file of demonisation and I hated her mum. Chaos, neglect, violence. What a bitch. Stupid cow. Thank god for good old me.

This judgement was short lived as more information filtered through via my daughter and also my political brain that always loved the possibility and truth of the sub text.

I started to do my own assessment based on a social work model and in an anti oppressive way as I had been dutifully taught by BASW.

I called the adoption team and asked to be put in touch with the birth parents. There was a shock horror tut tut reaction all round. I had never been given any advice on birth parent contact nor knew of any arrangements other than with her siblings.

The arrangement for her siblings was for me to preside, along with a social worker, over a final “goodbye forever” contact in a fun pub. The children ran amok, ate salt, spat a lot and kicked each other. My daughter gave her two brothers gingerbread men with smiley faces. There was more expression in the biscuits faces than theirs. I went through the motions but knew it was all wrong and horrendously managed.

I fought a long time to reverse the decision and one brother was adopted by a great open couple who allow contact and the other, after a lengthy court battle, came to live with us on a long term therapeutic foster placement.
The horrendous court delay cost him a lot emotionally as he was in a children’s home from six to twelve whilst we fought, but he still calls us home at twenty years old.

Back to the parents. I eventually insisted enough to get a meeting in a social work room with mum and dad. I was warned that I was going to face an angry violent woman who vehemently opposed the adoption and was a general public nuisance.

She had served a prison sentence for punching the social worker who took her children away. There would be two social workers present and security if necessary.

As the day approached I was pooping myself and prepared for the worst. As I made my way down the corridor and into the room my heart was beating out of my chest.

We came face to face. Birth mum and Adoptive mum. She came towards me, laid her head on my chest and wept like a child. It was one of the most powerful emotional experiences I have ever had. Birth dad, an elderly ex soldier was shaking in the background his veiny hand outstretched to mine.

From that day on I went with my gut moderated with a healthy dose of reality. I met with them many times before our daughter knew anything of it. I talked to them, filmed messages from them and challenged their denials or edits in a non judgemental way. I heard their stories that filled in the gaps in my ability to know our child. I made myself into a safe and sturdy bridge between them and her.

I started to slowly filter information to her about her parents and explored how she felt….. it varied between longing to see them and longing to shoot them. After watching the film where her mum said “its wasn’t your fault it was mine I’m not very well” she was ready to meet them.

The day remains etched in our minds and it still stings. I filmed it but we don’t know if we can share that yet. It is almost too powerful. A displaced and fragmented eight year old runs down a hotel corridor, arms open wide towards her mother shouting and sobbing “mummy!!!!!!”. Their embrace is heartbreaking and yet cathartic for all.

What follows is not a bed of roses or a skip into the sunset. It’s been bloody hard work to manage safely and therapeutically. My daughter faced triggers and showed challenging behaviour after some contacts. At certain times of development she has wisely, through therapy, chosen not to have contact for anything up to a year.  However what we have is a history that involves the elephant in the room sitting visible on our settee, drinking tea, celebrating Christmas and birthdays, sharing information and most importantly, slowly if at times clumsily, extracting shame, guilt and feelings of rejection from our daughters soul.

I have had to live with my decisions as any parent does. All parents have to make potentially life changing decisions for their children even when they are not psychologically damaged. I do not judge those who decide against contact. Each child is individual and some birth parents too selfish or damaged to play a part in any healing role. If mismanaged, contact can be retraumatising and cruel. The childs healing must be central to all and personal judgement must be put aside.

If contact is out of the question I would ask:

“has your experience of local authority assessments and support been good for you in order to support your child?  Has it ever felt like you and your child are seemingly abandoned by the system that put you together? Have you had to argue for help or get a bit stroppy to be understood on behalf of your child? Would more money help hugely to care for your child’s needs at home or school? Do you ever worry you can’t cope with your child? Do you ever feel like screaming or running away? Do you ever have to count to ten so as not to smack your child?”

If you have felt any of this as a secure, literate adult adopter spare a thought for the dispossessed, and if nothing else maybe try and teach your children the politics of deprivation and poverty. Educate them to the realities of social care, and the power some agencies hold in their position as a third parent. That third parent may be cruel in its ignoring your families cries for help. It may neglect or abandon you. I found it has helped to do that as my daughter has grown up. It promotes a healthy understanding, fighting spirit and self reliance that can aid the transformation from victim to survivor.

My name is Jazz…



My daughter wants to have her voice but is worried due to her severe dyslexia that people will, in her own words, ‘think I am stupid or thick’. She is neither and editing of her words as she writes affects the flow and concentration. I  have told her not to worry.

Here is the first part of her story. The music she has chosen comes from her emotions playlist. Jazz has always communicated through music. This week’s track sums up her negative feelings towards the system that has generally failed her.

My name is Jazz…

jazz desk

i was born in July.

i was tacen a way fome my berth mum when was 4 years old.

as the ss touk me away thay bangd my head on the door i got told bay my dad i was begging he to let me stay i pobley dident undersand way but my body will have i love them still to this day i was fosta bay fost mum and dad he was in the posest off dieing i rember to this day how much he ment to i was the favent he was like a popper dad and she was a prroper mum one of my merrise is hime saveing i can still smeil that smeil to this day

i met mummy bear when i was five i rember the day i felt a lot of diffent things

i felt happy and seked i was testing out a bit to much i gess i was prettey fuck up exsuse my langwich when she came to meet me we sticjk the touns out at ech uther we went to the park it was autam i spite in her face i guss i was testing her i bit to much.

i rember the ferst time i staid at my mummy bears house i had a yellow room with a moon light on the wall nexst to my bed wich had a winney poo dovey cover on it i lots off toys i no that moment i was loved we had lesaner for tea it was like ive been the size i was a baby i went back to my fosta mums and dads i cart rember if i cride or not then i had to say bay to my fosta dad i rember going to hotibal i goit him a card and some cholattes it was a siad day but i wont of undersand i was onlkey 5 so quite quickly i moved in with mummy bear because my fosta dad had died