My Name Is Jazz: Today A Hot Potato

This how I fell today 24/10/1014 Last night I had a hobble dream and my heart is in pine because my dog was dead in my dream and he reminds me off my dad. I’m thinking off my dad to day and that rally brakes my heart because I Lost my dad at crisrmast last year as u all no about. I loved him so I’m felling a bit heart broke today and I’m tide and fell lonely and fell lost and I’ve got my punch in my chest wich means I’m felling anxious because of my dream. But I’m ok because I’ve got my pets which helps but when I fell like this I go and look at my fiends and famley and I fell lucky I’m loved and cared for. what I’m going to do about how I fell is I’m now going to put the hot potato on the table wich means if u felling some think not good insted of passing on to the next person and burning them so they pas it on to the next person and it allso burning. Then the person how was herting first gets the rong response wich is not what thay need if that Mack’s sence? lol dreams r hobble and leve u felling crap lol The end 😄

Developing Community Awareness As A Charity

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In the process of developing our charity The Open Nest over the past eighteen months we have had to consider what our longterm aims and intentions are to be. What did good adoption support to families in crisis mean to us as a group of trustees?
We knew it meant many obvious things like therapeutic input, expert school support and regular short breaks, but we also knew that adoptees and adopters first needed true acknowledgement of their stories in order to be offered the correct support.

My immediate research focus a year ago, having survived a near adoption breakdown and the intense parenting of a child with severe attachment disorder and developmental delay, was to raise awareness. I had felt so isolated and stuck in a cycle of seeking non existent help. I wanted to speak out and find a way as a charity to tell ours and others stories.

I had watched and got frustrated over fifteen years at how little some of the big players in adoption policy forming and support had achieved in giving families such as ours a valid voice. A voice that wasn’t hidden in consultation rooms, select committees, university research papers or the odd shock horror ‘violent adopted child injures poor parent’ feature.

As a minority group being acknowledged at all, even if a bit behind the scenes, is better than nothing. But then sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the denial of the whole truth of your existence makes things a lot worse. It means our stories are stifled and unable to become normalised enough to be accepted in the mainstream community. The effects of this is that well meaning folk who are teaching, practicing medicine, doing social work and doing our assessments, can’t recognise what attachment and trauma stuff, looks, feels and sounds like. Well meaning ignorance can be dangerous. It leads to adopters being perceived as failing or to blame for their child’s struggles. This in turn makes seeking help from professionals fraught and very unhelpful for either side. The adoptees basic human rights to support are often completely lost in this structural failure.

It’s not easy to describe supporting a child with serious anxiety and mental health issues around loss and fear. Some of it is ugly and scary and profoundly sad. As parents we can sometimes present as negative and irritable. This is because we are doing an intensive care job without a managed structure of support or supervision and mostly without a break. We are often scared. If you listen carefully and for long enough to hear us properly through the strains of pent up desperation, you will hear something important to modern adoption in the UK.
Many of us are filled with love, commitment and fierce protection of our children. Despite the difficulties we are inspired and improved by our children and their will to want to succeed. We are the ones most aware of the potential within our children (and sometimes their birth families) if given the right support. As such, it is heartbreaking not seeing your child thrive and your plans for nurturing them turn into basic survival and damage limitation.

I have spoken to lots of struggling adoptive parents over this last year and there is a theme that runs through the very individual and different stories. The parents want the best for their children whom they love but are seriously frightened that without the correct help they may lose them. The irony of their children facing the potential loss of two families in their childhoods is not lost on them. These particular thoughts used to keep me awake at night paralysed with fear. During those times I often thought of my daughters mother and realised something we may have in common. Struggling within our family to the extent we think social services might come and take our child away from our home and family rather than fully and meaningfully support us. I often wondered how that would be explained to my child when she was grown up:

“Your first family were not able to keep you safe. Your emotional and developmental needs were not being met. We tried everything to help them but they could not accept or work with our interventions and were not cooperative. We removed you for your own safety under child protection guidelines.
Then your second family were not able to keep you safe. Your emotional and developmental needs were not being met. We tried everything to help them but they could not accept or work with our interventions and were not cooperative. We removed you for your own safety under child protection guidelines.”

Knowing her as I do, she would definitely blame herself. She’s super bright despite the labels attached to get her through the system. She understands systems and complexity. But as default she ultimately blames herself when she can’t see the honest responsible adult.

I would of course have explained to her in detail that it was certainly not her fault. I would answer the many “why”? questions and find myself blaming the social services or the government or her mother or culture or society, or our family, or a mixture of them all which I guess is about near the truth.

So with all that in mind our first works as a charity have been aimed at awareness raising. For adoption support to be relevant, effective and empathic it takes adoptive families who struggle to share information with both policy makers but also importantly to support charities and a wider society.

We plan to use the mediums of film, written word, spoken word, photography, animation and artwork to tell our stories in a way that is fresh, new and accessible to all. Some of our productions are hard hitting in the sense that they address difficult truths but they are also dignified, positive, without blame and delivered with great hope for change. Slowly but surely.

We welcome all families and individuals touched by adoption to contact us if they wish to work with us on any of our future projects. We are currently accepting ideas, photographs, films and artworks on themes of loss/trauma for our travelling exhibition ‘Severance’ which is booked to be shown in The University of Sunderland Art Gallery in September 2014 and then at Family Futures in London in November 2014. We are also negotiating future bookings in Leeds and Newcastle.

For further information please email us at info@theopennest.co.uk

 

 

My Name Is Jazz: Attachment And Security

Mummy bear is my bestis right hand girl
When I was a baby I was left quite a lot and if I’m left even for a mint now I panic and it gives me flash backs to mum leaving and fell like no one cares and they going to die or get mederd are hert them self and then I get silly and lash out and I chew a lot and say things I don’t men. my mummy bear is my life and she is like my body when I hear her Harte beet and I smell her it makes me fell safe and can be carm and my self and not fell pankey and I think some times wen I’m without mum I fell more like a tuff guy and I have to bee.

I rally don’t like Monday whenday Thursday firday because I don’t Like been in my own
And pitkley on a Monday because I fell more a wake and uther peppel are a wake and that pankis me because I fell temted to to wake them up and jump in with them because I love to fell uther pepels Harte beets and Abel to smell them and I’ve allwhys loved skin to skin baskley u could hold hands or head to head or bum to bum or leg to leg but it could be clashed as unappropriet and I hate I cart be clouse to peppel but the number one person I love to do that with is my best mate Erin or mum or my dog coco she is my staffie.

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Wen mum is not hear my chest berns and it feel like a grate big war wood and when I see her it goes. she is like my drug like some peppel like weed or codeine or herring and when she is not hear I crafe her like I don’t no what so I chew more say and say things I don’t mean a some time atack peppel wich is mean but I some time crafing the moment with my mum I will just do Ey thing to see her she Is my right hand man and she is my onley person I would tell Ey thing to and I will have no shame of telling when it’s to do with some think rally bad and she is the oley person I don’t tell lies to or be dissobits to but some times she has to push me to the limited.

I crafe her kiss and her hugs all week and I think about 24 7 and I’m so sked she going to die or get merdond i totrters my self and I all ways say I don’t love my mum and I hite her but I love her more then my self and my uther firends and famley.

I some time think if my dad can die than mum will and it hertz so bad to the pont I some times hert my self on pepuss and atcley sick and shaky and That’s when I look up bad things and crave weed because I need some think to replace it and keep out of my head.

To this day I fell so qultey that she could just say right I’m going out for the night and see a fiend or some one I’m like one of the guys who are so psevive because I’m so sked she won’t come back.

But she went on holiday and left me for a frew days and I did rally well but don’t get me rong it was tuff and I love it at 6 on a Tuesday night and 11 on saturday morning because I so happy to be with her and fell supper safe we are like a married cuppel just with out the sex and songing lol

 

 

My Name Is Jazz: Hart Broken

On the 15/12/1013 my berth dad was ent hear Ey more it was actuly the worts day of my life and the worts emosons I felt sick and rally rally sad.

I wasent very well and I was a sleep but when I work up mum sad jazz your dad is in hospital he’s got a bad chest infecson I couldn’t stop crying so we got my bedding and got in the car and went to hull hospital and I got thaer and mum said just remember he mite not rember u or he mite bee a sleep.

we got in the hospital and we got the news and I just berst into tears and then we ring my big brother and I never rally heard him cry hearing him cry is just brox my hart and i said to him one door close and a buffer Opens then we saw my berth mum.
Hearing her screming in my ears just brox my hart to and I couldnt
Fix it and that’s macks me fell even weers then mum and claudia and me and mummy bear went back to mine then the next day my friends waer hear and we had hour Christmas do.
I just won’t to get as drunk as a posibal and wake up and it to be all burnt way but It dident. my fiends waer god sends.
They stuck by my side the hole time so did mummy bear and my very very very best friend Claudia.
And all of my famley crisrmast was shite. Some times I just one it to be a very long Hobail Deam.  I’ve had my sheild on a very long time but it’s time to be a popper man now and show how I rally fell. It  fells like I just got a rally hobbial grace on my chest and it raw and I haven’t got Ey skin on it and it’s fell like It’s getting better then it gets Rey open aging and it’s hobbial but I’m okay I’m tuff as shit lol and my saven grase is my to adouble staffies I love them.
But dong get me rong it would bee good to have dad than have the massive wund on my chest.

The end I love all my friends and famley xXx

Trust Issues And Resolutions

It’s was a funny old year 2013. There was more change than I could have imagined with Jazz finally getting funding to support her move towards independence as an adult. This of course meant that after being a constant carer for many years, under extreme circumstances, I had some of my own time back.

My initial thoughts were to use this time to take strident legal action on her behalf for the lack of post adoption support she received, the lack of support to keep her in school, the all round general dogs dinner the local authority made of listening to her needs and protecting us from harm. After a good think though, I knew it was far better to put that energy into creating something positive, something inspired by the strength of our relationship and the love rather than the regrets and the angry bits.

So we began the setting up of The Open Nest and the opening up of our experience to others. This took a lot of trust on Jazz and I’s part. Using blogging, Twitter and Facebook was something entirely new to us. Our lives laid bare, in some ways to illustrate and advocate for the fact that we knew we weren’t the only ones. Of course it soon became apparent that we weren’t and that trust was rewarded. We have met some wonderful people through Twitter who have supported and advised and been all round good guys in the setting up of the charity. They really represent the word “trustee” in the true sense of the word.

On the other hand 2013 highlighted the dangers in trusting people. Employing support people for Jazz has been so much harder than we could ever imagine and getting the wrong ones at times has had very negative emotional affects on her and her trust issues.

One of the most shocking things to happen last year was that a “friend” in the guise of supporting the charity, publicly raised funds in our name and then refused to give us the money. Even though I am old enough to know there are untrustworthy people around this really did make me question everything.

Whilst dealing with the aftermath of both losing a friend and a big chunk of faith, Jazz’s lovely birth dad Fred died. The timing was always going to be bad but ten days before Christmas was cruel. Life stuck the boot in further when the funeral was scheduled for Christmas Eve. The only saving grace was that it bought her and her siblings together. A lot of preparation was done before the funeral around healthy goodbyes and trusting those around her to keep her safe through the emotional storm of loss and death.

We were floored when at the funeral Fred’s older children from his first marriage had arranged the service to omit her and her brothers very existence. My heart broke as the service unfolded and Fred was remembered as a loyal and loving father to A, B, C and D but no mention of the three young people who sat huddled, clinging to each other in grief and humiliation. Their chance of a healthy goodbye was stolen from under our noses.

I knew the first family disapproved, with some good reason, of their fathers second wife ( she was asked not to attend the service to avoid trouble) but he loved her and his children. He spent many Christmas’s and birthdays with Jazz and my family and friends over the last ten years and took his parental role towards Jazz seriously despite her mums failings. We looked after him as he grew weak and we loved him. Again our faith and trust in human nature was dented.

In the past few weeks I’ve had to question myself, am I too trusting? am I naive? am I too soft? I even thought I needed to make serious resolutions for the New Year to harden up and not trust people so easily.

But then I thought…… “bugger that”.

I like being a trusting person. I like the openness our family has and the trust and honesty I believe I have encouraged in Jazz. I like being a big softy and having faith in human nature to do the right thing.

So my New Years resolution is the same as ever. In 2014 I will count my blessings and not let the bastards grind me down.

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.

Loss

imageWhen Jazz first came to live with me her brother was in a children’s home. He was only seven and was housed far away from his family and friends. We would regularly go to see him at the home and take him out for the day. After some negotiating with Social Services he was allowed to come and stay with us for weekends.

The visits were very special and for the time we spent together the children seemed happy and relaxed in each others company. When it came to say goodbye however, emotions would rise and tantrums and tears would begin. It was completely understandable but tricky to manage.  Jazz would beg me to bring her brother home with us and he would storm off refusing to say goodbye.

The long two hour drive home across the Pennines was sad and often spent trying in the best way possible to explain the emotions of the situation to a six year old.

After a few visits her brother gave her his favourite toy to take home with her. It was a soft toy Barney the dinosaur. Between them they set up this system where each one would take it in turns to keep it after the visit. Backwards and forwards it went providing a manifestation of the unwritten connection they held. It seemed to ease the pain, knowing because Barney was involved they would definitely see each other again.

“I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family”

The Barney mantra became stuck in their heads and repeated over and over. At times I have to admit it drove me crazy.

As time went on they even felt brave enough to let each other keep Barney for an extra period of time.

Jazz’s brother was moved to another three homes between the ages of seven and twelve, but the routine continued.

At the last home he was in before coming to live with us permanently, a  young member of the care staff who had known him but weeks decided it was time to “sort out his room”.

Without his permission a bin bag of his things were taken to the charity shop because they were considered “too childish”.

Barney the family heirloom that connected them for years was lost forever.

Understanding

Somebody commented on Twitter tonight that adopters can never fully understand an adoptees loss. I agree, never fully, but I do understand a lot of it because Jazz talks to me. We have been nothing if not honest to each other from the start. Maybe its her personality or maybe the result of us together, but hiding feelings has never been our thing. Now she is adult and we still talk honestly warts and all.
She has made sure I understand her loss and her sadness and her anger at what life dealt her with no choice. She also communicates her gain, her happiness and her joy “despite” being adopted by me.
Jazz is not somebody who will not be heard and nobody owns her.

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