Here comes the summer! School term ends today, the 78th day of knowing that the girls’ birth family are now fully installed just a mile from our home.
Last year we were quite excited about the summer holidays as OH was off work, and I don’t work anymore, so we had the whole 6 weeks as a family to look forward to. This year it’s a totally different story. OH is back at work. The girls are more anxious and disregulated because one of their sisters returned to care. And we have to get out of our home town for the summer because of the birth family presence.
In June the Adoption Support Team promised to look into giving us some help with getting away this summer, but this never materialised. In fact, we’ve given up hope of getting any help at all from social work now, and for the good of our mental health we are not going to engage with them further once they have corrected the many mistakes in what they laughingly call a ‘risk assessment’.
So, summer survival plans. We’re going to family and friends’ houses whilst they are on holiday; we’ve got a few sleepovers for the girls lined up; Bubble is going to Pony Camp and PGL; and Squeak is having breaks with me in Dorset and then Cadbury World. OH will take a few days off here and there, and between us we will also have to make sure my mum is supported, and that our animals and garden are kept going. It’s a bit of a logistical nightmare: good job we are incredibly organised people.
I am concerned that this constant moving about is going to further disregulate the girls, particularly Bubble, who has difficulty with family holidays. Last year we returned from a week away bruised and battered, and vowed we wouldn’t go on holiday again. Last half term, knowing we were going to have to go away for the summer, we tried 2 days away and although Bubble’s anxieties were raised, there was no physical violence. That was only 2 days, this is 6 weeks, and sometimes even staying somewhere already known to her causes anxieties for Bubble. But needs must: with birth family in town – and very visibly so – we cannot take the girls anywhere local.
Super therapeutic capes on then, and all fingers crossed. First of all a bit of down time for the girls in our home, camping in the garden, a day at the beach hut, a sleepover with a sister, then 2 weeks spent half an hour’s drive away where we know the girls are safe, and we can go out as a family. We’re making sure that as many of the usual routines as possible are in place, so as to minimise anxiety levels.
We’re also making sure that OH and I get some time off, mostly separately, and with the support of friends and family, we’ll have a few days together whilst the girls are having sleepovers. With good luck and a fair wind we will survive the summer holidays in the best way we can! And on Day 126 the girls will return to school, and we will swing into term time survival mode once again.