Face/Off

If I wasn’t talking about my son, as a bad joke I would say: Could the person who took our angry, aggressive and utterly difficult Goofs and replaced him with his sweet, cuddly, compliant and all around lovely 6 year old identical twin please KEEP him and never return??? 🙂

After last week’s blog post (which is really usually a week or two behind real time for obvious reasons) I am happy to say things are changing. We are still unsure of the ‘whys’, but some of the new developments we really enjoy!

2 weeks ago on Friday at 9.05 am I got the dreaded call from school: “mrs X, Goofs had an accident and bumped his head. Could you please collect him?’ Turns out school is really not that far when you run like Usain Bolt… Poor little boy had a massive bump on his tiny head and was quite distressed. He was also pleasantly surprised to see me. I was also pleasantly surprised he wanted to hold my hand as we walked to the GP. As we waited we talked (???) and had a good time. GP told us to go home and rest, but he wanted to go back to school so I dropped him off and walked home. As soon as I got home my phone rang again ‘mrs X the teacher thinks he should be home, please collect him.’ Well, I agree, but Goofs made a huge tantrum in front of the teachers saying how much he hates me and our house and he ran away. His young new teacher looked at me concerned (I think she had doubts about me…), but when I suggested we eat school dinner together and go home he was over the moon. In the dining hall he ran around and told everyone proudly ‘this is my mummy‘. At home we played Lego and we both had a genuinely lovely time.

Next day was a beautiful day so we went to the beach, which all four of us enjoy a lot. Goofs was playing happily in the freezing sea, while Snoops and I built sand castles. 5 min before going home Goofs was knocked down by a big wave! He was under the water for probably half a second, but that was enough for him to freak out and for Mummy to run to him with a dry towel. Again, we had some lovely cuddly moments when he was not an angry young man, but a tiny frightened boy who needed to feel safe. He totally let me in and I did go All In! After we got him into dry clothes we walked back to the house. He was holding my hand willingly and out of nowhere he said something along these lines ‘I am safe, because my mummy will keep me safe always, right mummy?’

Me trying to resist the urge to do a happy dance pulled him up into another big hug and said ‘always’ and reassured him how much I love him and said all the things I have been saying to him therapeutically, but somehow his ears were open now and I didn’t want to miss this unexpected opportunity!

In the meantime we changed tactics with his teacher and now every day she writes 3 positive things in his school-home book which we can discuss at home and there is room for both Goofs and parents to make additional comments. This gives us opportunities to learn more about him, it forces him to talk to us and in return we can praise, reassure and encourage him.

We’ve also had a few sessions of play therapy by now and although it is still very early stages his therapist can already see some improvements!

Add to the mix also all our wonderful friends around the world praying to a God ‘who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think’ and suddenly we have a little boy who is still often challenging, but who also shows now a sweet side to him, who wants to and is able to receive love and attachment. He is all cuddly and wants to spend time with us; he invites us into his imaginary play, he is happy to do his homework, helps out in the kitchen and just in general he is much less stressful to be around!

And you would think that with all the positives we have experienced and shared in relation to Snoops our family of four has finally turned the proverbial corner and after 4 months in placement things will improve and… yeah yeah yeah, all those warm fuzzy feelings usually associated with ‘Annie, the everyone lives happy ever after adoption story’. Well, we hoped for that, too…

In a weird (but undoubtedly understandable) twist Snoops’ behaviour started to deteriorate. According to the play therapist in their previous adoptive placement he was the ‘difficult one, who couldn’t fit in, always caused problems’ and Goofs was having a much easier time attaching to that family. While Goofs was thriving there his brother was struggling and it affected every area of his life; his behaviour, his mental and emotional capacity, his school performance, his discomfort, fear and night terrors.

When he moved in with us, consciously or subconsciously Snoops decided/realised that if he can swap the roles around he might have a chance. We do not doubt his previous sincerity of love and desire for attachment and that’s why it is so hard to see he is regressing into his old role of  ‘you are stupid, you are naughty, you are unlovable, you are nothing more than a constant problem’.

Last night I was able to have a conversation with him about this and he admitted that he is naughty now in school and at home on purpose. He knows (well, as far as a young traumatised child can know) what he is doing and the sad part is that he wants to continue this path. He doesn’t allow himself to believe us anymore when we say we love him, he feels he doesn’t love us anymore and he became aggressive towards Goofs. In his mind it is impossible for everybody to be happy. 😦

So, to close on that same bad joke: Could that same person please return our sweet, clever, confident Snoops and take away his evil twin???

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