Twice in the last month, I have shaken my head in horror at what I was trying to organise, to realise on the actual day, that it was worthwhile. I think the ‘why did I say I would do this’ moments came on top of a lot of other things going on (work, boys, life), but the actual days themselves were such a success that all the stress of sorting it out was worthwhile.
Myself and a friend have an email list of local adopters; local adopters have signed up to this, some have been referred by SW’s, others by people we know, and at the start a lot of talking at support groups. We have many people on this email list; and it keeps growing. We use it to arrange park meet ups; which originally we did once a month, but then life got in the way and we started to just do it in school holidays.
But, local(-ish) to us there is an outdoor education centre that some of us access through the local authorities short breaks for children with additional needs. My friend started talking to the staff there about organising a day for adopted children there and we got the go ahead.She started the process last time, and I helped her with it.
Then earlier this year I was talking to a friend who had really enjoyed it and commented how nice it would be to do again…so I took the step and made the phone calls and started organising what was supposed to be one day. We had a big response when I sent out the email and we ended up with 32 families who wanted to attend. Obviously the centre has limits to how many people they can actually work with – we couldn’t take everyone. But working with them we managed over two days to get 25 families to the centre.
There is magic in that place, where children/teenagers who struggle with peer relationships come together, play together, work together and have fun. Some of them have known each other a long while, but others make new friends. They understand each other. And that is the magic; and that is what on reflection makes me think…it was worth all the planning.
Boyo saw his friends who he has known since just after he was placed. Jelly was a little young for some of the activities but still had a great time and saw people he knew. We are building relationships between the children who understand each other.
Adults built relationships too. We saw friends and people who understand. I got to speak to people who have been on the path longer than us and some who have been on it less than us. We spoke to people who have it more interesting than us, and those who have it less interesting. We continued to build friendships. I made plans for half term…to get together with some of these amazing people; no-one gets it like someone else who is living it.
Some of us also came up with a plan to ask social services about. But that is for another day.