The Big Wind by NATP
Here is a really insightful and realistic message to parents who are living through the COVID19 restrictions and isolation period with their adopted or special guardianship children. It gives us all permission to acknowledge our own vulnerability during these very unusual times.
This message is written by The National Association of Therapeutic Parents (NATP). Adopt London and NATP are working together to offer Adopt London families (adopters and special guardians) the support they need during this time. Free memberships are available to those who are eligible. Read on for more information.
The Big Wind
When we first heard about the lock-down, we created a big wind of enthusiasm.
Education in the morning, making or baking in the afternoon and a film together at night.
The children appeared to thrive in the bosom of connection and play.
The removal of most outside influences bought a calm we’d never thought could exist. No school, appointments, family visits or even social workers at the door!
Our little ones regressed, and we used the opportunity to meet them at their developmental age.
We saw our children through a different lens, and we felt more in control. Some behaviours reduced and we dared to hold our breath in anticipation of a new way of being.
The wind began to lose its gust, the routine became tiring and we started to run out of ideas.
We began to sink into the anxieties around the situation we currently find ourselves in, missing loved ones, fearing for our own health and indeed lives.
Sadly, the children couldn’t make sense of what was happening, the adults looked the same BUT their body language communicated something very different.
They could see it in our eyes.
Worry, fear, helplessness but we told them all was fine.
The children felt confused, what was going to happen next????
They did not feel safe.
The big wind was now no longer available and the adults felt like robots.
So the children created their own wind…
Their early life trauma memories began to surface, their unassailable safe base was rocky and they became terrified of the unknown!
Everything looked the same, but they KNEW it was different.
Invisible threats and unpredictability fuelled their wind.
Behaviours we thought we’re long gone came back to bite!
We tried to shield them from the terror in the world, empty supermarket shelves, the news reports on the telly, overhearing unhelpful telephone conversations and our own fear.
Sadly, they knew anyway.
We sat with our head in our hands (then remembered we shouldn’t touch our faces), and cried… and cried… and cried…
We remembered the wind…
This time we choose to embrace a gentle soothing breeze, factored in time for ourselves, (even in the loo), connected with other parents in the same boat, let go of unnecessary or triggering activities (maybe school work), allowed a bit more screen time, a bit longer in bed BUT we NEVER let go of some sort of routine.
We decided to be very honest with our children whilst gently reassuring them that this time WILL pass, we will ALWAYS do our best to be there for them and we will NOT let them down.
We will keep them safe and bring them into our gentle breeze of love, calm and connectedness during the raging storm….
NATP will help you navigate through the storm.
We will be there at your side as we journey through this time together and we will celebrate when the storm passes.
Sarah Dillon (c) NATP Therapeutic Lead
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