This was something no-one really mentioned, that my adopted children would be so noisy. I mean really, really noisy. Our background music is constant chatter, non-stop questioning, tiffs with each other and arguing with us, add a dash of back-chat, and topped off with always needing to have the last word on every topic and every conversation. And it never, ever seems to stop.
Why are my adopted children so noisy?
On a clear, crisp November morning, after having completed the Brighton 10k, this new little family took a short walk to the beach to watch the waves crash on the pebbles.
Picture the scene, a family, all wrapped up and cosy, sitting on the Brighton beach, watching the sea, warming themselves with piping hot chocolates.
That wasn’t us, that was the family sitting next to us.
King of the Mountains and I were sitting on the beach. But my two were standing at the water’s edge, screaming, shouting, hurling the biggest pebbles and rocks they could find into the sea.
Both kids releasing glass-shattering squeals of glee as the stones it the water.
This was when I realised, that maybe we were just a bit different. We were noisy.
Impact of trauma
My adopted children are affected by trauma and neglect. This has left its mark both emotionally and psychologically.
Evidence shows that how we are cared for in our early childhood affects how our brain develops and this, in turn, affects our ability to form relationships, regulate ourselves, deal with our emotions, handle stressful situations.
It was clear that my adopted children’s early life experiences have had a tangible impact on their lives.
My children seem out of synch
When I look at my kids I feel they are out of synch with their environment, and how they react to new or changing situations.
When it comes to their noise output levels, the volume control is set to very high.
The noise masks our feelings
During the early days, I felt I was struggling to bond with Super Girl. At the same time, she was rejecting the idea of having a permanent mother fixture in her life.
To the world, she was the perfect little girl, smiley, charming and giggly. You couldn’t help but fall in love with Super Girl. (And she still is that charming, smiling giggly little girl).
Except, I never got the charm. I was the recipient of anger and fear which showed itself through shouting, arguments that spun into tantrums with the odd bit of kicking and hitting.
Super Girl was scared. Scared I might change her for a newer, nicer Super Girl. She needed to test me. Could I stick with her, was I up to the job of being her mother.
By the time Super Girl arrived with us, she had lived in three different foster homes, plus stints in respite care when her foster carer went on holiday.
Now she was living with us, in her forever home. But are we really forever?
For a tiny person, that’s a lot of uncertainty to deal with, and that uncertainty, fear, and trauma came out as noise.
How to survive the noise
This is our normal. We live in surround sound.
Over the years, its got better, a lot better. We are a noisy household. But we have strategies in place to cope with the noise.
1. Taking time out for me
This is easy to forget, and in the early days I wouldn’t do this, thinking if I wasn’t always present in my kids’ lives, I was somehow failing.
But taking time out, to experience quiet, listen to silence, be alone with my own thoughts, is important, it’s a must.
- I go running with the dog (Yup got my mojo back!)
- I take an art class
- As a special treat, I might go see a grown up film on my own (utter bliss)
- A walk down the road, to a local café, to sit and sip a good coffee, in quiet, is so very good
2. Get mindful
Mindfulness is an amazing. By simply regulating our breath we can calm the mind, lower blood pressure and induce a good night’s sleep.
I started using Mindfulness just after we arrived in Paris, when stress levels sky-rocketed. Teddy breathing really works for us.
3. Make our routine visual
This is one thing I haven’t tried yet, and I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long. Creating a visual schedule of our morning and evening routine.
For Wonder Boy, mornings are tough. They always have been.
He loves to drag out a morning, distracting himself by reading a comic, looking for a lost sock, staring into space, finally packing his school bag.
Anything that will draw attention, make me nag, turn me into ‘shouty mum’ and before we know it, we heading toward meltdown.
I want to change this, help our mornings be calmer, less noisy, and maybe a visual timetable will help.
Photo credit: Jon Nicholls courtesy of Flickr