Emergency service.

Crisis: measured by the Richter Scale

We spend a lot of time in crisis, CHT and me.

Whatever we do, and wherever we go, we find ourselves teetering on the edge of the San Andreas Fault and playing chicken with Mount Etna, tucked in our beds at night with grenades under the pillows. Adoptive families are either in crisis, or have it waiting cocked and loaded just a hair trigger away.

Crisis is simply part of the deal, because adoption is a state of crisis – be that overt and expressed in explosions of rage, or locked down and silenced inside Pandora’s Box. For us, sat silent in an empty white room with no additional stimulus, our baseline emotional state is still set at ‘fight or flight’; our ‘normal’ is other people’s ‘extraordinary’ on the Richter Scale. And the only way is up, because life isn’t a sterile white room; life is full of challenge and surprise and drama.

In the six years we have been together, the world outside our control has thrown everything at us. There have been suicides, letterbox letters filled with remorse, bullying, snubbed reunions, diagnosis of brain damage, major surgery, redundancy threats, and school changes.

And then there are events that to the unknowing eye may not earn the label ‘crisis’, but to us represent Armageddon: a lost hair band, a new type of food, a bike puncture, the appearance of a suitcase. Charging us, like the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Each and every event is reacted to with equal velocity; CHT is explosive. Fuelled with trauma, and FASD, and the regular frustrations of being a kid. Like a tornado she tears at walls, doors, toys, herself.  She screams and rages, leaving further whirlpools of crisis in her wake; remembering nothing once the fury is past.

And then there are the times when I slip the calm blue leash of my Therapeutic Parenting skills; times when my own boiling frustrations come spilling out of the seams. I take my place among the rubble; notching up the intensity, and tearing down the trust we work so hard to build.

But together we are learning to spot the signs and fight back. More often now we recognize the onrush of our dysfunction and heightened crisis responses. Noticing the signs means we can use the right tools to avert the earthquakes and the eruptions. But then there are those times when noticing the signs is like a red rag to Godzilla “I am NOT getting angry” – and we are lost to the fire and the red mist once again.

But little by little we inch forwards, our combined emergency response team fighting the flames and taming them; winning. Sure, we get pushed back again as more lava flows and buildings fall.

But we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and inch forward; step by step.

14 thoughts on “Crisis

  1. Again you put into words the intense feelings that only those in the situation can truly recognise. That feeling that there always may be some trigger waiting to trip us up. But your hope and determination shine through. An amazing energy. Xxx

  2. I’m crying. I feel like you’re inside my life, my head. That state of teetering on the edge, learning to never fully trust the good times because you know the possibilities beyond them. You’ve just written it exactly as it is. Thank you for being with us on the Weekly Adoption Shout Out. x

  3. Wow! So beautifully written!
    Crisis is such an adaptable word when it comes to our kids isn’t it. From the smallest seemingly insignifiicant to the life changing, its all crisis in their eyes.

  4. Fantastic that you are able to write about my life too. But I have three loaded weapons , keeps u active n always on the go and tired beyond belief. Absolutely perfect writing. :) ) well done for saying so much for so many of us xx

  5. I agree with Sezz. We had a welly boot incident this week that to Mini was the ‘end of the world’, when to others it wouldn’t have even raised an eyebrow.

    Beautifully written too, thank you so much for sharing it with #WASO x

  6. brilliantly written both for the small things being THE things that cause such turmoil for our children and the honesty with the times we struggle to keep our head above water in the midst of the torrents. All so powerfully written – and all I could write my experiences as, this week, was the word raaaaah! crisis is everyday and I need to learn to live with crisis better.

  7. Your ability to use words is truly amazing and clearly struck a chord with so many of us well done and keep it up

  8. This is as great post, and once again you have painted a very vivid picture for those, like me, who are less experienced with this level of ‘adoptive parenting’. Thank you

  9. What a fantastically descriptive piece of writing. You really do explain the realities of parenting so very well. I always imagined being an adoptive parent would present difficult challenging situations, but there are so many of the challenges that I am ignorant to. You really do open my eyes and make me much more aware x

  10. Wow, what a fantastic post. I want to say more but I am so moved and rendered speechless. In one post, you have described everyday of mine and my family’s life in a way I never could. Thank You

  11. Amazing post – love the description of slipping off the leash of therapeutic parenting – I always feel rubbish when it happens & yes we dust ourselves down ready to start again. Thanks for fab description of what we tiptoe round, day to day. xxx

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