We suffered a major family bereavement on the Wednesday before half term.

I’ve read articles and books about how adopted children deal with loss, and sometimes they can be ambivalent towards it and can seem quite uncaring due to their issues with attachment and the trauma they carry with them. We told the boys on Thursday morning; 7 decided not to go to school, and 11 chose to go. The school was amazingly supportive and praised our decision to allow them to choose how they dealt with their grief and what they wanted to do. Both boys have been amazing, and if we want evidence of how they have attached to us and their larger family, their sensitivity and grief they have shown really demonstrates that they have bought into their new lives and family.

I can’t offer advice or guidance on what we have done to build this bond, as I think we’ve just been lucky with the boys, and it’s down to them rather than any one thing that we have done. I think the three months of cocooning we did when they first came to live with us helped to build that foundation, but it’s really down to their personalities. When we were adopting, there was a concern that older children find it difficult to build those bonds with family and buy into the process, but our two have done and have done so at an amazing level.

As for us, we’re still processing our loss. It’s difficult, it always is. There was a horrible limbo to begin with that we’ve now moved through, and being able to make arrangements and deal with what happens next has made us feel slightly better. It’s one day at a time, and both of our employers have been fantastic with support offered.

Then we hit half term, and a change in routine tends to bring challenges with behaviour and attitude. Coupled with the bereavement, we were worried. We had one day of issues with 11, who was mean and difficult on the Monday when we went to Inflata Nation. However, an overnight check put him back to normal for the rest of the week, and apologies were given on Tuesday. Inflata Nation was good, although the boys and their friend seemed to spend more time playing football than going on the inflatables, but they enjoyed it, so who are we to say, “go on the inflatables” (we did say that but were ignored!)?

Tuesday, we used our English Heritage membership and visited Kenilworth Castle. The boys took their wooden swords that we bought at Warwick Castle on our last visit and had a great time running around the grounds pretending to be knights. The castle had activities taking place, and the boys took part in archery, which they enjoyed. I’m happy if there is tea and cake, and the cafe at the castle provided both!

Wednesday and Thursday, we sent them to football camp at a local school, which they enjoyed. On Friday, we went to Wrexham to stay with our friends and saw two of them in a local pantomime, which was good fun.

We came back on Sunday, did three loads of washing, and put the boys to bed, having had an enjoyable week regardless of what else has been going on. Three loads of washing turned into a massive pile of ironing that I’ve done tonight. And I still have 110 work emails to deal with, having spent the day sorting out GDPR policies ready to be ratified by the board of Trustees. I’m not a fan of unread emails; the badges on the mail icon upset me, but that’s a job for tomorrow.

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