Sammy and Jenny
Sammy was removed from home at the age of five because of severe neglect and physical abuse from her Dad. She was extremely thin, anxious and withdrawn. By Sammy’s sixth birthday she had lived in four foster homes. Sammy needed a lot of reassurance. It was agreed a family where there would be no competition for attention would be best for her.
Being a single carer
Jenny was 49 when she started the adoption recruitment process with Sefton Council.
“I knew an older child and myself would be a better match, taking into consideration my age and my wider family. I have nieces and nephews that are primary school age so any child I adopted would have cousins they could grow up with.”
“In the early days Collette the placement support worker was a lifeline. She spent time with me and encouraged me to have confidence in myself to parent Sammy and helped me manage the transition for both of us. It is true what they say about a honeymoon period. When Sammy realised that she was staying her behaviour took a dip. It was very difficult for us both.”
“The training really helped me think through how I could give Sammy the safe base and nurture she needs and share this with my family so that they can do the same. Little by little I can see her anxiety is starting to reduce.”
“I always thought a two parent family would be better for a child. For Sammy I think having one parent who gives her clear uncomplicated messages has been easier for her to manage. Sammy and I have a very special relationship. She has given me a new lease of life. She is nine now and still needs a lot of reassurance and attention but luckily I have got that to give. So, we are a good team.”
Speaking about life with Jenny, Sammy had this to say:
“I love our house especially my room as it is pink and purple which are my favourite colours. When my cousins come I like when we can we take Betsy for a walk to the park.”
“I do remember living with my Mum. I used to have to have my breakfast at school. It is better here. It just is. Mum says I can to talk to her if I get worried about something. It is good knowing there is always someone there for you. ”
Collette - Placement Support Worker's Comments
“Sammy had a lot of moves so getting information about her care history will be so important for to make sense of her life before she came to live with Jenny”.
“Sammy is a lovely girl so it was great fun getting her involved in putting together her life book. It provides a reference point for Sammy to return to and explains why she couldn’t stay with her birth family, information about them and people and places that were important to her whilst she was in foster care. It has helped Jenny to show Sammy that this is shared history now and that Jenny accepts and embraces that part of Sammy’s identity. Sammy still gets anxious but Jenny has been fabulous with her and has adapted brilliantly to create a really stable home life for her.”
“We have been able to help out by linking Sammy into the group activities. She was shy at first but with encouragement joined in and met other children living in adoptive families. The Colemendy residential trip Jenny attended last spring brought her much closer to other children. We could see her growing in confidence. The children spoke about their lives and birth families between themselves in an informal conversational way, which was far more helpful to them than a more formal support group arrangement. Talking about being adopted to someone who understands makes it more normal and something they can grow with and accept together.”