The initial meeting we had was with a psychologist who seemed to completely understand and validate our idea that Son was communicating a very damaged part of himself through his behaviours, and that this language was very dark and worrying. He then referred us to the Looked After Children section of CAMHS that also work with adopted children.
We (Husband and I) then had a second meeting with a psychologist who seemed a bit young to me, and who got my back-up by suggesting - just as we were walking out the door - that although I thought there was attachment and trust between me and Son, from Son's point of view this was probably not true.
That pissed me off.
I have spent two years doing NOTHING BUT fostering an attachment between me and my two children, and I was not best happy at any suggestion that the lack of attachment to me was the root cause of Son's issues. I'm not the one traumatising this kid, I'm the one trying to heal him.
We had another session this week with the too young psychologist and also a Social Worker.
Yes, a Social Worker. My heart dropped. One of them. One of them that places all the responsibility and blame for everything on the adoptive parents.
But it was OK. They asked Husband and I to talk about us and our adoption journey. I'm not sure if you're supposed to make professionals laugh in a CAMHS session but Husband did. Something about his frankness of his dislike of babies caught them slightly unawares ('they're just really annoying and they can't talk or anything').
As we talked, one issue was coming out, the issue of the children's relationship with Husband. They used to reject him entirely, actually cry and/or tantrum if they had to hold his hand or sit by him. Now it's more like he's second best, he's OK, but not as good as me. Or sometimes it's like they don't see him, don't acknowledge he's there. When they do see him, both children can be very rude to him and are defiant in a more obvious way with him than they are with me.
It has to be said that Husband has shown astonishing patience with this. He's gone back in there, time and time again, to foster a relationship and a good attachment with them. That's not easy when you're dealing with two people with very powerful emotions who are very blatant about their dislike of anything you try to do.
All this wasn't helped by the fact that earlier on in the year Husband had sciatica which floored him for several months, leaving me effectively a single mother and losing him precious bonding time with the kids.
In my opinion, Husband has never quite bounced back from that time. A few weeks ago I had to talk to him about the level of effort he was making with the kids these days, particularly in the evenings. I saw it very much from my point of view however, that in the late evening, when I've been regulating the kids since 3.30pm, I needed him to be present for them so that I could take a break. I felt he was being too absent and everything was on my shoulders.
In the CAMHS session it became clear that this wasn't actually about me, it was about Husband's relationship and his attachment with the kids. He needed to work on that for the kids' sake, not necessarily mine! So, not everything is about me and my needs, who knew?
The Social Worker in particular seemed very keen on Husband having special time with the kids. She suggested that one weekend a month Husband put something in the diary to do with the children that didn't include me. In fact, he was to say quite forcefully to me that, sorry as he was, I was not allowed to come, that he wanted to spend special time with the children.
Reflecting on this driving back home after the session I found it hard to figure out which way I was going as I kept collapsing into fits of laughter.
Husband told to take the kids around Cannon Hill Park for three hours one afternoon and I wasn't allowed to go!
Bwaha hahaha haha ha ha!!!
This was a dream, surely? And I was going to wake up any minute at the beginning of the summer holidays, where day after day after day, for two months, I was the one spending hours of special time with the children because no other bugger was there to do it.
Husband didn't find it quite so funny. He kept saying maybe he could bake cakes with them or something. I said that he should be doing that stuff with them anyway and that the point the Social Worker had made was that he make a special effort and take them out for a treat!
Since then I've felt a sense of relief that - just for the moment - no more is required of me. There's nothing else I have to give up, no more time I have to hand over, not another thing to understand and incorporate into my parenting.
Just for once it's him over there, Husband, lovely man, who has to make the effort, who has to take the hit. He is the one who has some work to do.
I dare say this'll change as the sessions go on. The Social Worker seems very keen on giving us parenting strategies and offered hope that these might be enough to turn Son's behaviour around. Trouble is I have parenting strategies coming out of my ears and that's half the problem - at which point do the kids heal enough that I am not employing strategies at the speed of light molecules? Because it's killing me.