Friday 12 January 2018

Intervention or non Intervention.

I don't think what I'm experiencing is unique to adoptive parents, it's likely that many families walk an uncertain and delicate path as their children transition into adulthood. For us the early life trauma that pre dates our parenting seems to have hidden beneath very real boulders that had fallen into my child's life.  Compliance and obedience are very welcome character traits to greet a new parent, especially a new adoptive parent of three children that arrived one summer day 20 years ago. We were unskilled, unable or too naive to see the issues that lay beneath these rocks.

So now we see those seeds of early trauma finally bear their terrible fruit. That story is not mine to tell, so I shan't but I do have a story. 

It comes down to two choices; intervention or non intervention. Those choices have been chewed over and talked round for months. Do we as parents step into our adult child's life and 'fix' the unraveling that has occurred?

Every fibre of my being kicks against this, issues of consent and personal choice loom large. These are countered by questions of vulnerability and capacity. Bad decisions layered on bad decisions all trauma informed replaying earlier lives. My mind races to the  'nature or nurture' question, science seems to have a new view on that and so do I as the impacts of intergenerational trauma plays out before me. 

But the 'intervention or non intervention' question rages, putting a new and unexpected challenge between me and MrsC. We have always sat squarely in different camps. I'm the non interventionist because that's what's right and proper. 'How will they learn if we always catch them before they hit the ground?' I say. MrsC is a rescuer, it's her DNA. Now we both are unsure of our default positions. 

The curse of all parents, not just adoptive,  seems to be the uncertain future of our children. We extrapolate todays problems through the lens of our experience and we see the dangers ahead. Right now these dangers seem very real, tangible and beyond what I ever imagined, see no easy way out without my stepping in. 

I talk to my other adult children, I seek their counsel. We see that perhaps if we step in now we may always have to. It seems dramatic writing it but I ask if they are prepared to step in when I'm too old to do it. I try to recalibrate my mind, 'always step in', this was not my plan. Again is it time to adapt, new paradigms of parenting that cut against the parenting norm and accepted wisdom. 

Some minds cannot learn, for whatever learn, some scripts are already written. After years of being the safety net it's clear that it's no longer accepted or wanted. I fear that the ground on which the child is going to fall this time is rockier than all of us anticipate. 

So now I'm an toying with becoming an unwelcome interventionist, a position that is an anathema to me. 

I'm not sure that makes much sense really but many of my friends that have walked the adoption road before me nod in agreement, my peers tell tales of young adults adrift in a world that seems to have laid out more snares and traps than the one we inhabited. Is it all doom, hell no and the adoption rule of thirds seems to ring true again. Some fall, some falter but keep on and some run. 


  1. Makes perfect sense to me, its a path I walk and weigh up often. We need a handbook x

  2. Heart goes out to Mrs C it's me who has been the rescuer here (one of my birth daughters as you know) she's very vulnerable, has mental health issues, and ended up sliding into addiction as a know the rest I think...and as well as taking on the twins when they were removed into care I still find myself caught up in the circle of "rescuing" her in her late thirties (her sisters cut off long ago because they can't cope with the chaos/stress/pain) quite frankly I am all she has...but it's taken a terrible toll on me/my relationships and of course as the twins got older it became harder and harder to juggle looking after them and their best interests and continuing to support her... It's a very hard place to be and I read your blog and totally identified. Me being me I always end up going with my heart but I wish I had found the strength to go with my head many years back if I am honest...
    Sending love to you and Mrs C

    1. Thank you for such an open and honest response, hindsight is a wonderful thing. We do our best with what we've got at any given moment. Sometimes it turns out ok and sometimes not, hey ho, we keep on!