An expanding world
He settled with little trouble. He slept through his first night soundly and happily. Even if we didn't.
It was mid winter, the weather remained very cold and snow lingered throughout the early months of that year. The freezing temperatures kept us holed up in our home.
Our new son's excitement was palpable in those first few days. The joy of receiving attention. The fascination of a new environment. The fulfilment of a much longed for Forever Family.
Most of all our little boy had what he had dreamt of. A bedroom of his own.
It therefore seemed unsurprising to us that our son showed a preference in those early days to play in his new bedroom. After all, it was the centre of his new world. Where the few toys he had brought with him were located. Where the new toys we had purchased for him had been stored.
Encouraged out for meals, walks, to eat, our son would retire again to his bedroom to play again, asking one of us to go with him.
After that first weekend and as our first full week with our little boy progressed his determination to stay rooted to his bedroom seemed to intensify.
Not only did he want to stay within his bedroom. He wanted to stay in a room permanently darkened by curtains that were at most only slightly drawn.
Inducements to move from the room were met with fearful rejection. The bedroom was L shaped and the space our son occupied seemed even to shrink within it. Increasingly preferring to play in the area around his bed, out of sight of the bedroom door.
Realising that this was not just an issue of confidence, but one also of trust, we set about trying to help our son understand his new environment and, more importantly, to trust us enough to tell us about the anxiety causing him to reject it.
Our games became more inventive. Encouraging him to run around the first floor of the house as part of them. Our play routine altered, to include moments of quietness and reflection. Time spent snuggling under a blanket, something he loved, but also something only available to him on the sofa in our sitting room.
In that first week I began to tell him the stories I've documented in detail elsewhere. Essentially they were designed to help him understand his environment. To provide comfort. To provide security.
in them he was special, a chosen child. A child for whom we had fought. All, in at least one sense, true. He now lived in a house surrounded by a magic hedge. A tall, thick, magic hedge impenetrable to those he feared most. His birth parents, especially his birth mother. And his first Foster carer.
The countryside beyond the hedge, surrounding our house was, in the stories, inhabited by animals who were also charged with looking after him. The rabbits, the foxes, the horses. And most of all the owls who, at night, called out to one another to make sure he was safe.
It took what seemed like an age but was, in fact, just three or four weeks for our son to relax entirely.
During that time his world gradually, steadily, expanded. The first floor of the house to begin with. Then the sitting room. The kitchen. The whole ground floor of our home. The garden.
So, by the time the first welcome signs of Spring arrived he played confidently in the garden.
Visitors would still send him scurrying to his bedroom. Particularly the Social Workers who would visit on occasion through that time. The inducement of play or of being part of our conversations would encourage him back to the kitchen soon enough though.
Our son was, and remains, incredibly nosey!