So it’s been a couple of weeks since my last full blog. It’s because we’re going through a really tough time with Owl.
But I don’t really want to chat about that this week ….. I want to chat about ‘the system’.
‘The system’ being the process by which we adopted Owl & Lark. The system which removed them from their birth parents….. 2.5 years AFTER they were put on the at risk register (that’s right….. 2 and a half years later). The system which promised us support. The system which identified both kids as having ‘attachment’ issues. The system which pretty much abandoned us the first 8 months of placement and then only came back to ‘threaten’ removal after we were on our knees. The system which continues to fail to find the monies for therapies to support the kids.
I read with great interest the public letter to adopters from Ed Timpson Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, in which he thanked us for “commitment and energy you bring to parenting some of our most vulnerable children. “
He goes on to say “I can confirm that we will be introducing a new national Adoption Support Fund across all areas of the country in 2015, supported by over £19m government funding. It will provide adoptive families with the right support – from cognitive therapy to music and play therapy and attachment based therapy – to ensure that these children have a stable and fulfilling childhood – a fundamental right for every child, no matter what their starting point in life.”
And I hope and pray this funding comes through, and that the therapies materialise.
I know I’m not alone dealing with the day to day issues of unregulated, frustrated kids and I know we are not alone in hearing CAHMS say things like “whilst your kids are presenting with an attachment disorder, we have kids on our books as young as 9 cutting themselves, come back if the situation deteriorates and we can review again….”. IF we don’t get early intervention that will be my kids….. why does it have to get THAT FAR before anyone helps?
So now, I have a child – still young enough to not be ‘cutting’ – but who is hitting themselves – saying the bone chilling “but I deserve it” and “it makes me feel better” and I’m left talking to Post Adoption who’s opening gambit – was “it really sounds as though you need help with the presenting behaviours and we don’t want to interrupt the attachment process”. HELLO THIS IS THE WARNING CALL, my child needs help. Why are you telling me I need help, I am dealing EVERY day, [mostly!!] calmly, always with love and support with these behaviours. I’m reading as much as I can about how to help my kids – but quite clearly love is not enough ……. Owl needs some extra support. Owl knows they are not mad at us, Owl knows they are better, safer, happier here…. But OWL also knows they are ANGRY at what has happened to them but has openly said “I don’t want to be mad at my Birth Mummy”.
So I’m back dealing with the system….. Post adoption are sending out a ‘duty’ social worker (read: not familiar with our file) and their trainee social worker. They will meet with us (almost 1 month after we first contacted them) to discuss the presenting behaviours and write a report with a recommendation. This will then need to be reviewed and either approved or not. In the interim weeks, months are passing and we’re on a mill.
The system in which I’m trying to access the pupil premium funds to fund the ‘in house’ counsellors at Owls School (we’re very very lucky in that they were also the team that did the life story work with Owl), but the ‘waiting’ list for their services is over-subscribed and it could be weeks if they can even fit Owl in and we’ll need to figure out the funding.
So we’re trying everything we can to help Owl. We’re doing some writing (letters which will never be sent but which allow Owl to ask the questions), I’ve done some ‘blob’ people which owl colours in (black for anger, red for love/happiness etc.) – which at the moment are mostly black. We re-read The Huge Bag of Worries by Virgina Ironside. It’s a great book which reminds children that sharing worries will lessen them. We’re doing everything we can….. I just wish the system, the social net that is supposed to help would actually do so in a timely manner that does not add to our stresses.
Mr. Timpson, please read the public letter @opennest have written in response to yours and to which a lot of adopters have signed. If you feel like joining us then please sign this petition. Let’s ensure that the promised support for “play and attachment based therapy” really does trickle down!