Life on the Frontline

lotfA weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

We nailed another adoption first this week, quite an impressive one, the child protection report. Forgive my flippancy, it was everything other than an amusing throw away experience, it was traumatising, distressing and seriously upsetting. However, it’s yet another experience we’ve survived and in our world, dark humour sometimes sees us through.

We had a fairly easy run into the first week at school. Not in an everyone got up happy and went to school with a smile on their face way, no, there was still the fear and anxiety and reluctant from Small, and some initial worry form Tall. But we managed it all well and it felt like a success.

Tall was going into lessons and having good days so I was happy to reward him with little bits of extra computer/screen time, a magazine, some sweets, you know the score, with plenty of praise included.

So Thursday night when I found him sneaking around down stairs, after we’d all gone to bed, to retrieve his phone for a late night MineCraft session, I was really cross. I was to be told by a number of people on Friday that this is very normal teenage behaviour.

I’m sure adopted parents will understand that sinking feeling and fear that comes from this seemingly normal behaviour.

Tall of course, caught out by a cross faced, loud voiced mum, became rude and uncooperative and went to puffed up chest, a beginning sign, for me, of fight mode.

He went to pick up his phone off the sofa, and to be honest for what reason I’m not entirely sure, I grabbed him.  He fell backwards off the sofa onto the floor catching his back on the footstool, that bit was totally accidental, not intended, as he went down. I was not at all sympathetic and asked him to go to bed.

He refused, continued to be obnoxious so I walked away, when I returned he’d gone to bed.

The next morning my head was saying “be calm be calm be calm” my mouth was saying “why did you do what you did? How can we learn to trust you when you behave this way? You’re not even sorry”.

Tall leaves for school angry with me and himself. I email school to inform them of his state of mind and give the reason to be an incident which occurred the night before. Tall finds the first sympathetic ear he can find and innocently tells all.

As I drive back from taking Small to school I think to myself, “I’ll ring school and ask them can Tall come home early so I can spend a bit of time with him before Small gets home from school”

School phone me first.

They are reporting an incident which Tall has revealed in school to Child Protection.

Countless phone calls to school, one of which I was very distressed during and the school member of staff on the other end of the line behaved with little understanding for pressure this was placing on our family. The voice was loaded with emotion “Oh don’t you do this to me, you always do this to me for doing my job, I’m not letting you do this again”

I wanted Tall home, I knew he would be frightened; I needed him home in my arms to reassure him. I wasn’t allowed; he had to remain in school.

It was the longest of days, the social worker didn’t arrive until after school had finished. Half passed three and I’m sat in a classroom waiting to be interviewed.

I gave my account of the events and thankfully it was as Tall had described. I then filled in some context to the event and again, thankfully, this switched on social worker began to see the exceptional circumstances in which we parent, something school are very much in ignorant bliss about. He said I was an “insightful parent operating under very difficult circumstances” and he recognised that other parents make similar mistakes with a lot less on their plate.

So all was sorted, time to go home, no. Despite being reassured he was not in trouble Tall didn’t want to come home. I think he hoped for a night at grandparents or friends so he didn’t have to face the whole incident. He pulled away from me as I tried to reassure him I wanted him home, to the audience of the school workers who’d been supporting him all day (there is relevance to that I’m sure).

Thankfully sensible social worker insisted he had to come home with me, so I escorted one stroppy boy home. Sensible social worker also informed local police that I had previously been assaulted by my son and I received a phone call later that evening to ensure I was safe.

Once home it took a little time for him to come out of his room but once out he didn’t leave my side, clinging to me on the sofa and asking could he sleep in my bed, which he did.

Me, I’m still in shock and trying to process the whole incident without creating even more negative thoughts around the school, relationships are already strained. I get that children need protecting but the school have so much contact with this family I find it really hard to comprehend that they believe we are capable of “abusing” our child. They constantly ask us to support them in how they operate and yet this is yet another example to me of how support is a one way channel.

I’m trying to minimise the concerns I have that Tall is being supported by people, every day, who regard our family in such low esteem. More yoga required I think.

I’m not going to do Other News, I can’t think of much else to say right now.




8 thoughts on “Life on the Frontline

  1. Tally

    Bloody hell. What a nightmare. Thank god for the sensible social worker. I wish I had some great words of wisdom for you, but I don’t. All I can say is – yes, more yoga.

  2. Meggy

    It is a horrible feeling isn’t it.
    We had this when my younger son was three. He was prancing around right next to a hot cooker, wouldn’t listen when I told him to move, so I grabbed him in a hurry and moved him away, and I grazed his forehead against a cupboard. Just a superficial graze, but looked awful. Of course I was kicking myself with all kinds of guilt, and we thought we needed to be open about it. So we told preschool the next morning what had happened. And they call social services immediately.
    Result: also a sensible social worker who realised what had happened, and dealt with it kindly, a ruined relationship with preschool who would not discuss it with us, and a feeling that if something like that happened again we would not be so honest next time. And a son who didn’t care a scrap, he is the sort of kid who is always ‘in the wars’. But for years I was terrified every time he knocked himself in case we were accused again, or our boys were taken away.

  3. Julie

    Big hugs & positive thoughts, having been there. Boy started school, then one day told them that Dad had pushed him downstairs (he had bumped into Dad & stumbled down one stair). We were called to school,interviewed by child protection, & son kept separate from us. Absolutely horrendous. We were allowed to take him home with follow up visit from a Sw. 2nd incident, he went into school with a mark under his eye, school called childrens services, another visit from a sw who told us that if he got an injury again, we should take to doctors before school to cover ourselves ( in the real world, I ask you), & 3rd v=incident, boy scribbled over a picture with a red crayon & told them it was blood! Another visit, another mark in a file on us. Finally e removed him from that school & things have improved. he is now in a school for boys with emotional & behavioural difficulties (chosen by us) & is doing very well. (But we had to take our case to our MP to get him in). Sorry for the ramble, but the black moments do pass, & we carry on doing the best for our children.

  4. SafeMum

    Oh my lovie. Sending huge hugs and lots of virtual wine and chocolate. Been there too (on the day we brought home the puppy!!). As others have commented and lots others have blogged to (me included) we often experience this. Doesn’t make it OK – the procedure, the feelings or the aftermath.

    You are doing amazing. xx


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