Life on the Frontline – Week 2

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. 

Well, week two of school was never going to be easy.  In fact, just like day two, after an army boot camp work out, the pain has been excruciating.  I know that may sound dramatic but wait and hear what I have to say first.

As I stood by the car door, trying to tease a sobbing boy from the car, all the school filed past us to assembly. All their little heads craning to see what the wild little boy was up to now. Out of the corner of my eye I saw two figures in uniform approaching. Two police officers were soon at my side assessing the situation. They were in school to deliver an assembly and one teacher had felt that the strong arm of the law may be helpful to our situation.

“Now come along young man time to get into school” gruff and assertive policeman said.

“Yes we’re here to tell you some important things in assembly” less gruff police officer said.

“And I would like to tell you to GET LOST” super anxious and traumatised child said.

“Well that’s not how you speak to a grown up” gruff says.

“This is none of your business” was Small’s reply.

“This isn’t helping” I say and step between the officers and my boy and they take their cue to leave.

Again I did eventually get him into school but again it was far from triumphant , the wildness in his eyes as he ran down the corridor, scanning for a safe place to hide, made me feel sick. But I left him, I really didn’t want to but I did and again I cried.

As I opened my front door, those police officers popped into my mind again. They would still be in school.  What if someone decides that a stern talking to is what is required,  a bit of “this boy needs a firm hand” sort of approach. An approach I’d already seen attempted that morning and an approach with no consideration of what this might trigger for a traumatised child.

An obvious trigger to those in the know. You know, that moment when police officer enter your home and remove you from your birth family. Yes that trigger.

I picked up the phone and called school.

“I do not want those police officers speaking to Small please” I said and provided the explanation as to why. I felt relieved that I’d been able to catch that ball before it dropped and went about rewarding myself with a cup of tea.

Not ten minutes later the phone rang. It was school.

“Now I don’t want you to be alarmed but, the police have had to get involved” the anxious voice delivered the blow.

Small had managed to escape from the school and as the officer was there, he felt that it was his “duty of care” to retrieve him and physically return him to the building.

Obviously my heart lurched and I had to suppress a massive urge to go, scope him up and bring him home. I managed to calm, I was reassured by the voice at the end of the line, but felt certain I would be going down there soon to collect him.

The phone call half an hour or so later was that he was calm, doing an activity outside of the classroom but he was fine.

Even later he skipped across the lawn beaming as I stood expectantly at our front door. Now I got to scoop him up and he wrapped his legs around me. “How was it I asked?”

“Good it was good “he replied.

I’m sure many will be asking, screaming the question. Why are you doing this to him and you? And believe me I have been wondering myself. There are two reasons.

  1. We are not yet finished exploring the support that Small can access in school, his addition educational needs are currently under evaluation and if recognised will provide him with greater support in school. Plus he has started this week, at a local support school every afternoon, which works with a small group of children who struggle in school. There is a real feeling of nurture around the small centre and a high ratio of good, understanding staff to pupils. More on this later but it could work.
  1. “Over my dead body you’re home schooling me” is one of the things that Small has voiced about this option. He actually does like some aspects of school and is adamant he wants to still be part of it, he just finds it difficult to go there and some aspects of being there.

So there is the excruciating pain I experienced this week, I would have much preferred the hurting muscles to the heartache that morning brought.

So here’s hoping next week might be getting easier and I may not need to sit almost on top of the telephone all week.  I might even get to a large shopping centre some miles from our home, to buy a new lipstick. I know thrilling, bet you can’t wait to find out.

In Other News

 Tall has been so helpful and supportive in trying to get Small to school, offering rewards of his own and useful suggestions. At times I need to ask him to step away but on the most he’s really good with him. I told him he’ll make a great parent one day, to which he replied “I’ve learnt from the best”. There, now you see why this has made the news.

Small has started his own fashion catalogue full of clothes for me and his teddy bear. I have got some fabulous numbers, often with a little too much cleavage showing.

Tall’s friendship with his one really good friend, let’s call him D, is wonderful to see. They are really supportive and kind to each other. Tall came hurtling through the garden gate the other day after school, shouting “F**k off” to a gang of Year 9’s.

“I heard that I said” as he came to the door.

“But they were picking on D, I had to protect him”.

One thought on “Life on the Frontline – Week 2

  1. Sarah

    Thank you for sharing such a promising story with warmth and humour. As a parent to 3 adoptive children, (2 at primary, 1 just started at secondary school) it is such a comfort to know that we are not the only family struggling with the secondary school system.
    I hope that things improve for your son, and that he gets all the support he needs to feel he has a sense of belonging and purpose to pluck up the courage to step through the school gates each morning.
    We are in the process of thinking about changing our daughters school or home educating her as even the thought of waking up in the morning to get ready for school is excruciatingly painful for her. I want her to be strong and to be able to face up to challenges of school life and not so nice things that life throws at us, but on the other hand, she has already endured the pain and challenges in her short life that emotionally she is already more than equipped! I don’t want her to be a loner at home if this is where we decide she should be educated, but worse, I feel, is the loneliness and isolation she feels when she is at school. It is a heart wrenching process, and as parents we are so afraid of making the wrong decisions. I just want to see my daughters true self set off to school each morning – the fun loving, confident, articulate, hilarious, beautiful girl that she is. However, all I see leave the flat each morning is a worried and anxious little girl set off, and that is on a brave day, when we actually manage to get her there at all.
    I am really interested to hear from any families who have decided to home school and how they manage with this enormous challenge, both logistically and financially. Does anyone know if financial assistance is given to children unable to cope with school, who may need to be home educated? Thanks.


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