Parties and judgemental parents

ren without a care, even for the briefiest of mom 004

My daughter, adopted and traumatised, but nevertheless happy, fun, sociable and kind, until last year went to a small, cosy village primary with a ‘family feel’.

She had been best friends from the start with a little girl who I’ll call Ruby.  They sat together, played together, ate lunch together. Great.

Then two years ago Ruby publicly handed out invitations to her birthday party.  She gave them to all the girls in the class, with one exception, my daughter.  My daughter was puzzled and kept saying ‘I’m sure I’ll get one soon, she accidently left mine at home’ and then ‘Ruby said she ran out of pens to write my invitation and her mum has to buy some more’.  She was sad, stung and full of shame.  She thought it was her fault.  I was fucking livid.

We survived the episode and a few months later Ruby approached me in the playground and asked if she could come to our house to play after school.  I swallowed down bile, approached the mother and it was arranged. ‘You’ll have to come to our house next’ the mother bleated as my daughter’s face lit up.  No invitation ever materialised.

Fast forward another year, another birthday party and another repeat performance.  Again, every other girl in the class was invited, even casual acquaintances.  My daughter was left feeling bereft.

A few weeks later and a year ago now the daughter who never cries found a tear rolling down her cheek.  I suggested we think about moving to a larger, local middle school, where there would be a greater choice of friends.  She beamed, then jumped up and down with excitement and hasn’t looked back since.

Ruby’s parents are both involved in charity work – loudly and publicly.  They are the sort of people who say ‘bless’ a lot.  They are full of crap.  Recently she tried to ‘friend’ me on Facebook.  If there had been a ‘fuck off and die’ button I’d have used it.  Ruby rings our number regularly and leaves many, many messages.  Can I come to your house?  Can I come today? Tomorrow?  My daughter is so forgiving that she looks at me with an unbearable hope in her eyes.

Over my dead body.

These are the sort of people who think that ‘delinquent’ children should be locked up in borstals and drugged.  Yes, that was one pleasant playground conversation.  Charitable, my arse.  I have no doubt that they judged my daughter to be a bad influence, someone who because of her beginnings wasn’t going to turn out well.  The multiple acts of casual cruelty they inflicted caused terrible upset to someone who did nothing to deserve it.  But do you know what?

Their lives are all the poorer for it.

16 thoughts on “Parties and judgemental parents

  1. Middleagedcred

    I know the feeling well. Currently choosing to avoid my half sister as my kids were segregated from the others at her wedding. Put it down to ignorance, and give your daughter a huge hug x

    1. Fiona Ferguson

      People like that are not worth the energy , it makes me sad that your daughter was made to feel so different and singled out from the other children .I hated the playground more than anything , yummy mummy’s with their so perfect little cherubs !!!!!!! anyway our relationship is miles stronger than most of those kids my children went to school with .Take hope that little Ruby will not be a little cherub for ever

  2. Amanda Boorman

    That makes me really sad and very angry. We have experienced this type of thing and it feels horrible. It’s the first time I’ve read something written about it but I’m sure lots of parents will empathise. Nothing can make it right but it helps a bit to know we are not alone. Thanks x

  3. Rachel

    What a horrible experience for your daughter, and for you. I really hope Ruby doesn’t learn the same attitude from her mum.

    Curiously, we’ve had problems for the opposite reason. Our tiny village all got to know about our adoption and we had almost celebrity status for a while. We did have some teething problems in school and nursery, and found that if anything staff were making too many allowances for our kids “because of what they’ve been through”. Our daughter thinks the whole world revolves around her as it its, our youngest needs very firm boundaries and the eldest desparately wants – needs – to be just like everyone else. We’ve had to gently remind the school of this and, fair play, they’ve been brilliant. It does annoy me, though, as of course we haven’t shared any details of “what they’ve been through”. We know very little of it anyway. Funny, isn’t it, how people need to fill in the gaps themselves.

    I’m glad your daughter’s thriving at her new school; hope you BOTH make some great new friends there xxx

  4. Suddenly Mummy

    I am bubbling with rage on your daughter’s behalf as I read this! These injustices are so cruel, and so hard to deal with or confront face on, which makes it very hard to manage them and move on from the hurt. Like you say, their loss. My experience has always been that people’s true characters and personalities have a way of working to the surface, however they choose to present themselves – one day, others who view these people as simply wonderful will see what really lurks beneath the surface, it’s inevitable, and you won’t have had to do anything to expose that, leaving your (and your daughter’s) integrity intact. As for her feelings though . . . well, that’s a different story. Awful.

  5. Misbah

    It really saddens and angers me that there are adults out there that can behave in this way. We are having issues my boy and his friendships in school; The more he tries to make friends, the more they seem to distance himself. There is only 1 parent that comes to mind who will always try and speak to my boy , wether its a quick hi or an actual conversation… The others don’t acknowledge him at all !

  6. Lucy

    I am livid for your daughter and you. Who on earth do these people think they are, they make me sick with rage and fury…but you’re right, their lives are pitiful, bleak, dark, negative, sad and empty. Yours is full, happy, rich, fun and blessed. So glad you moved her to a different school, I hope she’s happier, contended and has lots of lovely friends. All the best to you….and I wish there was a “fuck off and die” button on facebook too! 😉

  7. Andrew

    That is weird. Did you ask ruby or her parents why she didn’t get an invite? I don’t think I could be that callous, but it is one of many reasons that I hate kids parties. For the boys birthday, we are going to the zoo… Alone

  8. Jemma


    Eurgh. What is wrong with people? And why is it always the goody two shoes people who are the worst of all? We had some people who didn’t come to our civil partnership ceremony as they didn’t want to scar their children! This is the world we live in, a wonderful diverse place with people who live different kinds of lives with different sets of experiences and different types of families. It makes me sad to think that Ruby’s parents for all their “bless” and charity work, are actually bringing up their daughter to be unprepared to embrace the real world.

    Rest assured that your daughter will be a hundred times more awesome for having you as a parent. Hugs x

  9. Claire

    Hi thanks so much for this share, I adopted a little boy myself as a single adopter last year. I got him into an outstanding infant school in a very middle class area and oh my wish I hadn’t made this decision. He had not one party invite until I spent a fortune inviting most people in class to his, there have been a few repeat invites but not many and def. no invites for tea etc. He came home the other day saying no one wanted to play with him as his front teeth are brown. (They are very badly decayed due to enormous neglect suffered with birth parents). Surely these enlightened middle class parents should know better!!! As a single parent too, I just don’t fit the cosy 2.4 children nuclear family of the area I have chosen to send my boy to school. Thank goodness I have great friends who appreciate what a lovely little boy I do have!! Yes I can cope quite well as a single mum and manage to hold down a part time job as a teacher too as do many other single mums and dads. Rant over!!

  10. new pyjama mummy

    I am so sorry for you and your little one. some people are very unkind and cruel. and thoughtless. I too wonder if you ever asked why – but maybe it is too far down the road to do so – I am trying to avoid being sucked into the party vacuum – and we have had a party with grown up friends and one or two smaller friends – which has been much easier and calmer – and probably waaay cheeper – but we have had a few invites to the whole class style parties – which are quite overwhelming – for her – and probably – everyone.
    hope things are on the up and you find the right place for school.

  11. lastmum

    I am so angry for your daughter and for all the other children in the same situation

    I have been through this with my own children too – my DD2 especially. She was also the only one left out of a whole class party thing. Actually she and another child were the only two left out in the whole year! I was so hurt and angry for my DD. I did understand that because she was so difficult she would not be a fun guest at many parrties – but if that’s the case then you have a smaller party and invite a small group of friends, not invite the whole year and leave one or two out!

    I’m glad to hear your daughter is at a new school and not looking back. That’s fantastic news 🙂

  12. Gem

    So very sad to hear that you’ve had to deal with such bigotry. To invite the whole class of girls bar one person is unforgiveable. It makes me mad as it is something I could never do. I’m so glad the new school is working out well for her and hopefully these issues are a thing of the past now. We’ve not had this experience as Katie seems to be the life and soul of the bloomin party but a recent incident in school has made me wonder if it will rear its head after Katie and her friend got into trouble (not for the first time). They are very silly together and often get themselves into trouble. The other parents have been a little off since the most recent incident and I think they are taking it all way too seriously tbh. I used to walk to school with the mum but since Dad is back from Afghanistan suddenly we’re not seeing them or they’re all together and it feels awkward. I am wondering if they are doing that “she’s adopted therefore she is getting our lovely middle class girl into trouble” thing but it appears that their daughter is actually the instigator. The school have told me that much and that they feel Katie is mostly guilty of following and not leading (an issue to work on nonetheless). I am left feeling a bit like suddenly we’re not good enough yet I have no issue with them despite their daughter leading mine into trouble. I have had a chance to discuss the incident with the mum and she said that she was really disappointed that the tough talk they had last week with their daughter after she kicked someone doesn’t seem to have gone in. My reply? “They’re 5!They don’t remember something 5 minutes later, let alone a week later.” Anyway, I’m waiting to see what happens next but we’re walking to school on our own now by the looks of things. There is always that part of me that wonders whether Katie will be hindered because of being adopted. If people didn’t know she was adopted before then the arrival of Pip in the playground has made it very clear (they look so alike and people know he is adopted).

    I hope you or your daughter never experience this again xx

  13. Treemendouskids

    This made my blood boil like everyone else and I truly hope that you find a way through.
    I want to send this link out to all my Facebook non-adoptive parent friends in the hope that this resonates. But I can’t because it’s still too early to announce that we’re thinking of adopting. Rest assured as soon as I can I will be banging the drum about the marginalisation and emotional bullying that takes place around children who’ve suffered trauma. And I’ll probably get myself in a whole heap of trouble…

    I was quite a naughty child and easily led – surrounded by non adoptive often naughty children.
    When I was about nine I went to join the local girl guides group (alone). I was told that it wasn’t for people like me. That hurt but also made me angry.
    Today I’m a happily married successful business woman with lots of friends. My naughty behaviour as an adult turned into empathy for others, assertiveness and a sense of humour. However, one of my character traits is to ‘strive’ or work extremely hard to do well… And fit in. It’s possible it came from often feeling I wasn’t good enough over much of my early life.

    Several years ago I trained to be an aerobic instructor and who should turn up at one of my classes – the partially sighted daughter of the girl guide leader (sadly going blind through diabetes at age 25). I welcomed her with open arms despite it being quite a challenge to teach her along side a full sighted group.

    Not sure what I’m saying with this little rant but your story has touched a nerve.

    Is the answer to go and speak to the parents to try and get them to understand the situation and impact of their behaviour? Most people are reasonable surly? Or is this me being naive?

    Very best of luck anyway.

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  15. Sarah

    Say whaaaaaaaa???? I also livid on your behalf.
    What I wonder is where was the school in all of this?? Did they not have a policy on bullying? They should be the ones camping down hard. I like to believe it is possible to nip this kind of behaviour in the bud. With strong teachers with integrity.
    I am very glad you moved schools. And that there was no looking back.
    Onwards and upwards.


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