Would it be too much to assume that those that deal with adoption, work within the sector that facilitates adoption, is it too much to ask, that these people know about and understand modern day adoption? From those concerned with the protection of children and placing and supporting children in care, to those that support adopters in their post adoption years, for them to have a basic knowledge of why children who have lived with trauma behave in the way they do. For those working with children who have come through the care system, for these people to understand a more therapeutic approach in how they are supported and parented is vital. A recent phone call I had with a lady working within one of these departments would suggest, yes that is far too much to expect.
As my husband and I restrained our son on a busy train this weekend, preventing him from further smashing his head into the wall or punching his arm into our faces and also the wall, a woman down the train filmed us on her phone. She was quite convinced that she was performing her civic duty by recording an incident of a child in distress, evidence that she no doubt believed would see my husband and I very much in trouble.I’m sure she would have no idea, not an inkling, of the real trouble it would actually cause for all those involved.
For me there have been a number of sleepless nights, wondering how the event could have been avoided, how we could have worked it differently. The continual self doubting and the belief that I am a useless and pathetic excuse for a parent for allowing this to happen to my son. Or the toll of having to retell the gruesome details of the events, time and time again, to ensure all relevant authorities are aware, just in case the film appeared anywhere, and to detail the extent of the problems we face. Do you think she could understand the heartache of reaching out to those who are supposed to be able to offer support, only to be passed around a number of departments who either have no understanding of what it is you need, or are not prepared to give it to you?
I’m tired and bewildered by the question “What is it you want us to do?” or “tell us what it is you need?” I don’t know, I’m not the expert. I am a resourceful and committed mother who has given her all to bringing up my children but, I’m all out of ideas, I’m worn down, creatively sapped and I’m asking you for help. Where is it?
Oh that’s right it’s the lady at the end of the telephone that informed me…
That violence “is part and parcel of family life”
And suggested that I “tell him his behaviour is not acceptable in our family and the next time he puts a hole in his wall I will call the police”
Or “Have you tried rugby?”
She also enquired “does he have a grandfather who could take him fishing maybe?”
And implied that by talking with him about adoption I had made him feel “different”.
Her parting suggestion was that my husband and I book ourselves a three day holiday, before Christmas.
It is almost comedic if it wasn’t such an insulting and devastating response to my cry for help.
My son is violent; he has always been violent when he’s angry. We have supported and helped him with this anger but it has always been there. Now he is older and bigger, so is his anger. The violence that we now see is very frightening for all those involved. Up until this weekend these outbursts have only been seen at home and occasionally in a weaker strain, at school. His very public display of anger has frightened me, but not as much as it has frightened him.
After an episode, his eyes flicker across mine unsure, uncertain of his own worth. “Do you hate me he asks?”
“I don’t know why it happened, I’m so scared” he admits in a quiet uncertain voice.
So what are these gigantic feelings of anger, where are they rooted and what is it that is causing them? What about the overwhelming feelings of shame he has following such an enormous explosion of emotion. And let’s just talk about the fear created within him that someone, a stranger, has filmed him in this frightening state. “Who will see it?” his trembling voice asks. He is afraid that his peers will witness this wild and out of control behaviour, that his being different will be further identified and these images will become fodder for those who wish to make his life “Awkward”. “I’ll have no friends” he fearfully states.
All these feelings that are born from his traumatic start in life, that I feel, seen as though I’m not a qualified psychiatrist, I am not fully equipped to help him with. So who will help?
Today I’m left feeling bewildered, utterly unsure as to what to do next. I’m sure I will form a plan, once my head stops spinning. I’m sure the fear from the weekend’s events will subside and I will take my son in my arms repeatedly and reassure him that all will be fine, once again. I’m sure my husband will be strong for us all, as he was on that train, and hold me close and reassure me things will be fine. And we will look to our youngest and ensure the fear he felt during the episode is abated and he is also reassured. And we will plan, and discuss and organise to hopefully avoid it happening again. But it will, happen again. And once again we will look within for the answers because it seems at the moment no else is prepared to offer us meaningful help.