Our first contribution, written powerfully from the heart, comes from a member who is tirelessly advocating for her adopted son 20 years after beginning their journey to become a family. Please read it and reflect:
Next week is National Adoption Week. More people will be encouraged to look into becoming adoptive parents. It is what I did 20 years ago. Naive, wide eyed, with all the love in the world to give. I chose my son and he changed my life. I will love the bones of him until I die.
That is the easy bit. What happens after social workers have dug and delved, made promises they can’t keep and made you feel inadequate is a whole load of nothing. I educated myself. I wanted to know why my tiny son was terrified, hugged strangers, hoarded food, ran away… 14 years of being in and out of meetings with health workers, social workers, the police, and mostly school followed. I still have box files of papers stored in the garage. I was told he just needed time, I was told he may be unable to live with a family, I was told to be strict I begged with the LA, school, CAMHS that he needed help. I did the reading and the MA into adoption and developmental trauma, reactive attachment disorder. They hadn’t. Sorry nothing they could do to help. Sorry he was too out of control for them. Excluded aged eight.
Aged nine he would run from home and be gone for 11 hours. The police helicopter was out searching. The police brought him home where he would collapse exhausted, saying he hated me, until he broke down saying he loved me. Still no help. No therapy.
Through threats and brinkmanship, I managed to get him into a school, but he ran away from there. I had to bring him away when he was assaulted by a ‘carer’. He ran off into the City and I couldn’t find him. The LA put me on a parenting class where they discussed table manners.
Eventually he found drugs. They got rid of the fear, they made him confident, a feeling of happiness. He had new friends associated with them. I begged magistrates and judges to give him another chance. Until there were no more. He’s been locked away. I talk to him every day.
He’s struggling with the solitary, lack of exercise and light. We talk endlessly about his new start without drugs, about understanding himself. But the lockdown is breaking him. I just wanted to share this so you can think of it when you hear about National Adoption Week. Adopters need to know the reality. That you will need more than love, a home and a job. You will be need to hang in there when everyone else has turned their back on you. You need support. And if not, maybe learn to hold your head up high in court and prison.
If you are an adoptive parent and would like to join our group please visit our membership page.