Thursday 10 March 2016

Hurt: One Year On.

I can't believe that it's been a year to the week since I spilled my thoughts in to a blog post after a tricky few incidents with one of the kids. Hurt was a reaction to a ever escalating pattern of violence that had started years earlier with the lashing out of a toddler. In a big child it can be no longer brushed off or ignored. Things were starting to get broken people were starting to get hurt.

I posted on a Hurt on a Thursday evening and the response was genuinely shocking as though I was the first person to ever stick their head above the parapet and acknowledge a problem that is commonplace for many. I'm not the first and I fear I won't be the last. The offers of support and solidarity were touching and humbling as people spoke of their fears, concerns and guilt.

Since then we've had an 'interesting' year. I refuse to be held hostage and I refuse to give up. I spoke to my local adoption team and asked for supervision or to be allocated a Social Worker. They couldn't meet that requirement so I instigated my own virtual supervision by emailing concerns or specific events of violence to a LA Social Worker. I think she was a bit sick of me so I added the caveat that I expected and required no support but if they could kindly keep the email safe just as a formal record of events. We informed the local police and asked them to make a note in their records just incase they ever got an emergency call so that they were pre armed with some info. We tell all the professionals we can this key part of our narrative. In short we keep ourselves safe, we've built a narrative as a safety net for us all. A couple of those emails instigated an Initial Assessment* from the local child protection team. That was an interesting afternoon our second in less than a year the Social Worker was quite nice really but still a good lesson for my practice.

In truth though things have eased, we get the attitude but less physical. In part we are getting more savvy. I invited my local Post Adoption Support Team to carry out a formal assessment of our needs and they obliged and we got some NVR training, I'd already had it through work so MrsC and my mam went on it and it was much appreciated.

We work hard to not let it get to the point of fisty cuffs, very hard, we take a verbal beating rather than a physical one and we step aside, distract and use plain old trickery and bribery to avoid the worst.  Still, we've had some ugly stuff this year and none of us, winners or losers, feel particularly edified by any of it.

I'm sure that for as long as there are children who have experienced and witnessed violence or word and deed there will be parents who experience violence. I refuse to be held hostage, I refuse to give up and I hope we can bring it out of the shadows.

For now we as a family take it a day at a time.

*The initial assessment is a statutory short assessment of each child referred to Children's Services focusing on establishing whether the child is in need or whether there is reasonable cause to suspect that the child is suffering, or is likely to suffer significant harm


  1. We have had Little Legs now for about 2 1/2 years, luckily we havent had many violent issues with him, (one that does spring to mind was him biting the other half while our social worker was here!) We did have our ups and downs and we got to the point where we felt we couldnt control LL (still a toddler at the time). If anything it was our parenting skills that we were questioning. Both of us enrolled on a Webster Stratton course and found it really really useful, it is similar to the positive parenting program that some of the LAs run. That and the DDP and theroplay courses gave us the best tools we could ever wish for to help us help our little one. On the down side my mum doesnt agree with this new aged tripe, the way she brought us up didnt do any harm! (but then we werent children that had been through traumatic times)
    I think when you have adopted you can only take it a day at a time, some of the days will be good.... some not so good, but in the end it will be the positive influence you have had on a child that may not of had the best of starts in life, and helping them achieve their potential.

    1. Thank you fr commenting. It's often those around us that make difficult circumstances much harder. My Mam has taken time to see what is really going on as My daughter is very good at behaving when she's around. We've got there now and having someone to talk to to and get support from certainly makes a difference.

  2. Thanks Al, as ever, for your honesty and willingness to share the hurt. My son is awesome and gentle and beautiful and kind and yet only today he was smacking me on the head and shoulders with all his might while I was trying to drive the car, because . . . well, who knows why? Nobody wants to project a 'gloom and doom' picture of adoption all the time, but in reality this is sometimes how it is, and honesty opens up a conversation where I can say, "Today, this happened to me...." without fear of misunderstanding or judgement. There's nowhere else that conversation is going to happen.