We are adopters and are in the midst of court proceedings where children’s services are looking for a care order because we aren’t able to keep our very troubled daughter at home any longer. She is 16. We adopted her when she was 4.
We adopted two girls, half siblings, the older one being 7 and the younger 4. They had experience extreme neglect from a drug taking alcoholic mother and possible domestic violence. The older girl was diagnosed with avoidant attachment disorder and anger management issues and reentered care at age 15 under Section 20. We did parent at a distance, despite the system treating us like failures, but it was so very painful and really hard.
However she stayed on Section 20 and we were very much parenting her throughout. We had no help from professionals but at the age of 19 our relationship with her is really strong and warm. She still has her issues, but no longer targets us, but rather seeks our help comfort and support. She returned home for a few days at a time throughout this year and in semi independent living the other days. Last month she moved into her own flat, and we have supported her with this, decorating picking up things from ebay, helping her shop for furniture etc. She has a part time job and is studying for a degree – in health and social care! She is happy. She is very much our daughter.
Children’s services still refer to this as an adoption disruption and the fact that she reentered care age 15 and never returned to our care. We still care for her to this day! She just stopped actually living in our house full time when she was 15.
The younger one has mental health issues that the system won’t or can’t label and therefore won’t recognise. She self harms, and puts herself at risk She has been sexually assaulted 3 times, had met her birth mother and these meetings were via Facebook and unsupervised. She has started drinking smoking weed occasionally, going missing, refusing school and has turned on us because we are “goody two shoes types”.
Children’s services have been awful to us and very much making us out to be the problem not the solution – saying when we asked for respite, for help to keep her safe and get her back into education etc, that we should never have been allowed to adopt, as we seem to prefer parenting at a distance. We were shocked about the reports to their Internal Panel, which show substantial distortions and undermine our confidence in the integrity of the professionals involved.
In terms of therapeutic parenting we have worked with Dan Hughes methods – but did this on our own. That is to say we were not supported. We are both calm, patient, mild mannered individuals, but we were on our knees, exhausted sad, grieving and having to fight the system for help.
We have fought to get help for our child and have been labelled as “difficult to deal with”.
We currently in court proceedings. There is very little in the planning about reunification, or therapy for the family, or allowing us to parent from a distance. They have actively help her explore her family of origin and pushed for her to be given supervised contact. The have totally ignored the risks and have not planned or done anything to support her attachment to us. We are her best long term hope. It feels like they are trying to cut us out of her life.
At times she shows anger and hatred towards us, other times she acts like a 6 year old desperate for love and comfort. Currently she wants us, tomorrow she may not, although deep down we know she loves us. We tried to get a foetal alcohol diagnosis but couldn’t-we didn’t have medical notes and there was a lack of support from social services to fund this. We tried to get a proper mental health diagnosis from CAMHS, and don’t feel they got to the bottom of her. We think she has a small mix of lots of different issues rather than a severe issue of one type.
We are glad you have set up this group and to be part of it. We know another family in a similar position and will tell them about you too.