Tuesday 27 December 2011

Archived Post 2011 - False Allegations

The title of the post is pretty self explanatory. Last week someone over heard something one of my children was saying to other children. They questioned him and then took the information they had and called the child protection authorities.

The reason they called, the reason my son said it, and the fallout from what he said are all details that I am not going to share here.  But, that being said I wanted to talk about what happened because I am not the first parent to be in this situation and I may find myself in it once again although I must say that once is more than enough.

So when the phone rings and the call display send you into a panic or there is a social worker on your doorstep and they tell you that someone has reported you for hurting one of your children you need to talk to them.  Do not slam the door in their face or hang up on them cursing. Remain calm and find out as much as you can before you say anything. Then be honest about what goes on in your home. Be honest about your feelings, experiences and about just how horrific your kids behaviour can be.

You have rights and you have the right to find out what you are being accused of and when the report was filed. You also have the right to expect that your children (who have experienced more than enough trauma already) may need to be interviewed/talked to in a way that may not be as conventional as the worker would like it to be. You need to act in the best interest of your child and you also need to try to manage the fallout that may follow. For example we did not let any worker into our home but met with them at other places so that the kids would not be triggered by having social workers in their safe place.  They offered to come to us, I said no.

Spend some time trying to piece together what happened on the day of the allegation. In our case there was almost a week between the call coming in and us hearing from them. Once I knew what day it was I was able to explain that little day in out lives to the worker, it was a doozy of a day let me tell you. In fact this month has been horrific on all sorts of levels and I have not hidden that fact from our adoption worker who was able to shed some light on that for the worker doing the investigation which was really helpful.

Make your world an open book, sign consents so that information can be shared between therapists and other professionals who may know your family. Talk to your friends, offer references to the worker, share documentation that you may have. Talk to a lawyer and see what your rights are and what can and can not be done. If you are secretive it is not going to do anything but drag things out.
Stay Calm - yeah I know easy to say, it was brutal to do. I was only calm when I was talking to the worker doing the investigation, for everyone else I was a basket case. I was hurt and angry, I am still hurt and angry a week later. This was not a club I had wanted to join, I know it is one that a lot of parents who are raising hurt kids belong to but it was one I was hoping to avoid.

Perhaps we should make t-shirts and make it a real club.

Friday 9 December 2011

Archived Post 2011 - Not typical behaviour

I often hear from other parents that my kids behaviour is typical, that I shouldn't be so hard them. I often just smile and nod because it is not worth the battle. Last nights actions give me a great story for the next time someone says that to me.

Yesterday I realised after a rough 24 hours around here that I needed to shake things up with my kids. I sat down at my sewing machine and made them new quilt covers ( had been meaning to for ages) and once I got them put on to the boys beds I sat down and wrote them each a letter.
I am going to share Kevin's here because the one I wrote for Randall talks about stories that are not mine to share.

Dear Kevin,
You have had a rough couple of weeks. I see you behaving in ways that you used to behave in when you were scared as a little kid. There are a lot of things going on in our lives that might be scary for you. I need you to know and remember that no matter what I am here for you and I am not going anywhere. I might yell and scream and get mad but I will never, EVER, EVER leave you.
I know that sometimes it is hard to be adopted and to understand all the things that happened to you. It is hard for me as a grown up to understand it all and I am not even the one who lived it, you are.
Kevin, I need you to always remember that everyone makes mistakes, me, you, Dad, Randall, it happens. We learn from our mistakes and try to make better choices next time. I see you making awesome choices so often and I am so proud of how hard you are working to make choices that will be helpful.
You are a wonderful kid and I thank God everyday that you are my son, don’t forget that.

I  put the letters on their beds and when they got home from school I sent them up to their room to see what I had done. They were both thrilled. I heard them share their letters with one another, I got huge hugs and thank you's. I knew the love and thank you's were the first (good) shoe and thought that the other (bad) shoe might drop but we got through the afternoon and then dinner and dishes without it dropping. I thought I might get off scott free, I thought maybe there had been enough healing that they could receive a gift and some positive affirmations and not have to pay me back for having the audacity to tell them I loved them.

I was wrong.

Just as they were finishing the dishes Randall got a paper towel to wipe some spilled water up off the floor, then he walked over to the stove and squeezed the water from the paper towel into the large pot of soup that was on the stove from supper.

His brother tattled on him ( thankfully!) and we spent the next hour trying to get him to talk. It was a long hour. We were calm, well not really at first but we managed to get calm. I did walk away once and we were angry but I think we were pretty justified in our anger.

See the thing is we are challenging Fudge to heal, we are challenging him to realise that many of his behaviours are hurtful to the people around him and he needs to change them. In therapy we are challenging him to deal with the pain of his past and his many losses. We are forcing to him to go to places he would rather not go but we know that if he does not work through them he is going to remain a very, very angry little boy.

I am not for a minute justifying his behaviour and he is indeed on a very short leash when he is around any food at all until further notice. But, there is a part of me that understands that because I told him I was never, ever going to give up on him he needed to see if I meant it.

Can't wait to see what he comes up with next...