Dear Social Services,
“On our knees” is a fairly accurate description for where we currently are. Things have escalated significantly, some of which we expected from the boys given the change in routine and the anxiety surrounding the new school year. That is why, not far into the last school year, I referred us for support. Things are worse this year than they were last, and I’m sure you’ll understand my frustration considering that you originally told us that, assuming we had a successful application to the Adoption Support Fund, support would be available in February. This was then pushed back to June, and now here we are in September. October to April was six months of the last financial year, which means we missed out on any of last year’s funding, not to mention the time that our boys could have been getting help. It is my understanding that the ASF is only available until 2020 and no decision has been made at this point whether to extend it.
The stark reality is that having two children whose emotional needs are so great, and who display those emotional needs in increasingly aggressive ways, has taken us to the brink of adoption breakdown. It has only been our faith in the system and the promises of support that you made, and the promises that are made during the adoption process, that has kept us hoping that help will be along shortly. My faith in that system is rapidly dwindling, as I’m sure you can imagine.
As a fellow public sector worker, I understand only too well the pressure that public services are under with a lack of funding, lack of staff, and so on, which is why I have been reluctant to “pester” for support and updates. I realise that any time you spend explaining the process to us again is time that could be spent helping us and others. But for the record, the fact that we have not been in touch with you frequently does not reflect the reality of our family life and our children’s need for additional help.
According to your email, the ASF raised an issue with you on the 21/08/19, which thankfully was quickly resolved. But by my reckoning, this was a full ten months after I first got in touch with post adoption support and asked for help. I appreciate that it takes time to find the right therapist and such, but we were only sent CVs for therapists in June, seven to eight months after we asked for help.
On a daily basis, I feel like I referee my children. One or both of them is usually having a tantrum, telling us how much they hate us, lashing out at one another, hurting themselves, or hurting me. This is not their fault; they are a product of their extremely difficult start in life as you know. Having a six year old threaten to stab me can be frightening, I know he has no real concept of the consequences of such an act. But what about when he is 12 or 13, when his understanding of consequences is still limited but his strength and determination are not? Having a five year old who runs away on a regular basis is nothing short of terrifying. He has limited road sense and a steely determination to do what he chooses. The only solution we can come up with is to restrain him with reins, which then leads to shame in front of his peers, which then causes his behaviour to worsen, which becomes a vicious cycle, albeit a necessary one as his safety is our priority.
We love our children. We want what is best for them, we want them to live happy lives, not just in the future but also in the present. I write to you at a time when my wife and I are at a very low ebb, when my family is struggling enormously, in the continued hope that help is on its way.