“It’s been a while“
A really long while.
And a weird while at that.
In the time since I last posted I could have given birth, completed 1,314 marathons or speed eaten 2,917,080 hot dogs. I think we all know which is most likely.
During that time, so much has happened it’s hard to convey in any kind of coherent way, so I shall stick to the headlines, in the manner of ‘Friends’ episodes:
1. The one where we Didn’t Adopt Two Little Boys
Ah yes, that classic. This is where I left the last cliff hanger. Now, obviously I can’t go into details, but what I shall do is highlight the ineptitude of a certain London authority*, in a shining example of fuckwittery rarely seen outside of an ITV sitcom.
We arrived at a soft play centre, in the tragic shadow of a burnt-out shell of a block of flats, the result of a shameful Tory failure*. Little did we know that this would set the scene for the entire day.
As we awkwardly explained we had no children with us (seemingly a pair of thirty-somethings wishing to play in a piss soaked ball pit), a woman sitting at a laptop waved us over and we recognised her as the boys Social Worker; we parted with £4 and were ushered through the turn-style by a bewildered teenager. What followed was a series of blunders (not to mention safeguarding breaches) which made our hair curl and ultimately stopped us progressing further with these little lads:
- We were left alone with them on multiple occasions, out of sight of any adults
- Their Foster Carer introduced us by name
- We witnessed challenging behaviour not previously been disclosed
- After soft play fun, we were forced to wait in the car park for 1.5 hours, as the Foster Carer neglected o request child seats in the taxi. The boys were eventually taken to a respite carers so that we could attend an ‘Appreciation Day’ (this is a meeting of people who know the boys, including carers, teachers or nursery workers and healthcare professionals, who can give prospective adopters an insight to their needs and personalities)
- Our Social Worker, N, was left waiting for us for over two hours whilst we travelled by bus to the meeting venue.
- Whilst on the bus, the Foster Carer (FC) loudly referred to the children by name and was repeatedly hushed by their Social Worker (SW) as their family live in the area and the boys are easily identifiable.
- On arrival at the venue, we quickly realised this was a different address
from the one we were given; our SW was waiting for us at the arranged location – 40 minutes away.
- Due to our late arrival their SW only had 15 minutes before her next scheduled meeting; we comforted her as she began to cry.
- The Life Appreciation meeting for two little boys, forcibly removed from their families and thrust into local authority care was attended by their Foster Carer and Social Worker who had only met them once. Not the celebration of their lives that we’d hoped, nor the one they deserved.
- We asked how the older boy felt about finding his Forever Family and the work being done to help understand this difficult concept. We were greeted with blank looks…’oh, we haven’t told him yet, he thinks he’s going back to live with his Mum…’
- When their SW left the room, the FC looked around to ensure she was out of earshot, before proclaiming “these are the hardest boys I have ever looked after”. She unabashedly informed us of some of their more challenging traits before the SW returned.
- SW maintains their behaviours are the result of cramped housing; she explained they are living in a two bedroom flat with the FC and her 14 year old son and are ‘often kept awake by the television’. I’m going to resort to caps lock here, because my mind was so well and truly blown: WHY IS A LOCAL AUTHORITY FOSTER CARER ALLOWED TO ACCOMODATE THREE CHILDREN IN A TWO BEDROOM FLAT??
- We left the meeting accompanied by the FC (Awkward/highly inappropriate) to travel back to the Tube. During this time, she cheerfully announced she ‘can’t believe those kids have been taken away from their Mum’ as ‘she’s such a lovely woman’.
What a day.
We said our goodbyes as she went to Chicken Cottage to pick up the boys dinner and we traipsed back to the train station in near silence.
We knew that something wasn’t right. It was painfully clear that they needed more support than we were led to believe and the basis of the day we had, we had zero faith in the support their Local Authority would offer.
This was not how we wanted to feel after meeting ‘our boys’.
We felt these boys required some intensive therapeutic intervention, and, on this basis we couldn’t progress with the information we were given.
Which is where we come to exciting episode 2 ‘The one where we got a Little Bit Cross in a very British Way’…
*You may be able work this out using a geographical landmark, but I never said a word.