This is the letter that the adult adopted daughter of one of our members wrote to her MP. It’s a powerful reminder of just how important free school meals are for neglected or deprived children.
So this is something that is really upsetting me. Long story short, school meals helped save me and my siblings. If I hadn’t only ate half of my school lunch and take the rest home to share for our dinner, the teachers wouldn’t have clicked on to something not being right at home nor would they have reported it to social services. Who could know what would’ve happened if they didn’t. The amount of children who do not have access to food at home is sickening, living below the breadline, and now essentially being taught that the privileged always come first. It’s not the child’s fault they’re in that situation but you’re teaching them it is because at the end of the day that’s who’s being punished. It just breeds negativity into them even more. But it’s all groovy because you get your £3000+ pay rise and free hot meals, go back to your warm homes, so why would it stop you from sleeping at night?
Our first contribution, written powerfully from the heart, comes from a member who is tirelessly advocating for her adopted son 20 years after beginning their journey to become a family. Please read it and reflect:
Next week is National Adoption Week. More people will be encouraged to look into becoming adoptive parents. It is what I did 20 years ago. Naive, wide eyed, with all the love in the world to give. I chose my son and he changed my life. I will love the bones of him until I die.
That is the easy bit. What happens after social workers have dug and delved, made promises they can’t keep and made you feel inadequate is a whole load of nothing. I educated myself. I wanted to know why my tiny son was terrified, hugged strangers, hoarded food, ran away…
14 years of being in and out of meetings with health workers, social workers, the police, and mostly school followed. I still have box files of papers stored in the garage. I was told he just needed time, I was told he may be unable to live with a family, I was told to be strict
I begged with the LA, school, CAMHS that he needed help. I did the reading and the MA into adoption and developmental trauma, reactive attachment disorder. They hadn’t. Sorry nothing they could do to help. Sorry he was too out of control for them. Excluded aged eight.
Aged nine he would run from home and be gone for 11 hours. The police helicopter was out searching. The police brought him home where he would collapse exhausted, saying he hated me, until he broke down saying he loved me. Still no help. No therapy.
Through threats and brinkmanship, I managed to get him into a school, but he ran away from there. I had to bring him away when he was assaulted by a ‘carer’. He ran off into the City and I couldn’t find him. The LA put me on a parenting class where they discussed table manners.
Eventually he found drugs. They got rid of the fear, they made him confident, a feeling of happiness. He had new friends associated with them. I begged magistrates and judges to give him another chance. Until there were no more. He’s been locked away. I talk to him every day.
He’s struggling with the solitary, lack of exercise and light. We talk endlessly about his new start without drugs, about understanding himself. But the lockdown is breaking him. I just wanted to share this so you can think of it when you hear about National Adoption Week.
Adopters need to know the reality. That you will need more than love, a home and a job. You will be need to hang in there when everyone else has turned their back on you. You need support. And if not, maybe learn to hold your head up high in court and prison.
Every year, we have a couple of days break from looking after our traumatised adopted young people.
In the team of POTATO we have some talented artists, caring compassionate and fun individuals. We have all lives life with traumatised adopted young people and all genuinely knowledge the score.
So, we have an Arts Day. There’s a meal out all together the night before and it’s a relaxed and supportive group.
This year we have been focusing on designing a ‘Self Care Island’.
Here are a selection of collages and paintings our POTATO creatives made!
Sadly the events of 2020 have left us unable to arrange any Art Days. Hopefully this will be possible at some point in 2021.
This is an article written for professionals and adoptive parents to use to inform themselves about a way forwards. We think there are some problems within adoption that need addressing.
It is written by one of our members, based on many years of adoptive parenting. This individual has experience of birth parenting too, and so knows how very different the experiences of parenting are.
Have a look through the article and see if you agree with the questions posed. What would you say are the issues that need addressing within modern UK adoption?