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Showing posts with the label Adoption Order

LAC review updates and Good News

I've just come out of our LAC review slightly gobsmacked. Not least because it was our first one that clocked in under three hours (by five minutes, but still!) but because it seems that people have actually listened. 
I feel a bit as though my chronic preparation for the meeting may have been a bit unnecessary - nobody mentioned the email I wrote yesterday outlining the main points I wanted to cover, for example - but, sure enough they were discussed, and what's more, people had actually come to the meeting prepared with solutions. 
By far the most surprising was that Social Services said they would like to offer us four hours per week of respite, to take the form of someone coming in to our home after school to give us a hand. We have been asking for respite for the best part of a year and had been told categorically no on many occasions, so this is *huge*. Next step is taking this to their senior managers and resource panel to get it approved; I may have subtly interjected at…

Oh, how quickly things can move with a little motivation...

Earlier this week we had a Professionals Meeting.

I turned up to that meeting with a twelve page document, outlining all of the concerns we have about the placement, with a detailed timeline quoting emails, phone calls, extracts from my diary, meeting notes and minutes to show exactly how each of the issues have progressed. I explained to all present that I had prepared this document with the expectation from the Court Guardian that I would send her a copy when it was complete, and that I had also emailed a copy to everyone present.

The issues were under the following headings: 1. Updating the Adoption Support Plan to accurately reflect the high level of need and proposed support that will be in place. 2. Access to appropriate support for Tickle 3. Suggestions from Social Services that Husband and I are not engaging with services 4. Deterioration of the relationship between Adopters and Social Services 5. Difficulties in finding a way forward in accessing support, due to working acros…

Updates

Yesterday I spent three and a half hours with our new Independent Reviewing Officer (at our slightly overdue LAC review), trying to bring her up to speed on our case. I wasn't massively impressed with her (and neither was our Social Worker!) although she did warm up a bit as the meeting went on.

I did have to say to her at one point that I would like to stop talking about 'managing' Tickle, as really what that means is minimising the impact that Tickle has on people around him. I'd rather focus on supporting *him* to cope better with the impact his environment has had on him. Tickle's headteacher (who was also in the meeting) had picked up on this terminology a couple of times already, and had corrected the IRO when she'd asked about managing Tickle!

The head and I both had a bit of a rant in the meeting about how difficult things have been. I was quite surprised at how visibly cross she was actually - plus she had originally said she'd have to leave early …

News from Court

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So many things have happened in the last two weeks I could pretty much write a blog post for every day. We've had two professionals meetings, two CAMHS appointments, a visit from two social workers, a police interview, a hospital appointment, and a court hearing.

From all of that, it's the court hearing that's left me reeling - even though that's the one that we didn't attend in person.

It's been three months or so since our original court hearing that was adjourned. Initially, Social Services were very supportive. We had a meeting to outline the support we felt we needed - we gave them our 'if we had a magic wand' wish list, but were heartened to hear from Tickle's Social Worker that it all sounded pretty reasonable, actually, and she couldn't see any particular problems.

That attitude lasted a matter of days. Suddenly there seemed to be a shift, and although nothing was said directly to us, our Social Worker grew more worried as she reported t…

One week on

Its been one week since the disclosure that changed everything, and nothing. Everything, because it finally confirmed what we had been suspecting for months and pushed us across the line from 'what we think we can cope with' to 'what we really can't cope with'. Nothing because... nothing has changed. We still haven't heard from the police, haven't got the extra support in place, and feel totally in limbo - waiting for something to happen but not quite sure what.

I do know that in real life it takes time to get stuff sorted out, but for us at the moment every day is like a huge looming mountain to climb. (That's what it feels like to me, anyway; Husband seems to be very stoically getting on with it.) From the moment Tickle goes to bed at night I almost dread him waking up. I'm anxious around him, on edge because you never know when he might decide to tell us something else. My brain re-plays the video of his disclosures whenever it gets a quiet momen…

Dear God there's more...

This post was supposed to be all about the meeting we had yesterday, and what we are doing to move forward, and I will get to that but I am in shock because there is more. It seems that the damn has opened and Tickle, having discovered it's good to talk, now wants to keep doing it. I'm struggling to find the words... been staring at the computer screen for at least ten minutes trying to work out what to say.

I'm not sure that this will change anything in terms of what happens next - I will have to report it to the social workers obviously, who will go back to the police again. We are starting to do a bit of preparation work with Tickle about talking to the police - trying to explain who they are and what they do, as at the moment he just thinks they go nee-naw nee-naw. So far I have told him that the police are there to help people who feel worried and sad, and that they are they for when adults make 'bad choices' (a phrase he has picked up from school) in the same…

Putting the brakes on

I wasn't quite sure how to title this post, as we're dealing with something pretty immense at the moment, and it's kind of hard to know where to start with writing about it.

I wrote in my last blog post about being rushed in to applying for the Adoption Order, but how I was ready to move on, for Husband and I to have control over our own decisions for our own family. However we've just spent the last week discussing whether we should ask for an adjournment.

We had so many plans for where we were going to get our support from post-Adoption Order, and in the last week or so every single one of those plans has completely disintegrated.

1) We had asked about 6 months ago for a referral to our local CAHMS service, to see if they could help us to unpick which parts of Tickle's behaviour were actually due to the trauma and abuse he has suffered, and therefore whether he would benefit from play therapy. This got bounced straight back, with an accompanying note saying we ne…

Life after Adoption Order

It's been a funny old journey, leading us towards our final court date and the moment when Tickle will legally become our son.

When Tickle was first placed with us, the message loud and clear from the local authority was 'We think it would be really great if you adopted him ASAP (no pressure)'. By the time of our second LAC review, our IRO (Independant Reviewing Officer) was saying we ought to put the brakes on, things were obviously challenging and there was no need to rush in to a decision. After LAC review number three we were called in to an emergency placement planning meeting; birth parents had started getting vocal again, and as we were nearing the anniversary of Tickle's removal from the family home the team were keen to get moving with the Adoption Order so as not to give BPs any additional ammunition to contest it. Enter LAC review number four and the IRO is in a state of near panic, asking why this has all been rushed through and concerned that we're not…

Making a choice

I've had a couple of blog posts rumbling around in my head for a while, but this is neither of them. Something happened this evening, and I just need to write it out, to get my head round it. It wasn't really a thing, as such, more of a moment, but I think a fairly significant one.

All of us, me Husband, Fairy, and Tickle have been feeling the strain of the summer holidays. Funnily enough, Tickle is the one who seems the most predictable at the moment - predictably inconsistent, anxious, loopy, angry, but still, all behaviours in line with the Tickle we have come to know and love. In the meantime, Husband has discovered where the end of his tether is (which came as a bit of a shock to him), I am my usual emotional self, and Fairy... well I'm a bit worried about her at the moment.

For those who may read this and not know our back story, Fairy is my birth daughter from my previous marriage. She's just turned nine (she was six when we started the adoption process) and she…

One foot in front of the other

As Tickle's social worker was leaving yesterday she said, just as an aside, that she didn't think anyone had really realised how challenging Ticke's behaviour was. It made me feel a bit better actually, as I'd been feeling like perhaps I'd been a bit naive or had deliberately ignored information about the difficulties because I was so keen to go ahead with him as a match. It has emerged that T's birth mum was pretty good at hiding what was going on at home, and in particular how much she was struggling. We get little snippets of this from Tickle, when he repeats stuff that she used to shout at him. (That's leaving aside the disclosures of actual physical violence from his father of course...)
I also wonder if Tickle's behaviour wasn't quite this bad before because his developed was so stunted, and he wasn't able to process what was going on, or accepted it as normal. Or perhaps he was just permanently frightened; from what we know of him now he c…

Update: Adoption order time

I'm trying to put off the work I'm actually supposed to be doing right now, so it seems like the perfect time to update you all with where we're up to with all the official stuff.

Although Tickle has been living with us for a while now, legally we are not his parents yet. The Local Authority and T's birth parents have shared parental responsibility, some of which is deferred to us so that we can make basic decisions, like giving Tickle's school permission to take him on a trip to the park, without bothering the social workers.

In order for us to become Tickle's legal parents, we have to apply for a further court order - he's already had a Placement Order (which is the one that allows the social workers to remove him from his family and put him in care) and we are now applying for an Adoption Order.

It's a slightly weird process, and once we have put in the application we don't actually have very much to do with it. Once the courts receive the paperw…