It's a while since I've written on my blog, and even longer since I wrote to you (well, apart from the postcards from when I go away). Partly that's because I haven't really got into the habit of writing blog posts regularly so its been easy to let other things get in the way, but is mainly because of the problems that we have been having with the adoption process.
Just over a month ago, our social worker and her team leader meet with your Mum and I. They are worried that the bad experiences you Mum has had in her past will mean she will struggle to cope with looking after you, especially if you are misbehaving, or trying to deal with bad things that have happened to you.
At first they tried to persuade us to give up our application to become your parents saying that the panel that make the decision wouldn't approve us, then they tried saying that even if we didn't get approved, your social worker (and other children's workers) would look at our report and say that we wouldn't be able to look after you. Then they tried to fob us off with waiting, but with no idea of what would have to happen to end that wait. Finally they have offered us the chance to go to a pre-panel meeting to get their advice on what they should do about our application.
Basically the social worker has looked at a time in your Mum's life when things were very difficult and assumed that she will be the same in the future. She has ignored what your Mum has been like since then, ignored what various professionals that know your Mum have had to say about her and not spoken to anyone who can tell them about me. From what we can see the social worker's view are not based on any real evidence and we are hopeful that the panel will see that and rule in our favour. If not, there is an independent body that can review the situation and they should be able to see the truth of the situation.
I've ranted about the unfairness of the situation with friends, planned the best way to prove to the social workers what sort of people your Mum and I are with colleagues, but with you I want to take a different tack - to try and show you what lessons you can learn from this.
1. Don't give up when things get tough - Sometimes life deals you a bad hand, sometimes it seems that the deck is stacked against you. Unfortunately in situations like that all you can do is keep on, keep trying your best and know that things will get better. I'm know there will have been times when you frustrated your Mum and I - being a parent is one of the toughest jobs there is and if you haven't stormed out of a room telling us 'I hate you, your ruining my life' at least once by the time you are 18 then we probably aren't doing our job! No matter how hard it gets though, your Mum and I will have kept on parenting you. When I'm out walking I can't give up just because the weather has got suddenly worse - I need to keep going till I get to somewhere with shelter. When one of your Mum's patients doesn't want to eat, she can't let them starve - she needs to find ways to persuade them to take the food. I hope you can look at the things your Mum and I do in our lives and see that having determination to keep going is one of the most important things you need in life. Giving up means that you don't get what you want or need, that you lose out. 'If you are going through hell, keep going' as Winston Churchill once said.
2. Authority isn't always right. When it is, accept it, when it isn't challenge it. - As a teacher it's sometime very hard to get this message across to young people. When authority figures stop you from doing something, it can be very hard to step back and look at the situation from an unbiased point of view. Often they are right - there are good reasons why I don't let pupils eat in a science lab, or make them do homework. If those reasons aren't clear to you, ask. Ask politely, ask appropriately, but ask them to justify the reasons. If those reasons are valid, accept them. You may well feel angry, you may well feel your pride is hurt but those feelings will pass in time and you can move on. If the reasons aren't valid though, then challenge the system. Challenge them appropriately; shouting, swearing, threats they just make people dig their heels in and fight back and in most cases that makes the situation worse. Challenge the right person; sometimes it is one person that has made a mistake. The chances are they haven't done it deliberately, but have made the wrong decision based on the information they have. Help them see why they have made the wrong decision, give them the information they need, explain to them what it means. Sometimes it won't be the person that is wrong, but the system. In that case, challenge the system not the person - many people think that the benefit of living in a democracy is that we can vote on who rules us. It isn't - the benefit is that we have a system that has built-in methods that allow you to make changes to it so that it works effectively. As a citizen in a democracy it is both your right and responsibility to use though methods when appropriate.
3. We are on your side. I know the social workers think they are making a decision that is best for you. We know they are are wrong and so we are working to help them see that. By the time you read this, your Mum and I will have fought hard to be your parents, we will have fought hard to giving you the right kind of parenting. Sometimes that will have been hard for us, sometimes it will have been hard for you. Despite what a TV advert currently claims it is better to be a parent than a friend. I'm sure there will have been times when you wondered why we made you do things you didn't want to, or wouldn't let you do things you wanted to. Hopefully bu now you are old enough to understand our reasons and to see that we did what we did to give you a safe, secure, loving and happy childhood so that you could grow up to be the best possible person you can. We are fighting hard now to be your parents, we will work hard to be the best possible parents to you. No matter how hard it gets, you are our number one priority and we will always do everything in our power to ensure that you get what you need. Other people may have let you down in your life - I can promise you that your Mum and I never will.
I will love you,