Hitched

9 08 2010

Crap Dad is just about to leave the house for a meeting at work when the phone rings.

“Hi it’s the SW, as you know,  it’s the final adoption hearing tomorrow for Lolly.  I need to tell you that both birth parents are going to be there.  Birth dad is not happy about how contact has been going and birth mum has decided that she’s now in a different place and is wanting Lolly to be placed back with her.  She says that she can now look after Lolly herself.”

Crap Dad takes a deep breath before he responds.

“So, what does this mean for us?” he enquires.

“Well, if the judge thinks there are grounds for birth mums appeal then they will set a date for a new hearing. You’ll need to get a solicitor if that happens.

Alternatively, the judge may think that there no grounds for her appeal and make the the adoption order.

There have been appeal hearings but, so far as we are aware, none have been upheld in England .

My view is that any judge looking at the case has to consider the child’s best interests. As Lolly has been placed with you for so long, I can’t see how it would be in her interest to have another disruption.

I’ll give you ring as soon as I get out of the hearing.”

“OK, speak to you tomorrow, thanks.”

Crap Dad takes another deep breath before calling GM.

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Choices

6 06 2010

“picit” says LML when she is handed her early morning cup of milk.  It’s 5.40am and GM, who has been up with the girls for 20 minutes, decides that as it is Sunday, the girls can start the day with a biscuit.

GM gets the biscuit tin from the kitchen and offers LML her choice.  Normally there are one or two types of biscuit in the tin.  Today there are three types and LML makes a move towards one and then another but she is unable to decide which to have.

“LML, would you like me to choose for you?” asks GM

LML nods her head and a look of intense relief crosses her face, as GM passes her one of her favorite types of biscuit.





Pysched-out

27 05 2010

At the end of an ISAR meeting CD calls the Ed-Psych over. She has just run through her report which will form the basis for the funding that will support LML when she goes to primary school. Her report means that LML will get significant one-to-one support, which is a relief to the problem parents.

CD, “As you know we haven’t asked for a statement for LML, do you think we should consider making a request?” he asks.

Ed-Psych, “Well, the process for a statutory assessment would mean that I would write a report like the one I have just completed, in fact I very often write reports that are less detailed than this one. All the other professionals involved would write reports too….” she goes off into the detail about the process which CD already knows, having done his research.

CD, “We are really pleased with the support that we and LML are receiving and we haven’t felt the need to make a request but I suppose my concern is about the future.”

Ed-Psych, “Yes, the thing about a statement is that if things start to go wrong then, whilst it is bureaucratic, you can refer back to it. I think given where LML is at and her circumstances I’d be very surprised if she didn’t receive a statement if you requested one.”

CD, “Yeah, I think we should talk to parent partnerships and go from there”

Ed Psych, “I think that’s a good idea.”





just one more thing…

7 04 2010

As CD talks to the Homeless Officer who has phoned, GM looks over his shoulder at his notes whilst she comforts the poorly Lolly.

Drinking Problem” she reads, and nods her head.  No surprises there, as Big Sis had already talked to them about that.

CD makes affirmative noises down the phone as GM walks away, talking to Lolly who has calmed down a little and seems ready to be put down again.

GM hears a sigh and looks across the room at CD. As he talks to the Homeless Officer about how his daughter has alienated all her friends and that as far as he knows she really has no-where to stay tonight CD shakes his head.  GM walks across the room to look at the next note that he has written.

Pregnant?” is what she reads, and she feels her stomach flip.  She echos CD’s sigh, and rubs her temples.

_______________________________

Later Big Sis sits in their living room and CD tries to go through big Sis’s options with her. Big Sis has been given advice by the Local Authority homelessness team, but has been told that currently she is not in priority need, so they will not provide temporary or emergency accommodation.

The Mostly Functional Parents have agreed that they will pay for Bed & Breakfast accommodation for Big Sis for a couple of nights whilst she tries to secure something that is longer term.

“What about the question of whether you are pregnant?” asks GM, “Is that a real possibility, or were you just hoping it would help with the homeless assessment?”

Big Sis glances at GM and shrugs “I could be” she says, “I might be”.  GM waits for her to say more but she doesn’t.

“If you are we need to find out, as you’ll have a right to temporary accommodation straight away,” says GM.  Big Sis is looking at the TV, and GM cannot fathom what she might be thinking.  “Big Sis” she says, “If you are pregnant, you don’t have to decide what to do about that right away you know. You wouldn’t have to keep it just because you get somewhere to live, but if you are pregnant you will have a window of stability and probably some support and advice about that and the drinking …” she petered out, not getting much of anything from Big Sis.





ISAR

25 03 2010

It wasn’t that long ago that the Mostly Functional parents regularly left the nursery after an ISAR meeting (Inclusion and SEN Action Record) wondering what they had to do to convince the nursery staff to adopt a different approach to LML. Today’s meeting, the first with staff from the school that LML will attend from September, which included the Specialist SEN Nursery Worker employed by the education authority and the speech and language therapist, was a revelation. The nursery staff  articulated LML’s support needs, outlined her issues and were very clear about how delayed she is (she is operating in the range of 8 – 20 months – she’s 4).  Before the Mostly Functional parents could respond to suggestions from the school staff about how they might manage LML in the new setting the nursery staff regularly responded with “no, she won’t be able to cope with that, you might want to consider this…”.

All crap dad could think of was ‘by jove, I think they got it!!!’

The teacher from the school looked a little shell shocked at times but remained engaged and enthusiastic. She was keen to arrange language development, makaton and attachment disorder training for her and her colleagues. As the meeting broke up she was in a huddle with the school SEN co-ordinator and the nursery’s teacher arranging to attend the nursery and observe LML.

Since making the choice of which  school the Mostly Functional would attend the Mostly Functional parents have periodically fretted about whether they had made the right decision… today it definitely felt like the right choice.





double edged sword

22 02 2010

The letter box clatters and a pile of stuff lands on the door mat. Amongst the pile is a letters is a brown envelope from the Department of Work and Pensions. ‘Wow, that was quick’ thinks Crap Dad’. He opens the letter and scans the page, its states that its about the mostly functional parents application for Disability Living Allowance for LML.

Not really reading it, believing that it will say that their application has been turned down, he is surprised find that they have been awarded the ‘middle rate care component’. He’s initially pleased, that’s nearly £50 a week extra income. Then there is a wave of sadness as he realises that it is also a recognition of how hard he and Grumpy Mum have to work on a daily basis to support and care for their beautiful child.





Death by Meeting – Introductions planning and other exiting events

10 06 2009

If there was anything which could have dampened our excitement at the impending arrival of Little Sis it was the ‘Introductions Planning’ Meeting. Attending with us was our social worker, Little Sis’s SW, the foster carer and the chair of the meeting, a woman from the after adoption support team.

The meeting took two and a half hours! The first hour of which was spent completing a form that should have been completed beforehand, as nearly all the information was in previous forms.

We then planned when and how we were going to move Little Sis to her new home. The chair, who had spoken to the foster carer the day before for the first time, was at pains to ensure that we are introduced to Little Sis slowly. So for the first week we are only seeing her an hour a day every other day.

Then we move on to half days first at the foster carers, learning her routine and gradually taking over from the foster carer. After 4 days Little Sis will then come home for a visit of about an hour. From then on the focus will be Little Sis coming home in increasing amounts until she the big move.

As we were winding up the meeting the Chair was expressing concerns that Little Sis had only spent one full day at her new home before the move. She’d planned the process so that it ended on a Friday, because the social workers involved don’t work over the weekend, and was then saying maybe we could extend the process over the weekend. Both CD, GM and their SW were quick to scotch that proposal. It was agreed things would be considered at he review meeting – which is held only two days before the move takes place

The chair was also concerned that the mostly functional parents would have very few breaks in the process. CD and GM assured her that with so many hours to spare on so many days they were OK and didn’t need to take a day off.

CD tried to create some space towards the end of the introductions for the foster carers to ‘say their goodbyes’. Foster mum, at the thought of saying ‘goodbye’ burst into floods of tears. Which seemed to prove his point, but was not built into the plan because she said she’s be OK. That would also put us into the weekend and, of course, without SW support.

There was then a lengthy discussion on whether Little Sis should be picked up from the foster carers and taken home or whether the foster carers should drop her off on moving day. It seems the two local authorities have different rationales for their ways of managing moving day. Foster mum made the decision for us when she said that she felt she couldn’t drive after dropping off Little Sis, so she wanted the mostly functional parents to pick Little Sis up.

So there we have it. We meet Little Sis for the first time today (Wednesday 10th) and she comes home on or about the 26th June.

How exciting!!!








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