Life with Adopted Children: Unseen Struggles Behind the Normalcy
When people comment, "But they look so normal," in reference to adopted children, it reveals a common misconception about what these children should look like. Perhaps there's an assumption that their troubled pasts would leave visible marks. However, the truth is that many adopted children bear invisible scars from experiences of harm and neglect. This does not mean they are unwanted or unloved but rather that, for various reasons, the courts, not a children's social worker, have deemed it necessary for them to be separated from their birth families.
Although my kids may appear fine on the surface, they face genuine struggles in their everyday lives. For instance, my children no longer attend conventional schools due to the lack of suitable options in our Local Authority for children who have experienced harm and trauma. Instead, they participate in Alternative Provisions that tailor their education through activities such as farming, equine therapy, gym classes, and cooking lessons. In this article, I will take you through a typical morning as we prepare to embark on kind of alternative school day. It's important to note that my children are teenagers, adding another complexity layery to our routine.
The Sock Dilemma: Take my eldest, for example. He can not put socks in his bedroom; it has to be on the stairs, the sofa, the kitchen or the hall floor. But it must never be in his bedroom. He finds it weird I don't understand why. Socks are strictly prohibited from entering his bedroom. I must admit, I'm still trying to comprehend the reasoning behind this peculiar rule.
The Dirty Clothes Conundrum: Another fascinating aspect of our morning routine involves my son's penchant for donning dirty clothes. He puts dirty clothes on to take off, so he can put his clean ones on. I am a knobhead for not understanding this process.
The Shorts Saga: Today, the sun is shining, indicating that it's time to wear shorts. However, my son, in his scruffy jogging bottoms, they are the appropriate attire for today's task, horse riding and mucking out at his Alternative Provision. But he's fixated now, he understands somewhere in his head it's Sun and Shorts. He grabs his new smart cream pair. I point out that smart cream shorts won't work for mucking out. He's angry at me now, "what's wrong with smart cream shorts on a farm?" He knows they will get dirty, but he can't work out why that's not ok. "All clothes get dirty, and we have a washing machine, Mum". Clearly, I really am a dickhead.
The Almost-Ready Episode: With my eldest finally dressed—shorts still clutched in his hand—he decides it's time to vacuum. In his mind, this signals that he's ready to go. However, he seems to have forgotten to wash, brush his teeth, or comb his hair. Reminding him of his missing tasks triggers an explosive outburst: "F**k off, Mum, I know how to get ready!" Storming upstairs, he vanishes momentarily.
The Wash Paradox: Returning to the hallway, my son slips on one trainer. I give him a puzzled look, to which he responds with an exasperated, "What?" He still has the shorts in his hand. He turns the hoover on. In his head, it's time to go. But still didn't wash, brush his teeth or hair. I remind him what he needs to do. He shouts at me again, "F**k Off". He storms back upstairs.
Finally, We Leave: He's now back in the hall and puts the other trainer on. I look at him, "What!!!!!"....." err, the shorts, you still have the shorts, you didn't wash or brush your hair and teeth."
"I did that yesterday."
I'm now demoted to the biggest dickhead ever for not understanding; yesterday's wash also counts as today's wash.
We leave the house, he's forgot his shorts and left the hoover out.
He hates me.