As regular readers will be aware, the Donovan family have emerged from the perfect storm which threatened to derail our adopted family earlier this summer. There are many factors which led to our collective rescue and beckoned in this prolonged period of calm, the prime factor was our Social Worker, Mel. Here is a list of ten things which Mel did to pull us back from the brink of disaster:
1. She listened, for hours
2. She did not judge
3. She said ‘I know how hard it is’
4. She said ‘no one knows the measure of success when we parent children who have suffered early trauma’
5. She said ‘you are doing a brilliant job’. I felt like less of a failure.
6. She insisted that we get some respite, from somewhere. We accepted a very generous offer from a family member, set aside our worries and recuperated for five, sleepy days. We emerged with more fight in us.
7. She booked me on to a therapeutic parenting course. Although I swallowed down tears for most of it, it helped me to refocus and it was a relief to be amongst people who know the reality of parenting a child of trauma
8. I can tell her anything and she doesn’t flinch or judge
9. She always has constructive advice to offer, no matter how impossible the problem appears
10. She is always right.
Mel is one of the unsung heroes of social services. Not only did she prevent us from disintegrating into a human disaster area this summer, she saved the state a significant amount of money, more than enough to justify her salary.
Our family have emerged into an extended period of calm and happiness which proves that Mel was right about something else: traumatised children will kick back just as bonds strengthen and relationships deepen and if adoptive families can be helped to cling on during these stormy times, they may wake up to a beautiful day.