Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Struggles - do they ever really end?

It's been a funny few weeks since I last posted. As ever in the world of adoption after weeks of stagnation and seemingly endless battles everything seems to happen at once.

Firstly, I need to thank all those of you who sent donations to help keep TJ in school - we were overwhelmed, but in light of the following I have requested that everyone be refunded - if you haven't been then just comment of drop me an email and I'll sort it out for you.

The fact is that the day before we were to begin the lengthy and difficult appeal process to fight for TJ's EHC Plan (which is a legal agreement between us and the local authority to provide education to meet TJ's needs and to support this through his emotional health and care). It seems like a plan that can cover all eventualities and needs but in reality it is the education part of the plan that is usually focussed upon and it was because of this that TJ's application was rejected originally - his education levels are very low, but were just above the criteria needed for a plan to be issued. However, the local authority didn't take into account his complex emotional needs nor his recent diagnosis - so we challenged it and decided to take it to the tribunal level - true to form, the day we before proceedings were due to start, the local authority called to say they had decided to concede and to issue the plan after all. So, hopefully, TJ will now get the help he needs in school - or even have access to a more specialist school that can offer him a more nurturing background than standard mainstream - where he struggles. He is enjoying the mainstream school during lessons, but at break time and lunch he refuses to leave the classroom as its all too noisy for him. He may decide he wants to stay there, I'll take advice on that, but at least now he has options.

Then, after months out of school, KC (who has an EHC Plan) finally found a school that could accommodate his incredibly complex needs - but they don't have a place available until September and they have to employ extra staff to help meet his requirements - So after fighting to get him a referral to this specialist school everything now has to go back to the local authority for approval as it will involve extra funding (doesn't everything?). So although he finally has a school place now we have to ensure that the funding is available - but having the EHC should help with that - I just hope we don't have to go to tribunal over that one - fingers crossed!

I went to see the doctor the other day, for TJ, and he looked at me and asked how I was getting on. I was a bit taken aback but he explained that most people he sees tend to be fighting for one EHC, to be fighting for two was really tough and he expected me to be struggling, he went on that he often had parents sat with him at their wits end and in tears. I think I'm tough, or at least I seem to be. But what shocked me most was not how amazingly I was coping (supposedly) but how so many people had to go through so much difficulty just getting the help their children need. Luckily our doctor understands adoptive families as his own parents were foster carers. Although getting an appointment with him in the first place is a struggle in itself!

Still TJ is back at the hospital next week, but at least I now know the right questions to ask and hopefully, come September, both boys will be in schools that can support them fully.

As for me, I'm in the last month of my six year psychology degree through the Open University - thats been a struggle in itself, so wish me luck!