A little stranger?

We spent the whole of last year attempting to get therapeutic input for Bubble from the Adoption Support Team.  In December we met a new Social Worker.  Bags of experience,  tons of qualifications: at last a glimmer of hope on the horizon. 

H and I went into the new year feeling a tad perkier. We’re a good team, we told ourselves. This year cannot be as bad as the last, we said hopefully.  Then, only 3 days into the new year, our optimism was crushed when I caught Bubble trying to steal a lipstick from a supermarket. She had managed to conceal it in her coat pocket.

In the previous fortnight we had been having discussions with her about stealing and lying. I had made the mistake – in a fit of festive optimism – to buy chocolate baubles for the tree. Stupid, naive, ridiculous!  What on earth made me think our girls could cope with that? When they all disappeared,  and chocolate-smeared sheets appeared on Bubble’s bed I castigated myself for my seasonal frivolity. And we used the opportunity to gently reinforce with Bubble and Squeak that we don’t take things without asking, and that we don’t lie in our family.

Stealing from a shop seemed to us to be a whole new ball game. Perhaps it isn’t.  Perhaps it’s just a continuation. Perhaps Bubble was used by her birth parents to help them shoplift. Perhaps Bubble was testing us. Perhaps she wanted to do something she knows is wrong to prove that she is bad, as she believes herself to be. Perhaps she just wanted the shiny red trinket. Perhaps she’s telling us she doesn’t want to be with us. Perhaps perhaps perhaps.

Bubble won’t talk to us about it, so we don’t know her motivation. We suspect she doesn’t know either.

We’re going through the process of feeling disappointed, furious, confused. We’ve also been absolutely incredulous that after two years with us Bubble has attempted to shoplift,  and that she’s not buying into our value system. Useless and perhaps damaging emotions and thoughts  that we know logically don’t really apply with adoption. At times Bubble feels less like our daughter, and more like a little stranger.

Timely then to  read @frogotter’s blog yesterday about trying not to set false deadlines:

Yes, it is shocking to us that our 7 year old daughter is attempting to shoplift.  We will do all we can to stop this behaviour, but we won’t be wasting any more energy wondering why two years with us hasn’t made as much difference as we originally expected.

Thank goodness for the lovely adoption community on Twitter, and thank you @frogotter for your timely blog.