We very nearly made it without mishap.
The new school year loomed. New lunchboxes were bought, shiny new shoes were well, shiny and new.
We ramped up the reassurance and the routines as school approached. Squeak was starting at junior school, and was excited and anxious about it. Bubble concentrated on playing the older sister role, and this helped her own anxiety.
Masses of effort was expended in our home, as in homes across the country, to reassure our children about the return to school.
We both collected the girls after their first day at school. Bubble was a whirling bundle of energy, and Squeak seemed subdued. She did not want to tell us about her day. This wasn’t like her at all.
At tea time, when we all sat down together and discussed the day, Squeak told us that her drinks bottle and books had been labelled with ‘the wrong name’. She meant her birth surname. She was terrified that she was going to get her new teacher ‘in trouble’ for telling us. We spent a long time reassuring her she had done the right thing telling us, and that her teacher was not in trouble.
Inwardly I was seething. In July Squeak had been for a taster day at the new school and her birth surname had been called out in front of her entire year group! We dealt with the fallout from this, and received reassurances from the Head that this would not happen again, the records had been corrected, etc.
First day back and those assurances couted for nothing. I e-mailed a fairly restrained missive to the Head. I continued to seethe. The twitter adoption community were fabulous and supportive. Squeak had a disturbed night.
The next day Squeak dutifully trundled to school. OH insisted on meeting with the Head and SENCO, who offered apologies and were left in no doubt that we will be submitting a formal complaint and referring to Safeguarding should this happen again.
My heart sinks that this has happened. Lack of care has caused Squeak anguish. She is a little girl who is struggling to make sense of her story. She wants to belong and be accepted. The actions of school staff have subjected her to shame and embarrassment. None of their written or verbal communication with us has demonstrated any understanding about the possible impact on Squeak. Her sense of difference is already keenly felt, and these incidents serve only to compound that. Why do these particular educators not understand this?
Once again the job of therapeutic parenting is made so much harder. So this weekend we’ll keep Squeak close and try to be therapeutic rockstars.