Munchausen’s

When CHT and I were brought together, I thought I knew what I was doing.

Munchausen


I knew it would be hard.  I knew it would ask more of me than I dared to imagine.  I knew she would be demanding, and intense, and oh so worth all the struggle.  And I knew there would be tears shed, blood spilled – and a whole world of laughing.  I even had an idea that my foresight showed only the tip of the challenge to come.

What I didn’t know is that I was effectively ‘adopting’ a whole bunch of challenging adults alongside her.

These kids come with an entourage fit for a Diva – foster carers, social workers, educational psychologists, teachers, post adoption support workers, reviewing officers, and more.  This unwieldy group of people are there to help.  Except, they don’t, not most of them, and certainly not in the long run.  Yes, I write this while totally torqued after yet another dead end meeting, but for all the support you get, it seems that you have to invest at triple the time, money and effort.

I experience their help as leaving me ‘minussed out’; worse off than I began.  Why do these people  - in principle there to help – me make me work so hard when I am already stretched to my limit coping with a distressed and torn up child?   I feel like I carry them all on my back.

Pleading for their understanding, pushing for action, chasing up progress; this ‘support’ leaves me exhausted, more stressed and burdened than I started, and frustrated at the plans and promises that come to nothing.

There is a gaping chasm between the knowledge of so many specialist adoption professionals, and the barefaced day to day reality of adoptive parents and adoptees.

Where is the unspoken recognition of our problems and dilemmas from the specialists whose job it is to understand these issues?  Why are we made to fight so hard to make our voices heard by the very people whose purpose it is to fight our family’s corner?  Why is it so unclear what support is available for us?  Why do the doors not willingly open when we ask for the help, respite, and the training we so dearly need?

Our words fall on deaf ears, and then worse still, there comes ‘that look’.

You must know the one.  It comes partway into explaining something about your family/situation/child.  It comes accompanied by a glance at a watch, and through slightly glazed eyes that judge you, and write you off as pushy, or annoying, or exaggerating.  It is the look that dismisses you in a heartbeat as suffering from some adoption version of Munchausen by proxy.

The whole process strips me bare.  It can also leave me riddled with self doubt, and with less of myself to give to the all important task I was trusted with; parenting my beloved and inspirational CHT.

Change must come.

11 thoughts on “Munchausen’s

  1. I had in a social workers assessment of my three disabled children,n who were all fully diagnosed that I had Munchausen’s by proxy, or the new name its called, basically making it up and that I had mental health issues saying about the children’s needs as nothing wrong with them. She didn’t even ask the gp for his thoughts. She was not qualified to say this and gave us years of heartache and bad press with social services who thought our difficult complex kids were living with a dangerous nutta!.Took me enormous effort to clear our name and get them to listen. She was evil!!! Totally agree with your wonderful writing. mwah!

    • Thank you so much Ali, although i wish it wasn’t so! I had no idea this post would hit such a nerve. I get the silent looks, but to get that accusation must sting you deeply. Together we can change this. Besides you all the way. Mx

  2. You are a amazing women! Munchausen by proxy describes it perfectly. I have been trying to write something very similar all week and struggling but you have managed to sum up so much of what I needed to say so much more eloquently.
    Thank you for writing this

    • I was spitting feathers writing this. We get pulled in so many different directions, and misunderstood so badly. Strikes you as odd when any other person in the same boat as us understands with little more than a nod. I am so glad we all have each other; we make a great team! Mx

  3. Once again you have spoke for us all … Absolutely spot on.. I need to apply for DLA for one of mine and have been putting it off for over a year.. Too busy with the “support” I am writing to education authority trying to get a more suitable school… Hey SW checked it for me and said ” that’s a great letter well done” let me know if you need me to do anything (translation is a patronising you are very capable so I shouldn’t need to do anything)

    Thank goodness we have each other it really is such a comfort

  4. I too had a similar conversation this week about how a family needs to be at complete breaking point before anyone will lift a finger, maybe. The supposed support is often to little to late or constantly trying to shake you off by telling you “you’re doing fine, know what you’re doing”. CAMHS have been trying to get rid of me for ages, I’m hanging on. You’ve yet again put into words what so many of us feel. You sound worn down, sending you a big hug. xx

    Thanks for linking up with The Weekly Adoption Shout Out. xx

  5. I have to say, being the new kid on the block, I am dreading fighting for everything – and yet it has started already – and it is frustrating and you can easily feel let down and isolated – and within it all i have fought valiantly for support for families over the years through work and felt alone and been told by other professionals that they wont take familes on…. aaarrgggh – so, I wait with bated breath – to see what support/letdown/frustrations/rejections/headway awaits…. am so glad to have a support network here. I need you guys.

  6. That’s exactly it! Why oh why do we have to fight so hard to get support from the services put in place to help our children. Being an adoptive parent is a continuous battle with a never ending line of family, friends, strangers and professionals who seem to want to do nothing more than judge us.
    Well written, thank you for saying what we’ve all been thinking :)

  7. Over here, so far, we have had ok support and I know what is available to us (benefit #201 of working within the system) down the road if and when we need it. But that doesn’t mean that we won’t have to fight for it I’m afraid. It’s so disappointing to hear that what should be available to you is not. I hope you eventually find somebody with the power to help but who also understands, it’s what you should have had in the first place. Thinking about you:)

  8. You’ve written a much more eloquent post than I could on frustrations that I’ve also felt this week after a torturous meeting and a bit of a dead end.
    But it’s not just about how difficult it is to get to a so-called supportive professional. It’s whether they’re qualified, trained, helpful, understanding, empathic, when we get to them. So often we fight for an age to end up with someone useless which is even more demoralising.
    Hang in there, we’re all behind you xx

    And thanks for linking up with the Weekly Adoption Shout Out x

  9. Oh thank you. Someone else that understands. The look. That look. I’ve seen it so many times now and thought I’d become hardened to it. But no. I’ve just left my very upset beautiful daughter at school crying again. Trying to explain to her well-meaning key worker what is happening I got “the look”. She then started telling me about a social speaking group she can put her in like that’s going to “fix”her. Grrrr.

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