The building blocks of every school are made of more than bricks and mortar. Their high walls are made strong by the stark white building block institutions of policy, protocol, tradition, the three R’s, discipline, order, and consistency; cemented by staff experience.
I feel small writing this, staring up at that ivory tower that overlooks our invisible domain of adoption and FASD.
So I lay siege to their walls, chip chip chipping away with new research and guidance and diagnosis for insight; scratching at the deep foundations and pushing hard against their mighty pillars for some sign of recognition or give; beseeching them for the help and understanding we so desperately need. Painstakingly trying to tear down their simplistic but impenetrable algorithms that sort all behaviour into either ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
Slowly, slowly I breakthrough. In every meeting, it starts with a distant rumble until sure enough – one by one – the bricks start to shake and fall until those walls of stone come falling down toppled by an undeniable truth. With a flash of understanding I can see my words penetrate their solid beliefs and replace them with compassion.
But somewhere between each meeting room and the classroom, my spell is broken. With every step along those hallowed corridors, every fallen brick moves effortlessly back to its place in the wall and piece by piece the insight and the empathy is blocked out once again. As the teacher reaches the blackboard, the establishment is restored once again.
I appreciate their time and their ears, I really do. But it is not listening we need; its doing. It is not me that needs their attention, it is CHT. And it is not a meeting or a report that changes things, but action.
Because every day this continues, barriers of a different kind are going up. Cold, misshapen walls loom, and silently trap CHT ever more tightly behind each negative experience. Their punishments, their rebuffs, their knock backs, their league tables, their prejudice undermine her strength and her astonishing will to do well; replacing her goals and her braveheart determination to achieve brick by brick with a reluctance to participate, a fear of trying, and a strong resentment for the education system that is letting her down.
It chills me to my very core as I watch seemingly powerless while they crush her and let her slip through their net.
FASD and adoption are the statistical shanty towns of the school room; loco parentis does not apply here and every child does not matter.
Adoption UK Publication – Education Now
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