Holly left 2 weeks ago, one month after giving notice. Our Social Worker insisted for Holly to stay with us for another couple of months because they had a possible suitable placement with a foster to adopt family who will attend panel at the end of September.

This request came from our Social Worker, who I respect very much, and made me doubt my own judgment. It made me feel undervalued, unheard, used and disposable. I told Social Services daily how our son Ben was scared of Holly, that he had nightmares, that the stress was getting too much for him to bear. I explained how Ben felt the need to protect me from Holly, how he was getting constantly hit by her and how destructive their relationship was. I used the word trauma over and over again. Regardless, Social Workers asked for more time, another 60 days of Holly living with us. They told me they were thinking about what was best for the child, but I had to doubt that because, clearly, the proposed arrangement favoured neither Holly nor Ben.

I realised that giving notice wasn’t enough, and I had no other option other than serving social services with a deadline. I gave five days for Holly to be rehomed, but my Social Worker bargained on that as well and it took a whole week to find a new placement.

The weekend before Holly left was one of the worst weekends of my life. It felt like 48 hours of constant aggression, screams, violence, meltdowns, anger, refusal, hate… Holly took it on me, on Ben, on my husband Diego, on strangers and kids. No one was spared.

Then Monday arrived, and Ben and I went to another foster home to drop Holly off. This time we didn’t even say our goodbyes. Ben didn’t want to hug her, or even get close to her. He climbed on my lap and whispered to me “Mum I’m scared of getting close to her”. I couldn’t blame him, and wouldn’t force him, so I just nodded and told him not to worry.

I kneeled down on the floor to talk to Holly. One more time, I explained to her “Holly, soon Ben and I will leave and you’ll stay here with Hannah. She has prepared a wonderful bedroom for you, with yellow flowers on the wall. Hannah told me she will cook pizza for lunch, your favourite” but Holly didn’t say anything, she didn’t even lift her head to look at me. She just kept pushing a plastic car back and forth on the laminate floor. Then, after the longest silence, she looked at me and told me to go away.

I wish it was one of the phrases kids tell us when angry or afraid, one of these phrases that actually mean the opposite of what they say, but it wasn’t. Holly just didn’t want us there with her. We were just a bitter reminder of all that happened to her.

And so we left. While leaving the room, I glanced back, just to see Holly completely oblivious of Ben and I leaving the room, leaving the house, leaving her life. When we reached the front door, I heard her softly asking: “Can I see my bedroom please Hannah”. I closed the front door behind me and Ben looked at me and sweetly confessed, “I will miss Holly, but just a small little bit, not very much”.

I spoke with Hannah a couple of times since Holly moved with her. I was genuinely pleased to hear how good Holly had settled in. She is happy, calm, relaxed. There is no sign of anger. No violence, no meltdowns, no defiance. Just a hurt girl learning to live again, in a place where she feels finally safe and loved.

In the meantime, my family and I are still trying to pick up all the pieces and return to a normal life. We carry with us the wounds Holly inadvertently inflicted in our hearts, and starting again is proving difficult.

Ben is challenging all the boundaries, even the ones we settled long ago. He’s emotionally dependant on us, he tells us constantly how much he loves us, and he needs to hear it back. He craves attentions, and kisses, and playtime together. His sleep is steadily improving, and the nightmares are getting more sporadic. He talks about Holly at times, in a bitter-sweet way, almost unsure of how he’s supposed to feel about her.

Diego hasn’t said much after Holly left. I think he feels relieved of having his family back, in a relaxed environment where he can enjoy spending time with us. If I know him well enough, he also feels guilty, but he might not even know what for. I bet he’s going through the last 7 months spent with Holly, over and over again in his head, trying to understand where we went wrong, what we could have done differently, and find the moment in which everything went sour.

As for myself, I’m defeated, broken, hurt. I failed to protect either kid and I cannot forgive myself for that. Sometimes I hold my son, in a hug that is almost too tight to be comfortable. I tell him how much I love him, how much joy he brings to my life, and how wonderful he is. Each squeeze it’s a silent request for forgiveness, that I hope it’s loud enough for him to hear.

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One Comment

  1. Feelingmumyet 5th August 2017 Reply

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