Bobby was placed with our family just before his fifth birthday. His mother had asked social services to take him as she couldn’t manage his behaviour. Bobby attended a school for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Each day he would be sent home before lunchtime as the staff found him too difficult to handle. Bobby’s mother refused to take him home so he was put up for adoption. Very soon he was matched with an adoptive family.
Bobby was introduced to the adoptive family and started to have visits with them. It was all going very well until the adoptive family went to school to meet his teacher. The teacher told the family that Bobby was going to be a juvenile delinquent, so they pulled out. Bobby was devastated. He felt that no one wanted him.
In the meantime, social services had been working with Bobby’s mum and three younger siblings. The decision was made to remove the three younger children from mum’s care. We were asked to take one of his sisters and the other two children were put in another foster placement together.
Time went on and social services started to look for a long-term foster placement where all four of the children could be placed together. Despite their best efforts no placement could be found. We felt that Bobby couldn’t take another rejection so we decide to buy a house large enough accommodate our own three children, Bobby, and his three siblings. Suddenly we went from being approved to foster one child short-term to having seven children.
Bobby was still unable to manage a full day at school so we decided to put him and his siblings in the same local school as our
children. We made an appointment to see the head teacher and explained about Bobby’s difficulties. We suggested that Sue would sit in the library at school each day and if Bobby started causing any problems in class she would take him for a walk until he calmed down. Sue would then return him to class. The head teacher agreed to give him a chance.
Sue and Bobby went on many walks in all kinds weather. Gradually over time the walks became less and less frequent. If Bobby started to misbehave Sue would walk past the class room just to remind him she was there.
Eventually Bobby began to control his own behaviour. During this time, he was also diagnosed with ADHD, severe dyslexia and post
traumatic stress disorder. He was supported by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service for many years.
Bobby remained in mainstream school and did very well. From there he went on to college and was offered a place at university where he gained a degree in IT. When Bobby left university he found himself a full-time job as an IT Consultant and he now lives independently.
Bobby and his siblings are doing well, and are all still very close to our family. It is sad to think that this lovely young man could have
been written off at the age of five if we hadn’t thought outside the box. ◆