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“Why has my sister changed so much?” 16/08/2010

Posted by Sir Ralph in How it went on.
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How amazing it is that people change fast when changing the environment they live in. This has obviously happened to Susan, and Jeannett is appalled.

It was the day when Jeannett had decided she wanted to come and visit Susan with me in the emergency group. Susann hugged her sister for hello. As the day was fine, we proposed to have ice cream at a nearby ice cream parlour. Susan refused, however. She rather wanted to show Jeannett her new place where she had been living now for three weeks. Jeannett took a good look around the room, judging everything neatly.

“You have started shaving your legs?” she asked in an intriguing manner.

“Yes, indeed! I also make up my face.” Susan gave back in the same way. She seemed nervous and restless. She used dirty language and chewing bubble gum all the time – which was completely against her behaviour when she stayed with us. Finally she disappeared without saying good bye, a big distress for Jeannett.

Susan now seems to be regressing into behavioural patterns which she has acquired before she came to stay with us, and the cause seems to be that she is under the influence of the other youngsters in the housing group. We think it would be best for her to get out of there and start a therapy. But this might take a long time.

For the first time, my wife Ruth and I feel that we have lost influence on what is happening to Susan, and we know there is no way back.

The Birthday 22/11/2009

Posted by Sir Ralph in How it went on.
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After the supervision ruth and I set off to the emergency unit. It is Susan´s birthday, and we had promised her to visit her. Janet stayed at home with our individual case adviser, a person who is especially assigned by the youth welfare office to help children and their families to cope with different problems in education, at schools and with authorities. Janet would not be able to manage the situation of meeting her sister, as she had to cope with her own problems.

Susan showed some appreciation of the presents we brought for her: some new pieces of clothing and a portable radio-cd-player. She had already attended us and welcomed us cordially. We were spending about twenty minutes in her room which she was sharing with another girl. Still, she was not willing to leave the unit with us, although the wardens would have allowed us to do so. She seemed to feel protected in some way in the emergency group. After all, maybe she felt just embarrassed by the situation and guilty, although we did everything not to give her any reason for that. Everybody tried not to talk about any critical topics, so you could really call it small talk. How are you doing, have you made any new friends, what about school. What else could we have mentioned without hurting. Susan did not show any signs of distress due to the fact that Janet did not accompany us. We only mentioned that she is not well.

Susan told us that her room mate had visits by boys and smoked in her room; something which really irritaed us. Asthma had been diagnosed with her since the very day when we took custody of the girls. The warden had noticed what was going on and put an end to it.

The social worker in charge for Susan told us that Susan had been beaten by a class mate. Otherwise she was calm and adapted well to the group.

On the way home we tried to explain the situation to each other. What we had not wished for had now taken place. Susan was now in the company of youngsters who had been taken into custody for different reasons, and were spending sometimes only a few days in the emergency unit. Was anything going wrong at her school? Was she well? What did she feel and think about? For the first time, we noticed that we were not responsible any more and didn´t have any influence. Back home, I would have contacted her school immediately and would have put everything right. We were out of power now and not any more part of her development. We were happy that her social worker in charge was reacting very professional, as well as sensitive, also in relation to ourselves.

What stayed was a vague feeling and the certainty of not being able and not being allowed to do the best for Susan.