School Drama

We’re one month into school and the proverbial ish has hit the fan.  The grades are nosediving.

They are falling for lots of reasons. There is a lot of work, and the work is hard. Did I mention that there is a lot of it? Hope hasn’t asked to use her much needed accommodations, and high schoolers have to ask as a part of being trained to be self-reliant. The problem is that the reason she has accommodations makes her have problems remembering to ask to avail herself of said accommodations.

I’ve reached out to each of the teachers. They seem nice enough.

And now, I’m struggling to figure out what my role here is, what is this mama bear to do?

I am Hope’s advocate.

But there is a clear expectation that Hope begins to advocate for herself.

There’s also a need for her to accept her responsibilities, since her recitation of academic concerns are all externally triggered.

I am guessing it’s going to be a long time before we turn this corner, and then I have no idea what’s on the other side of it.

I encourage her. I take her to tutoring. I make sure that I’m *that* parent who visits the school, reaches out to the teachers, and makes sure that Hope has access to support. I ask about homework. I check the school sites for assignments and grades.

I think I am doing everything I can.

It’s hard to watch the slide; I think we both feel helpless.

There are some things that Hope can do, but the motivation isn’t there.

There’s a lot of emotion, and I fear a lot more on the horizon.

I’m not sure what the next move is to help her, to at least help her help herself.

I am afraid for her. I want so much for her.

It’s moments like these that I really get a sense of what must go on in her head…the sense that she’s just always trudging uphill, that there is no end to the drama, the hard times, wondering if she will ever be conventionally successful?

There’s such a mixture of defiance and fear, defensiveness and anxiety, and hurt, just lots of hurt.

I wish I could make it better.

I’m doing everything I can; we’re at a place where her success is dependent on her active self-advocacy.

I wish she was able to step up. I pray that she will be able to step up soon, but I’m trying to brace myself for her inability to do that yet.

And it feels terrible.

The only thing worse is fearing that she thinks I think less of her because she is having a hard time.  I’m trying to be reassuring, to not apply too much pressure, to encourage her. But I fear that all of that is being interpreted as thinking she’s less than. I am heartbroken by the fact that it took me so long to understand her struggles. I fear the damage that I caused in all those months of not understanding.

I’m not self-loathing and I can forgive myself, but none of that makes up for the time loss in building Hope’s trust in me.

I can only keep doing what I’m doing.



About AdoptiveBlackMom

I'm a single Black professional woman living in the DC area. I adopted my now adult daughter in 2014, and this blog chronicles my journey. Feel free to contact me at, on Facebook at Adoptive Black Mom, and on Twitter @adoptiveblkmom. ©, 2013-2022. All rights reserved. (Don't copy my ish without credit!) View all posts by AdoptiveBlackMom

9 responses to “School Drama

  • NickyB.

    Praying with you. 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽

  • AdoptiveNYMomma

    Hey ABM cut yourself lots of slack. I was a mess when M1 decided to tank it with her grades last year because I KNEW she could do it but chose not to. I fretted and yelled and ranted and raged..nope no success why she wanted to do it. You are doing what you need to but sometimes even when you want it you cannot make it so. Cut yourself some slack and hang tight as she learns what she needs to on her own terms.

  • Susan

    I was reading something about co-housing the other day and I thought of you. Then I thought – I haven’t read her blog in a long time. I checked my thing and it says that i’m following your thing but then I looked at your blog and it says I’m not following – so now I am. I read back a few posts and I know in the midst of all the chaos its hard to think things are normal – but take all the words that have anything to do with ‘adoption’ out of your writing and you sound a lot like a single mom blogging about parenting. Maybe more about just being a single mom than about adoption. Which is why I thought of you when I was reading about co-housing.

    • AdoptiveBlackMom

      Good point. I do think that we are closer and closer to “normal” whatever that is. And even then, it is normal through the lens of single mom. Thanks for reflecting that back to me. I needed that.

      • Susan

        Your’re welcome. Kids are just hard. I have a kiddo with me now whose grades slipped very far and she just couldn’t understand why she needed to do homework. She even called and reported me to her social worker because I was having a fit about her bad grades and was expecting her to STUDY EVERY DAY! even if she didn’t have homework. Why should she study if she JUST DID HOMEWORK LAST WEEK??? (literally that is what she asked her social worker) for goodness sakes??? Then I have a bio kid with a D in Spanish for the 4th week in a row and I just checked her grades today and she received a 3/30 on her Spanish vocab quiz. I know she knows more than 3 words of that vocab because i am up with her every single stinking night until at least 10 doing homework (that isn’t mine). I think my blood pressure is going to just start shooting through the pores of my skin. Yay!

        • AdoptiveBlackMom

          I feel your pain. I’ve just gotten to the point that I copy Hope on the emails between me and her teacher. I communicate what she has told me and they share their perspective. It has helped cut down on the BS that she occasionally shovels. She’s really a good kid, and I know that school is hard for her. It’s just that things that are hard on her and also hard on me.

        • Susan

          🙂 I am sitting in my office laughing. It has come to a point that I love my work office so much I could just sit in here with the door closed until they knock it down and drag me to the looney bin – but only 15 more minutes of lunch and crazy fantasy. Thanks, as always, for sharing.

  • Ashley

    I am living this too – lot’s of UGH! moments. My son also struggles with asking for help, even from adults he trusts and has developed a close relationship with. I’ve talked to him about it until I’m blue in the face. I was *that* mom who just met with the IEP director and guidance counselor to ask what the plan was for my son to graduate high school. Technically, he is in 9th grade because he didn’t earn enough credits to be considered a 10th grader. Technically, by his age, he should be in 11th grade. I even asked what can be done without him asking for help because I’m about to go bald pulling my hair out to get this kid to seek help, to ask questions and keep asking until he gets and answer he understands. See, UGH! moments. I was also beating myself up about it – I should be DOING more, there must be something I’m not doing, maybe I’m too distracted by the little ones or work or trying to get the house clean (a losing battle!). I felt better after meeting with the school because I came to realize I am doing all I can – asking him about school, checking his work/grades on the online network, meeting with the school, contacting teachers, going to conferences, being available to him – and he needs to do his part because it is HIS education, not mine. But, it is SUCH a hard thing to not step in and “fix” things, but such a valuable lesson for him. I suppose it is a valuable lesson for me too.

    Anyway, I rambled on and on, just to say I TOTALLY understand where you are at with Hope right now. In reading your blog, we seem like such kindred spirits at times! I wish you and Hope all the best as you keep pushing forward in her educational endeavor!

    Hugs – Ashley~

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