The Day My Kids Turned to Heroin

I’m not much of a drinker, but tonight is an exception.

Tomorrow is the first day of school. In celebration and terror, I’m relaxing the rules. It’s a no-holds-barred alcohol fest, a night to imbibe with freedom. Which means have I managed to drink all of my bottle of hard cider.

I was doing well.

Every year, we’ve had a far better First Day of School than the FDoS before.

What could possibly go wrong?

Our first year, the kids hadn’t been with us for 24 hours, but social services demanded that we register them for school immediately. They cried and clung to us, strangers though we were. The first day foreshadowed times to come.

That year, the bus driver suspended our boy multiple times and I was in the principal’s office at least three times a week.

He punched a girl in the face for laughing at him. Flat out decked her. Never mind that she was twice his size, the class bully and both the teacher and her father said she deserved it. (And no, we’ve never shared that with him.)

The social worker refused to believe that he needed a behavioral aide, so most of the time I spent at least half a day in his classroom, coercing him to join whatever the kindergarten group was doing. Or to refrain from punching anyone.

Our girl hid under her desk or in a corner of the playground at least once a week, scrubbing her hands through her hair until she looked like the kid from The Grudge. If anyone approached to ask why, she said, “I’m being adopted.”

The school counselor called, asking if maybe I could help the child with her hair instead of allowing her to simply roll out of bed.

I explained that the girl left our house every morning with hair in two braids adorned with cute bows. Somewhere between our house and school, the braids came out. By the time she arrived home, her brown tresses were whipped into a bird’s nest frenzy. That weekend was the end of my patience. We got her a haircut. She still rocks a pixie.

Year two was still pretty rough, with an average of two principal visits per week. Year three, we received permission for the kids to attend a different school (closer to our home). The Special Education team is PHENOMENAL.

I made sure the kids each had an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) in place before the end of their first year with us. Getting help at the old school was difficult. The idiom “it was like pulling teeth” comes to mind. I wanted to pull THEIR teeth. And hair.

At the new school, everyone involved with our kids is committed to their future and to their learning. It’s almost unbelievable after what we went through at the other school. The assistant principal is adopted. Although he never went through the tough things our kids experienced, he used his background to connect with the kids in a way no other school official had.

Year three, we maintained one principal visit per week. Year four, I saw the assistant principal while volunteering. “Hey, I miss talking to you. But I’m glad I never see you,” he grinned. We didn’t have one principal visit all year. ALL YEAR.

So, for the most part, I’ve been looking forward to this year. The kids seem less tense and actually look forward to going back to school.

I even got all the school shopping finished in one day (granted, I had to drag the kids to three different stores to find the supplies on the list the school provided). But…I did it! I joined the throngs of other moms-with-lists, fought through crowds, persevered and won.

Tonight (yes, I should have done it earlier, but I like to procrastinate), I labeled all the items with their initials, packed their book bags and stood back to admire my handiwork. I checked the list twice more, to be sure. Yes, I got every single item on the third grade list. Didn’t forget a thing.

Except. The third grade list.

My kids are going into the FOURTH grade.

I stood, frozen, staring at the list of school supplies. It had to be a mistake. Had to.


The list of supplies needed are different for each grade. I’d purchased the wrong items.

I mouthed “I give up” (the kids were already in bed, so howling would have been a problem) and stalked outside. I also thought some bad words, but didn’t say them. I try to save expletives for true emergencies.

I found Hubby in his garage, sanding the hood of a vehicle.

“Well, at least you figured it out before they went to school. I’m sure the teacher will embarrass them.  And hey, we’ll probably be able to track their late-teen drug problem back to this day. We’ll call it, The Day Our Kids Turned to Heroin.”

He was joking, of course. Just a little reminder that the big picture still looks okay.

So, just in case you feel like all the other parents have their lives completely together, know you’re not alone. (Most of them probably just think you are a super-parent and are afraid to be honest about their flaws.)

And tomorrow, I’ll be back-to back-to-school shopping. On the bright side, since school has already started, maybe there will be a sale on wide-rule paper.

(Update: Next year, I should buy all the supplies the day AFTER school starts. Everything was half price!)


About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'm determined to give my kids the chance they deserve. Adoption isn't always easy. I promise, you're not alone in this. Join me at - we're in this together.

Posted on September 7, 2015, in Adoption, Blogging101, Writing101 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. The thing that I have learned about school. Is that it gets harder each time I have to repeat a grade. I made it though my own graduation without having to repeat anything although a couple of years I was proficiency advanced because my teachers didn’t want to deal with me again.

    Years later, I got married and since my wife was a good student I thought I was prepared when it was my daughter’s turn at school. The Kindergarten teacher had to teach all 3 of us. Four years later, she had to re-educate us again when my son started school.

    Nothing has changed since and it seems like a new experience all over again.

    I keep reminding my wife that the only difference between my son and I is that I didn’t have a army of eyes watching me. If I had been watched as much as him, my mom would have been in the principals office more than you have been. Keep smiling.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, Casey, how I have missed you! You have a terrible experience and yet share it with humour and grace! As I read I laughed, groaned, sighed, slapped my hand over my mouth and said, “Oh, no!” and smiled. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry, Casey, being in the UK, I don’t get the significance of going into fourth grade – does something different happen there? Just sounds as if you did everything right to me.
    My son’s just started ‘big’ school (when you’re 11, you move from your old, Primary school to a new, Secondary school) and he’d kill me for calling it ‘big’ school! It’s a huge shift – a school three times the size of his old one, being the youngest in the school after being the oldest. My ‘litle lad’ no longer 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the note– I went back and clarified; let me know if it makes more sense now. Thanks for the international perspective; sometimes I forget we don’t all use the same language! 😉
      Congrats to your guy on”big school!” That’s a tough transition. We have something similar here, but our girl is a bit behind so has two more years in primary.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I get you now – thank you. May have been me being a little slow – always a possibility! I hope their first day went smoothly – going back after the holidays is always a bit of a culture shock for everyone. Parents included 🙂
        Thanks for the good wishes – my chap seems to be settling in a bit now, after some timetable problems and much confusion. A happy start is all we can hope for – it may well all go downhill from here!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Actually, after reading it a couple times I realized it wasn’t very clear in general. I appreciate your input; without it, I wouldn’t have read it for a few days. (I wait a while because then errors usually are easier to see.)
          So far, they’ve had pretty good days! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, I’m glad to hear that. After a few jittery days, my boy is much happier. Now I just have to come to terms with him being a quasi-teenager …

            Liked by 1 person

            • Yes, I think the hormones are complicating matters on our end as well…sort of like the yellow minion turning purple (have you seen Despicable Me 2? If not, it’s a definite watch).

              Liked by 1 person

              • Ah, we rather love the Despicable Me films and my son certainly loves a minion. Yes, it all boils up inside and spills over into frustration and anger. Poor things.I remember that feeling very clearly – pure, red hot fury I’ve rarely experienced since. To say adolescents are hormonal pressure cookers is a huge understatement!

                Liked by 1 person

                • Counselor: “It takes about twice the time of the trauma for a child to recover. Since she was 5 at removal you’re looking at about 10 years. So…right about the middle of adolescence. (Pause) Right. Good luck with that.”

                  🙂 sometimes they know JUST what to say…

                  Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, so I used your blog in my blog post without asking. I like to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. It’s a lifelong flaw. If it’s a problem for any reason, please let me know. 🙂

      Do me a favor and drop me a link to one of your latest and greatest on that post. I’m hoping it will be a good networking opportunity for bloggers. I’ll definitely read it, and hopefully others will as well.

      Liked by 1 person

    • *I may have already asked you to post a link but couldn’t remember…


  4. You gave it you’re all, excited by the progress they have made. They’ll forgive you unless bullied or called out by teacher. That would never happen to two help behaved fourth graders.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The assumption that they’re well-behaved is the downfall to this equation, ha ha. 😉 It all turned out okay–the teachers were very understanding.

      I’m not getting the notification showing I answered you, so I’m sorry if this is a second reply.

      Do me a favor and drop me a link to one of your latest and greatest on the post I just put up. I’m hoping it will be a good networking opportunity for bloggers. I’ll definitely read it, and hopefully others will as well.

      Liked by 1 person

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