Thanks for the attempts to DM me, chestnutttree
Update: We’ve calculated properly and we can’t be 100% sure of the exact amount but we know she’s stolen at least £250 over a period of about a month. What I find most heart breaking was that she had so many opportunities to stop. This was SO pre-meditated. I remember now all those mornings where she was reluctant to eat much for breakfast, didn’t want to take water to school and said she’s 'prefer to use the fountain in school', and struggled to eat her dinner in the evening. I feel like such an idiot. She’s been dipping in and out of the drawer so many times, grabbing about £40 at a time. DH is being a rock here and rightly says we have to not react emotionally, but I’m finding it so difficult. I didn’t go to work yesterday and stayed home and cried for most of the morning. I guess we just have to change the way we function as a household and not leave temptation in the way again.
So – what have we done.
1) We’ve explained to her that what she did was illegal and a criminal offence. We are not going to the police this time (although we did suggest we might when she was clearly still only telling half the truth). We’ve told her that if we ever find out she has done anything like this again then we will take her directly to the police station.
2) We’ve taken her to the shop and made her show me all the things she had been buying.
3) We’ve suspended her pocket money and her after school club (which also costs us money) until she has paid pack the money.
4) She can keep her laptop, which she uses for homework, but we’ve taken away her phone and tv until she’s paid pack the money.
5) We’ve taken away her front door key and we're not going to leave her in the house by herself until she’s paid back the money (she was starting to have a lot of independence and used to be at home alone for an hour or so once or twice a week).
6) We’ve contacted the adoption support team so we can try and get a claim in to the post adoption support fund for her to have some, what we feel is now long overdue, therapy. This is so closely tied up to her obsession with food - it raises so many alarm bells for the future.
7) We really need to teach her about the value of money and some budgeting skills. The things she was buying was absurd and so extravagant - several halves of a meal deal, 2 or 3 slightly different drinks when it could have been buy one get one free if she'd bought slightly more similar ones.
8) We’re going on holiday in less than 3 weeks, where we can hopefully spend some quality time together trying to rebuild as a family. At the moment we're still very cross and upset (although we have been keeping remarkably calm). Right now she feels awful and hates herself, but we know that's a recipe for more damage. We've got to pull the family out of this horrible atmosphere, whilst also being mindful not to just sweep the whole thing under the carpet as though it didn't matter.
Eugh - what a week....