Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Didi - a guest blogger. Part 3

The extended Blackpool course was excellent but astonishingly hard work so I will have to have a bit of a rest when I go back to work tomorrow. I took the opportunity to visit lots of old friends (many fostered or adopted) so the days and the evenings were very, very full!

One thing I thought I might share is that not one of the former foster children feels that they have the slightest chance of ever owning a home. And I think this is so sad! The reason isn't hard to find. Basically no "Bank of Mum and Dad" to help out with the deposit combined with the perpetual problem of foster kids timing out of care at a crucial time in their education. But the good news is that many/most of the people I ate/drank/partied with are in happy and long-term relationships and there isn't nearly as much loneliness as you might expect.

Ella is being made redundant in January. The Big Boss Lady is trying to save money and so is going to try to manage without a PA. Ella is going to look after Alice and Nicola so the vast sums that were previously were needed for childcare will not be needed so the financial impact isn't too serious. I spoke to her this week and she is being as sensible as always about what has happened. Eve's job seems secure-ish.

Curiously I seem to have emerged undamaged from the trauma at the hotel. I seemed to have backed the correct side but also, to quote the report, "remained professional and client-centred throughout". And this is due to Magda and my foster parents who listened patiently to my rants about the former manager!!

Didi (06.10.13)

The new hotel manager started work this week and thanks to her proverbial new broom the changes have been coming thick and fast. She communicates with the staff so even if we don't agree with all she is doing at least we know why she is doing it. Just for starters I have been paid the wrong salary for 9 months. Once my probationary period as Assistant Manager was over I should have received a salary boost - well I didn't but now all the back pay should be included in my October salary. Lovely!

On the other hand my foster parents didn't qualify for the discount when staying at the hotel that would have applied had they been my biological parents. The new manager wouldn't say what rate would apply if I had been fostered! My foster parents were visiting old friends who live at Weston-Super-Mud as the locals call it.

I have had a lovely exchange of emails with the subscriber "Old Timer" who belongs to this group. A grown-up foster child is something that hasn't formed part of my support network until now but has proved useful to both of us. He seems to feel many of the emotions that we "youngsters" also feel but being older has far more "coping strategies" than we have. You can tell he is a Londoner as he knows quite a lot about where I was raised in the bad old days before I was rescued.

Memo to self - I must stop using social worker speak "support network" and "coping strategies" make me sound deranged!

Eve and Ella and their families are fine.

Didi (18.10.13)

This is the first Monday I have off in ages. The disaster that was supposed to be a storm didn't happen around here. It never got more than breezy and the rain never got heavy so it looks as if the Weather People got it wrong again!

Yesterday I was with Eve and Ella and we three girls had a interesting/worrying/surprising morning out and about while Chris and Mark looked after the babies. Curiously we three girls went to watch a football game in the park. But not any old football game and not any old park. For years the current and former residents of the Children's Home have been meeting up for a game of football in the local park and we thought we would check out "the action". It was quite intimidating walking across to the group of about twenty (14 to 18 year olds) who were radiating alienation and aggression. There was a slight thawing of the tension when we explained who we were but the lads (perhaps 12 of the 20) didn't want to talk and basically ignored us throughout.

The girls were a mixture of Children's Home and fostered kids. Real hard cases (except for a couple) and on average much more confrontational than Eve, Ella and I had ever been at their age. Totally non-engaged with main stream society. They didn't appear to value education or employment and had nil interest in any support mechanisms outside their close friends. We didn't even bother suggesting that they subscribe to the monthly newsletter that Eve and Ella write - to be brutal I don't think any of us wanted them as part of our group.

We didn't stay long because we didn't feel welcome or even particularly safe so after about 30 minutes we wondered off. We went to the local café and after a few minutes two of the girls (16? years old) from the park came in. They were both in foster care. On their own they were quite civilised - but it was so sad talking to them. Friendless, ambitionless and almost moneyless they hang around with low life (their own words) because they have "nowhere else to go"! I'm shocked at how any child in what is supposed to be a civilised society can be reduced to the sadness that these two were feeling..

Didi (28.11.13)

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