Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The November 2013 newsletter

This newsletter is going to be rather shorter than long-time readers will be used to. Ella and I wanted to get the blog launched around November 9/10 so everything has been rather rushed.

In the last ever email edition of the newsletter (nostalgic sigh) I mentioned that I had heard from OldKentRoad. Well she is safe and well and has been living with us for the last few weeks. What happened to her should be a lesson to us all. She was lonely and the overtures of friendship from two girls she vaguely knew from the local college seemed too good to pass by. For a while it all went well but gradually their agenda became clear. They were members of a religious "community" who financed their chosen lifestyle choices by "extracting" money from unsuspecting people like OldKentRoad. By isolating her from more main-stream people - basically by bad mouthing all her former friends non-stop for week after week - they were able to overcome her common sense and she handed over lots of money to them. Eventually, once her bank balance had got down to almost zero they, predictably, lost all interest in her and "allowed her to leave" the community.

The good news is when she got in touch with us we were able to help her. Two car loads of us went up to Coventry. We visited the community and manage to get nearly all her money back - it is amazing what a mention of the police can achieve in combination with several very large and very angry lads! We think that overall she is now only about £350.00 down. Plus I suppose she has lost the rented flat she had and her part-time job. But she is safe, well and happy and that is the main thing!

Ella's job will finish at Christmas and that feels like the end of an era in some ways. I think if the Big Boss Lady could have hung on just a while longer the current upturn in the economy might have meant that shedding staff wasn't needed. I guess we will never know. I'm making preliminary moves towards starting a PGCE in September 2014, so watch this space.

Nicola and Alice are well. I don't think of them as babies anymore of course. They are little girls now and will break some hearts one day. They are both walking well and are a pleasure, most of the time, to have around. Childcare provision is so expensive that Ella stopping work (and so being able to look after both of them full time) hardly makes any difference to the finances of the six of us. And that is just stupid!

There is a puzzle that I hope you can help with. The number of people on our contact list isn't the same as the number of names we have just published as transferring to our blog. There must be people who used to receive the emailed version whose name doesn't appear. Please check and get back to me.

Didi wrote this very recently and I think it is worth repeating - "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.."
If you want to have a good cry watch this foster care documentary! By the time foster child, Lydia Joyner, was 18 years old, she had lived in 35 different homes, had 18 social workers, and had her name changed 4 times. In this emotional episode of Epiphany, Lydia, now an adult, opens up about her traumatic experience navigating the foster care system.

It is hard to know what to say about http://familiesat.forumhope.com/forum  except to say that activity levels continue to decline and that the re-launch didn't seem to achieved much. It is a shame because the two people in charge (Honey and Pixxie) were very friendly and supportive towards Ella and I for the whole time (3 years) we posted to their group.
Hello and welcome to some new members:
OldTimer - a foster child from many years ago and a guest blogger here.
BirdWatcher - a former foster child currently living in Wem in Shropshire.
CallMeSam - a Children's Home survivor who lives in Barry in south Wales.
Pakman and DonkeyKong - who are the two fostered girls mentioned in Didi's message!

Love to everybody

Eve and Ella XXX


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