Sunday, 26 April 2015

Who will put flowers on my grave?

One the saddest blog entries I have ever read was published just recently.

You can read it for yourself at but the most important section reads like this

"‘I don’t mind never being adopted I know it’s difficult for somebody to take a child of my age and that’s OK, the only thing that really bothers me is when I think of the future and not being in a family it upsets me to think that if I was to die there would be nobody to bring flowers to my grave."

That could have been me writing that for most of my childhood as a foster child. I was bright enough and perceptive enough to know that my future wasn't going to be like most of the children at school. I used to wonder if anybody would notice if I died or ran away. Sometimes I would see an obituary in a newspaper and think how short mine would be. "Loved by nobody, missed by nobody".

I only know three foster children who died but two haven't even got a proper memorial in the cemetery.

Nicola (my daughter was named after her) was lucky. Her final set of foster parents paid for a gravestone and Ella and I visit the cemetery a couple of times a year. But Wendy N is buried/cremated in a north London cemetery with no proper marker and "Boy Who Shall Not Be Named" was cremated near Blackpool - again with no proper marker. As far as our friendship circle is aware nobody even knows exactly where these last two graves are although I guess that the Cemetery Office staff might know.

Eve, Sunday 26th April

Friday, 24 April 2015

Billy from Play Group - the story continues

Ella here.
It was all drama yesterday at nursery!  When I arrived with Alice and Nicola I was told that a "managed move" had been agreed for Billy. "More appropriate provision has been made" was what I was told. 
I was a bit worried that other carers would blame me for causing trouble. But people were glad Billy had gone. Most of them said they had been worried for ages but they hadn’t done anything. It always makes me a bit cross when people are like this. I want to ask them, “Where were you when I was complaining three months ago?” Eve calls them band waggon-jumpers who agreed with us but were too scared to speak out until somebody else did first. I kept quiet through as I had got what I wanted!

I can remember the food stealing at the Children’s Home. Some of the older boys used to steal food off the plates of other kids. They were like a gang. Sometimes all you had left was potato and peas because all the sausages or burgers were taken. We complained but nothing happened because people were too scared. In the end Eve stopped it by “accidently” sticking her fork into a grabbing hand and making the lad cry.  
Pretty much everything we have got since we were 16 we have had to struggle for. The system doesn’t work and so being feisty is the only thing to be.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Billy from Play Group

Billy isn't his name of course but if I gave his real name, which is rather unusual, there might be readers who would recognise the main characters in this mini-drama.

Billy is a very troubled little boy. He will be 3 in the summer so he is just a bit older than Alice and Nicola. His Mother is a dentist who lives and works in the town where we live. There is a Father around but I don't know anything about him other than he exists.

Billy is very aggressive with all the other children, to the point that many of them are afraid of him. If he wants to play with a particular toy he will just grab it from whatever child already has it and if they try to resist he will hit them. In practice very few youngsters do resist his aggression so Billy has it firmly fixed in his mind that violence gets you what you want. It is the same with the slide and the sit-on toys: Billy will not take turns - he will just march up and push in at the front of the queue.

Overall we are happy with the way the nursery is run. But for ages the organisers have seemed to be intimidated by Billy and his Mum and they don't seem prepared to deal with the problem of Billy's behaviour. We don't know the other Mums, Dads, Grans and Granddads very well but we cannot imagine that any responsible adult would be happy with the Billy situation.

I think we might have to give the bosses an ultimatum - either Billy must leave or Billy must be far more closely supervised than he is at present or Alice and Nicola will be moved down the road to alternative provision. We know they have vacancies.

We are not very experienced at this parenting lark so if any reader can offer words of advice it would be much appreciated!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Chocolate in the Children's Home!

When Ella and I started living in a Children's Home we both found sharing very hard to do. Ella had often been "fined" meals by her abusive Birth Father and mealtimes had often been a flash point for violence and abuse. Anything to do with sharing food or giving up control of food was enormously difficult for her.

With me the whole idea of sharing was difficult - when I was in foster care I was expected to share the little I had with other children who had so much. It seemed so unfair to me that I had to share the only dolly I had with a person who already had dozens! I also used to hide food in my room so that I wouldn't have to share it.

When Ella and I started sharing a room with quickly started to share things - except for the chocolate and the biscuits. What was hers and what was mine in the world of chocolate was kept strictly separate!

One Saturday - quite soon after we earned the right to go shopping unsupervised - Ella saw a giant sized bar of chocolate on sale. It was too expensive for either of us to buy on our own so she suggested buying it between us. I can remember just like it was yesterday hiding it in our room so that it wouldn't get stolen by the lads or "redistributed" by the staff.

Our room used to get searched for contraband quite regularly. Contraband was a sort of catch-all phrase covering anything from food through to, I suppose, to class A drugs. Staff and lads in general were spectacularly bad at searches. Anything we wanted to the hide from accidental discovery went in our knickers drawer which the male manager and/or the lady assistant manager would just look in rather than rummage through. Sometimes we would feign indignation at him touching our underwear just to unsettle him!

Anything important like chocolate went in the box of "female hygiene products" which we left open and in full view. Nobody ever looked there properly. Certainly it was never emptied out and Abdul the manager never seemed to notice it. 
Ah, happy days!
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