Thursday, 3 December 2015

Care Kids and friendship groups

Just a girl I used to know - part 2 (I broke contact)

On a handful of occasions Ella and I had to make the hard decision to expel somebody from our lives. The most memorable of these was Straightlaced who wanted to share and receive far too much personal information far too soon after becoming our friend. She was supposed to a girl but I was always rather suspicious that she was actually a he and that her/his entire life story, based around living in fear of abusive and aggressive foster parents, was a total fantasy. She/he had two sock puppets - who posted from the same IP address!! - both of whom would effusively vouch for her/him. It is fair to say that Straightlaced didn’t accept my decision calmly and she/he wrote a long moaning email to me – which I ignored. 

The Lara G situation was more complicated and I am not entirely sure that Ella and I handled it correctly.  She had been writing a fostering themed blog that we had enjoyed reading. Real life then got in the way and she removed it telling the world that she was hoping to restart it, "…. maybe when I finish my PhD in 3-4 years", but as we all know 3-4 years is a very long time. We felt at that time that Lara was a very positive role model and that it would be a real shame if she vanished from the "former children in care" scene.  

Then things went wrong. Lara hadn’t given us the slightest indication of unhappiness when we were in contact in late 2012. So it came as a nasty surprise when we discovered that for several months prior to mid-2013 some very nasty material she had written about Ella and I was freely available on her website. Ella and I would have loved to have held her up as an example of what a foster child can achieve but nobody who acted like she did deserved our respect or support! 

Looking back Lara’s “lows” as a foster child were uncharacteristically, some might say implausibly, low while her “highs” were almost unprecedentedly high. The overall effect was to induce some major scepticism in several of our friendship group. Quite recently I did have a quick look to see if she was still around and rather to my surprise she was. So perhaps there was more truth to her life-story than I originally thought? 

Finally there was Denise. She and I lived 3 doors apart for 2 of the 3 years I was at university. We did some modules together so I got to know her quite well. Denise was very needy - there was always some crisis in her life that she expected her friends to help her sort out. These were never financial but were usually administrative or emotional. The problem with Denise was she was far more willing to accept help or seek help than to offer help and it was that reason that I went to considerable trouble to avoid working with her in group science projects. I had a premonition that she would expect the rest of the team to do the work: then she would free-load off them. From what I heard that was exactly what happened. We parted company at the end of the 3rd year - we had a cup of coffee in the canteen while we said all the meaningless things people say at the end of a long journey, then she walked away promising to keep in touch. She didn't and so I never got round to chasing her up.

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