Monday, July 26, 2010

I Wont be Following in my Parents Footsteps....

...into the world of fostering. No way will I be doing any fostering of any sort unless things change dramatically.

It's no secret that some of my teenage years was spent with my parents in a children's home that they were running at the time. I was the big sister (or in a couple of situations the little sister). We had over 250 children come in to our homes and hearts for a little over 2 years. These kids came to us from various situations, differing reasons and in a range of different conditions.

My parents also did fostering and temcare in our home before moving to the childrens home, so opening our doors to others was really nothing all that new for us.

It was not unusual to be in this situation. We were there to help. And more often than not us being there and our help was appreciated. In a lot of cases the children didn't want to be there... we dealt with their heartbreak, their depressions, their wounds (physical or emotional) and in some cases their pure hatred. We had short term family members, and long term - an a mixture of ages from birth to 16 years of age.

No, why wouldn't I walk in my parents footsteps?

Simple. As much as I don't regret this life for me - after all it has been one of the big experiences that has educated me in the world, and the workings of society - it's also what has helped make me who I am today - both in positive and negative ways. I don't regret, but I would never ever put my children through it.

We didn't know who was going to be in our lives from one day to the next. We shared rooms with these children and welcomed them to be part of our family. We had no idea if they were going to be coming under simple relief situations or is we were the halfway house inbetween the childrens detentions centre.. or even if we were the last chance for the child before they entered the justice system. I lived half in fear of these kids that came into our homes. There were reasons most of them were with us and not their own families, usually these reasons were negative reasons and even though they didn't show much negativity to the adults in the house, to be another child around them wasn't always the safest.

What harm can a child be?? Well, probably not much on the surface... However I grew up not being able to trust. I had things stolen from my own cupboards and drawers. I couldn't have anything I held as a treasure because as soon as they knew I had a treasure it became a bargaining chip... I had to hide my emotions. We couldn't get attached to these individuals as we had no idea when they would be leaving - it hurt to grow attached, so better to be at an arms length - this has really effected me with my relationships even as an adult.

Some of the things I witnessed were so distressing - even for an adult to experience, there is no way I would want my kids to be subjected to these things!!! What, I hear you say could be so bad... seeing 6 week old babies come into the home abused and neglected, older children abused and terrified, children/teenagers self mutilating and cutting, drug abuse and attempted suicides. This all part of these peoples lives - and remember they are all aged under 16 years...

But this is all things that can be healed in time (and a lot of therapy!!!)

The one big thing that I wont allow to happen to my family is something my parents are going through now... The remnants of these children in their lives is not always positive.

This particular person who is trying to bring their lives to a standstill at the moment was a long term resident in the home. She was quite mentally unwell - having frequent visits to professionals for help. She spent a lot of her time what I would call depressed and delusional. She frequently would tell us older children how she had got hold of alcohol and hint towards other substances, and would often be off her face with overdosing on common meds and the likes...

Her behaviour in general was disturbing. She would climb all over any adults in the vicinity (she was 15 years old) and was very over the top in her presentation and advances towards men and boys and her attachment to adults in general - children she was very offhand with. She would lie all the time, and lash out physically to anyone she didn't like. There was at least 3 times she attempted suicide, I remember ambulances being called to our home and also to our school, also one time sitting on the floor in the hallway of the hospital waiting to visit her while she was being seen to by the psychologist. the floor was cold and hard on out butts - it was the typical tiled hospital floor - no match to the winter school uniforms we were wearing.

She was very pushy and over emotional, at one stage she tried to push into our family and take my parents on in the place of her own - something that was not acceptable or wanted. My parents had a lot of help with professionals on how to deal with this girl and her wants in this situation - she did not take their rebuttal with insisting that they would be her parents very well...

This girl's response to everything that my family did over a long period of time to help her was to accuse my dad of acting inappropriately over a period of time. This is what I will not subject my family to - having someone be so vengeful to make something up like this!!! The situation was dealt with all those years ago and my parents couldn't go on in the childrens home. To be putting yourself and your family out there to help and then have everything thrown back in your face like this would be breaking point for most people!

So dealt with right?? Wrong - this can be the long term legacy that some people live with taht try to help others... This person has now sought my parents out on facebook and causing merry hell there for them, also abusing myself and my siblings to boot now.... She is accusing us of now abusing her!!! We've reported and have involved the authorities and are awaiting advice on where to go now. She is so sick that she has also sent emails stating everything she has said was made up, but then she'll change again - and blame a mental condition - which is all ok, but then she'll start up another username and start all over again!

Anyways I digress... There is no way on earth that I could even contemplate putting my family through this experience. Nothing is worth the pain that my parents are now going through - nor what they experienced all those years ago. I know not all children in the foster system are like this, I know there are more positive experiences than bad... But I wont take the risk, I wont and don't think it is fair of me to gamble my family in this way knowing how it can turn out - I take my hat off to those who do foster, who are making a success at it... Maybe it was the sheer size of number that threw us under the bus, I don't know.. I know a childrens home is a far way removed from regular fostering - but I just can't take the gamble.. I've been burned and my family are still paying the price from this long term foster child...

A few years spent helping out those who needed helping, and so many scars and hurts that remain with us and follow us now through our everyday lives...

No, I will not be following in my parents footsteps.. and good luck (in all sincerity) to those who do...

Why write about this now? She's started it all over again - yes this week she started using what appears to be her pre-teen sons facebook account to lash out at my family again. I'm so frustrated that my dad has just got through a major health issue and has been fighting off cancer, mum is dealing with managing her diabetes... and this little piece of trash is trying to make their lives and our lives hell all over again!!! All we ever did was put ourselves in a position to help her, we didn't ask to have her come to our lives - she was placed with us as a long term foster, we opened our hearts, our arms and our lives...

Everytime we try to bury the memories, the hurt and get on with our lives this demon seems to rise from the dead with even more allegations, lies and twisted stories...



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