Monthly Archives: April 2014

Wanted: A Family of My Own

This is the title of a TV programme I just watched. I recorded it on Thursday the 24th of April, on ITV and it was presented by Nicky Campbell.

 

The programme is showing us the adoption system works in the UK. Nicky Campbell is a man who went through this system as a child and was adopted from a very young age. I hoped for a great piece on the way this system works now and I did get that.

 

However there were some items that had me screaming at the TV.

At the beginning of the show you are shown a room full with display boards and lots of adults milling around searching said boards. On each board were several biographies of the children who were looking for adoptive parents. I was so glad to see the children themselves were not in the room. However it still looked a bit like a cattle market as prospective adoptive parents went round deciding which child or children they were interested in.

Then we were shown two cases.

1) A couple trying to adopt a child.

One of the first things we see the couple doing is going through a tick list. So detached and cold it seemed. They were asked if they would consider several situations that kids may be in

a) Would you consider a disabled child
b) Would you consider a child who has had drug problems ie. Were born with an addiction because of parental drug use.
c) Would you consider a child who has Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

The list went on and on. They were given three options for each question.

1) Yes we would
2) No we would not
3) Would discuss the situation

We next see them attending an adoption panel hearing.
Quite a formidable process I thought they wait in a room and are then taken into a larger room with a panel, there seemed to be around eight to ten people, who sat there and questioned the couple. They were then asked to go sit back in the waiting room and await the panels decision. I imagine its quite an ordeal for the couple having to go through this. I was scared for them.
The couple were fortunate and told they were able to adopt. The process now coming to a conclusion for them.

Then their social worker comes to their house with two files on two five month old boys.
One of the boys is rejected because social services don’t know who dad is. Have you ever heard anything so wrong?
However the second wee lamb looks promising.
The social worker returns around a week later with pictures of the wee boy and a DVD. The DVD is to show that although the wee lad was addicted to crack cocaine at birth he was getting on really well. During the viewing of the DVD the lady in the couple shows real emotion a positive thing for the wee laddie.

The couple do adopt the wee lad and after a week or so where they get used to each other in the foster parents house. It looks positive for all three of them. A great result from a broken system.

 

2) Was about a young lad who at the time was in foster care.

This young lad was nine month old and had been having problems finding his forever family. This was because both his parents had mental health problems and there may be a chance the wee lad would have them as he grows up.

The couple who are fostering the wee boy are asked to attend an Adoption Activity Day. This shocked me. The went along to this event attended by fifty kids aged from months old to around nine year old.
The foster parents of this wee man said they felt days like this could look like a cattle market.
The kids are told prior to the event “the strangers you will be meeting are prospective adoptive parents”. This, in my opinion, is so wrong. I always told my kids not to talk to strangers. Why are these kids in the care system any different?

During this event the youngster was approached by several couples. One couple spends a long time with him just to say as they walk away he was to young. Imagine if that happened to one of the older kids. How much of a crush would that give them. Saying oh your not good enough for us. I know they wouldn’t say that but it is how the child would feel.

At this point Nicky Campbell talks with a mental health professional.
This doctor states that not all mental health problems can be inherited but some are. She also said that even with those that are inherited the love of a good family home can reduce the risk.

Then the last you see of this cute wee boy is when the Family Finder from the activity day goes to the foster parents house. To tell them there were four couples interested and three of those looked promising.
Thankfully this lad is to young to realise what is going on. So hopefully will not have any detrimental effects from the way the system treats him or the way some prospective adopters treat him.

They conclude by saying social services are currently meeting with prospective adopters and hope he will have a family of his own soon.

 

I should say that during this programme I was in awe of what prospective adopters put themselves through to get a child. I was also in awe of the foster parents of the cute wee lad who’s parents had mental health issues.
Both of these couples deserve nothing but respect and admiration for the great work they’re doing and the magnificent effect they are all having on the lives of children who are in the care system.

 

What I did object to was the way, both in pictures and in person, these children who are in care for various reasons are paraded like animals in a cattle market. Shown to crowds of prospective adopters during activity days. I realise that some kids will come out of these days with adoption as a final result. Can you imagine though being a youngster and attending several of these days and not being chosen?
What effect will that have on children who are already in situations that have destroyed their self worth/ self belief?

Please someone in power do something about a system that can hurt kids like this!!!!!!

How folk see me

When folk look at me

What do they see?

They see

The terror

The pain

The anger oh yeah the anger

They see that Freak

From long ago

The one who was abused

His mum died 

Left him like

All the rest

They see the temper

The nasty freaky man

I used to be

 

They never look

Close enough to see

That man

Has changed

Become a peaceful

Kinder man

 

All they see 

Is the Freak

From way back when

Who was angry at the world

Who wanted to make things end

To make it stop

 

They see that

Because the real me

Is hiding behind that wall

The one I built

In me to stop 

Them hurting me

Punishing me

For being a freak

No one gets in

Friends I have few, actually two

Only one of them

See’s who I am

Really am

Can I ever be normal?

Can I stop being the freak?

Who everyone hates

Who no one cares about

The one who does

Crazy things

Who hurts himself

And crazily enjoys it

 

I won’t be that person

Any more 

I want to move on

To be the peaceful

Kind man

That’s been hiding for years

The one who cares to much

The one who rarely say’s no

Who gets used and abused

Because that is what 

I deserve

Freak that I am

Terror of the past

When I determined to write my story. Well not all of it just the parts that I have proof of. I knew it would be a hard struggle. I’m going to start writing it properly on Monday. Give myself the weekend to build up to it.

I know that may sound silly build up to it. However I started putting together the information I’d need to write this story and already I’m struggling mentally with all the memories and reminders of terror from my past that have taken up residence in my mind tonight.

 

I am going to do this!

I am worth more than my past

I will succeed with this book

I will not let all that crap

Come back into my head

And mess it up again

This time it will be done

It will be finished

Sent to a publisher by September

If it gets published or not

Doesn’t matter

I have to do this

FOR ME

 

Perhaps I sound self indulgent here but seriously folks this is driving me to the brink of doing something silly again.

The System Condones Abuse Once Youth Reach the Age of Legal Adulthood

The System Is Broken

Many of us have heard the horrifying stories about what young people often endure when they age out of foster care. Homelessness, further abuse, criminal justice involvement, and early pregnancy are common effects of the child welfare system abandoning these traumatized individuals and expecting them to be able to achieve financial independence years earlier than most outside the child welfare system, where the average age of financial independence is 26 years old. So many young people are left having to choose between homelessness and moving back in with their biological families, even if they are abusive.

Thankfully, at the very least, we are starting to have a meaningful dialogue about how to help individuals who age out of the system and encourage permanent placements of teenagers at risk of aging out of care. But what happens to those who grow up in abusive homes and speak out in a desperate…

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MY ROCK

Some people in life

Are there for you

No matter the time

Or day of the week

They show you

Nothing but kindness 

Empathy and trust

Shoring you up

When your mood slips

They don’t need

To be, always 

With you in body

In your mind they

Are, In your

Prayers and thoughts

You know if you 

Need them

They’ll be at

Your side in 

A tick

 

I’m lucky in my life

To have one like this

Who is has always

Been there for me

When I was in need

To speak to 

To listen to

To love and cherish

ALWAYS

 

Thank you my friend

You know who you are

The difference you’ve made

Is beyond my greatest desire

You changed me a little

Which was much needed 

I say

You gave me the courage

To just be me

I love you