Book review:A long way from home by Cathy glass

So I just finished the book a long way from home by Cathy Glass. A wonderful read. Different from most of her other foster care memoirs, this is Annas story. A story about a little girl adopted from an orphanage who came into foster care after being diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder and when her behaviour became unmanageable for her parents.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a poignant read. Deeply moving, very sad in places, but also full of hope.
The summary for the book follows.

The true story of two-year-old Anna, abandoned by her natural parents, left alone in a neglected orphanage.

Elaine and Ian had travelled halfway round the world to adopt little Anna. She couldn’t have been more wanted, loved and cherished. So why was she now in foster care and living with me? It didn’t make sense.

Until I learned what had happened…

Dressed only in nappies and ragged T-shirts, the children were incarcerated in their cots. Their large eyes stared out blankly from emaciated faces. Some were obviously disabled, others not, but all were badly undernourished. Flies circled around the broken ceiling fans and buzzed against the grids covering the windows. The only toys were a few balls and a handful of building bricks, but no child played with them. The silence was deafening and unnatural. Not one of the 30 or so infants cried, let alone spoke.

This book can be gotten from audible, its also available on kindle. and in paperback. It is Cathy glass’s latest foster care memoir.

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Book review-Nobodys son, by Cathy Glass

so i just finished cathy glass’s new book called nobodys son. what a fabulous read. i was very moved and i would highly recommend this book to people.

this book tells alex’s story. alex was 7 when he came to live with cathy. he had been born to a drug dependent mother, and had been born in prison. taken into care at 18 months, he had been moved around a lot, had numerous carers. when he first came to cathy he was coming temporarily, as he was due to move to his adoptive family soon so he was only going to be with cathy for a few weeks.

a suitable adoptive family had been found for him. they were a very well to do family, had one son, a year older than alex. they were successful business people, and it was felt they would give alex lots of opportunities, for instance, to learn a musical instrament, go bike riding and horse riding. the initial introductions went well. and 2 weeks after being introduced to his family alex moved in with them.

however the placement broke down within days. the adoptive parents felt they’d made a huge mistake. they felt that james their son would be happier as an only child, they felt they shouldnt have adopted. so alex was taken back into care and moved back to cathy.

it was felt that a long term foster family was what he needed now, and so the family finders went about trying to find one. eventually they did find a family. however before that alex had a lot of angry outbursts, and had a lot of acting out behaviours, like running away, he also had bedwetting. it was all due to the trauma of the failed adoption.

eventually a new family was found. and alex was introduced to them. he moved in with them and flourished. for six years he thrived. with love and patience and firm boundaries he settled in well and was doing really well. then when he was 13 he started to rebel.

he was drinking and taking drugs, smoking, truanting, and having severe anger outbursts. his parents who were fostering him long term had adopted him a couple years previously. they were trying to come to terms with the problems he was having. they were really struggling to cope and almost gave up on him. however they did not give up. they kept loving him despite all the difficulties, and eventually he turned a corner. the book ends on a happy note. however it really does put the whole adoption process and matching process for adopting into question. the first adoption failed because the couple werent properly vetted, and the fact that they were not suitable wasnt picked up. i think all foster parents, adoptive parents, carers, social workers should read this book. cathy has done a great job of telling alex’s story. parts of the book moved me to tears. i hope you read this book. it is available on audible, in paperback and on kindle. its a page turner and once you start reading it you wont be able to put it down.

Book review-If only he told me, a short story by Mia Marconi

I just finished another of Mia Marconi’s books. Mia Marconi writes short stories about her experiences of fostering. She lives in the UK. This is book 3 of her books. As I said they are all short reads.
This book tells Brodys story. Brody is six yeard old and he came to Mia as an emergency placement. He was with his previous foster carer for 2 years, but one night he smashed up their house. The foster carer wanted him out of the house immediately so Mia was asked to take him.
When Brody arrives he is polite, friendly, and very helpful. Mia cant imagine him smashing up someones house. By this time Mia has four kids and Brody makes friends with Alphie, Mias only boy. They play football together and are like brothers.
Mia finds out about Brodys family and background. His mother and father are alcoholics. He spent the first 3 years of his life in their care. They neglected him and he lived in squalor. Their flat was filthy. At age 3 Brody was taken into care but he’d been on the at risk register since birth. His mother also had special needs and his father was violent towards his mother. Brody idolised his father though and had little time for his mother.
After a couple of months with Mia, Brodys behaviour starts to worsen. He has violent outbursts. He becomes competetive and keeps telling Alphie that he is better than him at everything. He starts punching and hitting Mia. Calling her names and being very rude in public. Mia is at a loss as to what to do with him. His social worker Lottie had warned Mia that this might happen.
Mia doesnt want to give up on him. She keeps trying to help him but there is little change in him or his behaviour. He smashes up her house. His room. He takes up all of her time and attention. And he loves it. He craves attention and when he is the centre of attention is when heh is happy.
When he is 11 and starts secondary school he starts to self harm. He also starts to threaten to commit suicide on a regular basis. He starts individual therapy sessions with Mia to try to figure out why his relationship with her is so bad. He hates these sessions though. Then Mia realises her son Alphie is changing. He keeps being ill with different things. He tries to tell Mia one day that Brody makes him angry. But Mia doesnt take any notice. Eventually one night it all comes to a head. Mia finds out Alphie is being bullied by Brody. After six years of trying to help Brody Mia is drained. She cant do any more to help him. And he doesnt want to live with her any more. So Brody is moved. And Mias family tries to get back to normal.
She has a long talk to Alphie. He cries and says Brody tormented him. Mia feels very guilty that she didnt notice sooner, as the rest of her family did. They had tried to warn her that it wasnt working out. On new years day about a year later Brody contacts mia. But social services say it would unsettle him to see her. So for years she doesnt see him. Eventually after a couple of years they do talk. And Brody tells her that living with her were some of the best years of his life. But ultimately he had wanted to return home to his family. Which he did. That was his goal and he succeeded at it.
The book is very good. It talks about many of the challenges faced by foster parents who take on a child who is very high maintenance. I found it to be a good read. I think foster parents and social workers and others who like true life stories would enjoy reading it.

Book review-Unexpected, a short story, by Rosie lewis

I’ve just finished another fabulous book by Rosie Lewis, this is another of her short stories.
Ellen, who is 28, has just given birth to a baby. She never knew she was pregnant. 2 days after the birth she abandons her baby, and the baby is taken into foster care. Rosie takes over care of the newborn who is named hope after the paramedic who delivered her.
At first rosie cant imagine why any mother would abandon their baby. The midwife had said that she thought Ellen had post traumatic stress disorder, that some mothers after a difficult labour sometimes got diagnosed with the disorder.
a couple of weeks after Rosie starts looking after Hope, Ellen starts to visit and she has access to hope for 2 hours a day. At first she is very afraid to do anything with her baby, she doesnt pick her up, she doesnt even want to look at her. She’s happy to do jobs for Rosie like folding baby clothes, making bottles etc. But she doesnt want to bond with her baby, she cant seem to do that, something is holding her back.
Eventually after a couple of weeks Hopes social worker Graham says they are looking to have Hope adopted. He thinks Ellen is trouble and despite Rosie trying to speak on Ellens behalf plans go ahead to have Hope adopted. Rosie decides that she will have to do something drastic or Ellen could lose hope forever.
One day while Ellen is visiting the phone starts ringing and rosie makes a snap decision to hand Hope to Ellen. It is the start of them bonding. Eventually Ellen opens up to rosie about her past and her childhood. It turns out Ellens mother abused her, she beat her and starved her and verbally abused her. Ellens father was distant and worked long hours. Ellen also tells rosie that her older sister made allegations that her father had sexually abused her. She tells Rosie she is a horrible person and she should not be allowed to keep Hope. She says she cant look after her that she is afraid she will do what her mother did. Rosie encourages her and tells her that she is not her mother and she can love Hope and give her all the things that she never had as a child.
Over the next few weeks the bond between Ellen and hope grows increasingly stronger and stronger. Then Ellen finds out that social services are still planning on having hope adopted. Rosie tells her that she will have to fight to keep her and she must prove to the social workers that she is comitted and wants to keep her daughter. Eventually it turns out that Hope is allowed to go back to her mother, ellen is thrilled.
The book ends with Hope being reunited with her mother and Ellen tells Rosie that if it wasnt for her this never would have happened. The epilogue says that Hope is now 9 and Rosie and Ellen stayed in touch after Ellen got Hope back. Mark Ellens boyfriend who had broken up with her at the start of the book was now back on the scene and the couple stayed together and brought hope up together.
This is a really good book. I loved it. It was well written and would be a good read for foster parents, social workers, abuse survivors, or just anyone who likes true life stories.

Book review-A child called hope by Mia Marconi

Hi everyone
I just finished this book, a child called hope. it is written by Mia Marconi. the book starts out with mia talking about her own family. ultimately the book is about her experiences as a foster parent but before she talks about fostering she talks about her own family and upbringing, giving a lot of background on her mom and dad and grandparents. her parents fought a lot when she was a child. she took her dads side a lot and says it was only in later life that she realised her mom had a lot of responsibility and she should have been more compassionate towards her. basically her dad was born to his mother after she got pregnant due to having an affair with a man in italy, he was brought up by his mothers parents for the first 11 years of his life, then he was told that actually his mother was in england and sent to live with her in england, but she didnt want him and rejected him. her mom witnessed her dads suicide, for these reasons both parents were very unstable and needy and mia remembers a very volatile house during her childhood where her parents would regularly get into arguments and throw things at each other. She had older sisters, her sisters were 10 years older than she was. She ended up getting a good job though despite all the disfunction. Her older sister got her a job in a magazine and she had that job for years until she was 29 years old. She met her partner martin who was a taxi driver. They never married and still to this day they are not married. Martin always wanted kids but Mia didnt but one day when she became sick she realised that she was pregnant. She went on to have two kids two girls named franchesca and ruby. It was only by chance that she became a foster parent. She was shopping for a wedding dress with her best friend Jane. They went for a meal and during the meal they met a woman who had a lot of kids and Mia found out she was a foster parent. She decided she’d like to do that. So she began the foster care training. Her first placement was a baby sophia who was only 3 days old when she came to Mia. Her mother was italian and had come to england to have an abortion but realised she was too far along in her pregnancy to end it so had had her baby and then disappeared. After only a few days Mia realised there was something wrong with sophias eyes. she took her to hospital and it was determined that she had gonnarea which was passed on from her mother. she made a full recovery and she stayed with Mia for a year. during that year friends of the mothers family, an older couple got in touch. Eventually Sophia went to live with them and was adopted by them. Her biological mother never turned up. After Sophia left Mias girls grieved a lot and she wondered if she was damaging them by fostering. A couple of weeks later she got a call asking her to take in a disabled baby named hope. This little girl was a year old. She’d spent the first year of her life in hospital. She was very sick and was on lots of medication and had lots of complicated medical problems and tubes and oxygen and things. Her mother was Vikki, a drug addict who’d also been in care during her teens. It ended up that Mia and Vikki built up a very strong bond. Vikki became clean and had contact with Hope at first once a week but after Mia advocated for her it rose to 3 times a week. Mia would show her how to look after Hope, bathe her, help her administer meds, show her how to play with her and help her to bond with her daughter. Martin, Mias partner also built up a very good rapport with Vikki. Hope was with Mia for 9 months. But one night she wasnt too well and Mia slept in the livingroom to be near her. Hope had an alarm on her oxygen tank so that if she stopped breathing it would alert Mia. This particular night the alarm went off and Mia rushed to hopes room. She was breathing very shallowly so they called an ambulance. But it was too late. On arrival to the hospital hope was dead. Mias grief was overwhelming. So too was hopes mother vikkis. They were able to comfort and help one another at the funeral. After Hopes funeral Mia decided that she didnt want to foster any more for the time being. Her girls were profoundly effected by Hopes death. They did get over it eventually but it took a long time and eventually Mia and her family even moved to a new house. I think Mia did end up fostering again because she has written some other books which seem to be about foster children. I have just downloaded two mroe of her books. All of her books are short reads, you could probably read the stories in an hour if you set your mind to it. I enjoyed a child called hope. I found her style of writing to be good, the book was easy to read, and there was lots of twists in the story. I’d recommend the book to any social workers, foster parents, or anyone who enjoys reading about children in foster care.

Book review-A small boys cry, a rosie lewis short story

i just finished a small boys cry, a short story by UK foster carer rosie lewis. it really tugged at my heart strings. i did enjoy the book and found it to be another great read. the book tells charlies story. charlie is 3 years old and comes to rosie as an emergency placement. he has fallen from a first floor window and he was found wondering the stree with a large gash to his head. when the police go to his flat they cant rouse his mother. his mother is addicted to drugs and alcohol. so he is taken into foster care and is brought to rosie and her family. when he arrives he is very shy and quiet, he cries for his mother ont he first night. he soon settles into rosie’s family though. the book is relatively short so there isnt a lot that happens. one thing that does happen in the story though is a contact session between charlie and his mom. his mom doesnt seem to know how to relate to charlie and dismisses his attempts to get affection and attention. rosie thinks she hasnt ever gotten much affection in her life either and that is why she is unable to give her son any. charlie bonds well with rosie’s two children, emily and Jamie. rosie is also fostering phoebe at the time, whose story is told in another of rosie’s books called trapped. when rosie baths charlie she finds he is covered in bed bug bites. she also finds charlie to be intensely clingy, following her around and needing her full attention a lot. another thing that happens in the story is an outting to a local park. when they are there charlie sees a man that he knows, but he is unable to find words to tell rosie who the man is. that night rosie finds him in the bath tub and it is only then that he tells her that he used to sometimes sleep in the bath tub when the man and his mom were fighting. rosie asks him if its the same man they saw in the park and he says yes. as charlie only came to rosie on an emergency placement he doesnt stay long. i think he stays about a month. the epilogue of the book says that his birth dad was found through DNA. He didnt even realise he had a son and was overwhelmed to find out that Charlie even existed. eventually after moving on to live with another foster family, charlie does go to live with his birth dad and grandmother and he thrives. As usual it was a great read and it only took me an hour to finish it because it is just a short story. I like Rosie’s writing style and I would recommend this book to any foster parent, carer, social worker, or anyone who enjoys true life stories.

Book review: The wild child:A Casey Watson short story

Casey Watson, who is a UK based foster parent writes both short stories and longer novels about her experiences of fostering. Last night I finished one of her short stories caled the wild child.
This book is about 8 year old Connor. Casey is asked to take Connor just for a weekend. Connor has attacked a social worker at the care home he is in with an iron bar. He is also said to be street wise, violent, and at first Casey isnt sure what she should do. She already has Tyler, another foster child who she has adopted. However she asks both Tyler and her husband Mike if they are ok about taking Connor and they both agree. Casey is wondering how bad could he actually be? He’s 8 years old after all. The agency send her over some of his records. She reads them and her heart goes out to connor. He’s had a terrible past, his father was a criminal and was in and out of prison. His mother left when he was five, taking her two older children but not Connor. He went to a childrens care home when he was just five years old. He’s had numerous foster care placements all of which never lasted long due to his behaviour. Connor arrives in a prison type security van, and when he arrives he seems like a sweet boy. He goes upstairs with Tyler to play Xbox while Casey makes lunch. Upon bringing lunch to the boys Casey overhears a conversation where Connor is trying to get Tyler to look at porn. She tells him sharply that he will have to eat lunch with her downstairs and at first Connor flips out and calls her a bunch of names. But eventually he does what she tells him. After lunch Casey decides to take the boys to an indoor play area. While they are there Connor acts out and Casey is again faced with his challenging behaviour. Eventually they leave and go home. Casey reprimands Connor and he isnt very happy. Casey is settling in for a nice peaceful Saturday night when Connor decides to try to run away back to his dad. He escapes out of his bedroom window and runs up the street with Mike chasing him. He manages to get away and Casey calls the police and her foster care agency. Mike and Tyler go looking for him for an hour. Eventually a neighbour brings him back to Caseys house. Casey settles him and they all go to bed. One mroe day of this, Casey thinks. On Sunday they go out to the country for a picnic. While they are out Connor pushes Tyler into the river bugt says its an accident. He apologises and they continue their day. That night Casey is awakened to hear Tyler crying. When she asks him what is wrong she finds out that Connor has been saying things to him like how he will play Casey and her husband and get them to like him and keep him and get rid of Tyler. Casey is horrified and not for the first time she thinks that Connor may be a sociopath. He has all the signs of it in his behaviour. She had been thinking about keeping him for a while longer so that he wouldnt have to go to a secure unit. She had sent an email to the agency to say she would do that but then when Tyler comes forward with the information she is shocked and decides she needs to put Tyler first because after all he is their priority. But the decision of where connor will be placed is taken out of Caseys hands. At 7:30 on Monday morning John their link worker comes to their door. He has come to pick Connor up and take him to a secure unit in Kent. Connor at first doesnt want to go but then he resorts again to his bad behaviour calling casey and her husband losers and saying he never wanted to stay there in the first place. The book ends with him going to the secure unit and we do not find out what became of him. However Casey is left with the reminder that she is not super woman and she cant save every child that comes to her. It was a good book. I really liked it and I like the style of writing in the book. I’d highly recommend it to foster parents, social workers, or anyone who likes true stories or stories about children in foster care.