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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Rejection

it’s knowing how hard life can be

and knowing before the age of three

its being rejected before you can speak

and living by it week by week

no hugs, no tickles, no high fives

nothing to show you exist, your alive

you cant be stirred from your bed

you are trying to get the nighttmare out of your head

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-the saddest girl in the world by cathy glass

just finished another amazing book by UK author and foster carer cathy glass.
the saddest girl in the world tells donnas story. donna was 10 when she came into care. her and her two younger brothers were brought into care and at first were kept together but there were initial problems, with donna trying to control the boys and an incident at their carers mary and rays which left mary with a bruise prompted the carers to have donna removed. so she came to live with cathy. the book starts out with donna being moved to cathys and cathy noticing how dejected and sad she looked. cathy felt she had never seen a child look so sad. it seemed like donna had the weight of the world on her shoulders. her social worker edna was very dedicated, and had worked with donnas family for 3 years. donna had learning difficulties and was bhind at school. her biological mother was a drug addict and alcoholic. her father was a paranoid pschizophrenic. it was her mother who abused her. she would beat donna and get her younger brothers to beat her as well. the beatings would take place when donna didnt clean the house to her mothers standards. when she first came to cathy she displayed some OCD like tendencies. cathy woke one morning to find her scrubbing the kitchen floor, and she would also wash her hands over and over. cathy tried to allow her to help more around the house. she asked cathy if she could help look after her children paula and adrien and cathy agreed. however little did she know that this would have far reaching effects. donna tried to dominate cathys children, culminating in an incident of lashing out at paula who was six at the time for not obeying her. another time cathy came into the bathroom to find donna scrubbing her hands with a nail brush. she later found out donna was trying to wash off her skin color, she was dual heritage but she wanted to be white. donna had contact with her mother and sister chelsea 3 times a week. chelsea was 14 but she wasnt in care because she refused to be moved. her and rita their mother were thick as thieves. both of them were equally mean to donna and said hurtful things. cathy thought donna was like a firework waitint to go off and she wasnt wrong. donna would lash out after contact and trash her bedroom. eventually as the months went on donna settled down and began to realise some things about her family. she desperately wanted her mother to love her and she kept trying to seek her approval. one day she had an insight and she said to cathy that her mother didnt love her, would never love her, probably hated her. it was after this insight that things really started to turn around for donna. donna lived with cathy for 14 months, eventually the final court case was heard, it was felt that the children should not be returned to ritas care. so donna was found a permanent forever family, the decision was made to find her a dual heritage family so that they could help with her self image. cathy was more than a little upset because secretly she was hoping to keep donna and have her become a permanent member of her family. the matching process was started and eventually a woman named marlene was found and the introductions began. after two weeksdonna moved permanently to live with her. she has kept in touch with cathy though over the years. she also started long term therapy and has gotten over a lot of her past. contact with her bio mom was reduced to 3 times a year but when donna was 14 she asked that it be stopped. donna is an adult now and is qualified as a nurse. i just read the update on cathys website and it said she recently gave birth to a baby girl and got married. it just goes to show that just because you have a horrible start in life, it doesnt have to end up haunting you forever. i highly recommend this book to any survivor of abuse, also those who enjoy an uplifting story with a positive happy ending.

Book review-Learning to love Amy, the foster carer who saved a mother and daughter, by Mia Marconi

I just finished this amazing short read by Mia Marconi. This was Mia Marconi’s second book, her first book is called a child called hope and I reviewed that recently on this blog. The book starts out with Mia and her family moving house, because of what happened to hope she felt that their last house wasnt like a home any longer. So they moved, and started decorating their new house which needed lots of work. Mia had neighbours who she grew very friendly with. Her neighbour Lizzie had two kids just like she did, one of Lizzie’s kids Janet had downes syndrome. Mia really connected with Janet. She accepted her and did not judge her due to her disability as so many others did. Janet helped her through her grief after Hope’s death. One morning Mia found out she was pregnant. 9 months later she had a little girl. Just after Isabella was born, Mia became friendly with another foster carer. This woman wasnt able to have kids and had turned to fostering. She was looking after a 3 year old named India. However India and her foster carer werent bonding. Her foster carer also found Indias mother Amy very difficult to deal with. After 5 months Martine, who was the foster carer, decided fostering just wasnt for her. She had gone into it to fulfil an emotional need and it hadnt worked out. So she decided that she was going to go to romania and adopt a child from there, as it was 1990 and the height of the romanian orphanage fiasco. It was decided that as Mia had been Martine’s confident and support worker, and knew India that India would go live with her and Mia would become her full time foster parent. Mia noticed that India wasnt able to interact like a normal child. But when she came to live with her she copied Mias kids and eventually was able to play and do normal things that kids do. Amy Indias mom was an alcoholic. When India had lived with her she’d spent all day every day drinking, the flat they lived in was filthy, India was neglected. At first Amy was allowed to see India every three weeks. Over time Mia built up a bond with Amy and Amy began to tell her about her past. She had had a very unhappy childhood. her stepdad Mike had sexually abused her. He was found out and recieved a prison sentence of 18 months but when he got out he moved back in with amys mom and started abusing her all over again. Her mother knew and did nothing to stop it. Eventually social services found out and removed amy and her siblings and sent them all to childrens homes. When amy was 12 and on her way home from school one day her stepdad Mike bundled her into a car and took her to a wooded area and raped her as an act of revenge for his prison sentence. After that Amy began drinking to numb the pain and forget what had happened. Thats where her alcoholism started and things spiraled from there. At 18 she aged out and began to live independently but not knowing how to care for herself and what to do she just continued drinking and spiraling out of control. Mia tried desperately to help her but to no avail. One night she got a call that Amy was on her fourth floor windowledge saying she was going to kill herself and she didnt want to talk to anyone except Mia. Mia went to her flat and calmed her down so that she didnt do it. After that night she stepped back a lot and put some distance between her and Amy. Then a couple weeks later the police came knocking on her door. They searched her whole house. Mia had no clue why and so she rang Luke Amys brother. Luke said Mike had been murdered and Amy was suspected of killing him. Her and her two brothers were arrested. Before they were arrested though Amy came to Mias house and told her what happened. She hadnt killed her stepdad. Neither had her brothers. But someone had and she was relieved. But since he was on the sex offenders register and lots of families had it in for him it could have been anyone. No one was ever charged for his murder. Not long after that Amy tried to commit suicide again and was sectioned. It was while she was in hospital that she met max, her new social worker. He was really good to her and got her on the road to recovery. After coming out of hospital she attended AA meetings, she took parenting classes, she went to therapy. She started to get her life back on track. Her access to India started up again and Mia showed her as best as she could how to be a mother, and what to do. Amy had a long time boyfriend Archie who had always stuck by her and loved India as if she was his own daughter. Eventually a decision was made that India should be sent back to live with Amy and Archie. She was 10 by now and had been in care with Mia for 7 years. The move went smoothly and India was happy to go live with her mom finally. Despite everything she loved her mom and that showed all throughout the book. The book ends when the move is complete so we dont find out the outcome whether it was a success or not. As I said its a short story so you could probably read it in about an hour if you sat down and continuously read it. I loved it and would recommend it to any foster parent, social worker, or anyone who likes this type of book.