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.
so I need to phone mary today. I’ve had a week to think about what she can help me with.
I think i’ll ask her to help me with getting some equipment, adaptive equipment, to help me around the house, and I will also ask her to help me to get some stuff done around my home. I want to get my garden slabbed, and I also want to try to get a porch door, a patio door.
hoping she is able to help me with this stuff. she did say she cant promise, but she said all we can do is ask people and all they can do is say yes or no…hoping its a yes…
This morning we met our new social worker, Mary.
It went really well. Dr. barry was with us when we made introductions.
Mary was really nice. She is very warm and very kind.
I think we will work well together.
I, Carol anne was the one who met her. I was really nervous meeting her. I was so glad dr. barry was with me.
Dr. Barry introduced me as carol anne. But Mary said hi Shirley when she walked in and shook my hand. Luckily though Dr. barry told her she’d only ever met Shirley twice and that it would be me Carol anne, or Liz that she’d be dealing with.
She seemed to accept this and she seemed ok with it.
Dr. barry told her how I and Liz had built up a great relationship with Karen, the last social worker on the team and how it was a huge deal for us when she left.
And still is. We’re still finding it hard to get our heads around the fact that Karen is really gone.
Mary made a joke about having big shoes to fill, and she said that everyone she’s worked with so far really liked Karen and said she was an amazing social worker, which she was.
Dr. barry started telling her about us, and about the things we’re currently doing, like volunteering, doing a college course in addiction studies, working on the ILS course…and Mary was like, Carol anne, how do you fit all of that into a week?
Lol I had to laugh then because, like, I dunno! But I do!
I think she was impressed with all of the things we are doing right now!
She gave me her phone number and told me to have a think about what I’d like to work with her on and then to call her and we’d connect and have a chat about it.
I agreed to this. I feel confident that we can make a good team and have a good working relationship. Not sure about how we’ll attach to her but its early days yet.
When she left the room, dr. barry kept asking me if I was ok. I told her I was mentally comparing Mary to karen already in my head. She said this was normal and that although Mary is different to Karen in many ways, that she’s lovely and a good social worker. I agree I think she is.
today i saw dr barry. it went well as it always does. i was glad i got to see her. i had to cancel last week due to my aunts funeral, so i didnt see her last week. we talked about my aunts funeral today. and we talked about my really bad anxiety. she was curious as to why the anxiety was so bad. she wanted to know if i knew the link. i didnt really know. i took a guess and had a bit of a clue but am not sure or fully convinced. i told her i hadnt been sleeping well either. monday night being an awful night. last night was ok though, i told her it flucuates, i can sleep good for two or three nights, then i’m back to not sleeping again. its so frustrating. she did not really give me any new suggestions, just said we’d keep an eye on things. that will do for now. i still need to talk to her about meds, about the med for ptsd and night terrors. i havent done that yet. i forgot today. we talked about our assessment coming up on december 8th. i told heri had asked mom if she wanted to go but that she’d said no. she said she thought my mom found it really difficult to say things to me, and so it was probably hard for her to admit that she couldnt cope with going to it. i thought that is probably true. i also told her about saying to mom last night while we were on the phone, at the end of our conversation, i love you, and mom never said it back, but then when we hung up a couple minutes later a text came in and it said i love you too. i guess she couldnt verbalise it to me on the phone, it was easier for her to write it in a text. dr barry told me there is now a new social worker, to replace karen. her name is mary. i asked her if she is young or old, she said she wasnt as young as karen, but she wasnt that old either. she said she is a little overwhelmed having just started this week, so could we wait a week or two to do introductions. i said sure that’d be ok with me. we also chatted a bit about therapy. over all it was a very good session. it felt so good to see dr barry. safe, familiar, and most of all validating.
i bought a new book on kindle today a short story by casey watson and have already finished reading it.
adam is 11 years old. when caseys link worker john fulshaw calls her to ask her to take adam, she immediately says yes. john says that there wont be any issues, that this is a straight forward placement.
adams mom had an appendicitice and is in hospital recovering from that. adam is a well balanced well behaved child. there is just him and his mom so there are no other family members he could stay with. and apparently no friends either.
when casey first meets adam she notices how frail he looks. he looks very unhealthy, yet he eats like a horse. she takes him to visit his mom and his mom and him seem very close, they seem to have a bond that is loving but casey cant help having niggling thoughts and stuff.
these are confounded by the fact that his mom doesnt allow him to go to friends houses to eat, or play. she is obsessed by germs. she tells casey that there is something wrong with his stomach but the doctors cant figure out what it is.
over the week casey takes him to visit his mom every evening. every evening after he gets home he becomes violently sick, throwing up. then just as quick as it happens he is fine again. casey is mystified. she keeps thinking that his mom has something to do with his sickness but she just cant put her finger on it. eventually on the thursday he is sick on the way home from the hospital, in the car. when casey goes to clean the back seat of the car she finds pills in his vomit. all of a sudden this takes on a whole new level.
she confronts adam about the pills but he looks at her blankly as if he doesnt know what she is talking about. casey emails her link worker and tells him what she has found. things swing into action. she goes online and researches munchausins syndrome and munchausins syndrome bi proxi.
The next morning adam tells her everything. how his mom gives him pills to make him sick. and then it comes to light that she had been getting extra pain medication in the hospital, stockpiling it and giving it to her son to make him sick. the police are called and a specialist is called in to assess her for munchausins.
meanwhile adams uncle and aunt come over from spain and care for adam while all this is going on. After a few months adam is taken into care, and he remained in care for a few months, nowadays, he doesnt live with his mom, she is too ill to care for him. He lives with his uncle, and aunt and their little girl. He is happy and healthy but things could have turned out very diferently if the munchausins hadnt been caught.
this book was great and i highly recommend it. although its a short story i still think its worth reading especially since it shows the lenghts a parent will go to to hard their child. i recommend it to social workers, foster carers, or just anyone who likes reading true stories.
ive just finished a wonderful book by shane dunphy. its called the boy they tried to hide. shane dunphy is a social worker from ireland. his books are really good, they tell about his work and the different cases he worked on. this is one of his later books, i think it was just released a few months ago. in this story shane is working as a journalist and also working in a school. the book weaves a couple of stories together. it intertwines a therapy session that shane is having for himself with the stories. where shane is telling his therapist about the cases in the book. the first story it tells is about a boy in the school where shane worked, tim fox. tim was imprisoned for parking fines, but he had a lot of issues and had a criminal background. however when he went to prison he died. shane is trying to piece together why he died, for a friend and teacher at the school, Maura. throughout the book shane has many interactions with criminals and is able to find out what really happened to Tim Fox. it was said he died of suicide but this wasnt the case. Meanwhile someone from shanes past, is lurking and trying to settle a score with Shane. Rex Gifford is a serial sex offender. Shane had him put into prison a few years back but now he has been released and hes out to get shane. in the book he goes out with Maura, and Maura falls out with Shane, because she wants to believe that Rex is a saint and she doesnt believe Shane when he tries to warn her off. In the end Rex beats and rapes Maura, only to get at shane. So the book intertwines shanes dealings with Gifford, and his trying to find out about Tims death, but then there is a third story as well. Shane is working with a kid in the school, and he goes to meet the childs family. It turns out the child is going out into the woods at night, and has befriended a little boy, thomas. Nobody else can see Thomas only this 8 year old child that shane is working with. Shane begins to try and solve the mystery of thomas. Its too complicated to go into here but basically he is a ghost and the majority of the book is trying to find out what happened to Thomas. There are a lot of twists and turns but in the end Shane does find him and solve the mystery. Its a really intense book, with many twists and turns and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Many parts of the book are graphic in nature, because of the criminals shane has to encounter and deal with. there is talk of rape and abuse and drug addiction in the book. i highly recommend the book though if you like true stories. I found it to be a great read.
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.