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'I was made in Coffee Bay. Right there on the beach, in the sand.'
From the opening lines, we are drawn in and engrossed by this startling memoir of a singular childhood. Suzan is adopted as a newborn in the late 1960s into a seemingly loving and welcoming family living in Pietermaritzburg. But Suzan is set on a collision course with, most particularly, her adoptive mother, and society, from her very beginning. Suzan's relationship with her mother is fraught with drama, which veers over into a level of emotional abuse and needless cruelty that is shocking.
At the age of thirteen, Suzan is sent to a place of safety as a ward of the state, effectively 'orphaning' her. From there, she spirals out of control – fighting to survive in a world of other neglected, abandoned and abused children. She becomes a 'runner', escaping at every opportunity from her various places of confinement, grabbing her schooling in snatches, living on the edges of a drug and prostitution underworld, finding love wherever she can.
Suzan’s young life was the stuff of movies, but it is her writing, in a voice that is unforgettable and true, that transforms her memories into something magical rarely matched in South African literature. A new classic.
At eleven o' clock one night in 1997, four hungry, damaged young children arrive on foster carers Trisha and Mike Merry's doorstep. Two social workers dropped them off with nothing but the ragged clothes they were wearing and no information. The children were covered in bruises, two had black eyes, one had a broken arm and they were all scratching themselves. Starved, seriously neglected and abused in every way, four young siblings have been repeatedly overlooked by everyone who should have cared. The eldest scavenges for food by night and is exhausted from trying to protect his sisters, his baby brother and himself from serious parental neglect and the perilous attentions of frequent paedophile visitors. From the start, these four children challenge Trisha and Mike to extremes. Despite all their experience over many years, they wonder if they have met their match. Yet, from that very first night, this couple's unbounded love and care and their unbelievable determination surmount all the obstacles that follow. The shocking truth about the children's home lives is beyond anything Trish and Mike have experienced, yet through their formidable efforts, their unshakeable belief in the children, and their (almost) unfailing sense of humour, they are able to turn around four young lives from tragedy to hope.
Finding Stevie is a dark and poignant true story that highlights the dangers lurking on online. When Stevie's social worker tells Cathy, an experienced foster carer, that Stevie, 14, is gender fluid she isn't sure what that term means and looks it up. Stevie, together with his younger brother and sister, have been brought up by their grandparents as their mother is in prison. But the grandparents can no longer cope with Stevie's behaviour so they place him in care. Stevie is exploring his gender identity, and like many young people he spends time online. Cathy warns him about the dangers of talking to strangers online and advises him how to stay safe. When his younger siblings tell their grandmother that they have a secret they can't tell, Cathy is worried. However, nothing could have prepared her for the truth when Stevie finally breaks down and confesses what he's done.
The true story of runaway child with a secret. A devastating discovery that changes everything. Melissa is a sweet-natured girl with a disturbing habit of running away and mixing with the wrong crowd. After she's picked up by the police, and with nowhere else to go, she is locked in a secure unit with young offenders. Social Services beg specialist foster carer Angela to take her in, but can she keep the testing twelve-year-old safe? And will Angela ever learn what, or who, drove Melissa to run and hide, sometimes in the dead of night? The Girl in the Dark is the sixth book from well-loved foster carer and Sunday Times bestselling author Angela Hart. This is a true story that shares the tale of one of the many children she has fostered over the years. Angela's stories show the difference that quiet care, a watchful eye and sympathetic ear can make to children who have had more difficult upbringings than most.
It's late on Friday night when Casey's mobile starts to ring. She is expecting it to be her daughter Riley. But it isn't Riley. It's a woman from the Emergency Duty Team. So begins Casey and Mike's latest fostering challenge - a fifteen-year-old girl called Keeley who's run away from her long-term foster home 25 miles away. The Jonathan Ross Show has just started when Casey gets the call. She thinks it will be Riley - telling her that her favourite actor is going to be on TV. But it's something far more urgent: a fifteen-year-old girl who has run away from her foster family and accused her foster father of sexual abuse. The family deny in vehemently, but such an allegation can never be taken lightly, so a new home must be found for Keeley. Keeley is polite, but she's sharp, and she has all the hallmarks of a child who has been in the system a long time, and knows how to play it. Whether the allegation is true or not, Casey knows there will be no winners here. If it is true, then a young girl's life has been torn asunder. If not, then the heartache for the family will only be surpassed by the bleak outlook for Keeley. In the short term, it's a case of providing a safe, supportive home for a vulnerable child. But with the dangerous world of the internet at her disposal, it seems this strong-minded youngster has her own ideas of where that safe place should be...
The true story of 2 year-old Anna, abandoned by her natural parents, left alone in a neglected orphanage. Elaine and Ian had travelled half way 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 thirty or so infants cried, let alone spoke.
Aged nine Joss came home from school to discover her father's suicide. She's never gotten over it. This is the true story of Joss, 13 who is angry and out of control. At the age of nine, Joss finds her father's dead body. He has committed suicide. Then her mother remarries and Joss bitterly resents her step-father who abuses her mentally and physically. Cathy takes Joss under her wing but will she ever be able to get through to the warm-hearted girl she sees glimpses of underneath the vehement outbreaks of anger that dominate the house, and will Cathy be able to build up Joss's trust so she can learn the full truth of the terrible situation?
Fourteen-year-old Adrianna arrives on Casey's doorstep with no possessions, no English, and no explanation. It will be a few weeks before Casey starts getting the shocking answers to her questions.... Brought to Casey as a short-term emergency placement, fourteen-year-old Adrianna arrives with nothing but her gratitude. Having `turned herself in' to a social services office some hundred miles away, she has no possessions, no English and, apparently, no history - not that she's willing to share, anyway. She is a beautiful young Polish girl, with the bearing of a ballerina, but is terrified, malnourished and unwell. And, having slept rough for some time (the little they do know about her) she spends much of her first days with Watsons asleep in bed. Growing concerned about Adrianna's wellbeing, and her persistent high temperature, Casey decides to call in the GP. But, to her surprise, Adrianna becomes almost hysterical about being examined and, given her refusal to talk - even via the interpreter they've brought in for her - Casey's fostering antennae begin twitching. Where has she come from? And why is she so terrified to be touched? What has happened to make her so ill and scared? It will be a few weeks before Casey starts getting answers to these questions. Shocking answers; ones that throw up a whole host of new questions and the beginnings of a journey to find justice for Adrianna, and, more importantly, a future, and a home...
While the topic of gay marriage and families continues to be popular in the media, few scholarly works focus on gay men with children. Based on ten years of fieldwork among gay families living in the rural, suburban, and urban area of the eastern United States, Gay Fathers, Their Children, and the Making of Kinship presents a beautifully written and meticulously argued ethnography of gay men and the families they have formed. In a culture that places a premium on biology as the founding event of paternity, Aaron Goodfellow poses the question: Can the signing of legal contracts and the public performances of care replace biological birth as the singular event marking the creation of fathers? Beginning with a comprehensive review of the relevant literature in this field, four chapters-each presenting a particular picture of paternity-explore a range of issues, such as interracial adoption, surrogacy, the importance of physical resemblance in familial relationships, single parenthood, delinquency, and the ways in which the state may come to define the norms of health. The author deftly illustrates how fatherhood for gay men draws on established biological, theological, and legal images of the family often thought oppressive to the emergence of queer forms of social life. Chosen with care and described with great sensitivity, each carefully researched case examines gay fatherhood through life narratives. Painstakingly theorized, Gay Fathers, Their Children, and the Making of Kinship contends that gay families are one of the most important areas to which social scientists might turn in order to understand how law, popular culture, and biology are simultaneously made manifest and interrogated in everyday life. By focusing specifically on gay fathers, Goodfellow produces an anthropological account of how paternity, sexuality, and masculinity are leveraged in relations of care between gay fathers and their children.
After moving to a humble cottage outside of a tiny Texas town, Debra Monroe rids herself of an abusive husband, battles sexist contractors and workers as she renovates her home, and finally, after several disheartening letdowns, is able to adopt her beautiful baby daughter, Marie. Though elated that her dream is coming true, Monroe faces trials that befall her not just as a single mother but as a white mother of a black child. In On the Outskirts of Normal, two-time National Book Award nominee Monroe's heart creaks "like china with hairline cracks" each time a racist comment rolls their way or stares linger a little too long in their direction. Though she and her daughter face serious undiagnosed illnesses leading to innumerable, painful doctor visits, Monroe remains steadfast in her dedication toMarie and their small but tight family. Reading On the Outskirts of Normal at times feels like driving through an unwieldy thunderstorm at night on the unlit country roads that snake their way to Monroe's house in the woods; readers will feel her exhaustion but will be buoyed by her ever-present faith and fiery love. Pulitzer Prize winner Madeleine Blais writes that On the Outskirts of Normal is the "real deal: both a literary triumph and a triumph of the heart.
Despite a proliferation of legislative action in response to differential outcomes, the relative educational, employment and lifecourse disadvantages of individuals who have experienced the care system remains a pressing issue of widespread international concern. In Wales, a significant body of work has been produced on and with care-experienced children and young people. This edited collection attempts to highlight these valuable insights in a single volume, with contributions from well-established and early career scholars working in different traditions - including education, psychology, policy studies, sociology and social work - to provide a unique opportunity for reflection across disciplinary boundaries and shed new light on common problems and opportunities stimulated by research in the field of social care. The volume introduces a range of contexts and sites - including the home, the school, alternative educational institutions, contact centres, and the natural environment - and reflexively explores changes and continuities within the political and geographical landscape that constitutes Wales. Each chapter introduces insights, reflections and recommendations about the care system and its impacts, which will be useful for readers across geographical contexts who are concerned with improving the lives of children, young people and wider family networks.
When Maggie's latest placement arrives on her doorstep, it is clear that Sean, Dougie and their big sister Mary have been through unspeakable traumas in their short?lives. Violent and malnourished,?the siblings have been left to fend for themselves by their drug-addicted parents. Maggie must use all of her skills and experience as a foster carer to help these damaged siblings to learn to be children again. With much love, care and patience, their behaviour gradually starts to improve and social services start looking for a forever family for them. But alarm bells start to ring when Maggie meets the couple who have been matched to adopt the siblings. It is clear that they're looking for the perfect, ready-made family, and they're not going to get it with these vulnerable brothers and sister. Despite raising her concerns with social services, Maggie is powerless to prevent the adoption from going ahead and she must put aside her own fears to help the siblings settle in with their new parents. But she can't shake the feeling of dread as she waves them goodbye. A few months later, Maggie's worst nightmares come true when she learns that the children have been handed back to the care of social services following the breakdown of the adoption. Maggie must fight to get the children returned to her, but is it too late to undo the damage that has been done?
Bestselling author and teacher Casey Watson shares the horrifying true story of Kiera Bentley, a 12-year-old girl with a deeply shocking secret she's too young to even understand. When Casey first meets Kiera, a small slight girl who's just lashed out at a fellow pupil in assembly, she immediately senses something's wrong. Something in Kiera's eyes alerts Casey that this is an "old head on young shoulders", and with Kiera's constant tiredness and self-soothing habit of pulling her hair out, she follows her instinct and takes Kiera under her wing. At first the answer seems simple enough; Kiera's parents aren't together and they don't get on, which makes life hard for Kiera as she's so close to her dad. But as the weeks roll on, Casey begins to understand that there's something much darker going on behind closed doors. And when she finally learns the truth, she's terrified she won't be able to save Kiera from it.
This book provides tips for social workers and carers to look after cared-for children at school.
The heartbreaking true story of a young, troubled mother who needed help. The sixteenth fostering memoir by Cathy Glass. It is the first time Laura has been out since the birth of her baby when Cathy sees her in the school playground. A joyful occasion but Cathy has the feeling something is wrong. By the time she discovers what it is, it is too late. This is the true story of Laura whose life touches Cathy's in a way she could never have foreseen. It is also the true stories of little Darrel, Samson and Hayley who she fosters when their parents need help. Some stories can have a happy ending and others cannot, but as a foster carer Cathy can only do her best.
Nine-year-old Archie and his five-year-old sister, Bobbi, are taken into emergency police protective custody after an incident of domestic violence at their family home. Rosie collects the children from their out-of-hours foster carer on New Year's Day and instantly recognises Archie from a domestic violence workshop she helped with. Rosie remembers that when asked what he enjoyed most about the course, Archie said: `the biscuits'. Social workers are concerned that Archie and Bobbi have been neglected. As Rosie gets to know the children, she begins to suspect that something far more disturbing lies in their past. Archie, jovial and polite, bats away Rosie's attempts to talk to him about anything serious with witty one-liners and sophisticated distractions. Bobbi reacts violently, lashing out and throwing herself around. Rosie has never seen a child as young a Bobbi behaving so viciously, but it is Archie she is most concerned about as the weeks go by. After a worrying incident at school, Archie tearfully discloses the truth - a shocking secret that has left him and his sister traumatised. Horrified at what she learns, Rosie is determined to help the young siblings find a forever-home that will provide them with the love and care they deserve.
In her new book, Cathy Glass, the no.1 bestselling author of Damaged, tells the story of the Alice, a young and vulnerable girl who is desperate to return home to her mother.
Alice, aged four, is snatched by her mother the day she is due to arrive at Cathy's house. Drug-dependent and mentally ill, but desperate to keep hold of her daughter, Alice's mother snatches her from her parents' house and disappears.
Cathy spends three anxious days worrying about her whereabouts before Alice is found safe, but traumatised. Alice is like a little doll, so young and vulnerable, and she immediately finds her place in the heart of Cathy's family. She talks openly about her mummy, who she dearly loves, and how happy she was living with her maternal grandparents before she was put into care. Alice has clearly been very well looked after and Cathy can't understand why she couldn't stay with her grandparents.
It emerges that Alice's grandparents are considered too old (they are in their early sixties) and that the plan is that Alice will stay with Cathy for a month before moving to live with her father and his new wife. The grandparents are distraught Alice has never known her father, and her grandparents claim he is a violent drug dealer.
Desperate to help Alice find the happy home she deserves, Cathy's parenting skills are tested in many new ways. Finally questions are asked about Alice's father suitability, and his true colours begin to emerge."
Ray Guarendi, psychologist, husband and father of ten adopted children, considers the most commonly asked adoption questions with insight, humor and a heart for the adoptive family. His aim? To dispel unsettling misperceptions about adoption, to encourage others to think about and act on adoption, and to guide adoptive parents to a more relaxed, rewarding family life for all involved. A must-have resource for those considering adoption, those who have already adopted and those in the mix as family members or friends of adoptive parents.
One hot summer's afternoon, two abandoned infants are brought to Trisha and Mike Merry's door, forlorn and afraid. Their mother walked out on them. (They don't remember her.) Their grandmother tried, but couldn't manage them. And now their young father has given up on them too. These cast-off kids desperately need somewhere to live and a family to love them. They've come to the right place. Trisha and Mike welcome them into their home and their hearts. There are now ten children under five in this household, where every day is filled with cuddles, fun . . . and more than a few challenges. After ten eventful years of love and laughter, they are reclaimed by their jealous mother, a stranger, who sets fire to their memories and sends them to a succession of care homes. Finally the younger one sets out on a quest to find the only two people who have ever loved him.
The fourth in a series of true short stories from foster carer Mia Marconi. Kira first came to foster carer Mia Marconi's home on respite care when she was three. She had suffered an unimaginable amount of abuse in her short life. Although she couldn't tie her shoe laces, she could smash a room to pieces; she fought against everything like a wild cat. At the age of five Kira moved permanently to live with Mia and her family, but by the time she was nine years old the whole family was at breaking point. Mia is the kind of person who won't give in and believes she can always change things for the better, but try as she might she can't change Kira. So after six years, with a very heavy heart, she is forced to question whether she can really help this lost and damaged child. Raw, shocking and honest, this short story will shed new light on the role of foster carers, revealing the kind of heartbreaking real life situations carers like Mia Marconi are confronted with every day.
`I'm so sorry, Casey,' my link worker John said, sounding weary. `I know this is probably the worst time I could ring you, but we desperately need someone to take a child tonight.' It's the night before Christmas when Casey and Mike get the call. A twelve year old girl, stuck between a rock and a hard place. Her father is on a ventilator, fighting for his life, while her mother is currently on remand in prison. Despite claiming she attacked him in self-defence, she's been charged with his attempted murder. The girl is called Bella, and she's refusing to say anything. The trouble is that she is also the only witness...
From 1870 until after World War I, reformers led an effort to place children from orphanages, asylums, and children's homes with farming families. The farmers received free labor in return for providing room and board. Reformers, meanwhile, believed children learned lessons in family life, citizenry, and work habits that institutions simply could not provide. Drawing on institution records, correspondence from children and placement families, and state reports, Megan Birk scrutinizes how the farm system developed--and how the children involved may have become some of America's last indentured laborers. Between 1850 and 1900, up to one-third of farm homes contained children from outside the family. Birk reveals how the nostalgia attached to misplaced perceptions about healthy, family-based labor masked the realities of abuse, overwork, and loveless upbringings endemic in the system. She also considers how rural people cared for their own children while being bombarded with dependents from elsewhere. Finally, Birk traces how the ills associated with rural placement eventually forced reformers to transition to a system of paid foster care, adoptions, and family preservation.
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