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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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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?
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...
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.
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."
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.
* What is shame? * How does it affect children? * How can adults help? The perfect starting point for any adult or carer working with children who have experienced shame, this guide provides straightforward answers and explanations to both common and complex questions. At a time when children are more likely than ever to experience shame, the accessible advice in this book helps adults to boost children's self-esteem. Betsy de Thierry navigates the need to understand its impact and the reasons behind it, as well as how to reduce its hold on self-confidence. Reassuring advice will also help revitalize adults' abilities to face the challenges of supporting children affected by shame. It will teach them how to restore self-esteem.
Written for busy foster carers and adoptive parents, this book provides a concise introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and how to support a child with a diagnosis. It emphasises the common strengths children with ASD have, as well as offering strategies for any behavioural issues that are likely to arise, highlighting how these can be exacerbated by the care system and adoption process. The first part of the book looks at the different aspects of autism and the challenges it can pose for children and parents, providing strategies for managing difficulties at home and at school, using social stories, and reducing sensory input in a child's environment. The second part looks at issues that arise for fostered or adopted children, including placement transitions, contact, and explaining the past. It concludes with helping parents to think about self-care.
A new challenge faces foster carer Maggie Hartley: this time it's not a child that's at risk, it's her mother. Can Maggie help Hailey to escape her abusive husband, and reunite her with her baby daughter? A heartbreaking true story perfect for fans of Cathy Glass, Casey Watson, Angela Hart and Rosie Lewis. ***** A TRUE STORY BY THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR MAGGIE HARTLEY When six-week-old Jasmine is placed in her care, foster mother Maggie Hartley is delighted to have a baby in the house again. Maggie's been given temporary custody of Jasmine after social services were concerned that the baby was failing to thrive and develop. With Maggie's love and care, Jasmine soon flourishes into a healthy, happy baby - but it is clear that all is not quite as it seems with her mum, Hailey. Timid, pale and withdrawn, Hailey looks as though she is carrying the weight of the world onher shoulders. Maggie fears she may be suffering from postnatal depression until late one night she discovers Hailey on her doorstep, her body battered and broken, her spirit crushed. Hailey admits that her husband has been abusing her for years, but this revelation places Maggie in an awful situation: there's no way Hailey can regain custody of Jasmine until her husband is off the scene. But after years of physical and emotional abuse, can Hailey find the strength to leave him? An uplifting and ultimately redemptive story by Sunday Times bestselling foster carer Maggie Hartley. Perfect for fans of Cathy Glass, Casey Watson, Angela Hart and Rosie Lewis.
This book provides tips for social workers and carers to look after cared-for children at school.
`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...
The powerfully moving new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author, Maggie Hartley. Fourteen-year-old Shazia has been taken into care after a conversation at school leads her teacher to suspect that the teenager's family are planning to send her to Pakistan for an arranged marriage. To her family's fury, Shazia is sent to live with foster carer Maggie Hartley whilst social services investigate. But with Shazia denying everything and social services unable to find any evidence to support the teacher's fears, Shazia is allowed to return home. But a few weeks later, Maggie is woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call from a terrified Shazia, who has managed to escape the family home through a window. Sobbing, she confesses to Maggie that her parents are planning to send her to Pakistan to be married in a few days, and have threatened to kill her if she speaks out again. Returned to Maggie's care, Shazia is petrified that her parents will track her down and kill her, and Maggie must be on constant alert. But the worst is yet to come when it emerges that Shazia is the victim of FGM. Can Maggie help this damaged and traumatised young girl understand what has happened to her and to find a way to heal? In this new book, Maggie Hartley taps into the highly topical issues of FGM and arranged marriage, and presents a sensitive and unique insight into the effect these practices have on their young victims.
Charley Chatty likes shiny things, especially shiny pennies. Sometimes Charley thinks her siblings get more than her so she likes to keep the pennies safe in her pocket. Charley spots some pennies lying around the house, and puts them in her piggy bank. But she gets very nervous when her Dad starts looking for the missing pennies. Luckily, Charley's Dad is good at working out what might have happened and helps Charley to put it all right again. Written by a mum who understands and her daughter, who is adopted, this insightful story will help your whole family to feel a bit better.
Casey's Unit is, as ever, full of troubled, disaffected pupils, and new arrival Leo is something of a conundrum. Thirteen year old Leo isn't a bad lad - in fact, he's generally polite and helpful, but he's in danger of permanent exclusion for repeatedly absconding and unauthorised absences. Despite letters being sent home regularly, his mother never turns up for any appointments, and when the school calls home she always seems to have an excuse. Though Casey has her hands full, she offers to intervene for a while, to try get Leo engaged in learning again and remaining in school. The head's sceptical though and warns her that this is Leo's very last chance. But Casey's determined, because there's something about Leo that makes her want to fight his corner, and get to the bottom of whatever it is that compels this enigmatic boy to keep running away. With Leo so resolutely tight-lipped and secretive, Casey knows that if she's going to keep this child in education, she's going to have to get to the bottom of it herself...
Lucy is eight years old and ends up in foster care after being abandoned by her mum and kicked out by her new stepmother. Two aunties and then her elderly grandmother take her in but it seems nobody can cope with Lucy’s disruptive behaviour. Social Services hope a stay with experienced foster carer Angela will help Lucy settle down. She misses her dad and three siblings and is desperate for a fresh start back home, but will Lucy ever be able to live in harmony with her stepmother and her stepsister – a girl who was once her best friend at school?
The Girl Who Wanted to Belong is the fifth book from well-loved foster carer and Sunday Times bestselling author Angela Hart. 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 those children whose upbringing has been less fortunate than others.
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.
A heartbreaking and inspiring collection of true fostering stories perfect for fans of Cathy Glass and Rosie Lewis. Contains previously published stories Too Scared To Cry, The Girl No One Wanted and A Family For Christmas - brought together in this heartwarming and inspiring collection for the first time. ***** Maggie Hartley is one of the UK's most prolific foster mothers. This inspiring collection includes three heartbreaking, true short stories about the children who have passed through Maggie's care. TOO SCARED TO CRY When Ben and Damien arrive on Maggie's doorstep, the two toddlers are too scared to speak. More disturbingly still, their baby half-brother Noah is completely unresponsive - he doesn't smile or play or crawl. The three siblings have been conditioned to be seen and not heard, and it's up to Maggie to unpick what has caused this terrible void. THE GIRL NO ONE WANTED Eleven-year-old Leanne is out of control. With over forty placements in her short life, no local foster carers are willing to take in this angry and damaged little girl. Maggie is Leanne's only hope, and her last chance. If this placement fails, Leanne will be put in a secure unit. Where most others would simply walk away, Maggie refuses to give up on the little girl who's never known love. A FAMILY FOR CHRISTMAS A tragic accident leaves the life of toddler Edward changed forever and his family wracked with guilt. Maggie must help this family grieve for the son they've lost and learn to love the little boy he is now. But will Edward have a family to go home to at Christmas? These heartwarming and inspiring short stories show the power of a foster mother's love, and her determination to help the children who come into her care. Note: These stories have previously been published as individual ebooks. True stories of foster care and adoption and one foster mother's attempts to help the children in her care heal from abuse, neglect and trauma.
As an adoptee, do you have mixed feelings about your adoption? If you do, you are not alone - adoptees often experience complex feelings of grief, anger, and questions about their identity. Sherrie Eldridge is an adoptee and adoption expert, and in this book she draws on her personal experiences and feelings relating to adoption as well as interviews with over 70 adoptees. Sherrie reveals how you can discover your own unique life purpose and worth, and sets out 20 life-transforming choices which you have the power to make. The choices will help you discover answers about issues such as: Why do I feel guilty when I think about my birth parents? Why can't I talk about the painful aspects of adoption? Where can I gain an unshakable sense of self-esteem? Sherrie also addresses the problem of depression among adoptees and common dilemmas such as if, when and how to contact a birth mother or father. This fully updated second edition includes new material on finding support online, contacting family through social media, and features three new chapters, including Sherrie's story of reuniting with her birth brother, Jon, in adulthood.
In the much-anticipated follow-up to Sunday Times bestseller Trapped, foster carer Rosie Lewis tells the heartbreaking true story of 13-year-old Zadie. When the young teenage girl runs away from home and is discovered hiding on the city streets by the police, it is clear that all is not as it should be. Taught to believe that Westerners should not be trusted, when Zadie is initially delivered into the experienced hands of foster carer Rosie she is polite and well-behaved, but understandably suspicious of the family around her. Through Rosie's support and understanding, gradually Zadie begins to settle into her new surroundings, but loyalty to her relatives, and fear of bringing shame on those around her, prevents her from confessing the horrifying truth about her troubled past. When the shocking truth finally emerges, Rosie and her family can hardly believe that Zadie had managed to keep the shocking secrets to herself for so long.
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