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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.
"Revealing and much needed." --Booklist In this unflinching, unforgettable memoir, Regina Louise tells the true story of overcoming neglect in the US foster-care system. Drawing on her experience as one of society's abandoned children, she tells how she emerged from the cruel, unjust system, not only to survive, but to flourish. After years of jumping from one fleeting, often abusive home to the next, Louise meets a counselor named Jeanne Kerr. For the first time in her young life, Louise knows what it means to be seen, wanted, understood, and loved. After Kerr tries unsuccessfully to adopt Louise, the two are ripped apart--seemingly forever--and Louise continues her passage through the cold cinder-block landscape of a broken system, enduring solitary confinement, overmedication, and the actions of adults who seem hell-bent on convincing her that she deserves nothing, that she is nothing. But instead of losing her will to thrive, Louise remains determined to achieve her dream of a higher education. After she ages out of the system, Louise is thrown into adulthood and, haunted by her trauma, struggles to finish school, build a career, and develop relationships. As she puts it, it felt impossible "to understand how to be in the world." Eventually, Louise learns how to confront her past and reflect on her traumas. She starts writing, quite literally, a new future for herself, a new way to be. Louise weaves together raw, sometimes fragmented memories, excerpts from real documents from her case file, and elegant reflections to tell the story of her painful upbringing and what came after. The result is a rich, engrossing account of one abandoned girl's efforts to find her place in the world, people to love, and people to love her back.
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.
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 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.
The eleventh memoir and latest title from the internationally bestselling author and foster carer Cathy Glass. This book tells the true story of Cathy's adopted daughter Lucy. Lucy was born to a single mother who had been abused and neglected for most of her own childhood. Right from the beginning Lucy's mother couldn't cope, but it wasn't until Lucy reached eight years old that she was finally taken into permanent foster care. By the time Lucy is brought to live with Cathy she is eleven years old and severely distressed after being moved from one foster home to another. Withdrawn, refusing to eat and three years behind in her schooling, it is thought that the damage Lucy has suffered is irreversible. But Cathy and her two children bond with Lucy quickly, and break through to Lucy in a way no-one else has been able to, finally showing her the loving home she never believed existed. Cathy and Lucy believe they were always destined to be mother and daughter - it just took them a little while to find each other.
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.
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.
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.
Wisdom and experience from lesbian, gay, and transgender foster and adoptive parents Featuring a spectrum families from a diverse backgrounds, this book reveals the joys and challenges of adoptive and foster parenting. The authors outline how the experience of adopting of fostering has changed for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people over the years, outlining some of the major changes in policy, and what the research can tell us about LGBT parenting and adopted and fostered children. They interview families involved at different stages of the fostering and adoption process, from those undergoing assessments through to the experienced foster carers and adopters who were interviewed for the first edition of this book 20 years previously, and describe parenting adolescent and adult children. While the number of LGBT people adopting or fostering has increased since then, some of the very real challenges still endure: encounters with social stigma, racism, homophobia, and discriminatory policies -- and families share some of the strategies they have used to help address these. Full of remarkable stories that stay with the reader well after reading, this is an essential guide for same-sex couples and LGBT single parents, as well as social workers, social work educators and fostering and adoption panel members.
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."
In Bitterroot Susan Devan Harness traces her journey to understand the complexities and struggles of being an American Indian child adopted by a white couple and living in the rural American West. When Harness was fifteen years old, she questioned her adoptive father about her "real" parents. He replied that they had died in a car accident not long after she was born-except they hadn't, as Harness would learn in a conversation with a social worker a few years later. Harness's search for answers revolved around her need to ascertain why she was the target of racist remarks and why she seemed always to be on the outside looking in. New questions followed her through college and into her twenties when she started her own family. Meeting her biological family in her early thirties generated even more questions. In her forties Harness decided to get serious about finding answers when, conducting oral histories, she talked with other transracial adoptees. In her fifties she realized that the concept of "home" she had attributed to the reservation existed only in her imagination. Making sense of her family, the American Indian history of assimilation, and the very real-but culturally constructed-concept of race helped Harness answer the often puzzling questions of stereotypes, a sense of nonbelonging, the meaning of family, and the importance of forgiveness and self-acceptance. In the process Bitterroot also provides a deep and rich context in which to experience life.
This new book from life work expert Joy Rees explains the value of effective and meaningful life work with children who are fostered and adopted, and how best to carry this out. This book will help social work professionals, foster carers and adopters to understand the many aspects of life work and to consider the important contributions they can all make to this task. Life work is about helping children to know and to understand their personal stories and the life experiences that have shaped them. Enabling children to reach their potential and achieve the best possible outcome is the common goal, and this is best achieved by using the collaborative approach to life work advocated in this book
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.
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.
Mariana the Mermaid is not like the other mermaids. Abandoned by a careless mother on the ocean floor, she has never laughed or played, and can barely even swim. She feels useless. Then she meets Muriel the Turtle, who welcomes her into her family and teaches her to sing her own mighty song, making her feel confident and ready to join in with the other mermaids. Written for children aged 4+, this picture book uses a simple metaphor to show how children who have experienced neglect or who lack confidence can learn to find a sense of self-worth. It will help children explore their feelings and encourage communication.
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.
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...
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.
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?
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.
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