Posts tagged ‘foster care’

Just an Earth Bound Misfit.

I am trying to read ‘The girl with the dragon tattoo’ by Stieg Larsson. Clearly it is a popular book. Many people have loved it. People whose opinions in such matters matter to me have read it and loved it. I, however, just can’t seem to get into it. I have persisted, but it is heavy going. Books aren’t heavy going for me usually. It’s just not happening with this one though. The magic is missing. I will probably read it through to the end, because I don’t give up easily, but I’ll not be rushing to read the sequels. I don’t expect anyone will lose any sleep over that really, but please, let me know if you do. I’ll send you the book; that’ll fix it.

I bought hair straighteners today. This must mean the end of the world is nigh. Also, that I’ve finally completely lost my mind. Because, really Kate? Have you met yourself before? I think I had some vague sort of notion that I’d wave it around my head for a few seconds and it would magically transform my hair. In a good way. Actually, it is a long tedious process of drawing the heated tongs down small sections of hair, over and over and OVER again.  While staring at yourself in the mirror. The novelty value wore off pretty quickly.  They do get very hot too. I expect it’s only a matter of time before I inflict some hair straightener related burns on myself. Never let it be said I don’t know how to have fun.

I did hear a very cool story though, so let’s end on a cheerful note, yeah? I’ve spoken before of the amazing Lauren. My young friend, who after going though a rough patch herself and coming out the other side, now works to help other young people. She came over the other night for a chat because she wanted to share her day with me. It had been a good one. Her story started with someone else. A young boy had found a camera on the side of the road. It looked new and expensive so he picked it up, took him home and put it back together. Amazingly, he got it to work again, and when he scrolled through the photo’s on the camera he recognised Lauren’s parents in one of the frames. Despite pressure from others to keep the expensive camera the boy thought Lauren’s parents might know who it belonged to, so he hopped on his push bike and rode to their house. They did know who owned the camera, which was only three weeks old and worth about $1000. So, the camera found its way home. The story didn’t end there however. Enterprising little soul that she is, and firmly believing honesty and integrity should be rewarded, Lauren approached a local business she remembered had done some ‘community spirit’ type of program, to see if she could nominate the boy. The person she spoke to said they did not run that program anymore but that she should talk to the new owners. So, she did. 

Not only will the boy who returned the camera be rewarded with a certificate and $200 voucher but the business owner wanted to set up a reward program in conjunction with Lauren’s highschool. They also want to run a benefit night for  the school. Honesty is honesty but it adds another layer to the story when you know that the young lad has had a rough start himself and is currently in foster care. The boost this recognition for doing the right thing will give his self-esteem, well, how could you put a price on that? To know that there will be a program to recognise other kids who are doing good things, and that it was started by this amazing young lady who is full of ideas and enthusiasm and an unshakable belief in the ability of one person to make a difference – all such hope filled stuff. And then, when she went home, she wrote on facebook thanking ME for listening to her!

Listening to Lauren share her story was a pleasure, knowing her is a gift. I look forward to seeing what she does next. That’s a sequel I’m definitely interested in.

 

 

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You’ve got a friend in me.

A special request this evening, from my Bronwyn, to write about the good stuff. She has a fair point. That I am broken-hearted, you know. That Baby Daddy is a complete bastard has also been covered and remains unchanged. There are still good things and good people however, and for them I am truly grateful.

While I was away, as I was for three weeks, my Father and Step Mother offered to look after Daughter Number Two for a weekend to give Baby Daddy a break. So, off she went to be spoiled in ways only doting grandparents can. Son Number One had been telling me how much he was missing his brother and sister, and as his respite house was only around the corner from my parents house I suggested he arrange to visit with Daughter Number Two while she was there. The next day I had a call from Son Number One. “Mum!” he said “We are all together!”. He had arranged for Son Number Two and his carers to also meet up at his grandparents, so the three of them could spend time together. My Son Number One, with all his issues – his ADHD, his Asperger’s, his epilepsy, his chromosomal abnormality – had arranged to get together with his two siblings, so they all could spend some time together. And then, as if that was not enough, he called me to let me know that they were all together. Perhaps it is only the parents of other special needs kids who will understand the enormity of this for me. Maybe all parents can appreciate the gift of knowing you have taught your child something valuable, something useful. My Son Number One, who lives in his one step removed from life bubble, reached out to his siblings and brought them together, and then included me in their reunion. I could not be more proud. I am proud of him, and I am proud of me, because whatever my failings my children understand family and they understand love, and that is down to me.

Son Number One’s carer had only nice things to say about him, when I met her today. Similarly, the carers who’ve had Son Number Two both this time and last, a different couple each time, are falling over themselves to care for him again if needs be. I spent two nights with Daughter Number Two before she headed off for an interstate holiday with Baby Daddy today. Both nights she slept soundly and peacefully, and left me with smiles this morning, secure in herself and in her relationships with both her parents. I think for so long I have been caught up in the day-to-day struggle for survival that I have not paid enough attention to the strengths that have been there, both in my children and within myself. There are good things here, as my Bronwyn pointed out, and I should take as much credit for them as I do for the rest.

While I was away I met with Ann O’Neill, director of Angelhands , an organisation offering support to those affected by violent crime. It was a very positive meeting for me on a number of levels. I was relaying to Ann what I saw as one of my failings; that I have taught my children how to survive and not to live. Her response was that some parents did not even give their children that. That I may not be doing as well as I feel I should be, but that teaching my children to survive was not teaching them nothing. I have watched my children over the last two days and have seen their resilience. They know they are important to each other. They know that they are loved. They know how to make the best of a situation. They don’t lie down and give up. Things may not be quite as they expected, or as they perhaps would like, but they get on with it. Perhaps some of this is in spite of me, but some of it has to be because of me and the things that I have taught them. My children’s resilience is a good thing. Their connectedness to each other, and to me, also a good thing. Meeting with Ann O’Neill, visiting the Angelhands office, hearing about the work they do – all very good things. All hopeful things that speak positively of the future.

My friend Bronwyn, a very good thing also. A definite kindred spirit. Everyone should have one. I am so lucky that I do.

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