Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Foster Parents.

I am back into writing my best selling book again. Here is a bit of unedited rambling. I am not sure if what I have to say on this particular subject has any value, but these things are in my head and I want to write them down. I am still struggling to find humour in my childhood situation, but it was there. I remember using humour as a defence mechanism. Make 'em laugh and maybe they won't hit you. Where is it? I shall keep looking.

An excerpt from:
(copyright John Bain)

     These people who come sometimes and take me out for the day, are prospective foster parents. Usually I never see them again. Suits me anyway because my mum is coming to get me soon.
What they do is they take you out to see how you behave and then when they bring you back, they decide if they want you or not. Lots of them say not. They can be quite fussy about who they want. I think I was turned down once because my hair wouldn't stay flat.
Personally I think they are looking in the wrong place. None of us home kids is going to come without some kind of problem. Probably lots of problems. We are never going to be the perfect little angel they are looking for. We are never going to be as wonderful as their own kids.
What they don't seem to realise is that the little boy or girl they are considering for fostering is not the kid they are going to end up with. The truth is that most of us are on our best behaviour during these visits. Not necessarily because we are desperate to be chosen by them either, although a nice car or motorbike and a big house with our own room might sway us, and loads of money too, lets not forget that. No the reason we are so quiet and well mannered is because we are extremely nervous. We have not the slightest idea who you are. For all we know you could be taking us away to murder us. We might never be seen again. Sometimes too, people overdo the affection. Believe me, it is weird being cuddled by a complete stranger.
Incidentally if you decide not to take a particular child because he seems to spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on the toilet, that is down to being nervous too.
That's where the system was so wrong. What should have been happening was that we, the children should be making the decisions about who we want to go and live with. Not the prospective foster parents. That seems completely wrong thinking. Actually there is no seems about it. It is definitely wrong.
We kids are not a commodity, to be chosen and unchosen at some so called caring persons whim. Unless they are in it for the money of course, in that case a commodity is exactly what we are, and let's not kid ourselves, the money does attract a lot of people to the role of foster parent. The monthly cheque from the council comes in very useful. A couple of foster kids might be a bit of an intrusion, but think of it this way, there will soon be enough in the bank account, to buy a car, or for a deposit on a nice big house.
Nobody ever seemed to consider what the child wanted. We would be moved from pillar to post, without so much as a by your leave. I think I just got used to it in the end. Expected it. Never ever thought I would be in one place for long, and never was. Mind you, some of the people who rejected me, I ought to thank them. They did me a great big favour. Saved me from rejecting them first. Saved themselves and me a whole heap of trouble.
It was a good thing I never lost sight of the fact that one special day my real mum was going to come and take me away from it all. It is good to have a goal. A place, real or imagined to reach out for.
So having said all that. There are of course many decent, genuine people who foster. People who have made a genuine difference to an unhappy child. People who are able to take on the most troubled kid and give them hope. I had some good kind foster parents at times. I will never forget them.
The others? I wish I could forget them. But they just will not go away. Which just goes to show the everlasting effects of wrong choices. Choices not made by the child either.
Todays welfare system for kids must have improved, mustn't it? Mustn't it?


  1. John, what an insightful picture you have painted. I loved everything you wrote and the styling of the prose...good job. Please include this chapter in your book, just as is (except for the two on's in the second last paragraph).
    Get with the program and keep on writing, I want to purchase this book when it becomes available.

    1. Thank you for those kind words Virginia, and well done for spotting the deliberate mistake I always include to make sure people are reading properly?

  2. I'm going to ask you a personal question..don't answer if you don't want to.In that situation ie being in a children's home, being pushed from pillar to post,etc etc. what was your one constant? Was it the thought/hope that your Mum would take you home? How long did you live with that hope...or whatever it was?
    Jane x

    1. You have it right Jane. I have written on this very subject in the book. Strangely enough when mum did reappear, I had lost that hope I think, and also at the time of her reappearance I was going through a tougher time than ever.

  3. You would have fit in nicely in our gang. We had the good, the bad, and the ugly when it came to our families.

  4. It breaks my heart (sorry if that sounds cliche and insincere) to know that children suffer like that. They are treated like little commodities to be accepted, rejected, or traded at a whim. Does anyone in the system even wonder how they must feel when these things happen? There just has to be a better way.

  5. By the way, I am thrilled that you are continuing your book. I hope that as the bad things are out of your head and onto paper, the humor will shine through. I also hope that this book will be the catharsis you need to put those awful memories in a place where they will not affect you so much. And remember we are not getting younger. I want to read this book!

  6. John, as sad as the occurences in your earlier life seem to have been, you have managed to be able to write about them with such forthrightness. Perhaps as Emma suggested this in itself is a form of therapy?

  7. Would like to order a copy of your book. I can see that it is going to be a best seller. You have done really well considering the hard start in life you had.

  8. I agree with Paul and Lea above. I also wonder if things have changed much when it comes to foster parents. being a school teacher for 30 years , I experienced some of the bad foster parents but I also came across many wonderful ones too.

  9. Must be hard during those days. Couldn't imagine being in an orphanage. We do visit orphanage and old folks home sometime but just for charity. Those children all look happy to see us but deep down inside I am not sure. I think the older they are the more difficult they were to be taken home by foster parents. Thanks for sharing some of your not so good time, moments.