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:
'ELBOWS OFF THE TABLE'
(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?