If you’ve read Part (1) I sincerely hope by the time you finish Part (2) you’ll realise clearly, what I'm trying to say. With all of my heart I know that being brought up in the care system is not a bad thing. Being taken care of and having a different way of life, I'll admit can be challenging as well as a little daunting ... but what I'm attempting to share here is that personally for me, being taken from a bad world into a different one was the making of me... Don’t misunderstand, I would much rather have had loving parents who would have made me their world, but, that was not going to happen so, the next best thing did happen and for as long as I live, I'll always be thankful for the much needed intervention that took place, giving us other opportunities that I did always try to embrace...
My other message here is this... If you’ve been unfortunate enough to be placed in care, then try to remember, life is what you make it and although that may be hard to deal with during times of distress and uncertainty also know when your world settles, take into account the law of child protection and its importance. If you’re in care or were in care then yours was compromised. Don’t let it ruin your future... If like me you remained in care, be realistic; know the responsibility lies with the adults who were around you. Now move forward, shake the shadows from your shoulders and be the best that you can be.
We were taken to the police station; the three smallest children were taken to a nursery unit.
My brother and I were taken to a children’s home quite close to the nursery. I felt completely numb as well as totally disconnected not just from my siblings but from life as well. Every few seconds I’d feel a wave of panic wash over me, but, the policeman who shouted had sternly ordered me to remain calm just so I wouldn’t upset my siblings further...
At the time, I didn’t know it but later I came to realise, this was the change that would end up saving my life... I went on to experience another way of living, another way of life. I would feel what it was like to be liked. I learned how to live properly, how to converse. I learned how to read, write, make friends and interact normally. So many strange new wonderful experiences awaited my siblings and me. I remember feeling happy in my heart for the first time. I knew I didn’t want to return home to the dark, dreary miserable life I’d lived... the light was here, the warmth was all around me. I didn’t feel threatened by anybody because I sensed they wanted to help. I recognised genuine sparkles in other people’s eyes. But there was a way to go yet... no one who is brought up in a dysfunctional household is without a few problems...
It started the first night they tried to settle me down in the home, I waited for them to leave then I crept out of my bed to get in with my brother. Feeling more settled I very soon fell asleep. In the early hours I was woken, it was dark and someone with a calm soothing voice carried me back to my own single bed. I waited again and as soon as calm voice left, I crept back into my brother’s bed, again instantly falling asleep... The next day, calm voice told me It was really important that I sleep in my own bed and that I wouldn’t be allowed to sleep with my brother... I cried for the longest time, I couldn’t understand, didn’t they realise I’d never had a bed of my own. My siblings and I always, slept together.
The first morning...
Calm voice gave me and my brother a wash bag which contained unfamiliar things. The first thing she showed to us was a small round container; she took a toothbrush, dipped it into the loose pink powder and pushed it against my teeth, the powder tasted lovely, so I started to eat it...
Laughing she cried out “No, no, no it’s for cleaning teeth”
We were bathed and deloused.
Then we were taken back to individual bedrooms where we discovered fresh clothes at the bottom of our beds. I started to dance in my room, I felt so happy, happy, happy.
At breakfast the other kids looked at us funny. I smiled inside and then out because I didn’t care, we were eating cereal, toast and drinking milk... it was wonderful.
Calm voice spent a lot of time with us that first day as did a giant of a man called Mr. Webb... So much to learn, so much happening... Did I ask for my mother? Yes I think I did once, my worry was she would return and take us away from this beautiful place.
I explored and spoke to all the people I could find, there were lots of them... they were in the kitchen, in the office, in the laundry room the place was humming. There was one lady I will always remember, Mrs Bull was her name. She always held a gentle face and persistently told me I had beautiful eyes and hair... Even as a child, I realised there was something missing on this lady’s weather beaten face, she didn’t have any eyebrows or eye lashes and her hair was a wig in a net but I loved that lady so much she made me feel warm, safe and pretty. I always looked forward to her shifts as we would spend long periods of time reading together.
I took my time tentatively exploring these new surroundings. Already I sensed a calm exterior which smelled lovely and clean, including adults who spoke nicely and who came across as friendly in a sort of genuine kind of way... what I also recall is that I was a perceptive little girl who instinctively sensed if there was or could possibly be a hidden agenda, or even, an ulterior motive. I usually managed to keep myself safe as I also had my trusty internal scanner that sensed evil or wrong doers... So with my inbuilt extra sensory perception switch to maximum and on full alert, I knew and understood there was no danger at least not in this building.
The following morning after a fitful night’s sleep I woke to find fresh clothes and my wash bag hanging on my bedside table... I thought, wow, this happens every day. There was a real sense of order and routine which made me feel safe and let me tell you that were something I hadn’t ever felt before.
Dressed in minutes and ready for action... I run down steps, through fire escape doors on towards a big dining room. I smell food, toast... I see milk... I run to ginormous windows which completely surround the room. I see trees, grass, flowers. This is so good.
I hear a high pitched voice from another child.
"Who are you?" she shrieks.
Swirling around in my beautiful pink dress which I hold out wide with both hands... I observe two twinkling brown eyes and a crazy mop of thick black hair.
"I’m a very important princess" I say with complete glee.
"And where do you live princess?” she giggles.
Raising my small blonde head, I look around with wonder at my brand new forever home...
"Why, I live here with you in my castle “
Falling backwards on to an overstuffed sofa, I excitedly throw my feet up high into the air; I further examine beautiful white socks. Then smiling wide I’m just in time to see my hero walk through the door.
"Ahh there you are Jane" Mr Webb smiles, “we were just looking for you"