( continued from previous post)
Ok so here goes, I’m going to try to finish my child hood tonight. I have been and had a therapy session for me PTSD today and really it has made me want to finalise this part of my life, so here goes.
So we left the last chapter off with me leaving my home town to attend boarding school. The boarding school was about 2 hours from my home town and was somewhere with no direct family connection.
A week earlier I had met with the head sister of the school and the principal. They seemed nice enough and were keen to offer me a place at the school. They assured me in their care I would feel loved and as a part of a family, I was assured that no harm would come to me there.
There was a court order in place preventing my mother and father from contacting the school as they had been ordered to stand trial for severe child abuse and maltreatment.
Before going to the boarding school I had spent many hours with police, giving statements that would be used later that year in court against my parents.
My first day at boarding school was a bit daunting; there were so many girls I felt really out of place. I was placed in a blue dorm with about 8-10 girls we each had a little cubical, I loved it. There was a bed a desk with a light shelves and a wardrobe just for me!
I was so excited a space all of my own. Before going on I must explain; when I lived in foster homes before boarding school, not once was i given a drawer or a cupboard just for my stuff (not that I had much). My stuff was always in my garbage or shopping bag on or under the bed or sometimes squeezed in next to a foster siblings cupboard which always seemed to lead to arguments for invasion of space and privacy and I was always the one in the wrong. The beds I slept in (if I had one) were always “that’s my sons bed whose at uni” or “that’s my daughter bed and she will need it when she comes home” I always got the lecture “this is not your room but this is where you will stay”. “The things in here are not for you, do not touch!”, “this is my area but you can come in here to sleep but you can’t come in any other time” I never had a place that was just mine.
I didn’t have space in the bathroom and would often get in trouble for using things. It was just a nightmare, I was in trouble if I didn’t wash but in trouble for using their stuff I could just never win.
Eventually I just would pretend to avoid the hassle. Often my clothes did not get washed with the family stuff and were always separated.
So back to the boarding school, I was excited with my space all the other girls’ whinged about theirs but I loved mine. The cupboard looked very bare because I didn’t have much but that didn’t bother me. Once in the boarding school I was entitled to receive the homeless rate of living away from home allowance. This money went in to an account held by the sisters on my behalf. I got around $600 per month; $60 was for me a month the rest paid my boarding fees for the school. Each month the sister would take $20 for collection during mass this was my offering apparently to the church.
I remember the lecture where I was shown in the bible that I must contribute and forgo 10% of my income. So all in all I had $40 per month this money was to clothe me, get my snacks and school morning tea, stationary and school supplies, school uniforms and shoes and anything else that I needed. The school was nice, and the lessons were great. I did well in art, geography, English and anything that was hands on. I had a few friends, mostly the day students or as they were called “the day rats” the girls in the boarding house were hard to get close to. Their lives were so different from mine. They would talk to parents and siblings on the phone, receive care packs with special things, have loads of stories to tell, photos plastered all over their walls and really it was just a huge bunch of the “popular girls”. There were one or two that were nice to me in the house but I could tell we were never as close as the other girls, I just stood out.
On home weekends and holidays I struggled. Because the boarding school was my home, I didn’t have anywhere to go like the others. Sometimes I went to foster homes, sometimes I went home with other boarders or if I was really unlucky I stayed alone with the sisters or just hung around the town till school was back.
After a little while one of the day students who I was close with asked me to join the air force cadets. It wasn’t something I had ever thought about but my thinking was if it got me out of the boarding school even if only for a while I loved it.
At first the sisters were not happy and didn’t like the idea, I told my docs case worker at the time and she liked the idea. After some debate the boarding school allowed it, even though no other girl was allowed to do extracurricular activities of an evening.
So I joined, was issued a very smart uniform and my cadet book. These things were my pride and joy; I loved polishing my shoes so you could see your face in the reflection, ironing my shirts to within an inch of their life till they were as stiff as boards. I fitted in, I didn’t feel different and I felt good about myself whenever I was in uniform. Like everything else that year I was determined to be the best and excelled at everything I attempted. Weekends were now filled with bivouacs (camping in the bush) community service activities, rifle practice and so much more. On the school holidays there was always a camp you could go to and it was a requirement to attend a few each year to progress through the ranks. The first lot of holidays approached and I signed up for camp. All camps at the air force base were full and the only 2 options left were powered flying or gliding camp. I was terrified of heights and had only been in a plane once before, but I figured if I had to go in the air I wanted an engine and didn’t want to be just relying on the wind and air currents. So powered flying camp it was. I had to fly a minimum 3 hours in the air to attend so docs paid this initial 3 hours cost for me. I purchased the required text books and my friends parents paid for my medical. That was the first holidays I hadn’t had to worry about where I would live or where I would sleep.
I was so excited. When it was time to go, I traveled to Camden on the country link train dressed in full uniform as required . I felt very important and special. I was traveling alone but I had done that thousands of times before, that train was almost a home . I had done so many journeys and the staff actually knew me by name and often feed me at their expense. When I arrived at the camp it was amazing, barracks were on the hill overlooking the airfield and everyone got issued with a pilot flight suit, just like they wear in top gun. I felt so cool. Everyone had different ranks, duties and chores but I didn’t care. I just loved the fact I knew where I would be for a whole week and nobody was going to judge me and I wasn’t the only new person there. After lots of theory work I remember my first flight, I was so nervous I was shaking all over but at the same time giggling like an idiot and I found it so hard to contain myself.
The instructor did some breathing exercises’ with me and once I was calm we got in to the aircraft. It was an orange and white PA-38 piper tomahawk with an Australian air force emblem on the wings and body. The instructor went through the motions taxied down the runway and prepared for takeoff. Clearance was given and the engine roared, in just a moment we were hurtling down the runway and before you knew it we were of the ground. The feeling was amazing and I felt so liberated it was hard to explain. Approaching the first turn I took the controls, I wasn’t meant to but just felt the urge. The pilot laughed and said “you’re keen” but nicely retook control and we headed out to the training area. Once there about 5 mins, he said “ok your turn” he was there and I knew nothing could go wrong 1000’s of feet above the earth in basically a tin can and I felt safer than I ever had in my life. I turned the plane back and forth, up and down to see what each movement would result in. it was totally amazing, the hour flew past and before long we were re-entering the circuit and preparing to land I was allowed to hold the controls with the pilot the whole time and it was the most fun I’d ever had. Long story short by the end of that camp I was awarded a flying scholarship so that I could return next holidays. The instructors said I was a natural and they felt I really could become a pilot.
That year every spare minute I had I was flying, whenever I was homeless the pilots came to my aid. I stayed at the barracks on weekends even when there were no camps. I washed planes and swept the hangers to earn extra flight time every chance I got. Soon enough Christmas 1995 rolled around - 6 whole weeks and I needed to find a place to stay . After many arguments a foster home where I had stayed previously agreed to have me for a few weeks but not the whole holiday. I was ok with this I would have Christmas with them, one week on flying camp and I would just wing the rest. Christmas was as per normal distressing and miserable. The foster family did all the normal family things a family would do, had a tree decorated it, had a large meal lots of family and friends would attend in the morning gifts galore would surround the tree. I was excited and thought some of them had to be for me. I sat there waiting, which gifts were mine. The mother handed them out one by one between her children, the pile was disappearing quickly and it appeared just like every other year I would be excluded from Christmas. My gift was the last gift, a small cross stitch activity the size of a wallet, it was lovely and I thanked the carers but inside I was hurting. I sat there watching these kids opening hundreds of gifts, new clothes, shoes, toys, cd walk-mans, jewellery and Nintendo games. I was gutted, I stormed off to the laundry and sat in the corner and cried An hour or so later they came to me and wanted to know what was wrong, I yelled and swore and wondered why ask me to come and stay if they weren’t going to be nice. I was called ungrateful and I should be happy with what I had. I then got the usual lecture about how much it cost to care for me and there just wasn’t money for gifts. It was not their fault that my parents sent me nothing and apparently the department should have provided gifts as I was their responsibility. Their children had so many gifts because they are their children and most were from family uncle aunts and so on.
Because I was apparently ungrateful I was excluded from Christmas lunch that day. They didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of their friends and family, so as per normal I just stayed in my room and completed the little cross stitch. The following thoughts ran around and around my mind; now seriously if you are going to take a child in to you home as an act of kindness why exclude them, why not show unconditional love, is it really that hard? Is it so much to ask of your relatives to all pitch in and buy a small gift so that the foster child doesn’t get left out? After all you invited them to your family, you asked them to come, if it is such an inconvenience why bother? For the rest of the holiday season I just grinned and bore the crappy existence I was forced to live whilst there. I looked forward to my week ahead flying high above the world back where I felt special and loved. Once at pilots camp I studied hard, passed my exams and then flew my first solo (the biggest milestone for any budding pilot) taking off in the plane for the first time all alone was amazing. I was totally in control just me and an engine in a metal shell scooting through the air high above the world. I completed my circuit and was soon back on the ground taxiing down the runway back to the hanger. After that flight I flew twice more that day unassisted, and the ball didn’t stop rolling from there. The air force officer invited me to co – pilot a flight with a passenger officer to RAAF base Richmond it was amazing, flying at sunset over the Blue Mountains and the 3 Sisters, landing a small aircraft after a c130 Hercules had landed ,it was mind blowing. Taxiing past all the huge RAAF aircraft is a vision which will be etched in, my mind till the day I die. A storm closed in, so I got to sit in the officer’s mess with them and drink coffee whilst we waited for the weather to clear then it was back to Camden we flew. My first taste at night flying and I loved it. The officer said to me “Melina you can do this it can be your life! You are talented and we will help you if you want it”.... oh how I wanted it, I wished I could stay up there and never land. I got another scholarship that camp and also a flying trophy for my achievements. That holidays the barracks where being used by others so when camp was over I had to leave, I had a few 24 hr placements, a few nights on the streets, a couple of couch surfing nights and a night in a detention centre because there was no homes but docs didn’t want me on the streets.
By the time I was back at boarding school I was feeling really low. I hated my situation and was really just feeling tired moving everyday was taking its toll. In the first few weeks at boarding school I began to spiral , the constant laughs and giggles from the girls as they swapped fantastic holiday stories, talked about gifts, showed some off, flipped through photos just made me mad, frustrated, sad, lonely, heartbroken and very unloved.
I was totally excluded, the girls didn’t mean to do it but we had different lives. I was living in hell and they were in heaven. One of the day students I was friends with had ADHD I often went to the office with her at lunch when she would get her pills, she had a hard life to and I remembered before the holidays we had discussed suicide because that last year a student at school had taken their life. I asked her to keep me her pills and she did. One day she gave me almost a bottle full, we giggled about how she had tricked the nurse who never realised that she hadn’t ever swallowed a single one. That weekend in the prayer room when a small group of us went for a prayer meeting, I took the pills before going to the room. Whilst we listened to the calming music, I laid back and closed my eyes and prayed I would never wake up.
Sadly, I was woken up with a group of faces staring at me and a nun slapping my face. I remember waking up to the words “shes just attention seeking and really such a waste of time I don’t know why we try” one of the girls was screaming and some were just chatting. I remember the sister yelling at me to get up, and explain myself.
Another sister was in the corner on the phone talking with paramedics. Basically I was expelled from the boarding house for disgracing the school with in 48 hrs I was out of there and told never to return. Docs found me a foster placement in that town and I went to a local public high school. That year I had continual moves, some carers where nothing more than evil, others were very loving and kind but none really wanted a teenager fulltime. My old maths teacher from the boarding school applied to be a carer to have me and I hoped so dearly to one day live with her, i was lucky and i did get to stay with her for a short while on a temporary basis.
That year the trial commenced against my parents. it went for ever and I’m still very traumatized by the experience of being on the stand telling my story, being cross examined (or treated like worthless dirt which ever description you prefer) the lawyer was ruthless, my mother and father would swear at me, spit at me and basically humiliate me out the front of the court house each day.
I remember sitting outside on the cold steps, alone waiting to be called, surrounded by criminal, angry parents, drug affected people, police and lawyers every one complaining about the long delays puffing away on cigarettes madly drinking coffee. Whenever we were in the court room, I was just so confused I had no idea what on earth was being said half the time. I sat at the opposite end of the table to my mum.
Really nobody spoke to me, just looked, stared, pointed ,whispered and so on. I remember my father was charged first and he was found guilty. He was mad. He pleaded to the judge for a suspended sentence due to ill health and his other young children at home. The judge gave him a 2 year good behaviour bond and placed him on the child protection register. Mum’s case was heard about a month later and we had to re do everything, mum was charged and after hours on the stand, being grilled one day and treated like crap by Mum’s lawyer and having no one even care that I said I need a break, I stood up in the stand, yelled at the judge and walked out never to return. I was later told that because I did that , the judge refused to hand down his sentence.
Mum was placed on the register but if I wanted her sentenced I would have to return.
Between a new school , multiple homes and 2 huge court trials in a completely different town to where I lived, I just was so over the world I didn’t care and said I give up . I said to docs I just want a life , make sure they leave me alone and just let me go to school and let me fly my planes that’s all I wanted , was that so hard?
I ended up back where I was but in a new placement this time . I would live in a rented caravan in a paddock near the carers house, this was about the 3rd time I had lived in a caravan with a carer but this was the first time I was expected to cook for myself and care for myself and only enter their home occasionally to use the bathroom. I was not at all accepted as a part of this family. I had stayed there before and slept in their attic or loft whatever you call it. There was a mattress and you couldn’t stand and barely sit up. They were a very loving Christian family who adored each other. They were very set in what they did and believed. I would watch them and be very jealous of the love they showed to their children whilst totaling ignoring and isolating me. The lecture when I first stayed was “this is a trial, we have cared before and emotionally it hurt us. Docs have begged us to take you so we have agreed but make no promise” Well at least I guess I knew where I stood, they didn’t want me that was clear.
Their sons teased me on the school bus ride to town each morning and they laughed at me with all their friends. I tried my best to fit in but never felt as though I measured up to their perfect standards.
Living in the van at least gave me space and I didn’t have to actually watch them love their kids and ignore me. I continued to fly and by now I had my GFPT. I was just one step away from a pilot’s licence.
That year I made my debut and got all dressed up like the other girls, except their dresses were gorgeous and mine was a $20 op shop find. One of the older boys from my air cadet unit partnered me and he was a true gentlemen , gave me a rose opened the door and kissed me on the cheek after dropping me home.
At school I had started an environmental club, we did amazing things, won prizes and we were in the newspaper often. I was achieving well in my school marks and my Japanese teacher was thrilled with my efforts. She told me all about the opportunity of being an exchange student. She told me there were scholarships and she thought I had a great chance of winning one. The process lasted the whole year; I applied and did really well but missed out by 2 places. I was devastated but thought it was a long shot anyway so I just picked up and moved on.
By this time I was holding down a job and now living with a lovely lady who was a single mum with a daughter. She was nice, she took me for my first driving lesson in her Torana... I remember her freaking out because I was always in the middle of the road.
We both quickly agreed it was best if I stuck to planes because cars and I just didn’t mix. By late in the year I had been dating a fellow pilot for some time. He was my first real love and he was every girls dream. He would travel from Sydney almost every weekend to see me and always brought a bunch of flowers or chocolates. I escorted him to his yr 12 formal that year. My foster mum stayed up late at night making me a dress I picked for the formal. It was a full length dark green crepe fabric evening dress which crossed over at the neckline and formed a halter and was low cut at the back. I had my hair done all set in curls and looked a million dollars. When I arrived he gave me a dozen red roses. We went out and had lunch at a cafe by the water and later watched a movie whilst eating carrot sticks with dip.
A few weeks before he had proposed to me on the tarmac late at night at the airport where we both learnt to fly. After his formal we caught the bus in to the city still all dressed up and walked around the opera house. We went up the stairs and looked out over the harbour at midnight watching the lights glisten over the water. He re proposed again and we were so happy, young but happy and in love and probably foolish but it was sweet and wonderful. When I was back home my foster mother was not exactly impressed that I was engaged. Mind you I didn’t actually tell her out right.
I had been spending all my work pay buying magazines fantasizing over dresses fit for a queen , she found them in my room and obviously I had to spill the beans. That same month I got a phone call out of the blue from the exchange organisation.
They were ringing to tell me that a generous company had heard about me and wanted to offer me a scholarship to anywhere in the world for 12 months. I was so surprised and really gobsmacked When it was time to choose where I wanted to go I remember asking which plane left first I just wanted to get the hell out of this country I wanted a new life away from this life. They said the first plane was to Chile and quite frankly that did not appeal to me at all. The second flight was in March and it was to Japan, so I agreed and it was finalized on 17th march 1997, I would fly out of this country and live in Japan with a loving host family who wanted me for 12 months. All I had to do now was survive till March.
I did well at school that year and was surprised, when I was told that I would receive citizen of the year at presentation night that week. I was thrilled, docs were thrilled, and my foster mum was thrilled. The day of the presentation night was like any other, went to school got bullied, studied, kept to myself and walked home to get ready for the night. But this time I had a gut feeling something wasn’t right.
A bad Surprise when I got home who was there? Why my natural mother of course! The person in this world I hated above anyone else was sitting at the kitchen table having coffee , chatting with my foster mum. I pretend to be ok with it and stayed calm. I could see my foster mum was uncomfortable and mum was just mum looking at me with her manipulative evil eyes. I started to get ready for the presentation night when a phone call came through, a water main had burst and the night was to be postponed. Well mum was pissed she had travelled all that way to see me get the award (nobody asked me if I even wanted her there), to keep her happy I said I would walk her to the school ,show her around, then take her to air force cadets and show her around there.
It was clean up night at cadets for end of year so I figured if it kept her happy I didn’t care. She yabbered on the whole time about how she felt I had earnt my place in the family now and how she was looking forward to me coming home, really I just ignored her because in my head I knew a court order said I would never go home again so I thought I was safe. I mean the court order also said she wasn’t to know where I was and was never to have contact with me but I thought maybe they bent the rules because it was my big night who knew nobody told me anything.
She whinged and bitched all night and sucked up to my foster mum. I was so glad when she got on that midnight train and left. Things started to fall apart in my foster home from that night onward, which was typical it always happened after mum showed her face. Christmas that year was the only good Christmas I remember, we snuck out in her Torana and cut down a real live tree, tied it to the car and drove it home. I got to help put it up and decorate it. My foster mum bought gifts just for me and she actually put thought in to it. I was naughty and fearing repeats of previous Christmas’s, I actually checked her cupboards to see if I was getting anything and when I found them I opened them just to get a look. On Christmas morning I acted surprised as I opened my camera but loved it none the less. The gifts between me and her daughter weren’t even but this year I didn’t care because I knew she had my actually spent time thinking of me when she bought my gifts, and she bought me things she knew I could take with me on the plane and keep with me in Japan.
I was included that day had the lunch and was silly like everyone else. But within a week somehow I was sent home to live with my mum and step dad back in the family home. Mum got the local paper to come and do a story bragging about what a wonderful child she had raised, the article spoke about all my achievements and mum rattled on about how proud she was and how she and dad had apparently contributed to my achievements.
It made me sick and mad. I was treated then same I used to be , nothing had changed there.
My siblings all hated me I was known as spoilt. Mum and dad again took my things and disposed of them. I often asked about my foster mum and wanted to know why I couldn’t go back. Mum told me that she didn’t want me and had told docs that I was too much trouble. Apparently I was impacting on her daughter and her lifestyle. It didn’t make sense but I hadn’t heard from my foster mum so had no option but to believe her.
My file since reading it has explained to me what happened, I’m not sure even my foster mum is aware fully what happened. I found her last year and have yet to speak with her about this incident so will not disclose it here. I think it’s something her and I need to talk about as I’m sure when she reads the file she will be mad, maybe sad and well who knows I can only assume. What I read made me boiling mad and it deepened my hatred for my mother even more.
Anyway about a month before I was to leave for Japan after a rather painful beating and assault from my parents, I was kicked out of their house and told never to return. They laughed at me as they were sure this now meant I would not get to go overseas and they truly felt I did not deserve to go. My belongings (what was left) were placed in a storage shed at docs and this is where they would stay till I was 17 I lived on the streets for a while with my suitcase for Japan but eventually a lovely lady who was a part of the exchange organisation allowed me to live with her and her family until I was to fly out. In the weeks before I left, I went to the airport and flew my little heart out. I was determined to have my full private licence before leaving the country. I achieved this and was so proud of myself I was now a private pilot and only 16 years old. So anyway the lady from the exchange org took me to the airport and it was wonderful . For a few hours I felt normal and was able to enjoy the excitement like all the other exchange students from around Australia who had gathered to fly out of Sydney that night together on the way to Tokyo. My life was obviously destined to be hard, the host family pulled out at the last minute and I was in a foreign country with no home to go to. After 7 days of orientation camp they found me a temp host family at the very last minute. It just all fell apart. Some people in Japan were awesome and accepted me for me. Others on the other hand did not accept me because in their culture those who do not live with their family are outcasts of society and deserve nothing.
My host mum fully believed this and felt humiliated that I could not explain my family to all her friends she was mad that nobody had told her i didn’t have a family back home. They didn’t keep me, my host father defied my host mother at every turn which made her worse, he wanted me and she didn’t. She wore the pants in that family and soon I was placed elsewhere. After 6 months it was too much, being continually rejected in a foreign country and my home country I really just gave up. And didn’t care anymore.
It was agreed I should go home as it would be safer to be on home soil. I flew home to Australia alone, was collected by the exchange organisation and sat in their office for the day in Sydney doing nothing. Later that night I was placed on a small aircraft and flown to a town 40 mins from my natural family. I was placed in a temp foster home again and would be passed around for the next 2 months.
I would argue that I wanted to be back where I had been, I wanted my old school, my air cadets and my friends. Docs did not want me to go back they felt it was not good for me. I was so angry for the 2 months after I returned that I was moved around I didn’t attend school once.
I moved too often to bother with enrollment. Docs didn’t know what to do with me, nobody wanted me I was too old. They felt maybe they should discharge me from wardship early I then I would just be in charge of myself and they wouldn’t need to find me a home. In the end after multiple fights with the department, they agreed to send me back to where I had gone to school the previous year and to where my air cadet unit was. I was placed in to a youth refuge as it was the only option. T
his refuge was co Ed, so it had boys and girls. The other youth treated me like crap ,they thought I was a spoilt rich kid who ran away from home. I continued with my flying and my schooling but was forced back to year 9 because it was midyear. Few weeks after moving in there a terrible incident happened. Docs did not care about what had happened, the refuge didn’t seem bothered either so I would bounce from refuge to refuge half way house to halfway house in one of the placements there was another horrible attack in which my belongings were torched including my flying trophies which I was supposed to return to the air force everything was destroyed simply my new house mates saw my belongings and simply assumed im must have been a spoilt rich kid who was just a runaway,
I was an emotional mess, I felt like I was in a tumble dryer going round and round and unable to gasp for air. at this time i also got trapped in a domestic violence relationship, and was forced to give up my flying as he felt threatened by my connections with the officers, stupidly I did what he wanted and I threw it away.
I sadly have not flown since. I have always been too ashamed to go back and show my face to those who believed in me so much. They gave me so much and when life became too hard I just gave up. Life was not nice it was very hard; my now partner had a drug habit he was manic in his moods and was one scary piece of work, with a second personality of a saint. We had a flat of our own soon enough and I was deeply trapped in a very unhealthy situation by the time I was 5 months pregnant, I was back in my home town and was able to reconnect with my foster mum the dental nurse. I could always talk to her, when my partner was off being an idiot with his hoon mates I would visit with her, she knew this was not me and she knew something wasn’t right. She had been a survivor of domestic violence before her current marriage many years ago and she saw the signs.
Over the coming weeks she and I would hatch a plan to get me out and to get my life back on track. She bought things for the baby and assured me I could be a single mum, I could go back to school and I could fly again. I felt stronger each day and soon it would be time to enact or plan. When I was 6 months pregnant everything was set to go.
I met with her the day before and spoke with her in the afternoon. She had been shopping and told me about the baby clothes she had just bought and we said goodbye and I went to sleep knowing in the morning I would get my life back and everything would be ok. The next morning she hadn’t rang when we had planned and I got worried. The phone rang about ½ hour later than it was supposed to but it wasn’t her. My doc’s officer was on the phone, he was calling to inform me that my foster mother passed away that night of a brain haemorrhage. He said she went to the fridgee to get her husband a beer and fell to the floor and died.
It wasn’t fair; she wasn’t allowed to check out like that. In an instant my world was shattered, the one person above all else who loved and cared for me was gone. Docs told me they would let me know when the funeral was to be held and they would ensure I got there, I was not allowed to walk around too much due to pregnancy issues and I couldn’t drive. The days past and I heard nothing, it had now been over a week and I was concerned nobody would tell me anything and I was worried I would miss the funeral. One afternoon my mother turned up she had come to tell me about my foster mum’s funeral.
She said the docs officer had asked her to tell me when it was and they had suggested she be with me to offer comfort (WTF) anyway she turned up to tell me, she told me the funeral was 3 days ago and that she hated her and that I shouldn’t be sad because she’s not my mother and she had no right to me and she had no right to have loved me and she felt I wasn’t their family so it would have been inappropriate for me to attend.
I cried and cried, she left and I’m sure she was pleased with herself. My foster father refused to speak with me and I was unable to contact any of my foster mothers family, they all knew how much she loved me and me not turning up was the most insulting thing I could do .
I was outcast and never spoken to again , as recently as last year my foster dad can’t even to stand near me in a supermarket and he turns and walks the other way, it breaks my heart every time.
I want to tell them I’m sorry, I loved her I wanted to be there but I have never had that chance; it’s been 12 and a half years now so really it’s far too late. I did however find her son via face book late last year (when I was determined to find as many foster families and siblings as possible) I wrote to him and let him know how special his mum was to me. I asked for a photo as I didn’t have one and really really wanted something of her.
Kindly he did send me a photo but I have not heard from him again. After the death I had become numb and depressed, lifeless and in total despair resigned to the fact I would be trapped in my situation forever and my saviour was gone. 3 months later after many threats of harm from my birth family I gave birth to my first son.
I had walked to the hospital in labour and was unsupported and really alone. After 38 hrs I had an emergency c section and delivered a fairly healthy child. I was discharged from wardship as I was now 18 and did not hear from docs again. I would ask for assistance because I had no idea what I was doing and would be turned away and told to learn as I went along. Simply put life was hell, nobody wanted to help so yet again I could rely on nobody but me. I got a job and worked and studied child care and welfare determined my past would not pre determine me to be a failure as a parent. All I ever wanted was to love or be loved, I couldn’t be loved so loving my kids was all I could do In 2004, a horrible thing was uncovered that my husband had done.
This event combined with making some wonderful friends and gaining some great support from services in QLD allowed me, on the day I found out what my husband had done to kick him out and never turn back. I was strong and knew whatever lay ahead we (the kids and I) would be ok .
Somehow we would survive whatever the world threw at us. Life for the kids and I was hard, autism was being seen as a real possibility for my children as we worked to help them, PTSD was my issue but overall we were doing ok. We as a family survived but struggled with lack of supports, poor government assistance and funding and were dismayed by a system that crumbled under the sight of pressure. There is so much more to our story but it is still raw and still too close to home.
The fact is my children and I survived. We are strong and no matter what we overcome life’s hurdles. Over the past 2-3 years, my children have grown in themselves and we have learned to deal with their disabilities and their mental illness even when the system lets us down. We have adapted to not give up and to persevere and make things happen out of every ‘no’ that we hear. Late last year, the tide of our lives turned and now we are achieving our goals and our dreams.
I will for the rest of my life deal with and live with what has happened to me in this life, but as I was reminded today during my PTSD therapy, I made a choice a long time ago to check in to life and stand up and change the world . I am and always have been a survivor. I may have given up in my mind but never truly gave up. I never turned to drugs, or alcohol, or crime and dangerous activities. I have always remained a strong willed, strong headed, value bound person who no matter what fights for what I believe to be right and true. These qualities, which I now after a lot of work accept, are why I and my children are where we are today.
The majority in these circumstances do not survive, they check out of life and they whole heartedly give up. Often I’m asked by professionals, and just individuals “how are you still on this earth”, “why are you not dead” I cannot answer that question one day I hope I can. All I say is I gave myself rules to live by years ago when I was 13 and I also decided at that time that I would not let people feel the pain I had if I could help . It was then that I made my plan for what I do now “Angels for the forgotten” My life has given me lessons that so many won’t ever experience and learn but also so many will sadly live and suffer.
In my own little way I want to change the public’s view on foster children, on the system and on foster carers. Foster carers NEED to be SUPPORTED by the system, the system NEEDS to CHANGE, people from all walks of life need to listen to the children and think about what THEY want and what they NEED. Getting it right when a child is a child will have flow on effects through society and our communities as a whole. FOSTER CARERS ARE VITAL and do fabulous work, for all the hurt I endured I do understand that the root of most of the evil was and is a system that does not support its carers, a society that still does not understand the kids who need care In everything there is good and bad and foster care is no different. Not every foster child will have the same issues as me, every case is different. But common threads will be the same that can be tools to help learn how to change and make things better.
All we can do is try, if nobody tries nothing will change. I have decided this is my last blog about my life. I want to blog about other things about the fantastic work that we do and the fantastic people I meet doing our wonderful work. I will draw on experiences I have had to maybe cast a light on something that may allow others to see something in a different way. This is a good thing, like all good research and planning you call on multiple sources before making a decision. And I want my experiences to be sources for which you can analyze and take away what you need and toss the rest. In life we learn from lessons, I hope my lessons help others to learn something they may never have otherwise learnt.
So I’m sorry this has been a long entry and I probably blabbered a bit but as I say there is so much more and sometimes it’s hard to know what bits to leave in and to leave out.
The full version of my life will one day be published in to a book and it will talk about the sexual abuse and very horrific things that I personally am just not ready to deal with.
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