Not enough is known about how it feels to be fostered.
So a book that starts like this:
"I wrote this book to repay a debt. Not a financial debt, although money does come into the story, but an emotional debt to two groups of people. Those who helped me survive 18 years of living in foster care or in a Children's Home and those who subsequently helped me to recover from those difficult times."
The author is Eve Higgins. She was abandoned as a baby and went through a series of foster placements before ending up in a Children's Home as being impossible to place.
If you don't know, the word "place" means be put into a foster home.
The book contains a number of carefully observed home truths. For example, the author notes that;
"The average quality of foster care declines as the age of the child increases"
You could probably write a book about that observation alone, it gives you an idea of how sharply some foster children see what's happening around them.
The book isn't structured like a conventional book, it's built along the lines of how the world must seem to children whose lives are fractured. That's the genius.
You get to read the conscious musings of a young lady who has been somewhere we foster carers need to know about, as well as a sense of her swirling emotions and the clutching at relationships to make up for the massive absences of good parenting and a solid home. Clutching at relationships with other young people who have also endured.
These young people come and go, people called Angel, Queen of the World, Twinkle, Goodie Two Shoes, Miss Peanut and Tiger Tim. The author uses the psuedonyms partly to protect people who, she says, don't want anyone from their past to be able to track them down.
I think the names she has for them speak volumes of lost childhoods.
A big gist of Eve's book is tied up in the fact that all the attempts to bind her into a foster family didn't work, and she was moved to a Home. To read her words is a great chance to up your game as a foster carer.
She had plenty of good fostering experiences, but always felt different. I think, it seems to me, she wanted to build a piece of her own family rather than be given a strange one on a plate, one which had already formed before she arrived. She wanted to create a piece of family for herself.
In the Children's Home she clicked with the girl in the next door room, Ella.
There's stuff every foster carer should know, just for background. Do you know where a foster child might hide contraband in their room? I do now.
But the book offers much much more than tips and hints. It's a precious insight into how coming into care is for the child, and how we carers have to be at the top of our game, with all our love and strength and powers of understanding and intuition, kindness and humanity.
Having read the book the new thing I have to bring to my future fostering is that the child wants and needs to build her corner of family. She needs and deserves to be the creator, the constructor, the developer of relationships that she finds rewarding because they help the other person. She, or he, wants to be useful, like we all do.
It's called "How I survived in and out of Care" by Eve Higgins.
It's not available on Kindle, at least I couldn't find it, but Amazon had a copy.
I'm of a mind to ask Blue Sky to invite her to give a lecture to us carers on the things she knows that we should know, that only someone who has been in care would know.
I'll plug it here if it happens.
Meantime, I'd like to thank Eve for her book and for all she has done for the people she cares about, and has helped in so many ways.
And I'd like to let her know it wasn't fair or just that someone with so much to offer had to start from such a bad place that she would have been a success if she'd simply got by, never mind about becoming a university graduate and now a school teacher. Best wishes to your husband and child Eve.
And I'd like to say to Ella what a great stroke of luck for Eve to find someone wonderful like you in the next door room, and how much respect you too deserve. I hope your marriage is flourishing, as is your child, and your work at a Law centre.
The book should be a movie, by the way. Seriously.