Monday, November 25, 2019

FOSTERING AND FRIENDS

I've got me yet another new best friend, her name is Veronica.

In fostering you find yourself meeting so many new people with whom you have lots in common - namely fostering.

It's not unique to fostering, most people are drawn to like-minded people. But fostering brings out a very special camaraderie, and it's a good camaraderie too. It's a 'we're all in this together' thing, spiced up with a dash of 'no-one outside fostering has a clue what fostering is like'.

I found myself sitting next to Veronica at a Blue Sky coffee and catch-up session (they call them 'Support Meetings', I prefer 'coffee and catch-up').

Veronica is that rare and beautiful thing; a foster child-turned Foster Carer. Despite my antenna being 20/20 and always up and twitching, I would never have guessed ANY of her story.

One of six children by different men, she never found out who her dad was. She came home from school one day to find her mother dead in a bedroom. She told me what the scene looked like, but I won't pass it on. 

The children all went into care, but not all made it. One of her brothers hanged himself, one of her sisters took her own life in the same way their mother did.

Veronica spent time with three different families where her despair and anger proved too much, but eventually found herself in the care of an elderly woman. And that's how Veronica discovered what every grandchild knows (or at least should know), namely that if you stick a whole generation in between human beings the chemistry is superb. 

Veronica was unable to transfer any of the anger she felt towards her real mother onto her foster mother because of the age difference. Therefore Veronica was spared the shame she experienced whenever she felt angry about her mum. More than that, Veronica's elderly foster mum had that child-like carefreeness that comes back to us in our later years, and Veronica found herself learning how to be a child, by mirroring an elderly person.

Veronica became determined not only to avoid the life and death of her mother, but to help others avoid such a fate. She married and has two children. The marriage is secure despite upheavals - they decided to take a big risk six years ago and moved hundreds of miles away in search of a secure future for their children.

She is currently caring for a three-year-old whose story is tragic. One can only hope that with Veronica's help, and that of Blue Sky and the local authority, the child ends up more like Veronica than Veronica's mum.

I'm not Veronica's only new best friend by the way. She's single handed turned our coffee and catch-ups into coffee CAKE and catch-ups. She bakes one specially every time, from recipes taught to her by her old foster mum.

Last time it was a Drozdzowka (hope I spelled it right), a delicious plum cake.

Veronica's Polish, I forgot to mention. 









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