Friday, 4 December 2015

Role models for foster children in St Albans

TWO BAD ROLE MODELS - It probably sounds horribly ungrateful but I think that both my foster parents, but especially my Foster Dad, were not very good role models. He worked hard at his job and was clearly well thought of by his employer but that was it. He did almost nothing around the house to help my Foster Mum and he never showed any interest in what I was doing or what I was feeling.

Young people were only put into foster care when something had gone seriously wrong within their own family. Surely what was needed was some extra support? Not being made to feel that the only reason I was allowed to stay with them was because of the extra money it brought into the house!

He almost never started a conversation with me and most meals were spent in silence with him eating with one hand and holding the newspaper he was reading with the other. It never felt that I was part of his family or that I mattered even a tiny bit to him.

THREE GOOD ROLE MODELS - When I had to leave foster care I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't stay on at school but luckily in the 1970s it wasn't hard finding work at 16 and I found work at small engineering firm down one of the alleyways off the main shopping street in St Albans. The Boss there was the most professional person I have ever worked with. He had a lot of real "hard men" working for him but they were always in awe of the quality of his work so he never had any problems with them! All my life I have tried to be like the Boss by always trying my hardest to get jobs right, to get them done on time and to get them done at the agreed price.

One of the lecturers at the college where I studied for some City and Guilds qualification was always very kind and patient with me and always made a point of checking that I understood all the new skills he was teaching me. He was a pal of my boss at the engineers where I was working so perhaps they had discussed me when they were down the pub.

Mr T was an all-around good bloke and a very high quality engineer and he had a big impact on how my life developed. I think he would be embarrassed and shocked if he ever found out that I saw him as a bit of a father figure to make up for the Dad I didn't remember.
When I left foster care I lodged with Mrs H. She lived where the Maltings Development is now right in the centre of St Albans and only 3 minutes from my job. She was lovely and for the first time for what felt like ages I was happy to go home at night. Mrs H looked after me like a real Mother would and I started to realise that perhaps I did matter to somebody. Years later it was one of the very few times I cried as an adult when I went to her funeral. I helped carry her coffin from the hearse into the church and I was pleased and proud that I had been asked to do that.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy you were able to find good role models and someone who cared about you. It breaks my heart to hear stories of foster parents ill-treatment of children who need so much love.
    I hope you have found a life to be proud of and someone with whom you could share it! I'm sure you are a better person for your hard trials.
    An American foster mom of a 16 year old girl (and bio mom to 3 other girls) ��❤️