Friday, 4 March 2016

More about my Foster Mother 40 years on.

My Foster Mum and I had different views about my time in foster care. She really thought that I was very unhappy most of the time that I lived with her and my Foster Dad and that quite a bit of the blame for that should be directed towards the two of them.

I was able to tell without having to make up anything to spare her feelings that most of the time I was happy enough and when I wasn't happy it was far more to do with things that had happened at school or it was straight after a visit to my Mother in the mental hospital.

I don't blame my Foster Parents for the lies I was told about my Mother. I still think it would have been much kinder if somebody could have told me "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" about her condition. When you are young you sometimes hold onto even the tiniest crumbs of false optimism so when a doctor or nurse says something about being hopeful about a new treatment or drug they were planning to use on your Mother I used to leave the hospital expecting that she would be cured and then released to come home to me quite quickly. Of course that never happened and she spent the rest of her life in hospital not even knowing who I was.

I got used to living in somebody else's house, living by their rules and knowing that I wasn't particularly welcome. Looking back none of rules were unfair and nobody ever said to my face that I was not wanted. There was just a small amount of tension all the time and so I realised that it was so much easier to keep out of my Foster Dad's way as much as I could. We never argued because I avoided speaking to him except about really routine things.

Of course it would have been nicer if I could have friends round sometimes but that was just something that was never going to happen. My Foster Dad didn't like young people so after a while I worked out that my friends wouldn't stay friends for long if they ever had contact with him. I have said it before but I would like to say again that he never hit me or even threatened to hit me. That wasn't his way. Yes there was a cane kept in the cupboard under the stairs but it was never used on me. Anyway I expect there was a rule about not hitting foster children? 

I was 14 when I went to stay with the two of them and 16 when I left. At that age I didn't really think too much about my future. I knew that I was quite brainy because I always came towards the top of my form in exams, especially in subjects that involved numbers or science. On the very, very rare occasions that my Foster Mother talked about the future I always felt worried that she was going to ask me to leave so I tended to give her the answers I thought she wanted to hear rather than say what I was actually thinking.

I'm pleased that I was able to make my Foster Mother feel less unhappy about the whole middle section of our time living together.