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Скачать книгу Nobody’s Son: Part 1 of 3: All Alex ever wanted was a family of his own

Nobody’s Son: Part 1 of 3: All Alex ever wanted was a family of his own

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Nobody’s Son: Part 1 of 3: All Alex ever wanted was a family of his own
Cathy Glass

Born in a prison and removed from his drug-dependent mother, rejection is all that 7-year-old Alex knows.When Cathy is asked to foster little Alex, aged 7, her immediate reaction is: Why can’t he stay with his present carers for the last month? He’s already had many moves since coming into care as a toddler and he’ll only be with her a short while before he goes to live with his permanent adoptive family. But the present carers are expecting a baby and the foster mother isn’t coping, so Alex goes to live with Cathy.He settles easily and is very much looking forward to having a forever family of his own. The introductions and move to his adoptive family go well. But Alex is only with them for a week when problems begin. What happens next is both shocking and upsetting, and calls into question the whole adoption process.

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Copyright (#u8d118daf-4FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Certain details in this story, including names, places and dates, have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.

HarperElement

An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk)

First published by HarperElement 2017

FIRST EDITION

© Cathy Glass 2017

Cover layout design © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2017

Cover photograph © Deborah Pendell/Arcangel Images (boy, posed by model); Shutterstock.com (background)

A catalogue record of this book is available from the British Library

Cathy Glass asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the nonexclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins e-books.

Find out about HarperCollins and the environment at

www.harpercollins.co.uk/green (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/green)

Source ISBN: 9780008187569

Ebook Edition © February 2017 ISBN: 9780008187590

Version: 2017-01-09

Contents

Cover (#u8d118daf-1FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Title Page (#u8d118daf-2FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Copyright (#u8d118daf-3FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Acknowledgements (#u8d118daf-5FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Prologue (#u8d118daf-6FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Chapter One: A New Year, a New Child (#u8d118daf-7FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Chapter Two: Unsettled Early Life (#u8d118daf-8FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Chapter Three: Alex’s Parents (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Four: A Joyful Meeting (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Five: A Positive Start (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Six: Alex Meets His Parents (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Seven: Meeting James (#litres_trial_promo)

Moving Memoirs eNewsletter (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

Acknowledgements (#u8d118daf-4FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

A big thank you to my family; my editors, Carolyn and Holly; my literary agent, Andrew; my UK publishers, HarperCollins, and my overseas publishers, who are now too numerous to list by name. Last, but definitely not least, a big thank you to my readers for your unfailing support and kind words.

Prologue (#u8d118daf-4FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

We immediately fell silent as the noise sounded again. The children stared at me anxiously before our eyes went towards the curtains drawn across the patio doors. It was cold and dark outside, but something was out there scratching and trying to get in. Not our cat; she was asleep by the warm radiator, and it didn’t sound like a cat anyway. I stood and gingerly crossed the room, my heart pounding and my senses on full alert. There were just the children and me in the house, and I tried to hide my fear from them as I eased one curtain aside and peered into the dark. Nothing. Whatever it was had vanished again like a phantom into the night.

Chapter One

A New Year, a New Child (#u8d118daf-4FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

I’d taken six months off from fostering after my husband had left me. There, I said it – my husband left me. It had been a difficult time, adjusting, supporting my children and reassuring them that it wasn’t their fault and their father still loved them. But the fact that I was now able to say out loud that my husband had left me meant I was coming to terms with it and moving on, just as my counsellor had said I would. I only saw her four times and she was also the vicar of our local church. Not that we’d been regular church-goers – Christmas, Easter, Mothering Sunday and the occasional family service – but I knew she was approachable, down to earth and offered counselling. She wouldn’t ask me to pray for my husband’s salvation or even forgive him, which I couldn’t do yet. Get over his cheating and lies and the rejection, yes, but not forgive him, not for making my children fatherless. She’d listened sympathetically, but more importantly she’d told me it was time to acknowledge that my marriage was at an end, that I’d done my best to salvage it and that I should now move on with my life.

In the six months I’d been away from fostering many changes had taken place, developments in procedure and practice that remain part of fostering today. I now had a link worker, Jill, also known as a support or supervising social worker, whose role, as her title suggested, was to support and monitor my fostering to make sure it was to a good standard, to check my log notes were up to date and that my training needs were met. Ongoing training and report writing were now part of fostering for carers and I had to keep a daily record of the child I was looking after, which included appointments the child had, their health and wellbeing, education, significant events and any disclosures the child made about their past. There were also regular reviews for the child and an annual review for the foster carer, and fostering was provided through agencies. I worked for Homefinders, an independent fostering agency with charity status. But of course the heart, the essence of fostering, remained the same. The foster family looked after a child or children, short or long term, who, for any number of reasons, couldn’t be looked after by their own parents, and their stories and past experiences were still heart-rending and varied. One change I didn’t like was that the children now had to call me their foster carer rather than their foster mum, as it was felt it might be confusing for them. It seemed a bit cold to me, but I had to abide by this as I did all the other fostering practices and regulations.

When I asked my son Adrian, then aged seven, if he thought we were ready to start fostering again, he replied with a resounding, ‘Yes.’ Then added, ‘It’s time we got back to normal.’ An old head on young shoulders. I didn’t point out that we’d never get completely ‘back to normal’ because his father wouldn’t be there, but I knew what he meant. It was time to pick up the threads of our old life. My three-year-old daughter Paula was at an age when she agreed with her older brother, so she was happy to resume fostering too. They’d both grown up with fostering, so having another ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ living with them was the norm. Adrian was especially pleased when I told him that we would be looking after a boy, Alex, almost the same age as him, for while he obviously loved his sister their play was at different stages, and nothing beats having a playmate of your own age.

I’d warmed to Jill, my support worker, as soon as I’d met her. She was straight-talking, with lots of social-worker experience, kind and empathetic too. So when she told me a little about Alex and that he wouldn’t give me any trouble and was just what we needed to ease us back into fostering, I believed her.

‘A New Year, a new start,’ I said. It was Saturday 10 January and I was feeling very positive.

Alex, like most of the children we’d fostered, had had a very unsettled early life but was going to be adopted so, to use a term social workers use, his case would have a ‘good outcome’. What wasn’t so good, however, and worried Jill as it did me, was that Alex was having to move foster homes again now, not long before the move to his adoptive parents. He’d already had three previous foster homes since coming into care, and now he was having to move from his present carers’, where he’d been for five months. The couple had two children of their own and the woman was pregnant again and had found it all too much, which I suppose was understandable. But there was only a month before Alex would be moving to his adoptive home.

‘And they can’t be persuaded to keep him for the last month?’ I asked Jill on the phone. ‘Moving is so unsettling and Alex has had more than his fair share of moves.’

‘Apparently not,’ Jill said with a small tut of disapproval, ‘although if I was their supervising social worker I’d have tried to persuade them. Some extra support could have been put in to keep Alex there. But the carers are adamant he has to go.’

I was therefore providing what is known as a ‘bridging placement’ – an interim home in between his present foster home and his permanent adoptive one. I hadn’t been given much notice of Alex’s arrival, but that was often the case in fostering. Jill had telephoned the day before to tell me a little about Alex. Once I’d agreed to take him, Debbie, his social worker, whom I hadn’t met yet, telephoned and said she’d asked Alex’s present carers to bring him for a visit on Saturday afternoon, then he could move in on Sunday morning. It was good that Alex was having the chance to meet us and look around the house first so it wouldn’t be so strange and unfamiliar when he moved in. As it was the weekend, neither Jill nor Debbie would be present when Alex visited or moved in. His present carers and I were experienced foster carers, so it was felt we could manage this between us, which was fine. Debbie and Jill would phone on Monday to make sure the move had gone well.

In preparation for Alex’s visit, Adrian had arranged some of his favourite toys in the living room. He was quietly excited and looking forward to meeting Alex. Paula had brought down one of her favourite dolls from her bedroom.

‘He won’t want to play with dolls,’ Adrian said a little disparagingly. Paula looked hurt.

‘He might,’ I said. ‘You do sometimes. And less of the stereotyping, please.’

When the front doorbell rang a little after two o’clock Adrian and Paula came with me to answer it. Paula brought her doll.

‘Cathy?’ the man standing on my doorstep said. ‘I’m Graham, Alex’s carer.’

‘Hello.’ We shook hands. ‘And you must be Alex? Nice to meet you. Come on in. It’s freezing out there.’

Alex was a slightly built child with brown hair and a sallow complexion, and was huddled deep inside his navy parka. He looked up at me, wide-eyed and nervous.
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