I Made Myself Homeless

 

I said to Phil that I want to write this Blog because I think it’s important. People don’t know how to talk to me about my experiences in my life. I want to share with you my experiences of losing my children so that you can help other mothers who have learning disabilities.

This is my story about how it feels for a mum with learning disabilities having her children put into care.woman and quote

It been 7 years since my children have been taken away.  I have two children, one was put in long term foster care and the other was put up for adoption because he had learning disabilities and he needed really looking after. Because I am a mum with a learning disability, they thought I couldn’t look after a child with learning disabilities.

When I explain to everyday people that I am a mum with a learning disability and my children have been removed from my care, people don’t know what to say, or they go ‘Oh’.  This makes me feel awful. I feel ashamed and embarrassed that people think I am not capable of being a mum.

Giving birth is supposed to be the best thing that can happen in a woman’s life but when your children are removed your life falls apart.

I went through a really big depression, I wouldn’t even go out of my house when my children were first taken away from me. I turned to alcohol and I used to drink before going to meetings because I couldn’t cope. I then made myself homeless as I couldn’t bear to be in my house as being there reminded me of my kids.

My children were taken off me and they just left me in the house. No support. No one to talk to.

I now only get to see my older child, and that is once every half term for one and a half hours. How can I build a relationship with my son? I can’t.  I have to be careful what I say when I see him. I am worried because if I say the wrong thing my contact can be stopped. I’m not allowed to talk about the past or anything that might remind him of living with me, this makes me feel sad, I can’t talk about happier times and to me these were happier times.

My younger son I can only write to him 3 times a year. I am not very good with expressing emotions in letters so I just write about what I am doing and even the letters are checked before they are sent on. If I write anything in them about how much I miss my son the letter goes on file until they think he is old enough to see it.

I am not even allowed to go to my son who is in foster care’s review. I was barred for sticking up for him. I was trying my best. Now he is old enough to be asked if he wants me there but he is not bothered if I am there or not. I think it’s because I don’t see him very often and I don’t then have a strong relationship with him. How does this help me with my relationship with my son? I want to be at his reviews, he’s my son.

For a mother with learning disabilities to have her children removed from her care it is so hard.  There are all the little things that I am missing, those special celebrations, like every birthday, Mother’s day and Christmas. When they creep up it brings back such huge hurtful feelings as I can’t celebrate them with my children. It hurts knowing my children are not with me, their mum.

I am always wondering what they are up to. At one point, I couldn’t sit on a bus when children got on, it would hurt too much.

When a mum with learning disabilities has had their children removed they grieve because although the children are still living, you have no direct contact with them apart from by letter or limited contact. When you see your child you grieve for them and worry about them still, you are still their mother.  It is hard to love them when they are living with someone else. It is like something has been taken away, a part of me is missing, ripped away and cannot ever be replaced.

It is hard to explain, but once you been through it you will understand what I am going through.  Your child is your life but they don’t always have their life with you.

My message to parents with learning disabilities is:

  • If you have had your children removed, please go and seek help.
  •  Ask your doctor if they can support you to see a counsellor.

 

My message to professionals is:

  • Support us to stay together as a family first.
  • Please build on what we can do.
  • Please see us like you, we are no different in the ways that we love and adore our kids.
  • If you are thinking that we cannot look after our children, please prepare us and get us help to cope with our devastating loss.

Thank you for reading my story.

My Life in a Care Home – Three Days Without Food

My name is Dan. I am a person with a learning disability, I am 23. I work at CHANGE. I inspect care homes.My blog is about my experience of living in Care Homes.

I used to live in supported living but it didn’t feel like that it felt like an institution to me and here’s why:

You were told what to do and it didn’t feel homely. It felt very cold in the atmosphere in the house because the staff used to sit in my living room on their mobile phones. This made me feel angry. The staff used to watch what they wanted on the television and they would turn the two other residents who were disabled women to the the wall while they, the staff, watched the television.

One of the women who lived there, when she needed the toilet, the staff said she had to have 2 wees in her pad before they would take her. So every time she said she wanted to go to the toilet they just said ‘No’ and ignored her. I hated to see this but I couldn’t say anything because it would get me into trouble. I felt angry.

They made her go to bed. She said she wanted to stay up but they convinced her she wanted to go to bed and in the end she agreed with them.

They never cooked my tea so one time I went for 3 days without eating. Whenever I wanted tea they would leave it in the microwave, they would never make it fresh.

I told the manager that a member of staff wasn’t respecting me and never used to help me learn to cook she used to leave me in the kitchen to make my own food. The manager told her what I had said and she said to me that she would never take me out again.

I have my own disability car. Three of the staff did another driving test to use it. I was then told that I wasn’t allowed to be in the room and listen to the feedback about who could drive my car. This made me feel quite angry because it made me feel very disrespected.

I paid £50 for food and when I asked the staff how they were spending the rest of my money they said that it was confidential even though it was my money.

The top manager of the actual house when I told her the staff would never teach me to cook she said:’ That never happens you have to ask them to teach to cook’. I felt angry she just abandoned me and didn’t believe me. 

They used to take my money off me and never tell me what they were using it for. 

As a punishment for being independent and crawling around, the staff would make another woman who used a wheelchair sit alone in the kitchen and not let her do anything while they went to do something else.

This is still going on. I feel awful. I moved out but the others can’t communicate so the staff can get away with anything. This is abuse.

Now I have depression. I think that this is a big part of my depression. I used to stay in bed a lot because that’s where I felt safe. 

Now I’ve moved out I feel a bit more relaxed. Where I now live doesn’t feel like an institution, it feels like a home. I have 4 car drivers and I have been out in my car a lot more. I can decorate my bedroom, I couldn’t in the other house. I cook my food myself with help. I feel more independent and the staff respect me. 

So….Phil and me both know about how to run a care home. Actually I know more because I live it day in and day out. Phil might know about money, how much it costs to pay staff. I know how the staff should work with and respect people.

If I was running a care home it would be a normal house in the community with no gates on the front. Everyone would have their own room and there would be a joint car and lots of drivers in the house. We think that people with learning disabilities should be paid to co-run our care homes. We have different skills. I know how it is to live with a learning disability and how it feels.Image