The Vagabond Children: Part 5

Tyra:

After all my excitement of not having to go home my mind shifted to “where are we going?”. School was out and the social worker was there to pick me up, but I was the only one in the car. Where are the others? The social worker stated that I would be with them soon when we get to the office downtown. I just did not know what to expect with all this again.

The physical abuse was too much for me to bare. It was affecting everything that I did. As Tammy did say, if we cried we would just get more, so instead of crying I laughed it off until I was alone in my bed. Then I cried myself to sleep. Our mother would scream at us “ Stop crying or I will give you something to cry about!”. Eventually, we literally forgot how to cry. The pain would rise up to our throat chakra, our voice, and get stuck there. We couldn’t release our pain, through a natural human process, crying.

Living with the unknown is hard on children, and it was no different for us. We just wondered if we were going to be together or be separated. Our greatest fear came true because Tammy was sent to a different home than the three of us.

The constant separation, and reunion with my siblings, had a life time impact, the bond of the heart and spirit was never broken, but the physical closeness definitely was. Tammy 2019

A receiving home is a place that you go until social services can find a permanent location for you. We had 2 receiving homes before the permanent one.

The first receiving home was a nice place, out in the country, just out of the Sherwood Park area. The family already had 2 foster children living with them. I begun to tell the foster mom why we were taken away, she had no sympathy for our situation she just stated “there is always someone out there that had it worse than you…”. This statement made a huge impact on my life and how I pictured the abuse that I had endured. The foster mom started telling me the story of the two foster children that were living with her, their story was so much worse than my story so I just became silent and kept to myself. I guess this is where I learnt that maybe just maybe the abuse was not that bad. We did not stay at that home very long, maybe a week. Then off to another home.

Every time I read what this “foster parent” said to my sister makes me enraged. First your pain, your suffering, it is not measurable by a standard set out by people who are ignorant, ill informed, or just cold hearted. Only you can say what it feels like, to you. Whether it was once or a hundred times, the wound is there! The pain is there. There is no worse than! Abuse is ugly, insidious, damaging, life changing. To invalidate any ones pain and suffering, by minimizing, comparing or disregarding, is insufferable, deplorable, hateful. What you feel is incomparable. Please walk away from these ignoramus’. You are beautiful, and incomparable, all of you.
Tammy 2019

This foster home had 2 young girls, the foster mom stayed home and the dad worked. Having to start school in a new district really sucked. It was late in the year and having all the stress of being abused, taken away, having 3 (one was our mom’s home)and 2 different foster homes in a matter 2 months did not help with the adjustment to a new school. Our little brother had a temper at times and he was only 3 or 4 years old at this time, he was playing with a purse in the basement of this foster home and swung it and hit one of the families little girls. The little girl said that he did it on purpose, the foster mom was very upset and called the social worker. Trevor was removed from that home and Tanya and I were again by ourselves. Trevor was placed in a boys group home.

It was during the summer they had taken us out to Elk Island Park and we played in the water as it was a hot day, not knowing what would happen. The next day we woke up with this rash all over, the family thought it was the chicken pox, so off to the doctors we go. There we found out that we had gotten swimmers itch, it was horrible. These bumps were so itchy, calamine lotion is the only stuff that worked to take the itch away for awhile.

After the school year was done, we were placed in a permanent foster home. This foster home was with this old lady Vivian. Tanya and I shared a room and the adopted daughter was in her own room. I remember having that calamine lotion on me all over and riding a bike around and around the complex. We were not allowed to go on the street, but there was a sidewalk that went in a circle and we rode there all day. Then we would pick wild berries, my first time trying saskatoons and I think more went in my mouth than in my bucket, yummy so good. Wild strawberries well that is another story, those suckers were so small that took forever to even get a layer on the bottom of the pail. I got bored of doing this but ended up picking until it was time to leave. Man was I happy about being done.

Then school came and I was so ashamed about failing that my self esteem paid the price. During school time I just did my work and did not do much else, as I felt that I should be with the grade 6 class not the grade 5 class. My marks did not reflect that I had taken it twice. As during the grade 5 year there was a lot of abuse and other things to focus on than just school. That is when I realized that I indeed needed to repeat my grade.

Then came the home visits, where we would go visit our mom for maybe 2-3 hrs at a time. I did not want to go on those visits I was scared of the blame, and also abuse. The first visit I remember was on Whyte Ave, she was staying with Harvey again so here we were again exposed to the pedophile that abused us. Our mother did not care for us I thought, she wanted her man more than she cared for us. We were made to go, also I did not want Tanya to go by herself. I knew deep down that our mom’s behaviour did not change, I knew she did not deserve to have us back, she really knew how to work the system in her favor.

The instances that Tammy talk about in the beginning of this post, I do not remember. I remember me wanting to be a figure skater and spent hours on the ice. I would fall so much my knees were bruised really bad. I just could not stop the gliding on the ice I just felt free. Looking back now I think that is profound for a 10 year old to be feeling. Enduring the falls and getting back up has been a common theme in my life as you will see in later posts.

The time was to go back and live with our mom. I begged them not to send us back, for us to be able to stay where we were. At Vivians wasnt great but it sure the hell was better than what we are going back to. My plea’s were not heard as my siblings decided to go back to our mom.

(Years later I found out that our foster mothers son was convicted of incestuous pedophilia, he was free to access us girls, our foster mother would even take us to his home.) Tyra 2019


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