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  • Enza Smith MBE

How Kinship Carers UK helped me

“Sometimes I miss the life I should be having, being able to go out with friends whenever I want to, having cash to spend, being able to go on cheap holidays during term times, having me time. Then I feel guilty for that.”

“At the beginning I felt so alone and lost in the system. I had never heard of an SGO, I had never thought I would be raising someone else’s child in my 50’s. Friends were very supportive but they didn’t get it. Meeting and talking to people who are in the same boat through KCUK is just the best thing ever. Without these vital groups we would be so alone. Please support KCUK in any way you can.”

“I suspect that what people do not understand is the way that trauma has affected our kin children. We have to become experts in the effects of trauma and how to mend the child. It is heart breaking watching my little one desperately trying to impress and please adults. She craves the love and attention she was starved of in her first three and a half years. Her anxiety in striving to get things “right” to please those around her is painful to see.”

“I have never really been a joiner of groups. But oh my word the comfort from meeting others in similar situations is so powerful, the support we can share makes carrying on possible. Being able to talk to someone else who really understands the struggle is invaluable. I have a friend in another country who does not have access to a group and she would so love to be able to join one.”

“There are so many different kinds of kinship care, I honestly don’t think people understand the different levels or the massive difference in support, if any, that is available to kin carers. The “outsider” probably thinks it is like foster care with funding, professional support and resources but in reality it is rarely like that.”

“As kinship carers we have to regularly deal with the child’s birth parents. We have to facilitate and supervise meetings between them and the child. Knowing that they are the reason the child lives with us that is not an easy thing to do. We have to do that because those in a position of power believe it is the right thing to do. These meetings have a negative effect on the child and we have to work hard to mend her each time. It seems so unfair.”

“We didn’t intend to be bringing up a needy 7 year old in our 50’s and 60’s. We were looking forward to a quieter life, working part time and being able to enjoy ourselves. We know she needs us and we would not let her down but we would never have chosen this life.”

“She is funny and kind, she is a lovely girl who loves life, she loves school, she loves us and we love her. But she knows she is different to nearly all of the other children she knows. I know that she pretends her parents are wonderful, fairy tale people. They are not and balancing the reality of that while protecting her feelings can be hard. It is so important that these children get to meet other kids in the same boat, it really does help especially as they get older. Where would we be without groups like KCUK?”

“The laws and the rules around kinship care are varied and often unfair. Often it feels like the child is the least considered person in the whole process. If I could change anything it would be to make the law fairer and truly child focused.”

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