by Gloria Lovely (guest author) on 17 June, 2010
Gloria Lovely was taken to St Vincent’s Orphanage, Nudgee, Queensland, in 1943, when she was 18 months old. She was then sent to a foster family at the age of ten. Here, in an excerpt from the book Lives of Uncommon Children – Reflections of Forgotten Australians (2009, Micah Projects – Queensland), and her poem A Child’s Despair (2005), Gloria writes about her experience in foster care.
He was murdering me. He was murdering me every day. I didn’t want to wake up of a morning because I knew what I might face. Another day of fear. Have to hurry, do the chores, then off to school – an escape. I’m free of fear there for a while, a positive advantage. School is the best time of day, learning to be smart and a little educated, making me feel good.
I absolutely love to learn, anything and everything, trying to fill my mind with knowledge, and remembering it all. I loved going to school; it was my sanctuary, but then I had to go back to my foster home, my home of fear and dread. And my foster parents. My foster father was a sinful man, using my body for his sexual gratification. No on else knew he was doing it on a weekly basis. It was my hell; he was destroying my spirit, and my foster mother was very cruel, punishing me for not doing the chores right. Like scorching a white shirt, peeling too much skin off the potatoes and onions.
But to the people of the community, they were such wonderful people, because they fostered other children from the orphanage as well, and going to church every Sunday, letting people know they were looking after their foster children. What wonderful people, but behind the scenes, behind closed doors, we foster children were suffering daily. What a charade. We were their slaves, and I was his bedroom slave. I was the housewife in every sense of the word.
Hence my thinking of him killing me – killing every part of my being, my soul, my all. Who can I turn to? No one. Were the other foster children feeling the same as I? Are they living in their own hell? Do they fear them as much as I do? I feel they would like to go back to the orphanage like I would. Oh, please God, help us all. This is the part of my life which I was lucky enough to survive this living hell. It is in the past now, and I thank my lucky stars that it came to an end when it did, and I grew to adulthood.
A Child’s Despair
(From Orphanage to Foster Care)
A girl-child sleeps at night
A stranger, she is not, to fright
She wakes, suddenly,
“Will he come tonight?”
This poor unfortunate, in such a plight.
To these unkind people she was sent,
No one knew, they were so bent.
Her body, he took, by force, times again
“My God, protect me”, once again.
“Our secret”, he says, “do not tell”.
His sick mind, he hid so well
And her (so cruel) she could not tell
That belt, the belting she could foretell.
She screams in her soul, no one can hear
She cannot cry out, she lives in fear.
Her body tells day by day
People do not read that way
“The child is slow,
She was born that way”.
Over the days, months and years
She carried on, despite her fears.
She now has grown to womanhood,
And all she likes to give…..is good.