Forgotten Australians, memories, poetry

DOCS

by Diane Mancuso (guest author) on 4 October, 2011

‘These are my observations, thoughts & feelings’, writes Diane Mancuso. Many Forgotten Australians bear the burden of  memories associated with institutional ‘care’. In this series of poems entitled DOCS (Department of Children’s Services), Diane courageously demonstrates the intergenerational risk of  children being lost to out-of-home care. The cycle sadly continues.
DOCS-department –  ‘we keep families together’
Deluded I thought that things had changed since I was a child
 
Ethan

Hebrew – firm, strong long lived

First of November, a son is born
Five years of regret, five years of searching my heart,
Not a moment ticks without feeling torn
Questioning my thoughts, my regrets, and my body wracked with pain
1825 days, seconds, minutes spent apart

When I think I cannot go another day

I close my eyes hoping it will be the last time!
I am never granted this prayer

I did not hurt my child for this – evil is a crime!
Ridiculed —society thinking we didn’t care
I am forced to confront another tomorrow
For five years, we walked with our heads low feeling the shame
My body aches pulsating with so much sorrow
Our fault yes! Naeviety was not even considered I was to blame

DOCS-Department of Community Service Mission Statement

‘We keep families together’

Opening the door with my little son nestled upon my shoulder
Accusations, fingers pointed, voices raised, I only heard two words ‘son hurt’
No chance, to explain certain of our guilt their minds already made up
Six weeks old words of abuse, I did not understand! My tiny son ripped from my embrace forever

Not given even an opportunity to kiss his downy hair, or touch his hand
Moments so painful, never to forget, imprinted images to remember every day –
Means to want to die
Snapshots of pure joy, celebration of his birth, joyous moments in time.  That I would come to bring out tracing his face, his first smile, trying to smell his baby scent.
I repeated over & over
But they had already decided I was guilty
I did not see anything nothing I would cry
Over five years the pain was always behind my mask, long days when I sobbed & sobbed till I was spent

My baby gone, my man gone, I felt so alone, desolate only the walls to echo my screams of surrender, pleading to be free from this wretched pain that imprisoned me-to be gone
I was devoid of any feelings numb, a phone call to whisper what I needed
I lay down as he injected us both, I welcomed darkness
I died that night!
He screamed for me, shook me, but I was gone, no more pain no suffering
Ambulance came ‘flatlined’ they said but they did their job I cursed why?? Did they not let me be!?! Leave me be!
Where there was no light!!!

Five years of torment, anguish enveloped in so much pain, a part of me was gone -for ever
My decision not to see him, was not about me, to let him have a better life without disruptions was the only gift I could give him
In exclusion we lived, in fear of my memories, rejection being the norm, we held on together

Five years, have gone past, I yearned to be a mum, another chance to prove them wrong

I do not understand why I stayed with this man of destruction, manipulation, deciet, I cannot answer!
Nor do I know why I did not see!!!
I can only guess that through the years he slowly destroyed any self worth, doubting my every word or thought that I would speak.
He was a master of insencerity a genuine phycopath, I was blind everyone but me could see what he was doing behind the mask he wore.
Too trusting, nieve, or if I was to believe in what everyone said then what did that make me???

Again, I believed him
I thought I saw changes or maybe I just wanted to believe that he had been wrongly accused
After, so long I yearned to be a mother I craved approval I wanted to be the mother I knew in my heart I could be

I was not aware I had to have permission from DOCS-department to be a mum again but I was very wrong!!!!

If only I could turn the clock back I would have put him first not last, but no one can know what a tragedy my decision would be

If only, If only,

Aleayah

The greatest gift from god

That’s the meaning of Aleayah

My daughter waited 5 years then another 9 months to be able to meet the most precious, wanted little baby girl

From the most joyous moment of pure elation to welcome this wide eyed, scrap of such innocence & pure of heart little angel into our embrace

Fresh from the wonderment of her entrance to the delivery into gentle meek, hands of her mother
To be nestled against mother’s breast.
Her baby pink, rosy, skin moist, flushed,
Warm from the cocoon of her mother’s womb
The first hesitant gentle tender touch, that flutters & settles within my heart images of satin, rose petals, a tear drop caught before it stains her cheek.

The dizzyingly euthoria to be able to greet this cherished treasure to know the complete dependency upon our care the complete trust to keep her safe, secure, loved & all the little moments that we will treasure, & guard in our own box of memories to keep & laugh with her when she is old enough to share.

To protect her, cuddle her, sing her lullubys,
Watch her 1st step her 1st words, her giggle,
Her skinned knees that a kiss will make it better
All the years to tell her stories, to wipe away any tears,
To allow her to be just her
To let her run with the wind at her back

To embrace her when she hurts
To allow her to make her mistakes
To be there to pick up the pieces
To listen & not judge, praise her, cherish her

We adorned her room with pink, frills, a room for a princess, a theme of angels, & little girl trinkets
We wove a tapestry of love,
A testimony of our devotion of simplicity, warmth, to protect our most precious treasure.

Visions, dreams, hopes, promise, faith, shattered damaged, destroyed, ruined, hearts completely broken

Not 2 hours old they came with their ID’s, security, their legal paper work vocalizing their prepared speeches!!

DOCS-department minister, care, emergency, foster, say goodbye

The house phone rings sobbing’ ‘Mummy, Mummy come back to the hospital their taking my daughter’

No I scream, oh god no!!!

I entered the entrance just as they were taking my grandaughter away

Stop, I say leave her with me??? I repeat let me take her?? ‘No I’m told you can not have her’ why why why????
Given contact details then they left with my precious grandchild!!!!!
I stood there numb, devestated, bewildered, no, no, – not again please god don’t do this!!!

I could only watch as they wheeled my tiny grandaughter away from me to an unknown stranger

I ran, ran, up stairs to my daughter who was so distressed she could not speak, sobbing ‘Mum Mum just let me die now’
Feeling so helpless I sobbed with her rocking her in my arms

Her arms though were now empty!!!

My daughter the most gentle, kind, vulnerable, childlike lay inconsolable curled in a feotel position trembling with raw pain

When you are a mother & your child is suffering so badly & you can’t do anything
I wanted to take her pain but I knew I could not!
No matter how much I wanted to protect her
Visions of extreme murderous intent fluddered my mind
To inflict the same ravage pain I saw in my daughters eyes
To the people who did this to my child!!!

And so it came to be
To go home to a nursery decorated for a little angel
Close the door, close the door,
Oh if we could close the door to our pain!

Every day is a struggle the insane suffering never leaves, we battle on and on, for our little gift from god will come home
Not today, not  tommorrow, but maybe, maybe next week

As the weeks turned into months my daughter, struggled with severe suicide thoughts, I was very afraid that I would lose her & my granddaughter.

She did everything she could to have her daughter returned to her, she seperated from the man who had made her life so unbearable, she took out an AVO, we went together to all the contacts to see her daughter, even though It became extremly distressing to see Aleayah bonding with her carers.

We went to every court date only to be rebuffed each time by docs. She sought therapy & goes each week, she supplied DOCS with a drug test it was clear.

Now the nursery sits empty a cot with no Aleayah, toys untouched, musical ornaments to keep her entertained get dusty on the shelves.

If I have to go into her room, I rush in & out so quickly disturbing the dust moates & to avoid the sadness & the shadows in her empty room I run out slamming the door behind me as if this could keep the pain locked away.

Sometimes, I think I can hear her crying but it is only the night wind, for Aleayah is lost to us now my tears I hide my heart breaks for my beautiful blue eyed little tiny grandaughter.——–who I will never know

This is how DOCS keep families together …

Last entry ——-I was given an assessment to be able to raise Aleayah but it is so ironic I failed due to being bought up in care … poetic … justice … will it ever go away do I have this stigma for all of my life. It  cost me my grandaughter & my childhood
Family we fought in the courts my ex-husband again paid out thousands to a barrister & lawyer but no amount of money could restore Aleayah to us.
DOCS refused to even give my family the opportunity to raise Aleayah with her biological family.

It also came to my attention that they knew my daughter was pregnant from 3 months. My question to them was ‘why did they not contact us to be able to give my daughter some options other than to react with such mallisious, insideous, so callerously remove, rip her away from my daughters breast?’
I would not wish this inhumane treatment dished out by DOCS -department

To any family god bless please keep her safe let the angels watch over her tonight & every night

Diane Mancuso.

Child Migrants, Forgotten Australians, music, Stolen Generations

‘A Call for Justice’

Michelle Greaves shares  ‘A Call for Justice’, a song recorded by her twin brother, Mark  Torr. It’s dedicated to all those who spent time in Children’s Homes and Institutions. Michelle and Mark were sent to Darling Babies Home, Victoria, at the age of two and then, three years later, to Nunawading Cottage, St John’s Home for Boys and Girls.

Mark talks about ‘A Call for Justice’:

This song is a dedication to all that have endured loneliness and hardship throughout their journey from the innocence of childhood to becoming an adult.

It is a call for justice for those that suffered abuse at the hands of the very people that were charged to protect them.

This song represents a collective call for justice for one and all.

It is a recognition that many came from all walks of life, Orphanages, Foster Care, Child Migrants, and from within Church and Government institutions.

It is also dedicated to all those that have fallen along the way and no longer walk amongst us.

Stand Proud Stand Tall
Your brother your friend Mark …

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfXGNPuiOGM&w=889&h=711]

articles/lectures, documents, events, Forgotten Australians, memories

‘Journey of Hope’

by Adele Chynoweth on 14 July, 2011

Listen to an interview with Dr Michael Davey, former ward of the state and author of ‘Journey of Hope’, on ABC Radio National.

Dr Davey recalled his experiences in foster care and at Royleston Boys Home in Sydney during an interview on the ‘Life Matters’ program on 14 July 2011.

Download the ‘Journey of Hope’ interview on the ABC website.

Journey of Hope is published by Arkhouse Books.

Journey of Hope

Forgotten Australians

The betrayal

by Wayne Miller (guest author) on 17 September, 2010

The Betrayal – Born in Innocence Raised in Hell is Wayne Miller’s personal history of his life as a ward of the state, resident in St Vincent de Paul’s Boys Home, South Melbourne and St Augustine’s Boys Home, Highton, Geelong.

Wayne’s history was the basis of his submission to the 2004 Senate Community Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into Children into Institutional Care. Wayne’s testament is Submission no. 15 and may be downloaded from the Senate website.

art, Forgotten Australians, memories, poetry

Gloria’s story

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.

Two women with a statue of a child
Gloria (left) and Juanita with the statue of the orphan child, Brisbane 2010
articles/lectures, documents, Forgotten Australians, memories

Steps up and steps out

by Diane Tronc (guest author) on 11 June, 2010

Diane Tronc was born in 1961 and was a resident, with her five siblings, of Silky Oaks Children’s Home in Manly, Brisbane from 1962 until 1974.

Diane shares her submission to the current Senate Review of Government Compensation Payments.

To Committee Secretary
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee
P.O. Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600 Australia

Re: Review of Government Compensation Payments

Dear Committee Members

My name is Diane Tronc.  I am a Survivor of Abuse whilst in Care and I am a Forgotten Australian.

I wish to put submission into this Inquiry.

Firstly:   This year is the 10th year since the Forde Inquiry.

The last 10 years has been for a lot of Forgotten Australians a compounding and overturning painful journey of repeating our lives over and over and reliving this painful journey through Redress and still suffering today to see some form of positive outcome for all Forgotten Australians.

With services in mainstream congested and waiting lists so long we take our ticket and still stand in line waiting. We’ve walk your line for long enough.  We need ACTION, STRUCTURE, FOUNDATION, and STEPS UP AND STEPS OUT.  Support services more involved with career paths, workforce, TAFE, university.

A lot have such difficulty in filling in forms making the first step up and step out.  We need Mentors working with case workers supporting our people with visits to hospitals, appointment and home visits.

We also need a small bus e.g.: Libraries, our memorial, for events/ outings etc.

And a directory of services directing and referring our people and supporting through the process for their goals to be achieved to a comfortable area in their lives to move on….from start to finish.

Healing Journey when will that start, Family Histories, Reunions, and Bringing us all HOME.

Also like to see Legacy more involved as a lot of fathers and grandfathers/families of Forgotten Australian went to war and so did some Forgotten Australian themselves served..

We call for a Gold Card for all Forgotten Australian we should have Priority Access due to the damage inflicted upon us as innocent children now adults our needs and wants need  to be met.   Health, Dental, Housing, and Education and Training, exempt of fees.

Within our service centre I personally feel we need more steps up and step out and more support.

Foster Care/Adoption  was not part of Redress in Qld nor did it get a State Govt Apology.  We where under the STATE.

I personally would like to see a Royal Commission Inquiry into past practices and services today.

We will fight to our END to see things right for our past and for all our futures ahead.

We have a lot of strong good solid caring, compassionate and committed people amongst us all.  That should be given every opportunity to excel and be given the chance to work with services in a paid position.

A lot of us are Volunteers and put in a lot of hours and time to help our people when services are closed or to help assist within telephone support and  getting to visits, appointments or lend a hand  when needed.  I would like to see more funding given to Volunteers under some form of incentive scheme payment through Centrelink.

As a lot of our people are also on disability this would help in the transition step up 123 to TAFE, university or workforce part time or full time?

Also I have noticed a lot of people needing assistance who are in full time work area.  Some struggle to keep their jobs.  Pushing themselves to the limit all the time.

And not being able to service the services due to their working hours.

Looking for a constructive outcome for all.

And more community projects for our people.

Diane Tronc