‘So, is it a girl or a boy, and how old?’ Jonathan asked as soon as we were alone in the shop.
My husband knew from the animated look on my face, and the way I was itching to talk to him, that our social worker had been asking us to look after another child.
I filled Jonathan in as quickly as I could and he gave a thin, sad smile.
‘Bruises?’ he said. ‘And a moody temperament? Poor little girl. Of course we can manage a few days.’
I gave Jonathan a kiss on the cheek. ‘I knew you’d say that. It’s exactly what I thought.’
We were well aware that the few days could run into weeks or even longer, but we didn’t need to discuss this. We’d looked after dozens of children who had arrived like Maria, emotionally or physically damaged, or both. We’d do whatever it took to make her feel loved and cared for while she was in our home.
Seven-year-old Maria holds lots of secrets. Why won’t she tell how she got the bruises on her body? Why does she run and hide? And why does she so want to please her sinister stepfather?
It takes years for devoted foster carer Angela Hart to uncover the truth as she helps Maria leave the ghosts of her past behind.
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|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Angela Hart lives in England with her husband Jonathan. They met at a village dance when they were teenagers in the seventies, and shortly afterwards they both moved away from their hometown for work. Angela loved the bright lights of the city, and her demanding job in a bank. They stayed for ten years before returning home to take over Angela's family floristry business from her parents.
One day an advert in the local paper caught Angela's eye: 'Foster Carers Wanted'. She knew straight away it was something she'd love to do. As a child she had a friend whose family took in foster children and had often asked her mother if they could do the same, but she always said she wasn't cut out for it, and didn't have the patience. After living a fast-paced life Angela felt she could easily manage to sell flowers and care for youngsters. Having a family was something Jonathan and Angela planned for the future; they thought that surely fostering was just like bringing up your own children, if not easier?
Looking back, they feel incredibly naïve. They were convinced fostering kids would be like caring for flowers: if they provided the right environment, nourished the children well and treated them with love and respect, everything would be rosy. They could foster for a few years, and maybe even carry on when they started their own family. Of course, it wasn't like that at all! Each child had a unique set of problems, some incredibly sad, others very shocking. Angela and Jonathan found themselves immersed in a care system they knew nothing about, yet soon found impossible to leave.
They thrived on the challenges and rewards of being foster carers, and Angela went on to train as a specialist carer for teenagers with complex needs, and has never looked back. Jonathan and Angela have fostered more than fifty children over the past twenty-seven years and they hope you will enjoy reading about some of the wonderful children they have been privileged to have in their lives.