All entries are from emails sent to Cathy, however she cannot be held liable for the validity of the claims made, some of which are very disturbing. Cathy reads and replies to as many emails as she can.
To add your comments, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Cathy, I am a social worker and recently read your book Hidden. I was totally overwhelmed by both Tayo’s story and your unique ability to tell it. It gave me hope at a time where I think, without realising it, I had become quite ‘hopeless’ in my work. I have since looked at your website and just wanted to share my experience and some thoughts with you. When I came into social work, I was young, inspired, and keen to ‘make a difference’. My parents had fostered during my early years and after years of wandering between careers, I took the step into social work. Whilst I had already identified that I would probably end up in a more therapeutic area than traditional, straight up social work practice, I was keen to gain experience in social services. Upon completing my qualifying Masters, I dived into frontline, child protection work, in a Local Authority which was ‘struggling’. To say I was unprepared for what I would experience, would be the understatement of the century. Having just read that back, I realise that you may be wondering whether I am talking about the children/families who I came across, or the system… of course, you can no doubt guess that it is the system. I will not go into the things I saw, for many reasons; mainly that you will no doubt have heard or experienced them before – but also because in spite of it being 23.21pm, I have a report to write before I sleep tonight (yes, I am one of those). However, I think perhaps the saddest experience I could share with you, was being told, by a manager, that I was far too intelligent to be in social work, too much of a hard grafter, and too aware of my emotions. This was the final straw for me… the realisation that even those within the system did not realise the skill required to do a good job. Needless to say, I took a sideways step and I currently work in CAMHS. I am training in family therapy and also looking into going into fostering myself, although not for the time being. Whilst I feel I could have stayed, practiced the job which I ultimately trained to do, and worked hard to create change within the system – I think I was probably scared of what it could do to me. Unlike you, I am not so sure what will change the system. I agree that there has been substantial progress in many areas, but I still feel there is a monumental way to go. I guess I am writing to thank you for the wordage and quality of words you used throughout Hidden to acknowledge, pass comment, and even praise the good work of the Social Workers involved (and of course criticize what was inadequate). I look forward to reading more of your work. Thank you for sharing it with us, yours sincerely,
Natasha, UK, 07/09/2009
Dearest Cathy, I have just finished reading your book “Damaged” and I felt compelled to write to you. You wrote an excellent book that I found difficult to put down. I finished it in 3 days. I have never been moved so much by a book before. My heart goes out to you and your family and of course Jodie. I was saddened and sickened to the core to read the horrific things that poor Jodie had to endure (and that was in all likelihood only part of it) and it broke my heart to think that such a “little moppett” had to go through this. I commend you for the fantastic job you do. Without you there simply wouldn’t be a tomorrow for many children. P.S. “Little Moppett” is a term my husband and I use to describe the little kids.
Tracy L, Australia, 07/09/2009
I am 35 years old and mother to a 3 year old daughter. I just read Damaged, translated into Swedish. It was a very well written book and I admire your effort to take good care of Jodie. I cried a lot when I read the book, it described the most horrible things. Poor Jodie! You are a great inspiration and I’m thankful that you’re sharing your experiences! Hope that all your books will be translated into Swedish… Sincerely Yours!
Anna H, Sweden. 07/09/2009
Dear Cathy, I read many true life memoirs and have never felt compelled to write to an author. I feel I had to write to you to tell you what a wonderful person I think you are. I have read Cut, Hidden and Damaged in the space of 3 weeks and I have cried for almost 3 weeks!!! All these books I have found shocking and cannot believe that children can be treated this way. It is due to carers such as yourself that these children are given hope and hopefully move onto a better life. I have now ordered The Saddest Girl in The World and I eagerly await its arrival so I can get reading. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. Best wishes to yourself and your family.
Hi Cathy, I’m 12 and I love to write! Lots of my friends and family find it strange that a 12 year old loves to write books, all of my friends like to go out, but I prefer to write books. Your story Cut means so much to me, because my best friend used to self harm, and I felt I could relate to the book. You have also inspired me to write more books, I have just finished writing my latest book called I Wish You Were Here…
Jessica C, 12, 06/09/2009
Hi, I’d first like to say how wonderful I think you are for helping out children like that. You are a real inspiration to people who are looking into becoming foster carers. I’ve read both Damaged and Hidden and they both brought me to tears. I’m only 18 and don’t really read a lot but I couldn’t put your books down and once I finished one I went out to buy the other, you are truly an amazing person with a big heart. I also loved they way your children were so understanding to the situation. It sheds a good light on the fact that some teenagers aren’t all about running around the streets being violent as we are normally portrayed. Lastly I’d just like to thank you for all you have done for children that really needed it. You are an incredible person who’s brought a lot of happiness and hope for children that had just given up. It’s nice to see people like you that do care about the world and the people in it.
Marissa H, Southport, UK, 06/09/2009
Hi Cathy, I have just turned 18 and have read Cut. I am currently reading Damaged. I am a student training to work with children. Your books have really given me an insight into the signs of abuse and how children work. I think what you have done for all the children u have fostered and cared for is amazing. You deserve an award. Reading your books has made me want to foster when I’m older and have a stable home and job. You should be really proud of yourself for the help love and care you have given to all those children over the years as well as your own family. I look forward to hearing from you!
Leigh, 18, 05/09/2009
Dear Cathy, I have read all of your books and I think that they are an inspiration to people all over the world. I would love to be a Social Worker and it would be lovely to work with someone like you as a foster carer. You amaze me every time I read another one of your books. You are one of my favourite authors and an amazing person. You should be really proud of yourself and what you’ve done! You give an idea to people that haven’t thought twice about the life of foster caring. Thank you for all you have written and given us this insight into your factual experience, I’m sure people will be more aware of these situations now. Thanks for your time, yours sincerely
Sophie H, 05/09/2009
Hi Cathy, hope this wee note finds u and your family all well. I have read Cut and I enjoyed it as much as the others. Can’t wait to get Hidden. I have passed Cut around my friends. We book share. They have all enjoyed it as much as me. Take care, hope to hear from u.
Hi Cathy, I’ve just finished reading your book Hidden. I just wanted to let you know how moving I found it. I have been totally engrossed in it for the last 3 days. I think what you do for all these children is amazing and you really do deserve an award! It has certainly opened my eyes to what actually is happening in the world today. I read Damaged at the beginning of the year and I’m off later today to buy your other 2 books, Cut and The saddest girl in the World. I’m sure I won’t be able to put them down. Well done and keep up the fantastic work you do, the world needs good people like you. Take Care,
Diane, Nottingham, 03/09/2009
Dear Cathy, I have read your book and just had to tell you how wonderful you really are for having faith in Jodie when she most needed it. I love your book Damaged so much. I may only be twelve but it really touched me the way no other book has. I wish you and Jodie the best luck and for your family. I wish I had known Jodie in one way or another. Best wishes
Kalyn, 12, 02/09/2009
Hi Cathy, I felt compelled to tell you that I so enjoyed your way of writing! I am not one to read books “for pleasure”! As a Play Therapist I am very interested in reading the books that are very important to my work! To my husband’s surprised I took “CUT” on holiday and couldn’t put it down! I finished within 3 days!! I found your style of writing amazing! It feels like I am having a conversation with you!! And gaining a lot of insight in the process! As English is my second language it surprised me to get “hooked” in your book as soon as I started. I was talking to someone about your books when she offered to lend me “Damaged”. Again got into the story straight away and couldn’t put it down! I felt for Jodie and you! the nature of my work puts me in the same situation as yours, where by I could have a disclosure like you had from Jodie! I thought that the way you dealt with it was most amazing and right! Your book shows where the gaps are within Social Services! I am looking forward to read “Hidden” next. My husband hopes that I will give him the same attention I give your books! All the best for the future. You are a very special lady!
LH, Sussex, UK, 01/09/2009
Dearest Cathy, I just finished your book, Damaged. It touched me to my core. I want to thank you so much for caring for Jodie and seeing what everyone else either ignored or missed. What this child went through was incredible. I just read the updates on Jodie and although I was saddened that she did not return to live with your family, I was just as happy that she was getting a normal family. I was wondering what in the world did the child protective services do with Eileen. In my opinion, she should have been fired. I wish you and your children well, your children are just as caring and special. Thank you again for caring for such a special child.
Denise K, Pennsylvania, America, 01/09/2009
Dear Cathy, I have just finished reading ‘Damaged’…took me 2 days to read it as once I started I couldn’t put it down. As a mother of two children under the age of 3…it makes me sick to my stomach to know there are people out there who can do that to their own child! I can’t believe how irresponsible the ‘System’ was about her case, it’s like they looked at it and go “oh another messed up kid who cares?” My heart goes out to you for taking her in and putting up with her tantrums and I guess you could say ‘demon like’ behaviour…I can’t imagine that amount of stress and frustration it would have put on you and your family. I am yet to read any of your other books, but now that I’m finished with ‘Damaged’ I’ll be sure to pick up a copy of the others…you are a brilliant writer! Love always
Dear Cathy, I read your book Damaged early this year when my friend recommended it to me. I’m not at all a book reader but I truly was amazed by all the work you do with foster caring. Jodie seemed like a tough child with all the abuse and things she had gone through. It’s been a few months since I read it and I often wonder how well she is doing now. I have just read Hidden about the poor little Tayo, it’s unbelievable that there are children unknown in other countries. Tayo’s story was amazing – how he remembered his father. I’m so pleased things worked out in the end for Tayo. He definitely deserved it. Cathy you are an amazing lady for what you do, I’m really looking forward to reading your next books.
Samantha M, 19, Taupo, New Zealand, 31/08/2009
Dear Cathy, I’ve got to say you’re a gifted woman and I have so much respect for you and what you do for these children. I have read ‘Damaged’, ‘Hidden’ and ‘Cut’ and have just started reading ‘The Saddest Girl in the World’. I cried at all of these stories and was touched so much. I would like to look into fostering in the future but at the moment I’m only 21 and think it’s a bit young. I really do think you’re an amazing woman and these children have so much to thank you for. I’ve often wondered if you have heard from Dawn since that phone call when she was ’19’ and how she is doing? We need more people in the world like you. I’m looking forward to your other books. Take care and if you can please try and reply. Lots of love to you all.
CG: Dear Carley, Thanks for all your kind comments. We haven’t heard from Dawn since that phone call, but we still hope that one day we might, which would be fantastic. I’ve added updates about Jodie, Tayo and Donna on my website under the relevant book pages. I hope you are enjoying The Saddest Girl. Best wishes, Cathy x
Dear Cathy, It’s been a while since I wrote, as I have only just received and read your latest book ‘The Saddest Girl in the World’. As with your other 3 books, it was wonderfully written and very hard to put down. I really enjoy your easy- to-read style of writing, it’s like having a conversation with you. You are a truly remarkable lady Cathy and I wish you nothing but love and happiness. I hope you have more books to come as I’m sure you have many stories to tell. When I last wrote, you had a little toddler in your care, I hope that all turned out well for all of you. Please let me know if you have another book coming out so I can keep an eye out for it. Bye for now, and don’t forget to take care of yourself too!
Linda-Jane E, Tasmania, Australia, 30/08/2009
Dear Cathy, I am reading ‘Cut’, which I find riveting. I felt uncomfortable with pages 88-89. I wouldn’t like a child of 13, especially a girl, wondering the streets until 09:30 on Fridays and Saturdays. I felt that you and John, as the caring parents, should have been given your say, not coerced by Ruth. After all, it is your house, your responsibility … yet you were undermined I felt. I am at page 116 and look forward to the remainder of the book.
Dr T G, S Africa, 30/08/2009
Hi Cathy, I have just finished reading your book, Damaged. I have never read a book that has touched me in the way this one did. The level of cruelty that this little girl went through is awful and I’m simply amazed that it lasted as long as it did. I was abused at the age of 12 by my friend’s dad but luckily I was old enough to know instantly that it was wrong and spoke up instantly so the evidence was still there to have him convicted. It is in the news more often these days about children who are lost in the system and sometimes it is too late by the time someone realizes what’s happening. I would just like to say that you saved that little girl and did more than everybody else did. If it wasn’t for the love and determination that you gave she would simply still be lost. It is comforting to know that there are people like you in this world. You are truly an inspiration. Your children also sound amazing to have such support for you and what you do. I will definitely be reading your other books. You are an amazing woman and I hope you are proud of what you do. Love is a very precious gift and yours is so special that it would be a shame if you didn’t share it. Luckily for all the children you have helped, you did share.
Laura, Lancashire, UK, 30/08/2009
Hi Cathy, I have read Damaged, Hidden, Cut and am half way through The Saddest Girl in the World. You really have had some tough placements. I am a foster carer myself, and after three years am about to lose a special needs little boy. I am so upset about it, because like you, I get very involved with the children and they really do become part of our family. This one especially. Your writing is so true and so much of it I understand exactly what you were going through. The only thing people keep telling me is ‘how can you do it’ and ‘ I could never do that job’. They don’t understand when I tell them that we don’t think of it as a job. I only wish I could write like you, because I would love to do a book on my little man as I call him. Please keep writing, I love your books Take Care
Michele H, 30/08/2009
Hello, I just wanted to say what an inspirational you are, love. You do a very rewarding job. I read all your books. I started with Damaged and as soon as I started to read it I couldn’t put it down and I couldn’t stop crying. It was a very good book. A lot of people don’t realize things like this happen and a lot choose to ignore what happens. All your books are fantastic but the last book I finished reading today – Hidden, I’ve never cried as much as I did over Hidden. It was a fantastic book, love. I have 2 kids of my own and when we have kids we do everything possible to protect them and it’s sad to think there are people out there that have kids and don’t do what’s right for them and don’t look after them right. I’m still young at only 27 but I would love to go into fostering. I did before I read your books but even more so now. There are too many kids out there that need help and love. I reckon I have a lot of love to give. You have been an inspirational to me, thank you and good luck with all you do, you’re a diamond love.
Kelly R, UK, 29/08/2009
Hi, I read Damaged a month ago I found it amazing, I couldn’t put it down. After reading Damaged I bought Hidden and I read it in 2 weeks. I am about to order Cut and The Saddest Girl in the World!!!! I will also be ordering the books you are working on now. You truly are an amazing person, Cathy, you have inspired me so much!!! All the best for your future, your family sound amazing x
Hi Cathy, Firstly I must congratulate you for the amazing work and effort you put into each of the children you look after. I read The Saddest Girl in the World while on holiday, what a fantastic book. When I came home I couldn’t stop telling everyone what a fantastic author and person you are. I bought Damaged, Hidden and Cut all together, finished Damaged in 3 days, you tried so hard with Jodie but some damage needs more intense psychology care before it can be solved. Hidden I have just finished, never have I felt so happy at the end of a book but I was crying, I hope Tayo is loving his new life and never forgets the start in life you gave him at 10. Now I have Cut to read but I’m sure it’ll be read in the same amount of time. Can’t wait for the other books, thanks for sharing your life and the lives of the children with us yours
I have read all your books and am awaiting The Saddest Girl In the World with anticipation. My thoughts are with all the children you helped. You truly are a wonderful person Cathy! Thanks
Elizabeth C, 28/08/2009
Hi Cathy, I am thirteen and an aspiring writer. I have read all of your books and have about 30 pages left in ‘The Saddest Girl in the World’. I particularly liked Damaged, just because it was set nearer to the present date, I think all of your books are great. Well, when I say great, I mean just the way they are written, obviously I know they’re true and not a made up story. I think your children were blessed to have a mother like you. From your books I can see you have a lot of time and patience and obviously still made time for them even when you had your hands full with a foster child. All the best
Lisa, 13, Scotland, 27/08/2009
Dear Cathy, I have just finished reading Hidden a few days ago, and I have to say it was so touching. Tayo had been through such a traumatic time and I wonder if he hadn’t ended up in your care if he would have had the wonderful chance he had of finding his father again? Foster carers are amazing wonderful people and do a fantastic and very challenging job. A close friend of mine is a foster carer, and I often think she and her husband must be saints! To be able to keep your cool, and often keep your opinions to yourself must be incredibly hard! I look forward to next reading Damaged, as I’m sure the outcome will be just as wonderful as it was for Tayo. Best Wishes to you and your family
I have just read your book CUT and I found it great read, I am dyslexic and can’t really read but I got through it. It was an easy read, the characters where easy to understand too. I read Torey Hayden books too but I found yours better, I guess because it’s a British system in your books, I would love to know more of what you’re doing now.
Hi Cathy, I have now read two of your books, Damaged and The Saddest Girl in the world and I am looking forward to reading the other two as well. Although I thought Jodie’s story was tragic, my heart really went out to Donna. I checked on your website but there is no update on her and I was just wondering if she is doing well, with her new family? I think the work you along with your own children is amazing, from both stories I can see that they are a credit to you. The three of you just go to show that there is still some good in this world.
Hiya Cathy, hope you are keeping well. I have just finished Cut and The Saddest Girl in the World, I read them back to back. Yet again I must say what a remarkable woman you are, and how lucky the children that come into your care are to receive your love, acceptance and care. In my opinion if they can give OBEs and MBEs to sports people then they need to start given them to people like yourself, as you are unsung heroes. Take care
Hi Cathy. I have just finished reading the book Damaged and I was truly touched by your dedication to Jodie. I think that you are fantastic to be able make these children’s lives better in a big or small way. I was so drawn to this book that I finished it in 6 hours and I am now going to read others of your books. You are a truly amazing woman and I admire you and your family for all that you do for these kids.
Dear Cathy, have read all your books and just in the middle of The Saddest Girl in the World. I found every book very well written and the description of each child you cared for describes a lot of what happened to me. Your book has given me encouragement and gave me more determined to fight my mental illness. You are a fab writer and I look forward to your next book coming out. The words you choose are fantastic.
Denise W, Fife, 25/08/2009
Hello Cathy, I bought your book Damaged in Finland three days ago. I started to read it yesterday and just finished it now. It was one of those books you just can’t put down before you’ve finished it. The way you described things made it so real that one could really feel herself in that scene. I really want to read the rest of your books but at the moment I feel I need some breathing time….couldn’t cope with more cruelty at the moment. My heart’s heavy knowing that even at this very moment these things are happening. My best wishes to you personally and compliments on your good work!
Anja, Italy, 23/08/2009
Hi Cathy, I have just finished reading your book “Damaged”. I am a single mum with three children and my life long ambition has been to become a foster carer. Your book has showed much insight into how difficult fostering a child can be physically and emotionally and about the support you get. I am inspired by your continuous love efforts and affection, you never gave up and you truly are an angel and I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to read your book. You and your family are the stars which make this world a brighter place to be,
Hiya. I commented at the beginning of the month about ‘The saddest little girl’. Because I was so touched by that book and I really enjoyed I decided to buy ‘Hidden’. How much that book made me cry. When I was half way through the book when Tayo was saying a lot of the stuff about his father I was just hoping that one day he would come and whisk him off his feet. It’s truly amazing what you do for these children it really is. It took me three hours to read this book I couldn’t put it down lol. But what it says in the back of the book about ‘1 million children’ in this country that are not even known about that makes you sad, you just want to help them. But all we can do for them is have hope and pray for them. I’m looking forward to reading Damaged and Cut now 🙂 I can’t wait!! All the best Cathy =] I hope all your family is well, and your self.
Hello, I just want to say what a wonderful woman you are, the world is in need of many more like you. I started reading Damaged yesterday lunchtime and really didn’t want to put it down. I finished it tea time today, and swiftly have started Hidden. The care and devotion you give to these poor children is amazing, you are truly a remarkable woman. Yours
Emma Kate H, 20/08/2009
Dear Cathy, I was fostered when I was only 6 months old. Not that I remember much. I was then moved to a family when I was 10 months old who I stayed with and still count as my family now. Reading your book, Damaged, really brought things back to me as I do not stay in contact with any of my brothers due to the abuse they gave me and my mother who has turned 2 alcohol and drugs. And my dad died last yr which I did struggle a lot with. But the one thing I did gain was I got my two younger sisters back in my life and we are now working on building our future together and trying to forget about the past. I still stay in contact with my foster parents and it was my foster dad the gave me away at my wedding. I just want to say thank you for being honest in your book. Foster carers do not get the credit they deserve.
Helen, UK, 20/08/2009
Hi Cathy, I have read the first three of your books and find these so amazing. I have cried and I have laughed but I also feel some of what you are saying. I left home at 14 and went to a children’s home. I am amazed that there are actually foster people out there like you. All the stories you hear focus on the negative care and it is the same as a children’s home only my experience was fantastic. Without the children’s home, I honestly believe I have no idea where I would have ended up. I had a fantastic social worker, fantastic carer’s (some better than others) and lived with 29 different children. I find that I was very fortunate to find this and am extremely thankful for the opportunity. Without life’s drama’s I wouldn’t have met the people I have along this journey. Life is what you make it and I have chosen to grab a hold of it and run. I was given the opportunity just as you give your foster children. There should be more people like you.
Jo N, Australia, 19/08/2009
HI Cathy, I have just finished reading both Damaged and Hidden and thoroughly enjoyed them both. As I sat reading Tayo’s story I was almost certain everything he said about his dad was true and I was in floods of tears. Thanks to a few kind hearts this little boy now knows that the power of love and faith can help to overcome all the hurt and ugliness he has been through. I sincerely hope that in your future books you keep us updated. I just wish poor little Jodie’s future could be as amazing but I fear from what you wrote her future was decided years before she was rescued and placed with you. I find it so hard to cope with the fact that this was allowed to happen to a child who was on the At Risk Register, and right under the nose of her social workers. They still failed to give her the proper care and attention she needed even when she was placed in your care. What you and your family went through looking after Jodie must have been impossible to cope with. To hear a little girl talk of what happened to her and not get any support or guidance was inexcusable. You should be very proud of your children for their mature and caring approach with both Tayo and Jodie. I just wish there was more people like you, someone who a hurt and confused child can look to for unconditional love and a secure home if only for a short while. Thank you for telling their stories and most of all thank you for being YOU!
Hello Cathy, I’m reading ‘Damaged’ at the moment. I have become so interested in this book, it’s unbelievable how you managed to cope. Which you did so very well. I have never become so interested in a book like this before. It is very upsetting that a human can actually do something so cruel to a young child. My heart goes out to Jodie and all the other children that are abused. I have never cried at book before like I with this one and I’m only half way through the book. I’m 17 and would love to become a foster carer one day, just to give a loving and caring home to children who have suffered some much more than you can bear to imagine. I am already working with children as a part of my college course. And hope to go further into the social working side. You and your family have coped very well throughout the situations with Jodie and other children as I can imagine. You must have a very big heart and a lot of love to give to others. You have inspired me.
Charlie, 17, 17/08/2009
Heya I realise you must get a lot of mail so I’m sorry to add on extra. I just wanted to say that you have unspeakable talent, and I would love to become a book writer one day. I am currently studying my GCSEs and in English for my coursework I have been getting A*’s. I love the book Damaged – it’s really inspiring. Most things you write about happen so much, and it’s terrifying, having been through experiences myself.
Lena P, 15, Oxford, UK, 16/08/2009
I have just read Cut. I have never cried at a book or film in my life, but reading the last chapter I had tears streaming down my face. I so wonder if Dawn has now been in touch. It felt that the last few pages were written personally to her! After the many years & many children, I think it is amazing that you still miss her and think about her.
Hi Cathy, You are the most caring person. I congratulate you and your family for taking on these kids, who do not have a caring family. I have just finished your book The Saddest Girl in The World. I got the book from the library as I cannot buy books. Cathy you have done an amazing job with these kids. I can not wait to read the next book. You have opened up my eyes that people treat children like they do. Thanks again Cathy.
Leanne B, 14, 14/08/2009
Hello, I am 14. So far I have read 3 of your books, and you have inspired me to help children like Jodie, Tayo and Dawn in the future. Thank you very much for sharing your stories about the children. Cathy you’re truly amazing.
Lesley M, 14, 13/08/2009
Hi Cathy I have just finished your book Hidden, I really enjoyed it. I found that I related to a lot of it, as I am a foster carer. I have been a carer in my own right for 6 years but a back-up carer for my mother and sister for about 20 years. Among many different placements ranging from 3 weeks to 18 years I fostered a child of 6 years old for 18 months. He broke my heart when he left. In all my experience such a small boy had lived more pain than most adults do in their whole lives. He had been let down by his mother, father, social services, and previous carers in a bad way. He opened up to me a lot and I did everything in my power to help. I pray that by some miracle he will have some chance in the future. Myself and my family tried to give him 18 months of a normal loving, stable childhood and I strongly feel he will take something from that he will stay in my heart always. I must admit I did get attached. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. I will make sure I read all your books, they will help new carers to understand and experienced carers to realise they are not alone. Regards
Dear Cathy, I read your book ‘Cut’ in a week which considering having a 2 year old myself is pretty fast. Our daughter is adopted and we really wish that we can foster as well, however I am much too afraid of having to let the child go after you love them. This brought me to read your book. I admire you a lot for all the love and support you and your husband gave to ‘Dawn’. I am looking forward to reading your other books. All the best.
Josianne, Malta, 12/08/2009
I just wanted to let you know that I have read all 4 of your books thinking them all amazing, not being able to put them down. I commend you on all your hard work and dedication!!
Karen D, 12/08/2009
Dear Cathy, I just finished Damaged last night. I am sickened to the pit of my stomach for Jodie and all sexually abused children around the world. When I got to the first part about what her father did to her, I put the book down and decided not to read it. I did not want to know anymore. But I could not stay away from it. I kept reading Damaged, hoping that you would provide a happy ending. In fact, after finishing the book, I went to sleep praying that God Almighty would strike them dead and send all of Jodie’s abusers to hell without any chance of salvation for their souls. Today, I have added Jodie’s name to my prayer list. And yours. I hope that knowing that you and Jodie are prayed for will be a blessing to you. I do not know why such evil is allowed to exist and continue. With love and respect for your devotion,
Pat G, Mississippi, USA, 11/08/2009
Hi Cathy, I would just like you to know I have read a lot of books of this kind, but Cut is the first one I could not put down. It was sad but amazing. Wow how lovely it was written and boy I know how you feel with the frustration of social services. We are taking on our grandson after 3 years of neglect and accidents. We have never been so frustrated with the social services lack of support. I think to continue after that you are a special kind of a person and I think any child that came to you were blessed take care. I am looking forward to the next book, I will read them all I loved it
Hi Cathy, I just finished your book “Damaged” We also had a foster daughter who was sexually abused by her father. She is actually our daughter now and disclosed the day her adoption was final. While reading your book I was thinking, MY GOSH!! What you went through with her! I don’t know if I could have done it! I did see some of the same behaviours in our daughter but not nearly to the extent of Jodie. I cried when you said good-bye to her because I know how hard that is and how very much your heart hurts. I know it is easier to say good bye when you know they are going to be safe but I cry every time anyway. We have 8 children right now. C, 18, we adopted her on her 16th birthday. S and J (7&5). We adopted them just over 2 years ago. M and A have been with us for a year and a half. We are adopting them also. Besides the children we have adopted we have 3 foster children, their futures are still up in the air. We have only been foster parents for 6 years, I fall in love with each and every one of them. I am so glad you still take children! You are so right in the last words in your book! There IS always a child out there that needs help! I am so glad you were there for that little girl. My heart breaks everyday I read the news. You are one of The Lords Angels! Love,
CG: Thank you, Nancy, so are you. X
Hi Cathy, I have just finished reading Hidden and it shocked me. The way Tayo had to live his life for five years after his mom snatched him! When I got to the court hearing part I was glad at the outcome. You are very brave to be able to do a job like that! My dad works with children in care and some of the things he tells me they have done is quite shocking. I’m glad there are people like you caring for them children who don’t have a great life like they would wish for.
Emma B, 09/08/2009
Dear Cathy, I have just finished reading ‘Damaged’ what an appropriate name for such a sickening and very sad book. I feel sorry for couples who cannot have children, and then there are parents like Jodie’s who never should deserve them. I can’t understand the things they did to that poor child, nor can I fathom what she went through. I wish Jodie all the best and hope that one day she can lead a normal life, if this can ever be possible. I am now ready to read your other books. Thank you for giving us such pleasure and sadness in reading.
Maria A, 09/08/2009
I’ve just finished Damaged yesterday, and started with Hidden today! I was quite quite touched with Damaged, I can just imagine what that girl must have gone through. I would really like you to blog about these children how they are moving on in life. Thank you for doing such an amazing job, seriously. It even gives us an idea how to bring up our own children with equal patience
I love reading your books! I took `Damaged` on holiday and could not put it down. The way you write to describe certain events is exceptional well written and keeps me glued for hours. I finished `Damaged` within two days and had to buy another one of your book. I am now on the book `Hidden`. Once again, I can not put it down. I work with children and have been for 8 years, I can not imagine the things you have seen and heard and it really gets me. Thank you for writing such good books. I cannot wait to buy the rest!!
Dear Cathy. I am yet another person who read your book “Damaged in less than 24 hours. I had to email you as I have had such similar experiences with dealing with Social Workers etc. I fostered my nephew for a year. The placement finished 3 weeks ago, and I am still devastated that he had to leave us after making fantastic progress, and a very happy year together. He also had a total of 5 social workers in a year, most of who didn’t bother to read the extensive reports and intrusive interviews that we had to go through by yet another independent social worker who did our long term assessment. The joke of it was, that her report stated on most of the 50 page report that my nephew should continue to stay with us. I am sure funding played a big part, as he has just gone to live with his father. That will save them some funding!!! What was so hard for me to understand was that the “father” had shown no interest in his son for the first 10 years of his life. And low and behold he decided he wanted his son to live with him – after his house had been repossessed, and having his son, and the social worker on his side, he was given a 4 bed council house. The numerous social workers couldn’t seem to grasp my point or my surprise that they approved of my nephew moving. The father did nothing for the 10 years that my nephew was being physically, emotionally, sexually abused and neglected – although he did see his son every Sunday. He never reported any abuse to social services, (that was left to me, which put me in a terrible situation, considering he is my sisters’ son.). I know 100per cent, that if the original social worker had stayed in his job, my nephew would still be living with us. The social worker has always stayed in touch by phone, and has visited us as he was so touched by what happened to my nephew. I found the whole experience of dealing with social workers to be soul destroying, and that is the one saving grace – I will never have to leave another message, which will never be returned, or never be treated so shabbily again. Their offices in ******** (UK) is an absolute joke. What made me laugh out loud yesterday was a letter from their finance dept – requesting I pay them £25 that I have been overpaid. No mention of the hundreds of pounds of receipts I entered for clothing, etc. I never received one penny of the money back that I was entitled to. I did think seriously about fostering again, but after my experiences that will never happen. Thank God there are people like you, that devote so much time love and energy into looking after these abused children. Your book has been an inspiration. THANKYOU AND GOOD LUCK IN THE FUTURE.
Tracie, UK, 08/08/2009
Dear Cathy, First I would like to say how much I enjoy your books and admire your work as a foster carer. Your books have a rare quality as they have really stayed with me long after I’ve finished them. I’m sure you get a great deal of similar fan mail – you have such a massive talent! I have wanted to be a foster parent since I was a young girl… I am now 28, in a stable relationship (due to get married next year) with enough income and space in the house for a child. My partner and I both adore children and could provide a stable and loving family life for any child staying with us. The only “problem” is that we are in a lesbian relationship. I know that some foster agencies accept lesbian couples as foster carers but I would really appreciate the advice from someone with your amount of experience. We’re both caring, feminine, motherly people, without “issues” if that makes sense! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my letter. If you have any advice at all I would really appreciate it.
Rosie, UK, 07/08/2009
CG: Dear Rosie, Well done for considering fostering, that is very kind of you and your partner. Views towards same sex couples fostering and adopting vary from agency to agency. I personally know a same sex couple (female) who have been fostering successfully for 15 years. I suggest you approach a few local agencies and ask the question, then apply to an agency that has same sex couples on their register. Very best wishes, Cathy
Hi Cathy, I have just finished reading 3 of your books (Cut, Damaged, Hidden). I was so moved by them all and they really touched me. I was in foster care for 3 years from the age of 13 to 16, then went into living in my own flat, I am now 19. I would like to say what an amazing job you are doing for the children. In the 3 years I was in care I went through about 7 foster carers as I was so naughty they could not handle me. I turned out good in the end. I have now even qualified as a paralegal. Hope we can stay in touch, many thanks .
Sade J, 05/08/2009
Hi, I have read your books and have just looked on your website. I am a respite carer and look after foster children on weekends, I enjoyed reading your books because it gave me tips on how to handle certain situations, I have no children of my own and obviously do training with the department of children services, but its good to listen to other foster carers about their experiences. I have a lot of friends now that are foster carers and I like to ask them questions on how to deal with different behaviours. Please keep writing your books as it’s important for people to realise that foster carers love their foster children and for people to realise that there are a lot of foster children out there that need fulltime and respite foster carers. I am a volunteer with The Pyjama Foundation in Brisbane, Australia we are volunteer pyjama angels and we go to a foster child’s house once a week that live near us and we help them with their reading, spelling and maths etc. This is how I met our foster girl who was in grade 7 at the time, she is now in grade 10 and we have an extremely close relationship. She is the reason I became a foster carer. We are the only constant people in her life as her pyjama angel tutor and her respite carer as she changes foster carers, schools and case worker social workers often. We would love to be fulltime foster carers but we live in a tiny townhouse/flat and are saving up to buy a house so we can fill it with foster children. I wonder if someone in the UK would like to start up a similar group? www.thepyjamafoundation.com. thanks
Samantha, Brisbane, Australia, 04/08/2009
Hi I would just like to say I love reading your books they show people what it’s like being a foster carer. The first book I read of yours was Cut, I am loved it because I can understand why that girl self harmed. If u can email back that would be great
Hello Cathy, I’m sure you have better things to do then e-mail a 12 year old back. I’m 12 and I asked my mum if I could read Cut. She said no and I threw a strop :] ha-ha. Anyway my mum finally agreed (but she said I might be upset when I read it). When I picked up the book I noticed it was a true story so I opened it and just went into my room to read it. It was so good I couldn’t put it down. I was so into it, and I’ve never got into a book so much, you explain so fully:] I felt very sorry for Dawn as I’m about her age and was thinking to myself that could’ve been me! I wish you the best of luck as you are such a great carer:] I wish you and John the best of luck.
Emily, 12, 03/08/2009
CG: Hi Emily, I hope you received my email. I can understand why your mother didn’t want you to read Cut to begin with – it contains some difficult issues. I trust her change of heart was as a result of deciding you had the maturity to deal with the issues raised in the book, rather than your strop, which was naughty! Best wishes to you both. Cathy.
Dear Cathy, I have just read “Damaged” and I have never been so moved by a book in my life! I went to my Mothers house one day last week to find her crying on the sofa reading your book. I admit I laughed and told her to stop being daft so as she had finished it she told me to read it. I started reading it that night and couldn’t put it down. My fiancée thought I was going mad as I spent most of the time in tears and I was actually physically sick at one part in the book. It was the part where Jodie disclosed about her mum and Aunt using things. I have had some contact with foster children through a relative and always found my self growing attached to them but what I read about Jodie touched my heart and ripped it out. I think how you have written about it is amazing and really brings to light what these children go through. My mum has just given me “Hidden” to read which I am starting today after I have prepared myself for what I am sure will be an emotional rollercoaster. As a Mother, Foster Mum and Author you are an inspiration. Kind Regards
Mel, Hartlepool, England, 03/08/2009
I’m a 21 year old girl, who have just finished your book “Cut”, and now waiting for “The Saddest Girl in The World” in the mailbox. I have just finished PRIDE course, and are waiting for the call from the social services here in Norway at the time. And your books have inspired me so much. At the time, me and my boyfriend are the first couple at this young age who have finished PRIDE in Norway. I have read Damaged, Cut and Hidden, and are just waiting for you to come out with new books! Love your writing, stories and most of all – all the good things you are doing for the kids you meet! Love and greetings.
Sandra, 21, Norway, 03/08/2009
Dear Cathy, I have just finished reading your book Damaged. You are truly a remarkable woman and an inspiration to others. Jodie’s story is heartbreaking and I think she was blessed to have someone like yourself and your children to care for her. I work with children with special needs and at times have found it difficult to understand the needs of children with challenging behaviour. Your book has touched my heart and helped to give me a better understanding of these children. I look forward to reading another of your books in the hope of gaining more understanding and knowledge. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge. I wish you and your family well and look forward to reading the next book. Keep up the great work.
Loretta, Ireland, 03/08/2009
Dear Cathy, My husband and I have been foster parents in the U.S. for about 5 years. We have both read “Damaged” and find so much compassion for children in your words. We have seen so many children with characteristics like Jodie, and encounter many of the same complications with the Social Service system (as it is called in the states), as you have with overburdened workers and not enough time in the day. We know how much patience it takes, and we commend you! We are currently reading your other books as they give us inspiration to help our kids, and prove to us that there are other people working to help even just one child have a better life. Continue to be who you are, as you give others – both children and adults – hope for a better tomorrow.
Sarah, New York, USA, 29/07/2009
Hi Cathy, I have just finished reading Cut tonight and I read Damaged a few months ago. I just wanted to say thank you really, for giving children like Dawn and Jodie the loving home that so many children sadly lack. I truly believe that people like you are very special. Your books really touched my heart. I have always wanted to be a social worker specialising in child protection and your books have made me even more determined. Although I know I cannot change the system single handedly, I do believe that I will give it everything even if my dedication affects only a handful of people. At the moment I provide respite care for a young deaf boy who has autism and his mum is due to begin fostering in September. I am excited because as a carer for her son, I will get to see the experiences of fostering first hand. I only hope that she will do as good as you. Good luck in the future Cathy, My kindest regards,
Jenna, Scotland, UK, 29/07/2009
Hello. I am sixteen and from Singapore. I just finished your heartbreaking account of Jodie’s suffering, and I do not think I have cried so hard and with so much grief for someone I have never met. Jodie did not deserve the cruel torture those beasts put her through. You are truly an angel for caring so deeply for her, for being there for her to pull her out of her nightmares. You did your absolute best, and I am sure your unconditional love will be imprinted in Jodie’s heart. She will thank you for your kindness, patience and guidance one day, somehow. You drew her out of her cage of darkness and suffering, and are commendable for that. I don’t think I could have slept if I didn’t tell you how moved I was by Jodie’s story, told by you. Thank you, Cathy. And I hope you can one day find peace, Jodie. Good luck.
Sabrina D, 16, Singapore, 29/07/2009
Hi there, I have just read your books ‘Damaged’ and ‘Hidden’. They are both really good books, and I couldn’t put them down. I admire your work, and you must be so strong to do your job. After reading ‘Hidden’ it made me cry at the end. Like other readers I didn’t want Minty having him. I have just ordered some new books of yours. Keep up the good work Cathy. God Bless
Kris T, 29/07/2009
Hello, I’m a 17 year old looked after child and have been for 6 years. I love reading books based on children who have had a horrible childhood as I see some bits of my childhood in them. I have always thought foster carers foster as a job and they don’t really care about the child but from reading your books you have made me see otherwise. I have learnt from reading your books that I have to open up and trust my carers and when I do that they show me they do care by sitting there and listening. The love you have shown those children in your books is out of this world. I have only recently been able to let my carer cuddle me and say she is proud of me and accept the love she is showing rather than push her away. I hope to be a foster carer in the future so I can love children who have never been loved and care for them (all ready doing child care course). I admire your determination to look after those children, and I hope you have more books coming out 🙂
Louise, 17, 28/07/2009