And grace will lead me home
Read how young mum Jada worked alongside her caseworker Tash to get ready for a new baby and create a safe and loving home for her daughter.
'Having an Aboriginal caseworker makes all the difference. Tash sounds like my aunty. She has the same way of talking and uses the same words. I like the way Tash says ‘bless’. Hearing her voice helps me open up because I feel safe. I think Aboriginal kids should have Aboriginal workers. '
I was only 14 when my first baby, Jakara, was taken from me at the hospital. I was 18 this time around, but being pregnant again was terrifying. Four years without my daughter had been awful and I was so sure I would lose this baby too. It didn’t matter what anyone said. I was convinced.
When I met Tash I thought, right, here is the caseworker who is going to take my baby. I hated her straight away. I could tell she was real wary of me. Tash would talk around things and choose each word carefully so I wouldn’t go off. The whole time I was thinking, why isn’t she just being straight up with me? It’s kinda funny, but even though I want to scare everyone away, I actually hate when people are scared of me.
Picture of Tash.
Picture of Jada and Amaya.
In the beginning Tash would try and be kind, chatting away, and I’d totally snap. Tash would re-word what I said, telling me what she thought I meant. Then I would snap at her again because I felt like she wasn’t hearing me. I’d get violent too. It wasn’t very nice but I couldn’t help it. I didn’t want to let my guard down for even a minute. Tash never got mad back though. She let me get it all out.
It wasn’t until Tash came to the hospital and told me I could keep Amaya that our relationship changed. I remember literally screaming in shock. Up until that moment I had truly believed I would go home from the maternity ward alone like I did the first time.
'I named my daughter Amaya Grace, after the song ‘Amazing Grace’. She is strong enough to get through anything – I can feel it. '
It was in the hospital that I realised that Tash meant what she said. She doesn’t talk to me like I’m stupid. I’ve been raised up in care so I know what people are too gutless to say out loud. I’ve had heaps of caseworkers and they always leave. One after the other. Then I have to tell my story over and over, again and again. Why should I have to relive all that trauma? Just read my file! It’s all in there. From when I was 10 years old I decided I would never repeat myself. I would tell them all to get bent. Tash never makes me say the same thing twice. She cares enough to listen the first time around.
Picutre of Amaya.
Picture of caseworker Tash and Amaya.
Having an Aboriginal caseworker makes all the difference. Tash sounds like my aunty. She has the same way of talking and uses the same words. I like the way Tash says ‘bless’. Hearing her voice helps me open up because I feel safe. I think Aboriginal kids should have Aboriginal workers. They will be able to get through to them a lot more. I want all caseworkers to know that this is not a job to a kid, it is our lives.
'I love being a mum but my life won’t be complete until I have both of my children with me. I see Jakara all the time because she is living with my nan not that far away. I need to get all the things right with Amaya first and then I’m going to focus on Jakara.'