Jenny asked to see the counsellor at Street talk at a low point in her life. Her four year old daughter had been taken from her by social services a few months earlier. The decision had been made to place the little girl for adoption. Jenny had been told that she would have the opportunity to say goodbye to her, after which she would not see her again. Jenny was distraught and reporting feeling suicidal at the prospect of never seeing her child again. At that point the counsellor could do little more for her, than support her for her loss. At that point she was very frail, frighteningly underweight, covered in injuries and coping with hepatitis C as well as struggling with a long term heroin addiction. Occasionally women come to the service who look as though they are hanging on to life by a thread and you find yourself wondering whether they will survive the night. Jenny was in that state when she first presented.
However she came back to the counselling the following week and kept coming. We learned more about her background. In brief three out four of Jenny’s step fathers went to prison for having sexually abused her in childhood. The fourth abused her but got away with it. Heroin brought her a brief respite from emotional pain but took her into a violent and dangerous world where a baby wasn’t safe.
The counsellor could see that Jenny was a person with great potential, intelligent and caring. She counsellor advocated for Jenny to be funded to go into rehabilitation out of London. Street Talk also met with the adoption team who agreed to delay the adoption. Jenny was very committed to rehab programme and managed to stop using and went on to treatment for hepatitis C. As a result of the progress Jenny made, the adoption social worker agreed to an open adoption for Jenny’s daughter. Jenny now sees her every two weeks. The last time she came to London to visit her daughter she came to see us. She looked so well that for a moment we didn’t recognise her.