Mama can’t cope with ad­dict’s 6 prob­lem kids

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - WARDA MEYER

THEY CALL her “Mama”. They are six half-sib­lings aged be­tween four and 14, four boys and two girls. Their real mother is a 32-year-old drug ad­dict who turned tricks to feed her drug habit, and they have no idea who their fa­thers are.

But now Mama, 62, the fos­ter mother who has taken them in over the years, is se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing giv­ing them up be­cause she can no longer cope. She says some smoke dagga and the younger ones steal.

Mama, who can­not be named to pro­tect the iden­tity of the chil­dren, said she feared if they con­tin­ued like that they would be trapped in the same vi­cious cy­cle that took their mother from them.

But if she does give them up the chil­dren, boys aged 14, 13, 10 and eight, and the girls aged six and four, fear they will be split up and end up in or­phan­ages.

The three older boys saw first hand what drugs did to their mother. They said they had to make do with no food, be­ing left dirty and hav­ing to fend for them­selves and their younger sib­lings.

“Our mother used to feed us sugar wa­ter and pack­ets of chips, even for the ba­bies,” the el­dest said. His mother smoked dagga, but it was rocks – crack co­caine – and tik (metham­petamine) that re­ally caused the dam­age. The chil­dren last saw her al­most three years ago and could hardly recog­nise her. “She looked dif­fer­ent and she had marks on her face,” said one child.

The boys re­mem­ber be­ing moved around a lot and said their mother and her boyfriend fought all the time.

“We were never fed in the morn­ings or evenings and if we’d stayed there we would not have gone to school.”

The boys ad­mit­ted that they had ex­per­i­mented with dagga, but said they had stopped. The el­dest said a lo­cal mer­chant re­cently ap­proached him, say­ing: “One day you will be sell­ing drugs for me.”

The com­ment has haunted him, but he said he would never turn to hard­core drugs be­cause of the ef­fect they had on his child­hood. The chil­dren say lo­cal kids as young as seven smoke dagga while older boys use tik and Man­drax. “They even do drugs at our school.”

Mama said the younger chil­dren were turn­ing out to be the most dif­fi­cult to han­dle.

“From small they have had long fin­gers, steal­ing what­ever they can get their hands on. I can­not take them any­where.”

Sob­bing about the most re­cent in­ci­dent, Mama said she was now con­tem­plat­ing giv­ing up all six chil­dren.

The last straw was when the eight-year-old boy and the sixyear-old girl broke into her ten­ant’s Wendy house, steal­ing three cell­phones, jew­ellery and food. Af­ter her ten­ant told her about the theft, Mama said she gave the two a hid­ing.

Two days later po­lice were ques­tion­ing the two chil­dren af­ter the school re­ported that they had marks con­sis­tent with be­ing hit with a stick or belt on their faces and knuck­les.

“I have al­ways said the thing with their mother has neg­a­tively af­fected their be­hav­iour; they need coun­selling and no­body is help­ing me get them the proper treat­ment. I can no longer do this alone,” Mama said.

Since the four-year-old was sent to live with Mama, the chil­dren’s mother has had two more chil­dren.

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