Sun | Aug 18, 2019

Makeover mom ‘extraordinary’

Published:Sunday | May 12, 2019 | 12:45 AMNadine Wilson-Harris - Gleaner Writer
Shellian Soman
Shellian Soman

Twenty-nine-year-old Shellian Somans has been showered with praise by childcare officials despite having three of her kids forcibly enrolled into state care because she was unable to assure their welfare.

Somans, who maintains the bonds with her children and visits them regularly, lost her kids to state care after her five-year-old son went missing after she left him with his two older brothers and his younger sister to go and earn an income. Her son returned home after being missing for three days.

But Somans, who is on a makeover mission of rehabilitation, has gone beyond just caring for her children when she visits the state home where they now reside. She also assists the caregivers with the other wards.

Manager of public relations and communications at the CPFSA, Rochelle Dixon, describes Somans as an “extraordinary mom”.

“We have so many issues of children in state care who are very unhappy because no parent [and] no family member has come forward,” she told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday.

“The caregivers will tell you that having Shelli coming in, it really gives them a sense of hope. A sense of hope in the sense that we now realise that there are, in fact, many mothers, many fathers who are interested in their children, who love their children, and that is what we want. A parent must always stick with their children, no matter what circumstances they fall into,” said Dixon.

The PR spokesperson said that the agency gets calls regularly from parents who say they cannot manage and request that their children be placed in state care. But in Somans’ case, investigations showed that she didn’t have other options at her disposal. Her mother had died when she was eight years old and she herself was placed in state care because she had been deemed to be in need of care and protection as a child.

Enrolled in school

Since her children were taken away, Somans has enrolled in school and is currently pursuing studies to become a practical nurse.

“We are looking forward to the day that we will reintegrate Shelly with her children. I can’t say when that will be, but I will say that it will be very soon,” Dixon shared.

Somans admits that being a mother is hard work, but her best friend encourages her to press ahead despite the challenges. She is looking forward to completing her studies in January, landing a job, and taking her children home.

“There are days I sit down and I am, like, ‘You know what? I am not going to school today. I just feel to give up, I just feel fi done, I can’t bother’, and then I am, like, ‘Come on, girl. You have got your kids,’” said the mother as she broke down in tears.

“At the end of the day, sometimes it is not really where you are from, it is where you are going. Because sometimes I say to myself, ‘Why am I here? Why do I have to go through all of this?” And I really, really wish that my mom was here. It is not easy,” she said.

Caregiver at the children’s home, Rohena Nelson, had only positive things to say about Somans. She is especially heartened by the fact that the mom of five helps them to mother all the other children at the home when she visits on Sundays.

“When they are outside, she would help them and play with them. If they are outside and she comes to visit, she would say, ‘Let me help you run the car, let me show you how’ … ,” the caregiver told The Sunday Gleaner.

She said Somans would take a birthday cake for her children on their special day and share it with the other children. While she is not a mother of great means, she often encourages them to share their snacks with others.

“She just come and interact with everybody,” the caregiver said.

nadine.wilson@gleanerjm.com