50 over 50 project

50 over 50 Project ~ Chapter Two ~ No. 23 -Geri: Age 59

Oh, wow where to start!
I lost my mother aged 12 and my father was an alcoholic so teenage years, growing up in the less nice part of Glasgow were challenging to say the least!

I adopted my son from Guatemala so spent 6 months living out there as I had him in private foster care whilst the adoption was being finalised. It was quite a journey having a little baby to look after in a strange country with no friends or family around to support. When James was 2.5 years old, he was diagnosed as being profoundly deaf which opened up another box of challenges for us. He is also on the autism spectrum so has poor communication/social skills and some behaviours which can be difficult to deal with. I think the fact that I have been with him since he was 12 weeks old has strengthened the parenting bond and has helped us to transcend these difficulties when other adoptive placements might have broken down.

I have been married and divorced twice, my first husband met someone else when I was in Guatemala adopting our son and announced his departure from the family less than 48 hours after I arrived home with the baby. My second husband, although a nice guy was quite irresponsible financially and otherwise. It meant that I was the main bread winner whilst also trying to look after 2 small children, one of whom was disabled. This would lead to disagreements within the home and he would then become violent towards me. The marriage ended when the violence started to extend to my son but by this time, I had signed some personal guarantees for his business which subsequently failed. I ended up losing with two young children to provide for, lost my home and was declared bankrupt.

All of these experiences were very difficult at the time but they have made me a stronger and better human being. I generally have a great relationship with my son and daughter. Despite our differences, I am on very good terms with my (second) ex-husband and his new partner to the extent that they sometimes come and stay with us when visiting the now young adults.

The bankruptcy and subsequent difficult years made me realise that I never need to fear poverty because I have already been there and know how to survive that. I have worked my way up to an SLT position in the corporate world, earn a very good salary and have a comfortable lifestyle.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION? Family photographs, the memory boxes I have created over my son and daughter’s childhood and the four family pets.




Hair & Make Up by Katie Calo Make Up Artist

Photographer Sharon Mallinson



Music by Audionautix.com

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