I don’t usually like to share my story on being in foster care, but if it is going to help raise awareness and break a stigma then I feel it’s 100% worth it.
So I got put into care when I was only 10 years old, I’d had quite a bad childhood witnessing things no one should have to, especially a child. I would be lying if I said this pressure wasn’t enough without being took away from home. I was really hesitant about being put into a foster home and did find it really tough to adapt to a strangers home in top of dealing with the traumatic experiences. I developed trust issues and made it really hard for my foster families to build a connection with me as I wouldn’t speak, and my journey was far from easy and I moved homes multiple times, but in saying this I think fostercare has changed my life for the better, as a care experienced young person I can tell you first hand if it wasn’t for this journey and my foster carers I wouldn’t have got half the opportunities I have now and reached these once thought impossible achievements. I feel foster kids get a stigma put to them by many people, in that they can’t be successful in life, because they come from bad backgrounds and often develop issues from this that can lead to them coming across as ignorant, challenging and not caring etc etc, but the truth is we as kids in care have experienced another side of life at a young age, that many people never have, and often these images stick with us and makes us wary of unfamiliar people and environments. I personally know my care journey has had many challenges with me going from not speaking at all and being thought to be amute to becoming extremely aggressive and verbal in an unhealthy way. I built up everything I’d went through and wouldn’t talk about it cause I was ashamed and thought no one would understand, and after years of this I just exploded and couldn’t contain all these emotions, leading to me turning to anger. So yes, I will admit that fostering can be challenging for the people who look after us and every child will react different, but these kids/young people are not bad and deserve a home. The stories behind these kids behaviour would make you realise the vulnerability and innocence and the huge impact a foster home could have. Not everything they’re feeling will show, especially teenagers, and they more than likely do care – they’re just scared to show it incase they get hurt. They need someone who’s going to believe in them, help them and understand them. Show them that they have value. What they need to succeed is a home they can feel safe and happy in. I eventually got this loving home and support and it is the reason I’m becoming a better person and achieving. Just last year I sat my GCSE’s and came out with 5 GSCE’s out of 7. I am now completing my AS/A-levels and hoping to go to university next year to study Creative Writing, as writings always helped me to express myself when I couldn’t understand the world around me and I’ve now developed a passion for it.
I’ve also developed in myself as a person with my confidence and self esteem now gradually improving after a long amount of years of constantly getting put down. If someone told me when I first went into care or even last year, I’d have got to where I am today personally and academically I would have never believed them but thanks to getting the support and guidance I am here about to grow out of the care system and go into the big world to follow my dream. So my message today, is don’t misjudge an individual just because they are in care and never underestimate the power that providing a loving home could have on that child’s life.
And most of all thankyou to all the wonderful foster carers out there looking after some of society’s most vulnerable kids each day, and especially throughout this pandemic when these kids need the support more than ever. You’re incredible and are changing lives. And if your an adult reading this and don’t yet foster, why not consider it?
Just to finish this message off, I’ve added a poem I wrote on personal experience, to protray the massive difference this simple gift of a loving home will have on these child’s lives.