Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
B was a child in care, and her foster carers gave her what she needed most, a safe and loving home and a future filled with love. B and her siblings’ lives had been filled with abuse by the woman they called Mother; she shares how Social workers took her siblings into care because Mother could not cope with them.
However, B always stayed. And, the reason for this? Because the Social workers would always say, ‘you’re a good girl B, and good girls stay at home.’ But, at 14 years of age, B finally snapped and demanded that she go into care; she had had enough.
Sadly, B found life in a Children’s home was no picnic. However, she and the other young people in care with her had one dream; to find foster carers who would give them a future, with a family in a home filled with love. Most importantly, they wanted foster carers who would understand them.
It was important to find a foster carer who would understand because B didn’t want a Mum. B wanted someone to support and love her; and understand her as she was then, because simply; if you study the past and let it go, you do not define the future; you will make it better. For B, only people who understand can help her do this.
What is a life for a child without love?
B was 14 years old, and her life as a child was a toxic family background filled with child abuse, and B had enough of being ignored. Finally, after one beating too many, she walked into Children’s services and demanded they hear her voice and place her in care so she could feel safe.
B knows the past does not define you or your future, and for her, it made her determination to succeed in a world where love determines your future even stronger. As B says, ‘What is a life for a child, or any of us, without love?’
I went into care because I had enough of being abused.
‘I put myself into local authority care the day after returning from a school holiday that I had saved up for and paid for myself. At this point, I was 14 years old, and my Mother had done something so awful whilst I had been away that I couldn’t stay any longer; I couldn’t wait to ask my social worker yet again to take me into care.
But, this time, Mother had gone too far, so I took matters into my own hands. I walked up to the local children’s home and told them they had to take me in or I’d be homeless. Amazingly, they took me in! They told me I could stay for 28 days, and after that, they would have a further meeting with my Social worker to determine my future.’ This happened before the Children’s Act was in place.
‘The Children’s home was no picnic, but it was better than where I had been.’
‘The residential home was no picnic, it was utter hell at times, but it brought me a sense of relief, even though it was so scary. There was often fighting in the home, some children were self-harming themselves, and making it worse, we often had abuse from the locals.
However, my life had been full of neglect and physical and emotional abuse from my Mother. I had dreamed of this moment for years; now, I was free from her and had 28 days of respite from abuse; it was heaven.
Still, there were other dangers that I’d soon come across. Teenage prostitution, drug use and abuse were rife, and there were children in care who had severe mental health disorders; furthermore, some of the staff were not appropriately trained. They didn’t know how to deal with these children, and one particular staff member had very dubious methods, which would cause serious concern today.
I was in the Children’s home for six months, and during that time, I became friends with a girl who sadly died of alcohol poisoning. Another child in care, a boy, had tried to kill himself while I was there; he had schizophrenia. I stayed friends with him for years, and sadly, he finally did commit suicide; he was 22 years of age.’
‘After six months, they found me a Foster ‘Mum.’
‘Then, after six months, my social worker showed me the first set of foster carers they had found. I don’t remember anyone ever asking me what I wanted or my views, just did I want to be fostered or did I want to stay in the Children’s home? Well, that was a simple question to answer; I didn’t want to stay!
The first foster carers that Social workers took me to were in Southport; the foster carer was a lovely lady who had fostered a lot of children, but she was a foster “MUM.”
‘I did not want another Mum; I’d had a bad enough experience with the one I had, so I told the social worker no, I wouldn’t live there because of this; I didn’t need a Mum.’
‘My Social worker tried to convince me for weeks to change my mind; then she said she had another set of foster carers. So off we went, and I had little confidence that it would turn out to be anything different from the last one.’
‘I found a foster home, and a future filled with love.’
‘However, this time, it was very different, the house was huge and chaotic with a toddler running around and a baby laying on the floor, gurgling happily. The female foster carer was very hippieish and laid back; we clicked immediately, and when we chatted, it was clear she wasn’t going to try to be my mum; she wanted to be my support, which I needed.’
‘So, on that same day, I said I’d move in at the weekend. However, the Social worker said ‘No, there are processes.” ‘You have to come for tea, then overnight and then at the weekend.’ But, the foster carer and I both said, ‘no, that’s fine; she’ll just come at the weekend,’ and that is what I did.
‘For the first time, I was told I was clever and could achieve things’
‘I was 14.5yrs, and it was an important time at school for me because I had missed so much of my education. However, now I had someone who told me I was ‘clever and could do things;’ no one had ever said anything like that to me before; it felt strange, but it felt good.’
‘Don’t get me wrong, I was emotionally slow to warm because I was protecting myself and my emotions, and ultimately it would take over ten years for me actually to say the words I love you” to them, but I did. Thankfully, my foster carers stayed in my life for 35 years; they were at my degree graduation and were with me at the birth of my child.’
My story is the perfect example of the importance of listening to children in fostering, and sharing my story is my way of giving something back. Many foster carers know that fostering is cathartically giving back to another child, and for me, this is why I am becoming a foster carer.’
Study the past if you would define the future.
If we study the past of our lives, we will understand that the past does not define the future if we have love, for love given to children enables them to heal from their trauma.
Children who have suffered neglect, pain and trauma in their past need to heal with people who will love them and understand that, sometimes, life is not easy for children who can’t quite verbalise how they feel. Subsequently, children’s behaviour can become extreme as they try to show their feelings, and sometimes, it can come across the wrong way; unless, of course, we understand children.
We need foster carers who understand that children’s lives in the past are often not easy, and they have compassion and time to dedicate to these children. As B shows, with the love of foster carers who believe in them, children will flourish and lead happy and fulfilling lives with love.
Many children are waiting in children’s homes for safe and loving homes, and the need for foster carers is growing. However, we can all give children a future filled with love, but we need to act now. Can you foster?
If you want to find out more about fostering, please get in touch…
If you would like to chat about foster care with a Not for Profit Charity, please get in touch with Verve on the form below, and we will contact you back. There is a considerable demand for foster carers, and children like B are waiting in children’s homes for safe and loving homes; with foster carers who will make a difference in their lives.
Are you the difference that vulnerable children need; can you foster?