A Childhood in Care
I’ve spent 15 years of my life in care homes. I’ve had countless foster families, some I wasn’t even there long enough to remember their names. I never knew my dad but my mum was never fit to look after my brothers or me.
I remember growing up and telling people I was in care, they’d think my life was like an episode of Tracy Beaker. No one ever understood and to be honest with you, nobody still does.
Until I was old enough to get my own place, I never felt like I had a home. I never felt like I belonged anywhere. And it wasn’t just homes. I never seemed to stay at the same school long enough, which made it hard to make friends. And as you can imagine, with no family and no friends, it was lonely.
I’d only ever get to see my brothers 3 times a year. And even then it was only for a matter of hours. Nobody should be deprived like that, especially so young. As if it wasn’t hard enough already. I remember one time my eldest brother was on the phone to our social worker in tears about how unfair it all was, the most we could get out of it was 1 extra meeting a year. I missed my brother’s graduation among other incredible moments of my sibling’s lives, moments that I am never going to get back.
I remember being in primary school and thinking I had made a new friend, but before the week was up she had been avoiding me. She later told me that her mum told her to stay away from me, told me I was a bad kid because I was in care. There seems to be this myth around kids in care. That their parents send them there because they’ve been bad or something. I don’t know where this stigma came from but maybe had it never been there, my childhood might have been that little bit easier. Maybe having a friend through it all would have given me the support I needed at such a young age.