I’m 25 and I’m an ex-foster child. A lot has changed since my time in care. I have a career in design, I own my own home and I have 3 wonderful pets. I’m living a new life, which feels worlds apart from where my life started. Without my placement with Andy at Amicus Foster Care between the ages of 15-18, I genuinely feel my life would have gone down a different path.
At 5 years old, I went from my family home into a Local Authority placement split apart from my brothers and sisters. From then I bounced about between different foster carers and agencies. Some placements lasted a few years, some a few weeks. I was continuously being moved in and out of different homes without any real understanding of what had happened. This gave me a lot of issues trusting people and I became resentful towards carers and social workers. By the time I was a teenager, I firmly believed all adults involved in the fostering system were making money out of my misfortune, and when they’d had enough of me I would simply be moved along.
When I was 15, I moved into my first placement with Amicus. I found the placement difficult, as my lifestyle had been turned upside-down. I had previously been in a placement with another agency where I was left alone almost 24/7. I had spent those previous 2.5 years by myself in a small room with little interaction from anyone, aside from going to school. Moving to my new home with Amicus was a shock. Suddenly I lived with people that wanted to communicate with me! I didn’t understand this and I still had my beliefs that all foster carers were deceitful and could not be trusted!
After a few weeks in my new placement with Amicus, my foster carer took me to a Christmas Party organised by Amicus. I remember sitting by myself in a huff when a girl called Pip came along. She was talking to me about her placement, which sounded wonderful, lucky her I thought! Her foster carer came over to talk to me as she could tell I was unhappy. I don’t remember the conversation, but I do remember the lady wore wacky clothes and had amazing wavy grey hair!
Some time passed and then what a surprise, I was being moved along again. I remember standing outside the front door of an old town house about to meet my next carer. I had the shock of my life when a lady opened the door wearing wacky clothes and had amazing wavy grey hair! I still don’t fully understand how it happened, but I had spoken to Andy at the Christmas party and then one day I turned up on her doorstep. I lived with Andy until I was 18 when I left for university.
Living with Andy was different. She showed me so much kindness even when I treated her with disrespect. She went above and beyond to help me, I only wish I had appreciated her at the time. Unfortunately I still had the belief ingrained in my mind that foster carers were bad news. I had many difficult and some scarring experiences before my time with Amicus, some of which are still affecting me today. I am so grateful for my placement with Andy; she could tell I had difficult things I was mentally dealing with. She gave me time and space to cope with things, although her door was always open if I did want to talk.
Since leaving Andy’s 7 years ago, I’ve been able to process my experience in foster care. Reflecting back now, I understand how caring the social workers and carers at Amicus are and how much they have helped me. The same people who back then I resented! I would never have achieved where I am today without the gentle help from Andy and the team at Amicus. I feel privileged to have completed my fostered life within this agency. I hope to become a foster carer myself in the future, and I would urge anyone considering fostering to go for it!
A big thank-you to Andy and the team at Amicus, and I am sorry for ever being difficult or unkind.