Own two feet


Finding my feet
February 1, 2010, 10:15 am
Filed under: Life in care | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Not sure what brought you here… perhaps you’re a young person in care, a foster parent, a teacher, a children’s home worker… whatever it is thank you for coming and I hope you will keep coming. I also hope everyone will get something out of this blog (I’ve never written or read a blog in my life so bear with me, I will get better!), but first off I want to say I will be talking to young people in care primarily… sorry everybody else, but feel free to listen in, you might learn something. I’m hoping I will…

My name is John. I was once in care. I hated it. I went into care when I was very young and was in and out at first, but then at age nine I just stayed in. As is often the way I was bounced from foster home to children’s home to children’s home, sure most of you know what I mean.

Along the way I smashed a lot of stuff up… was very angry and often felt totally alone (but I didn’t tell anyone this). There were always people about like social workers; foster carers, other kids etc, but crowds can be the loneliest places. People didn’t get me, they didn’t listen and that made things worse. I was ashamed about being in care. I hid it from people at school as long as I could, but they found out and took the piss. So I became a bit of a class clown and made people laugh and that seemed to make things easier with the other kids, not so much the teachers. I got in trouble a lot and spent a lot of time outside classrooms, but I still kept up with my school work. I needed an out. I needed to feel good about myself and I got this from school. I didn’t know it then, but I see that now looking back.

There are lots of ‘outs’… sport, music, books, friends, computer games… whatever it is make sure you find yours. The smashing stuff and the anger and the loneliness may still hang about (I never quite shook those off), but find that place to escape. They can take you away from your family for whatever reason that may be, but they can’t take away your ability to find that ‘out’, they may even help you get there (social services paid for my brother’s ice skating boots)…

I’m really scared of sounding like I’m preaching and I’m not here for that… I’m just here to pass on my own experiences. Maybe you will related and take something from them… maybe they will sound familiar…or maybe not.

Being in care was once my whole life. I felt like a prisoner. But now things are different for me. My time in care is still a part of my life, but it’s just that… a part. I used to be ashamed of it, but now it’s something I’m proud of because it’s from this experience that I’ve become who I am today. It’s been a rough ride at times but it’s from being in care I gained my inner strength, understanding of other people and perspective…also if you ever need a window smashing in I’m your man! When you’ve come through being in care you can pretty much take on most things… throw some real effort in and you will be amazed where you might find yourself standing one day, maybe you’re standing there already.

I hope that you will contribute to this blog and pass on your own experiences. Sometimes I forget what it was like to be in care and looking back as an adult maybe I’ve forgotten stuff. So please educate me and remind me. Nothing is off the agenda, so if you want to discuss anything fire away. Without you this will not work. I need you, so please get involved.

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22 Comments so far
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Great blog & good to see what it feels like now you’re in a different place…

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Comment by adoptresources

Thanks for this, really helpful

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Comment by AmyLou

I never really thought about what it would be like having to be in care. Reading John’s story really opened my eyes to a world I didn’t know exisited. Thank you for sharing John, I’ll pop back every now and then to see what’s being discussed.

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Comment by Mat

Important to remember how lonely these kids feel, even (or especially) in groups and how the kids bully each other when they are differnet. How we all forget…

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Comment by A. Bowen

Congratulations on your first blog! I’ve not experienced the care system, but a while ago I read a lot about it – and it really struck me that despite all the social workers and care reviews and so forth that you mention people can still end up moving home many times and feeling very alone.

In future blogs I’d love to hear something about what you think would improve the system. I’d also love to hear about how you manage now: do you feel you have a ‘family’ you can rely on – or are you just an incredibly resourceful person?

Best wishes,
Kate

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Comment by Kate Smith

It’s really good to hear the voices of young people and young adults who are in care or who have left care. John’s perspective, as someone who’s looking back on the whole experience of being in care, is really valuable and will hopefully help inform both adults working with young people in care, and maybe some young people too… Keep blogging John!

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Comment by Liz North

I can’t believe you have never written a blog before John. This is a great insight into life in care, it’s open, honest and inspiring!
Thanks for sharing!

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Comment by Vicki

It’s really interesting to find out what life in care is really like, I look forward to reading more of your thoughts and experiences!

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Comment by Dave

“Not sure what brought you here” – I’m not sure how I got here, but I’m very glad I did, this was a nice way to start what is going to be a greatly read blog. Keep it up.

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Comment by Carl

I find this an amazing preliminary insight as to what being in care is like. I would definitely like to read more please! keep on blogging John!

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Comment by clea topolski

[…] The first post of a care leaver, who writes in a way that draws you in to his (not all good) experience of the care system […]

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Pingback by Nice blogs 09/02/10 « Raincoat Optimism

This is exactly what young children, social workers, foster carers etc in similar situations need to be hearing and taking heed of. Very insightful and interesting stuff John – keep it up.

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Comment by Melanie Williams

fANTASTIC,I AM A FOSTER CARER AND AM GOING TO PRINT THIS OF FOR MY 17YR OLD. I ESPECIALLY LIKE THE COMMENT’IF YOU’VE COME THROUGH CARE YOU CAN TAKE ON ANYTHING’
HOPE IT WILL HELP THE YOUNG PERSON I LOOK AFTER TO SEE THEY CAN DO SO MUCH AND NOT TO LET THEIR LACK OF CONFIDENCE HOLD THEM BACK. IT’S MORE POWERFUL COMING FROM SOMEONE WHO WAS WERE THEY ARE NOW. THANKS AGAIN.:)

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Comment by JENNY

really interesting, John – from the heart so i want to go on hearing your thoughts and your history; and so well expressed (you do write well!) so it feels like a good inspiration to all of us reading you. i’d love to hear what got you out of the bad place you were in – the anger and the isolation – and what your life is like now. Blog on!!!

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Comment by suzie hayman

I’m just somebody listening in but you’ve got alot to say and you say it v well. So keep blogging and let us know what you’re up to now.

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Comment by Hids

Enjoyed the blog, gives another perspective, hopefully will inspire others to not give up. Good luck for the future
I was lucky to be adopted and have a good childhood but relaise how unsettling moving round the sytem is.

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Comment by Carole

john i know where your coming from,i was in care for 14 years,and your right i could and have survived many harsh things,great blog,i would love to share my story too.

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Comment by david wilson

Honest and inspiring.I wonder if it was hard to be so honest.
As a child I used to wish someone would take me away from a very unhappy home, now I look at it differently.I have certainly been given lots of food for thought.Would love to know what you’re up to now. Take care

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Comment by joan jamieson

The honesty really shouts at you in John’s writing and I can really relate to some of the themes – pimarily loneliness- despite coming from a large family. It’s truly insightful getting a different perspective on childhood, I’m sure this will be an invaluable resource for children and young people in care.

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Comment by Oz

i know how yhuu feel this is the exact waay my life is now…for all the people tha have had a hard life need to understand how to cope with things lyk johnn has…i really do feel sorry for eveyone in care inculding the ones that have no parents…i have parents but my mum uses heroin and she thinks my 15 brothers and sisters dont know nut wee really do…iim the only one in care out a the lot a them… my social worker said im more at risk than any kid in that house and the youngest is 1 and a half….

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Comment by Lauren

John such a great blog, I was also in care and have survived.

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Comment by Ruth

Hi Ruth,
Thank you so much for taking the time to write, I really appreciate it.
Survival is the bear minimum sister…thriving is the next port of call I hope you’re at or heading to. J x

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Comment by whocarestrust




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