I was taken into foster care at the age of 12. Most young people will feel alone and confused at some point during their childhoods; and living with the feeling that you have no family, home or hope is truly devastating.

Like many children school was very hard for me, I felt like an outcast, and a loner – that no one could understand. I was brought up by my grandmother who did her best for me, but not having the ‘typical’ linear family I saw around me made me feel desperate and ashamed. In a turn of events when I was moved into a foster home, I became a parallel of my former self.

My foster mother taught me an indispensable amount of life skills in a very short amount of time; hygiene rules - I had to brush my teeth twice a day, a bedtime routine - go to sleep earlier, and discipline - to not answer back.

Soon I had built a friendship group and gained confidence I never thought I could have. Before this I had never had a friend around for dinner, no-one had seen into my house before, and this was something friends I tried to make were previously very suspicious about.

At 13 I had my first birthday party, with friends, ice-cream, dancing; all thanks to a wonderful foster carer and her extended family who made me feel like a normal, happy child. The whole family were welcoming and kind, making me feel like a member of their family and not an outsider. All of the foster carers I have stayed with have aided in giving me the knowledge and skills I have today.

Now living independently, and studying to go to University I feel so blessed that all these individuals have been so charitable to me, and have pushed me to a place I never thought I could reach. Being a foster child was one of the scariest, most life changing, but positive roads my life could have taken and I am so grateful to the foster carers who gave me a home, and the people who work so hard to make it happen.

It saddens me to think of all the children out there who are feeling hopeless and that they do not belong - like did as a child. I hope that in the future more people can reach out and help, like I have had happen to me, because every child deserves to be happy and feel loved.

Foster Care Fortnight 2015

With thanks to The Foster Care Co-operative