James Roderick - 27th January 2023
I’m L and I’m 15. I’ve been in foster care since I was 8. I moved around quite a bit, mostly cos the foster carers I had didn’t feel they could keep me safe. Whatever that means.
When I was 13 I found out that my mum was pregnant. I worried about what would happen to the baby. My brother. I wondered if he would have nice carers who would look after him. Would I be able to see him? Or would he be adopted? All these thoughts were just going round and round in my head.
Then one day my social worker took me to McDonalds. That usually means bad news, like I need to move again or some old guy in a white wig and black robe has made another decision for me, about me. I like my social worker. She always gives it to me straight. She told me that mum was keeping the baby, he’d be living with her. Happy Meal. Happy families.
It all went downhill after that.
I literally started to hate everyone. I could feel this anger all the time. Like I was plugged in to the mains. If I lifted my hand I could just zap everyone. That’s what I wanted to do, hurt everyone. The worst bit was that I even hated my baby brother. Who hates a baby? I thought I must be evil. But every time I thought of him, which was pretty much the whole time, I felt sick and the anger would just build and build and I would either smash stuff up or cut myself. I started to cut myself a lot. Part of me wanted to shout, “Look at me! Look how much I’m hurting!” The other part of me wanted to curl up in the bottom of my wardrobe and never come out.
I suppose really I just wanted to be seen. So I spent more and more time online. I started to chat to guys. They made me feel seen. They told me I was beautiful. Asked for pictures of me. They became a sort of lifeline for me.
Then my foster carer checked my phone and found all these embarrassing photos. It was weird cos she got really upset. Not angry. But I could see she had been crying. I couldn’t really figure her out. But anyway, that caused a whole heap of crap and I got my phone taken away and everything.
I was invisible again. I started cutting again. It kind of got out of control if I’m honest. One day I even scared myself and ran to my foster carer. Her face literally went whiter than white and she took me to hospital.
I was just so tired of it all. I knew that my foster carer would probably want me to leave now. No foster carer wants someone who cuts themselves so badly. But she didn’t get rid of me. She did lock up all the knives though. And the scissors. And the razors. I started therapy. It helped to talk and to see how all my feelings were just building and building. I learned how to let the feelings escape. I talked more to my foster carer. I let her in I suppose. A bit anyway. I’ve been with her for 2 years now and I still cut sometimes when things get too much but nowhere near as bad and I’m definitely better than I was.
I still can’t handle my mum and I haven’t met my brother. I’m worried I’ll hate him or hurt him or something. I still don’t understand why she wants him and not me. I talk about that a lot with my therapist. Sometimes I just cry but my carer says that’s good, healthy. She holds me and just lets me cry. I know she sees me. And I’m starting to see myself a bit more too. And I’m thinking, maybe I’m not too bad after all.
L needed someone to hold her in her grief and to make her feel valued, safe and loved. If you think you could support a child like L, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook or call us on 01206 299775. You can also find useful fostering information on our website.