Hi, my name is Anna. For the past two years my 5 year old sister Chantal and I have been cared for by my foster carers, Angie and Pete. Life is really good now. Angie and Pete don’t have any of their own children but they are really cool with Chantal and I. Life is just so much different now compared with the problems I always had when I lived with my mum and her boyfriend.
I was frightened when I lived at home. There was never anything much to eat and the only reason I went to school when I did was to get some free food. Mum was lovely when she wasn’t drinking beer or taking drugs and sometimes she would take us down the park and we had some really happy times together. Most of the time however she would just spend it getting boozed up with my step dad, Tim, and that always ended up in a fight. I didn’t like Tim, he frequently hurt my Mum and he shouted and hit me and my sisters if we got in his way.
Tim just shut Chantal in her room when she cried because they couldn’t deal with her when they were drinking. I just wanted him to go and live somewhere else but my Mum always forgave him for the punches and I knew she would always do as he said in the end.
I used to walk to school on my own sometimes. I never told the teachers when Mum was not at home ‘cause I knew that she might get into trouble and it wasn’t really her fault – well I’m not sure really as Angie and Pete say that she is the grown up!
My teacher seemed to worry about me at school and always wanted to speak to my Mum about why I was late or looked tired and scruffy. One day she noticed that I had a black eye from a bruise caused by Tim. The school called the social workers and that is when we were taken into to care to live with our first foster carers.
My older sister Tammy was also placed in care with us. She was always very angry at everybody and picked on me as she said it was my fault that we could not live with Mum. She kept running away and sometimes I would go with her and we would stay out really late with some people she knew until the police found us. I was so unhappy and confused, Tammy and I were fighting all the time and so in the end the social workers decided it would be better if Chantal and I moved to a new foster home so that we could make a new start.
It wasn’t easy to start with as it is hard moving to new carers but from the very beginning Angie and Pete were just so welcoming and caring. I wasn’t always that well behaved because it took me a while to trust them, but no matter what they always listened to me, calmed me down when I was angry or upset and never shouted at me, hurt me or resented me. It has taken me a long time to trust that there will always be food to eat and that I can rely on them to look after Chantal. I was always the one to look out for her and so for a long time I took food from the fridge and hid it in my room under the mattress. Chantal looks amazing, smiley and happy now. Angie and Pete don’t rely on me to look after her and although it took me a while to get used to it, I don’t worry about her anymore and instead have a great time enjoying myself.
Angie and Pete are really keen for me to do well at school and have been helping me with my reading to catch up. They meet regularly with one of my teachers to discuss my progress and when I’m having a difficult day they try and work it through with me to help. School work is not my favourite activity but I’m getting better at it. I’ve always been quite good at sports and since being with Angie and Pete I’ve pursued my love of football and joined the local girls’ team! They always come and cheer me on at matches which I absolutely love and guess what… I’ve just been picked to be in the league!!
I still see my Mum once a month at a contact centre when she comes and I also visit my older sister. Sometimes Mum forgets to come because of her drinking habit and although it’s not always easy, I know that she loves me and importantly Angie and Pete will be there for me when I get home.
Life is great …I feel settled and happy and the plan is for Chantal and I to stay with Angie and Pete until we are 18. It feels so good to be part of a loving family. 🙂