children in care

Home was my prison


Ever since I was a baby my dad has hit me for no reason, and for as long as I can remember, my parents have shown me no love, didnít kiss or cuddle me, so I felt unwanted. I couldnít think what I had done wrong and didnít understand. When I was about twelve, life at home grew worse; my parents were arguing and fighting every night. My dad then used to take his anger out on me by hitting, thumping and kicking me around the room until I lay in the corner crying. Then heíd stand over me, and laugh, thinking it was funny.

Other things were happening as well, which I still cannot talk about. They made me feel dirty and angry with myself: I felt that I was to blame. My own dad was always threatening to beat me if I didnít do things he wanted me to do, and I was having to lie about the bruises. People were asking if everything was all right at home and I said ďyesĒ because I was scared of what would happen if I broke the ďsecretĒ. My mum knew what was happening but she said if I told anyone, dad would be put in prison, and I would be taken into care, which sounded horrible.

I began to hurt myself and then tried to slash my wrists a few times. Now I think about it, it was probably just attention seeking, to get people to listen to me and know something was wrong. Also that the pain was a punishment for me as I stopped eating, and then became anorexic which Iíve now overcome, and also began to run away more frequently. Iíve been running away since I was eleven, but was scared about what would happen if I was brought back home, so I always came back before anyone had noticed me missing.

Desperate for help
I was ringing Childline every day, but Iíve only ever got through twice. I became so desperate to talk to someone that I eventually told a person I liked and trusted. They let me down because they didnít believe me, which was devastating as it had taken a lot of courage to say it. Other people I trusted I told too, but they werenít interested either, so I never trust anyone now.

Last year I tried to take an overdose, and I really wanted to die as I was so fed up with life and depressed, I didnít care what happened to me. I ran away yet again, and was determined never to return home. I just walked the streets wishing I was dead.

The final straw was when a man attacked and tried to assault me sexually but I managed to fight him off and get away. Iíd had enough.

A safe place
But last year, when I came into care my life changed. I was put with a foster family who Iím still with, and Iím very happy here. A home and a proper family, with love, care and happiness. A safe place where I am made to feel I belong. The feelings of being unwanted and dirty are disappearing, and the nightmares are going too. My foster dad is the first man I have been able to trust, although it was months before Iíd let him cuddle me as I didnít know what proper love was.

My foster parents love me and I love them too, although I sometimes find it hard to show it. They understand what Iíve been through, and how I feel; slowly I am rebuilding my life and can talk about my past to people I trust. They have made me see that life is worth living and stop me getting too depressed. Also, that I should not feel guilty and angry with myself, that it s not my fault and I shouldnít blame myself for what s happened. Iím fifteen now, and will stay with this family for years to come, as I donít ever want to return home. Being in care is the best thing thatís happened to me.

From Who Cares? the English magazine for children in care

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