The System

Cold, dark, unknowing, unsure, unloved, yes most of all unloved. Scared, lonely, trapped.

All these feelings just about sum up my first night in the system. I had been to theatre club and the worker pulled me aside as everyone was leaving told me I needed to go upstairs.

I was greeted by a small(and she must have been small because I was only a child), I’d say late 40’s dizzy, dyed blonde haired woman. I was sat down and offered a cup of tea, what it with us British and cups of tea.  I explained that I couldn’t stay, I needed to get the bus home, If I wasn’t home on time I would be in trouble, and in words that I can’t quiet remember now because everything from then until the next morning was a blur. All I can really remember was that I wouldn’t be going home and that I was going to an emergency foster home.

I was trundled into a car and driven somewhere, anywhere or that’s what it felt like. I could have been in the back of beyond that night, where ever it, it wasn’t home. We turned up outside this dorma house and this woman was talking to me explaining that it was emergency care and they will be finding me more suitable accommodation in time, she told me their names and the rest was just blah, blah, blah blah.

Out of the car the walk up the driveway felt like I was walking the green mile, with the way the street lamps where coming through the bushes and shrubs. we stood outside this house and it still all felt so surreal, as if it wasn’t me it was actually happening to. They opened the door an older couple I’d say in their 60’s and we walked through this antwacky hallway into a blast from the past livingroom with conflicting patterns on the walls and floor, brass everywhere and a faked cladding fireplace. I sat there whilst they talked just looking at the floor, all I heard was blah, blah, blah. I think I nodding and said yes, no and I’m Vickie in all the right places but do you know what I couldn’t care less. I was starting to realise that I was unloved.

The social worker left, saying she would phone tomorrow and I would see her in the week. I was shown the house, there was 3 other teenage girls in the house 2 the same age as me and 1 maybe 3 years younger than me. I was shown the bathroom and my bedroom was downstairs. It was a small room at the back of the garage, I had a single bed, a sink and a telly and a chest of drawers. This became my prison cell.

I don’t remember sleeping much that night, just crying and asking myself why? I knew things weren’t great with my mum at the time and she was really annoyed that I had run up a huge phone bill, but I didn’t drink, smoke and I was always home by my curfew so why this, was I truly unloved?

In the morning I was brought through to the dining room where there was breakfast already laid on the table. It was then that I started to feel like a number, merely just a way of making money. I understood they had done this business for a long time and they had more than likely been messed about by kids in the past, but could they not see the fear written across my face. We were allowed a bowl of cereal and a piece of toast or fruit, a drink and then we were packed on ours way. I had explained that I normally had a yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, where I quickly told that they couldn’t afford to feed 4 girls a yoghurt every day for breakfast so eat or starve. I have barely eaten breakfast since then.

I was shown the bus stop given just enough money for the bus and I was sent on my way. I had never gotten a bus to school before I lived 10 minutes walk from school all my life. So the questions had already started by the time I had gotten to school.

I didn’t spend much time in lessons that week, which when in year 11 was not a good thing to be happening. I had found out that my mum had informed social services that she no longer wanted me and that there was no home for me anymore so unless they dealt with the matter I would be on the streets. I was 15 and scared for my life.

What type of life would I lead now, my closest sister was away doing volunteer work in Sri Lanka and they rest had been turned against me.So here was life alone.

Life in the foster home was hell, the other girls turned against me. I wasn’t allow out at night and everything had locks on it. I decided to run!

I packed a small bag, slept on friends floors after parties for the first 2 nights. Then walked the streets for 2. I went home, home on the Wednesday the door was locked and I could hear inside they were just carrying on, they didn’t care.  It all became too much for this 15-year-old to cope with. I managed to sleep at a friend’s house again, I ask for some paracetamol. For the next few days I kept asking people for a paracetamol, I avoided school because I knew I would be forced to go back. The following Friday there was another party. I managed to find a whole tub of paracetamol so along with half a bottle of Cointreau I necked 50 pills and went for a walk.

Next I knew I was waking up being violently sick and I was in the back of an ambulance. I had my stomach pumped and 2 weeks I stayed in. I didn’t have any visitors, I just kept myself to myself, attempted to study for my exams, however between having psych tests done and not knowing where I would be going once they needed the hospital bed back I couldn’t concentrate.

My step-dad did finally come and pick me up, took me home but things have never been the same with them since. I was allowed home until my 16th birthday where I was turfed out and from then I have lived independently. Living in hostels and semi-independent living.

It’s been 10 years and I do have a lot of mental scars from that time in my life and I still have issues with regards to love and letting people in. I am slowly getting over it and have recently let my mum into my boy’s life. I will get the courage to tell her how she has killed part of me inside. Just not yet!

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12 responses to “The System

  1. I just wanted to say I am so sorry that this happened to you. I have only just discovered your blog but from the little I have read you sound like an amazingly strong woman who writes with real pizzazz. You should feel very proud that you kept going through such a tough time and are now able to write about it so eloquently and bravely.

  2. Oh my God, how awful, but you are truly very brave to blog about something so intimate and personal. Some people are just completely oblivious to the consequences of their actions, sending lots of hugs xx

  3. What a shame. My Mum and Dad were foster parents for years and truly loved it. They didn’t get paid for it (not like now). They only got an allowance for the child they were looking after.
    I’m sorry you had such a horrible experience. x x x

  4. I am sorry you had to go through such a harsh experience. It is made so much worse when the treatment is dished out by the one person who is supposed to love us. I hope you have had a chance to speak to a counsellor or someone who knows how to listen and has helped you understand that none of this was your fault?

  5. So very brave to share with us. You know how i feel about this and i so think you have alot to show and havebecome such a strong person you may not think it but you are and proud you should be .

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