I was 12 years old when I went to live with my foster carers Carol and Peter. I remember visiting them a few days before I moved in, and although I felt anxious as everything was new and different, I also felt relieved as I really liked them. It was my fourth foster placement and so it felt like I was starting my life all over again.
As soon as I had moved in it felt great to be a part of Carol and Peter’s family, with new sisters which are their birth daughters and cats and dogs to look after. Since then I have had some very special experiences such as being a bridesmaid for their wedding vow renewal ceremony and becoming a god mother to their granddaughter Daisy. Carol and Peter fundraise for charities working with children in Gambia and we went there to visit a school and orphanage. It was amazing and made me realise how lucky I am and how much I have.
Six years after I was placed with Carol and Peter, they are no longer just my foster carers, they are my family and I call them mum and dad. That is why, when I recently turned 18, I decided to take their surname as my own. It felt right to do that, and it was a lovely birthday present.
Like most young people in the care system, when I became 18 I had the option to move on to independent living, but I am not ready for that, and so I will continue living with my family under the Staying Put Scheme so I can concentrate on my college course. I am in my third year doing hospitality and catering. My ultimate goal is to join the Navy when I am 21.
Foster carers are very special people in my personal opinion, and to be a good carer I think you need to be kind, understanding, considerate and listen to what the child is saying and not be just judgemental. Children go into care under lots of different circumstances, which can create situations that may affect both the child and the placement, so please be open minded.