Vulnerable teenager's life transformed by foster family
17 May 2019
When she was 15, Sarah’s parents couldn’t provide a safe and stable home for her to grow up in, so that’s when she came into care. Because her fostering experience started when she was a teenager, it was harder for her to adjust to the new family, their values and traditions, especially since they came from a different cultural and religious background.
Getting on with her studies while finding her feet in the new place wasn’t easy. Thankfully, Sarah’s new foster family was incredibly accommodating, and, even though she was worried about how she would cope with the transition, everything went on smoothly.
‘They gave me the space to be myself and let me enjoy being a teenager,’ Sarah said. ‘Often, when I got home from school, they would make me pancakes and in the mornings they made the bed for me.’
Coming from an unsafe and unstable family home has affected Sarah’s ability to trust people and open up – the troubled relationship with her mother made it hard for her to confide in almost anyone. Respect was something that she didn’t receive, and she ended up being rebellious and disobedient. She also felt unworthy of love and care, but the carers were so patient and supportive that Sarah completely changed the way she thought about people and how she behaved around them. She learned to be open, she gained the trust to express her feelings and show her vulnerabilities, and became more trusting and honest.
‘The relationship with my mother made me put up a wall, which my carers managed to break,’ Sarah added.
Sarah changed her behaviour at her own pace, without being constrained or forced to act in a certain way. Her parents would do many nice small gestures for her, which eventually softened her heart and taught her about giving without expecting something in return. This freedom mixed with the unconditional love and all the nice things helped her to develop as a person and to become the loving mother that she is to her three-year old daughter.
‘They helped me figure out how I can be a good mother to my little one. She’s now in her ‘no’ phase, which I handle pretty well because I learned how important it is to be patient and supportive as a parent.’
Looking back, she’s learned a lot from both her birth and her foster parents. Each has made their own positive contribution to her life, which is now helping her through motherhood. She appreciates every moment with her child and is patiently answering all her ‘But why, mummy?’ questions.
To protect the young person's identity, we have changed her name.
Listen to Sarah's foster family speak about her experience: