Friday, 5 August 2016

Going into battle on your own

If you were fostered or brought up in a Children's Home you will one day realise that you will be fighting most battles on your own. No help from a birth family and, usually, no help from an allocated social worker either. Just you against the system. It is a really important survival skill to recognise that if you don't fight for yourself then nobody else is going to bother fighting for you.

Leaving school is a really important landmark for most young people. Looking back perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised that neither of us came through this phase of our lives with happy memories. But I did get the grades to go off to university so my time wasn't wasted: it is more that the social part of being a normal 6th former was not something that I ever experienced and that seems a pity. Neither of the stories here are strongly unjust but they are good examples of where pushy parents would probably have managed to arrange a better outcome than we managed!

Ella's bit

Up to Christmas of year 13 we were both at school. But then things went wrong. League tables mattered more than me to the Head. With nobody to stick up for me it took about three weeks to go from having no problem to a “cause for concern” pupil to goodbye Ella. With no parents to offer advice and support and a social worker on maternity leave I was doomed.

As ever it was money that was the problem. Eve will tell you that I can be a stubborn person. I wanted spending money and I was going to have spending money. So there. It was easy to get cash in hand jobs and after only a few weeks I was hooked. So my school work suffered. That is why I got booted out.

The first day that Eve went off to school on her own without calling to collect me first was horrible and weird. I sat waiting around with nothing to do (I was still only in part time work at that stage) feeling pretty cross with myself and the world.

Eve's bit

It felt very strange and lonely going to school without Ella especially at break time and at lunchtime. I worked extra hard at school and was exhausted by the time the exams came. I didn't see much of Ella in the week but we always waved at each other as I walked past her flat on the way to school. We always managed to meet at the weekend and sent showers of emails either way.

The end of the summer term was a mess. There was supposed to a Prom for the leavers but I didn't have the money for the fancy clothes the other kids had and so when they said same sex couples couldn't attend Ella and I boycotted the whole thing.

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