Leah shares her story of foster care, being separated from siblings and how her foster carers have supported her.
When I was six years old I was taken from my mother and I was put into foster care. Not only was I separated from my mum I was separated from two of my sisters, I was only young and didn’t really understand what was going on.
I lived with my first foster carers for two and a half years until Haringey Council found my sister and I a more suitable match.
When I moved in with my current foster carers it felt like I was entering a brand new world. Since the first day of being with them it felt as though I had been there forever. I have been with them for seven years and they have been the best days of my life. I have been on numerous holidays abroad, I receive presents and I go to restaurants regularly. I am extremely grateful for my foster carers. They are a miracle in my eyes as they treat me like their own child and I feel like I am a part of a forever family. They supported me with my school work and making friends, and they cared about my health and wellbeing.
Throughout school I have been in the top set for all my subjects and won awards for geography, dance, my community spirit, and work with my peers. I was also put forward for an honours program for science, technology, engineering and maths. During my time at school I have also taken part in my school’s annual dance show, performing in front of over 200 people a night for three days. However, my proudest achievement is getting my younger brother and sister to live with me.
They got taken off my biological mother and put in foster care. They stayed there for a year and their social worker wanted to put them up for adoption.
I was distraught.
For the whole year my foster carers and I fought for them to live with us as we believe family should be together and not separated. I wrote a long letter to the judge about why she should let my brother and sister come and live with us. She made the best decision - that they should live with us.
I have achieved so much but I couldn’t do any of those things without the support of my foster carers Mandy and Iain. I don’t see them as my foster parents but as my mum and dad. They have done so much for me and I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. They deserve everything in the world and more, they are the most caring, loving and amazing people in the world.
I believe that all foster carers should treat their foster children like their own, support them, show them love and what being in a family is like, because if not, I believe that children in foster care will feel lonely and angry inside and then choose the wrong paths in life. I also believe that being in care gives you so many opportunities and you get so much support from your social workers and carers.
If I could go back in time so that I would still be with my biological mother today, I wouldn’t. If I wasn’t in care I wouldn’t have met my family and have all the support in my education and my hobbies. I also wouldn’t change the time I spent living with my biological mother, as if I hadn’t gone through that I wouldn’t be who I am today.
I want to say a huge thank you to Jaqueline Heaney from Integrated Fostering Service and a special thanks to my social worker Susan Mukengezi from Haringey Council for all the support she has given me.
From left: Leah with Jamie, Kia, Chantel, Rachel, Iain and Mandy.