All too often we have heard stories about the care system detailing horrendous abuse, by individuals and by institutions. It is probably rarely shared that despite these examples, for which there are no excuses, there have always been people dedicated to genuinely caring and making a difference to those children whose circumstances bring them into the care system.
Through no fault of their own, these children are the victims and we as a society should be doing all within our power and abilities to give them the very best care, support and love, to enable them to recover from their trauma.
What this story does highlight is that although not inherently bad, David’s experience was not necessarily the best either. But for the time (1960’s and 1970’s) it was perhaps well intentioned and acceptable. It allowed him the space to begin to come to terms with his circumstances and introduced him to the start of his journey into faith.
As a Foster carer it is really helpful for me to read a first-hand experience of being a child in care. Not so much the system or experience of being in a home, as thankfully things have moved on, but more to read about David’s feelings and emotions that he remembers with such clarity. His fundamental emotional need to be accepted, loved and to be the same as other children. Not to be different. It is exactly the same that we still see now from children in care and like David, they are rarely able to voice it.
His troubling behaviours resulting from his circumstances, are sadly similar to the behaviours still seen in children in care now, perhaps with more sympathetic solutions than David experienced.
After leaving care, it still takes David a long time, a lifetime really, to come to terms with his childhood experiences. Highlighting again how vital and formative our early years are.
David’s story is a great testimony – to him, his determination and learned resilience, as well as a testimony to his journey into faith, which became a backbone to his healing.
Thank you David for your bravery in sharing your story and for the insights that it offers.
Sixteen Years in Care by David Meader, is available here.
Thanks to the publisher for a gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.