When George first came to us, two weeks before his thirteenth birthday, there were visible signs of neglect. But now he’s a very happy, confident young person who knows what he wants to do with his life.
It wasn’t easy having to adjust to George living with us as he made it perfectly clear he had a closer bond with my husband. I had convinced myself he hated me and I was ready to give up. But I’m so glad we didn’t because I don’t think he’d be the young man that he is today.
It was a few months later, after attending a support group that made me realise that we did have a connection and had formed a bond; creating the special relationship that we have to this day.
A tough start
But it hasn’t been easy, not at all. I have felt every emotion going and found some new ones along the way. But, then again, so has George. The first couple of weeks of the placement was definitely the ‘honeymoon period’ and over the following few weeks, there were challenges.
The first incident with George was on a Saturday morning – George had become difficult and started to argue with me and then swore. I wanted to speak to him about his language but he was having none of it. He went and hid behind the bathroom door and although I tried to coax him out so we could discuss the incident, he refused to budge. He ended up behind that door for two hours before he came out.
George would become very giddy when it came to bedtime and would often run upstairs ahead of us and play hide and seek with his duvet. After a few weeks of playing along, we realised it was just another form of attention seeking. But when we stopped playing it with him, he stopped. Those weeks were hard getting him to bed and even harder getting him up in the morning.
A lot of the difficulties we had with George were getting him into a good sensible routine with bedtimes, showering, brushing his teeth; he couldn’t understand why he had to do this every day of every week.
Support from my local fostering team
Another time, in the middle of summer, words had been said and he ‘went off on one’. He was shouting and screaming, thumping and banging on doors and went upstairs to his room, in a rage. He said he was getting his stuff and was packing.
There was a lot of noise, things being thrown, doors continuously being slammed (he was trying to break the doors off their hinges) and I just left him to it. I sent messages to both his social worker and my Supervising Social Worker to inform them what was going on and that he was ‘trashing’ his room. They both asked about the incident, how I was, and what I was doing – I told them that I was fine and leaving him to it. It soon went quiet when he realised he wasn’t getting any attention.
We’ve had many tears and tantrums over the past couple of years, over anything and everything, and from time to time we still get the odd blip (I put that down to the ‘horrid teenage years!). But the biggest difference now is that he says sorry afterwards with the biggest hugs.
George, before coming to us, never went to school, was always in trouble when he did attend as he was very aggressive and had anger issues. Yes, he does attend a special school but has thrived in all subjects and is currently doing very well in GCSE Maths and PE. He is well liked by staff and other pupils and will often help out where he can.
His reports have always been good, and he won an award at school last year for ‘Sports Person of the Year’. He’s always coming home with various certificates for different things and he can never wait to get back to school after the holidays.
I know people say to me he is a lucky boy now that he lives with us but I disagree. I’m the lucky one to have the love of a child, who was once a stranger, who has helped himself to turn his life around and to now look forward to a positive, bright future.
He tells me now that he’s going to be living with me until he’s 35, giving me £5 a week – help!!
As told by George’s foster carer