Where to start! Wow, 18, what a milestone and I am so glad to be here to see this moment.
I wanted to mark this birthday with some of my recollections of your journey.
You arrived at George and Rob’s home in April 2012 at the age of 11 years and 2 months. My first memories of you are of a young girl who was timid and unsure.
At first, we thought you would only stay 28 days however, we could see you needed to know where and with whom you would be living with so, with Maria’s hard work, we challenged Bradford and they agreed that you could stay. I was thrilled.
I remember you having to come along to our social events and how uncomfortable you looked; but you came which was an achievement in itself.
Slowly, as you got to know me better you started to relax. I was able to learn more about you, what you liked, your quick sense of humour.
I remember us doing some sessions, when we thought about things you were finding difficult. There was one piece of work we did that I will always remember. We drew your two families placing people on the page at different distances from you to reflect how close you felt to them. I was blown away by your insight and honesty.
Another stand out moment for me, was when you agreed to do skills to foster training. What a great day to show how you were growing in confidence. To stand up in front of strangers to help them learn about foster care was so brave.
If I remember right, you were a difficult/ personal question by one of the applicants and you handled it with great maturity. The feedback from the course was that you had done a great job, as I knew you would. It is invaluable applicants learning from young people like you.
My next big memory of you is around the support you gave to J another young person in care who needed some guidance and support. I know this was out of your comfort zone, so I really appreciated you agreeing. The best moment was at Lightwater Valley when you took J and E under your wing. It was a proud moment for me.
George shared with me the English Essay you wrote, it is one of the best pieces of work I have ever read. I knew we needed to use it to benefit other young people and foster families, so I was thankful when you agreed we could use it for the Capstone Video competition (Of which you were the clear winner! 🙂 Watching you read your essay about what family is, is one moment that has validated my career as a Social Worker, so that H, I thank you!
Next! Kerry’s interview! Talk about going from strength to strength. I knew you had the skills and knowledge to help us choose the right new social worker for our team. Your feedback on applicants showed your maturity- It was fair, considered and very much valued. Vivienne, Team Manager + Mary, Registered Manager, were so impressed with your feedback + they trusted it.
And now into your final year “formally” in foster care how you have grown. Planning holidays, developing relationships, studying hard, learning to drive. Confident, delightful, ambitious. I could not be prouder.
All you have done while I have known you. Your tolerance of parents and children who have needed George and Rob’s help, your honesty, your insight- I have gained so much working with you.
Now you are 18 and planning university such exciting time. I have no doubt you have the capacity to achieve what you set your mind to. You have made incredible progress in the time I have known you and achieved so much. It has been a genuine privilege being part of your journey, and as for your post 18 journey I hope we can still be a small part of it.
I am proud of you and wish for you a future filled with joy and fulfilment.
From Debbie 🙂
Open Letter to Holly