I was placed in foster care at nine and remained in the system until I was 18. My mum couldn’t care for me so the best decision was for me to be removed.
It was traumatic. Imagine yourself as a nine-year-old child who’d just been taken away by police and placed into foster care. I had a lot of issues to deal with but overtime, more and more fantastic people entered my life and things began to improve.
I went through about five different foster care placements [through other agencies] before I finally settled in with my Barnardos foster parents Neill and Vicki. They just understood me and gave me the chance to have a better life. They were the perfect fit. I still had unresolved issues, but they were two people dedicated to making me a better person. That was something that I’d never experienced before. They gave me a stable place to grow. I’d never lived with a dad before and it was so important to have that father figure. Neill’s been amazing, I really wouldn’t want anyone else to have done it because he did a great job.
I remember finally feeling safe and secure when I was at the same school for more than a year (I went to probably about seven different primary schools). I had a big group of mates, a school that I was familiar with and I didn’t feel like I was going to move next week. I’m still friends with kids from high school!
To this day, I believe that going into care was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s as simple as that. Because if I didn’t go into care, I don’t know where I’d be. I’d probably be homeless or in prison or something very different to the life I currently live.
I am now in University, living on campus and studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Medicinal Chemistry. When I finish this course, I want to move on to graduate medicine and become a doctor because I want to help people. It’s something that people don’t do enough.
For me, Barnardos is one of the reasons why I’m here. The organisation’s fantastic and I want to see them doing more of what they’ve done with me. Just the level of care and support that I’ve received has been far better than I could have imagined. My foster parents and all the people I’ve associated with have laid the groundwork for me to achieve things on my own. It’s because of their support that I’ve been able to strive for a better future.