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Feature Novel Reflections of a Bin-Bag-Boy by Ethan James Starr

Jody K Gore
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Voices from the Other Side of Foster Care
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Contribution by ST and SD - Wales

Very recently, my partner and I have to come to the conclusion that the teenager that we so wanted to care for long term, heal and provide a safe loving home - needs to move on. He came to us about a year ago. He had previously had numerous placements and a personal history that has damaged him so severely it has been beyond our skills to get close to him, for him to let us in and help him. It's as if he has built an impenetrable wall around himself - and the world is his enemy. We are completely exhausted with trying to manage his challenging and defiant behaviour, he seems to show no remorse or guilt for wrong or hurtful actions. We are not blaming him -given the rejection and neglect he has experienced we can understand his anger and mistrust - its just that we can not cope anymore.

We feel like such failures but can honestly say we have tried everything we know to gain the trust and respect of this young man. You would not believe the guilt we are feeling right now. We feel that if we had managed to care for this young man a few years earlier we would have had some chance at creating some lasting change.

It has not helped him settle with us because his mother has been trying to undermine the placement and telling him that she wants and will get him back - like she did with his older sister. His heart and mind is with his mother and we are battling against the tide. It has come to the point that he will virtually ignore any request we make of him to do anything that he does not want to do - and then says "what can you do about it?" He has been in the system so long that he knows that we are powerless to really do anything that could get through to him. He has taken the control and the power and our lives would become a living hell if we allow it to get any worse.

We are not new carers, and have very successfully cared for other foster children long term. We believe this particular placement was almost set up to fail, or it was a last attempt to try and give this young man a chance of a good family life and a positive future. We desperately worry for this young mans long term mental health and his inability to be a happy adult. He is a true victim of circumstances - and we will probably go to our graves thinking that we could and should have done more. Please do not be quick to judge us.

ST and SD - Wales

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