Focusing on empowerment, our carer leaver shares their personal experience of exploring his identity and support from his foster parents.
“I grew up in a very conservative and religious family who had very strong religious beliefs. From a young age, I was under my parents control and I could never be free to be myself and make my own choices. It was things such as my appearance and my sexuality that I wasn't allowed to embrace when I was a teenager, and because of that I suffered domestic, physical and mental abuse for being the way that I was. It is hard as a queer person who is trying to find themselves, who they are, and what they like and honestly, it was a really hard phase of my life. I'm so glad that I made a choice of seeking help from social services and being fostered otherwise, I wouldn't have the life that I have now where I can really be myself and be open about my sexuality, and just live my life the way I want with no prejudice or no judgment. I believe that that's how life should be, you should be able to live being who you are freely, simply finding happiness through your identity and embracing it”.
How did your foster parents empower you?
“My foster parents are simply the best in my opinion because from day one they offered me their support and they let me know that they will always help me and encourage me to embrace my identity and my sexuality. That started through my appearance, I dye my hair and that was actually a suggestion by my foster family. You know, it shows who I am, and I couldn't be more proud of the way I have become. I feel more confident, I feel more open about my sexuality. I can fully say I am gay and this is who I am and I think that is great. Coming home and being able to express myself, how I feel and my emotions and talk freely and being open about issues such as who I'm dating and who I like and what I want without prejudice and judgment. I'm so grateful and I am so happy for everything that my foster parents have done.
My advice to someone struggling in finding themselves is to simply let go of things or people who do not serve you in finding who you are. Have a leap of faith and venture into the unknown, let go of everything you know in life. It can be scary but it is rewarding as you get to know who you are and embrace who you are, meeting people who will support and love you no matter what. It takes a long time to truly find yourself and accept that. Personally for me it took a while to say the words I am gay and I am queer, it was hard. Now I embrace it and I have people who are supportive where I feel confident and I am no longer in an environment where I feel suppressed or in danger. To summarise let go of anything that doesn’t align to who you are, if you are not accepted it’s not worth staying in that position where you are unhappy. As young people we deserve to be happy and seek freedom”.
“Pride to me simply means being comfortable in who you are and celebrating your identity. No matter your sexuality or what you identify as, just simply be comfortable to accept who you are. To me that is pride. Even if you're not out with your sexuality, simply accepting it and simply saying, yes, I am queer that is something to celebrate and be proud of”.
How is fostering different to parenting?
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Tips and Ideas for Making Bonfire Night Special for Foster Children
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Guide to a Fang-tastic Halloween: Fun for All Ages!
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A day in the life of foster parents Angie and Paul
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The Big Sing Off: A Celebration of Voices and Togetherness
October 4 2023
Each year, Foster Care Associates and other independent fostering agencies eagerly await a special day that takes centre stage in our calendar: The Big Sing Off. It's not just an event; it's a celebration of voices, unity, and lasting memories.