When I really sat with this thought I couldn’t quite narrow down all the things I thought to one person. In my thoughts I often wanted a hero, someone who wouldn’t let me down. Who’d turn up to every visit, who’d laugh and smile at everything I did. Someone who was average and yet like a superhero. At first I was convinced I’d be placed with a family who would be perfect and yet normal, rich and yet grateful, fun yet disciplined. I thought my empty would be no more. So when asked who or what are you proud of my knee jerk reaction was to say my foster career, my siblings, my foster family. Although these people are warriors, they have done the unimaginable, they have been consistently present, and yet not perfect. They have been uplifting and yet honest. They have been only what they could be.
So who, what, deserves the picture of my pride?
Strength, smiles and persistence through abuse, pain and neglect. Joy in the face of adversity, contentment with the little. Sparkle in the eyes of the child faced with statistics and assumptions. The firm grasp on destiny, on the future, two hands clasped on their own success. I am most proud, of the inner city black boy bombarded with the pressures of gang culture, of drugs but strives for a degree, a career, of right and not wrong. I am most proud of the young girl who is left with losing loved ones, of the demon of depression, of great expectations from siblings looking up to her, still she rises, she creates businesses, she stands firm and straight, her confidence fills me with pride. The persistent social worker who can’t quite grasp that we don’t all love Tracy Beaker, who phones every two weeks, to check our accommodation is okay. If we’ve been able to get our favourite meal.
I am most proud of the mother or father, aunt, uncle or grandfather, who makes it on time to visits. Who converses with the ‘staff’. I am most proud of us. I am most proud of what we stand for, what we have fought through. I am beaming with a radiant joy that we are strong, we are resilient, that we are the ones who should be proud, of ourselves. I am most proud of the looked after child, of the care leaver, of the foster carer, of the social worker. I am most proud not that there is much left to work on, but that there are individuals here everyday working, striving, pushing, rising. I am proud.