I was sent to a foster family when I was 11, with my brother, due to my mother’s addiction to substances.
I wasn’t in touch with my father. My mother changed my name when I was 3 to prevent him from contacting me, or knowing where I was.
My experience of fostering has been characterized by conflicting emotions, by the feeling of not feeling part of my foster family, of not being wanted, and of not being understood by anyone. I suffered for years from insomnia, I could not sleep due to anxiety and depression.
The week of my sixteenth birthday, I received a call that changed my life for the better.
My foster parents had been trying to track down my father for two years, and somehow they had made it. Three days before my birthday, my father was calling me, and we were agreeing to meet. I also found out that I had a brother and sister I knew nothing about.
This experience changed my life, and at that moment my re-elaboration path started, I started to understand that I was wanted, that I had someone who took care of me and loved me … but above all I understood that I deserved this affection.
It took another 10 years to fully recover, to understand that my wrong feelings or behavior were related to the childhood traumas I had experienced and were not given by the fact that I was a bad person. During my therapy path I learned to communicate with myself and to really understand who I was and what my feelings were, a path that enriched me and that I will continue to do forever.
I left my foster family a few months after I turned 18. I studied at the university and lived alone. I graduated 23 years old with excellent grades.
Although I no longer had a social worker after I turned 18, there was still a support at the exit that followed me until I was 23 years old.
While I was studying at university, I worked as a tutor in a summer school organized by the university for children and young people outside the family. This experience has triggered in me the desire to get involved to help the other guys.
I work for for the Care Leavers Association, founded 18 years ago in England by care leavers.
As a volunteer I help coordinate a FB group, Care leavers rock. A page where care leavers can confront each other safely and support each other. More than 720 care leavers are part of this group, between the ages of 18 and 65!
I am a member of the international organization for the protection paths (International Foster Care Organization) and of the board of the Institute for the re-elaboration of childhood traumas.
In my private life, I am happy, satisfied, married, I have my home and a wonderful child … all this before the age of 30! So I’d say I’m finally fine!