Croydon teen: 'My foster mum is one of the most amazing people in the world'
FOR many children, a life inside the care system is a traumatic one, filled with confusion over where ‘home’ really is. But as Croydon Council launches an appeal for more foster carers in the borough, reporter Sian Hewitt spoke to one teen who had a positive experience
"BEING in care can be really difficult. Children who are passed from home to home feel so alone, because there are no constants in their lives.
"It would be a difficult thing for anyone to deal with, but when you are young, you don't understand."
These are the words of Adassa Mackie, a girl who has been in care for most of her life.
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Taken in at the age of three because of mental and physical problems with both her mother and father, she entered the system, which is currently in urgent need of more foster carers.
Luckily, Adassa's story is a happy tale, after she was given a permanent home from the age of five allowing her to establish some "roots".
But it is not always a happy ending for youngsters.
"I was incredibly lucky," Adassa admits.
"It is rare to find one home that cares for you, where you can really establish some roots.
But I found that, and I honestly believe my foster mum is one of the most amazing people in the world."
Adassa, now 19, spent time with two foster families throughout her life – one when she was aged three to five, and her most recent aged from five up until 18.
Her foster mum, Vanreen Miles, took her in and put faith in her, when a lot of others had given up.
Adassa said: "I admit I wasn't good at first, it was confusing and I thought at that age I would be going back to my birth mother when everything had settled down, so I only saw it as a quick stop.
"I had no respect and did not listen, like so many young people in care do.
"I admit I would tell lies about my foster mum, as in my mind getting out of there quicker would get me back to my mum, but she persevered with me.
"When I was in primary school they wanted to section me because of my behaviour, but she never gave up, she always kept faith and we grew close.
"It became clear after a while that I wouldn't be going back to my mum because of her declining health.
"I wouldn't like to think about where I would be now if it wasn't for her."
Adassa then managed to turn her life around and now works in care herself.
She said: "I want to give something back but there is a need for foster carers.
"If you are interested you could make so much of a difference but you have to be dedicated.
"Once you have committed you can't let the young people down."
The appeal to find more foster carers in the borough coincides with National Fostering Fortnight, which runs until May 27.
The annual campaign to raise the profile of fostering is the UK’s biggest fostering recruitment drive.
Statistics show that a child comes into care and needs a foster family every 22 minutes nationwide.
The national Fostering Network estimates that at least 8,750 new foster families are needed in 2012 alone.
Croydon Council offers a range of information and help to those who think they may be interested in becoming a foster carer.