Stella’s kind of complicated where I live really. Eh...well...right. Now, I was born in a hospital in Glasgow, in Scotland. I lived there for ten years. Then I moved over here three...coming up to four years ago. When I moved over, I thought it was a nice place to live, but once I got to really know it I didn’t really like it. I went to my first High School over here, and everyone was just mean.

Stella’s kind of complicated where I live really. Eh...well...right. Now, I was born in a hospital in Glasgow, in Scotland. I lived there for ten years. Then I moved over here three...coming up to four years ago. When I moved over, I thought it was a nice place to live, but once I got to really know it I didn’t really like it. I went to my first High School over here, and everyone was just mean.

Once I just got used to the school, the school and the library board decided they were closing it down. So, I had to move to another school... which is the school I am going to now. It’s alright. It’s not the best of schools, but it’s alright. The teachers are kind of creepy though...just because I was this wee bit different. Because I was Scottish, everyone was calling me Scottish ‘B’s and Scottish ‘S’s and all. I just got sick and tired of it. The Social workers made me go to the school I’m going to now. It’s seven or eight miles from my Mum’s house. I didn’t want to go there, but my social workers said my Mum would be brought to court if I didn’t go...even though I wasn’t in my Mum’s care at the time. I was taken into foster care in March 2009, and I’ve had four different moves in nine months.

Well, my first set of foster care parents were evil. I didn’t like them. Well…basically when I went to Court, the Court says that I could go out on Saturdays with my sister Rachael. When I went to go out to meet her at swimmers, my foster parents wouldn’t let me go. They says that they’d not had a call from the social workers to clarify it. I said “But I’ve got a letter from my lawyer here, stating it” and they wouldn’t let me go.

It all happened when I had just got home from school, and my Mummy was sitting in the living room. She couldn’t move. And my sister...she didn’t say a word. So I went up the stairs and my Daddy came out of the bathroom, and he was crying...and I have never seen my Daddy cry before. The worst part about it was that they made me go to school the next day. Yeah, I knew they were at court that day. But the social workers told my Mum that the only reason they were going to court was to see if we were going to Thorndale assessment centre, and that is what I thought court was for. That is what my Mummy and Daddy thought court was for. But then when I seen my Daddy coming out of the bathroom crying, and my sister came out of my bedroom little sister...I asked her what was wrong, and she says “Em...we’ve got to get clothes packed because...em...we are going into foster care”.

I don’t know...they didn’t tell me why? Even when I asked my lawyer and all...she tried to explain it to me, but I just couldn’t understand, cuz the stuff they were saying was ‘hygiene and cleanliness’, and hygiene and cleanliness is the same thing. My house was mostly clean all the’s just that when we got back from school, the house was a mess. Well, when I got back, my wee sister was home, so she always messed up the house when she came in from school...because she was always in a temper. The social workers said they had been out every day for...well, once a week for about six months. We seen them twice in a year. They says to the judge that they were out once a week only, for six months. Yeah, and when the Judge heard that, he didn’t do nothing about it, and my Mummy and Daddy requested an independent...em...thingy… assessment. And we are still waiting on that. The judge said it has to be done by someone who didn’t know the family or nothing...someone who didn’t work for the social workers. We’re still waiting on that. I’m back with my Mummy. It feels strange after being in foster care for ages… from March to December.

When I found out, I started crying, and I wouldn’t move out of the bathroom. But I locked myself in the bathroom. I wouldn’t move. My Mummy and my Daddy and everybody tried to get me to come out of the bathroom, but I just wouldn’t move. I was determined not to move, and then finally they got me out of the bathroom and Mummy made me take a bath and then get my stuff packed, and stuff. I got in at three o’clock and the social workers wanted us around at the for 4.30 p.m. so…I didn’t really have that much time. All I managed to get packed was two t-shirts, two pairs of pants, and my jammies. That was it. They had a cheek to even move us out of the house in the same day! Then again, the judge says to have at least a week in advance. That is what the law actually states...that kids should have a week in advance to say goodbye to their parents, family and friends and stuff before they are moved into foster care.

With all the stress of us going into care, my older sister…em…over dosed…twice. And was in the hospital twice and the social workers wouldn’t let me go see her. It still upsets me today thinking about it.

When I got to my foster carers, they seemed like nice people, but after a bout a week or so they just went...just evil. They wouldn’t let me do nothing. They wouldn’t even let me go down town with my friends. I don’t know why...I was only supposed to be with my first set of foster carers for a week or two, but because they found out that I was going to be in foster care longer, they kept me for a few months. And then I went to a second set of foster carers that were actually nice people. I actually liked them...I am still in contact with them. I got moved to the coast.

I couldn’t even walk to see my friends...I had to get a train. The train was down at the bottom of the hill from where I lived. Any time I had to go to see my friends, I had to walk all the way down there, and get a train, and get off at Yorkgate and walk the all the way up to the Shankhill...and it was just really boring. By the time I got there, it was too late for any of my friends to come out. I was happy to leave my first set of foster carers, because I didn’t like them at all. I got to meet the second set of foster carers and have an overnight with them, before I actually moved in with them.

They picked me up after three bloomin’ hours! What do you call that... thingy…I can’t remember the name of it. It’s like, a meeting between the social workers. It was like a review...I’m not sure. But my lawyer was only told the day before about it, and she should have been told forty-eight hours in advance, so she could go to it...because all the lawyers were supposed to be there. She should have had forty-eight hours notice, and they didn’t give her that. And I just found out twenty minutes before it had happened. So, I had to go all the way down there, and I had to sit in there for three and a half hours.

I don’t know, she never speaks about it. He doesn’t speak about it either, I don’t really see him much.

I want to join the army, and then I want to be a lawyer when I come out of it. life in Scotland was just a hellhole, basically. Well...primary five. Not only were the kids picking on me, but the teacher was picking on me too. And by the end of the year, the teacher was told to either go back to the college and learn, or get fired and never work with kids again. Me and my Daddy went up to the Education and Library Board over in Scotland and complained. And we didn’t know that they were doing anything about it, until about a week or so before the summer holiday. They had sent a guy undercover as a janitor, and I was wondering why he was hanging around my classroom a lot...and em...that is how I found out. He was recording everything the teacher was doing. I would go up and ask if I could go to the bathroom, and she would say no. And then someone else would ask to go to the toilet and she would let them. Or sometimes, she would even call me a mixed ‘B’. Even though she didn’t think that I heard her...I did. She called me that because my Mummy is from Glasgow and my Daddy is from Ayre. And she thinks that she is pure Glaswegian...when no one is pure any more. No one. Because everyone has something of someone in them from different parts of the world...because you never know who your ancestors were.

Once in P5, because I hadn’t finished the project that the teacher set out personally for each of us...I was doing wild cats. And you had to do it on your own, with no help from anybody else. Now, I was in P5 and she expected it to be a powerpoint and all. Then I didn’t know what to do, and because I hadn’t finished it, she kept me in at lunchtime. And my Daddy came in to hand me in money to go down town with my Mummy after school. It was at lunchtime and I heard him coughing and sneezing,...because no one can cough or sneeze like my Daddy. So I knew it was him. I went from behind the billboard thingy, because our primary school was open plan...and I seen him, and he goes, “Why aren’t you outside?” and I goes “Because Mrs. Dean kept me in”, and he goes “Why did she keep you in?”, and I goes “Because I never finished that project”, and he goes “But I gave you a note?”. Then I goes, “I know, but she just kept me in. She wouldn’t let me go out at break or lunch!” and he goes, “Have you had your lunch?” and I was like, “No”. When the bell went, Mrs. Dean came out of the staff room and she seen my Daddy. She tried to play all nicey nicey. My Daddy was just sick and fed up of me coming home from school crying and all...and my Daddy says if she was a man he would punch her. But my Daddy just took me by the hand and walked me straight out of school...after standing balling and shouting at her. And, the next day...that’s when my Daddy took me up to the Education and Library Board. I don’t even know why I remember it all so clearly, like.

If I had walked into a classroom and seen it going on with the same teacher, I would get up and I would just punch her now. I would say “That’s against the law...bullying kids! One rule for one kid, and another rule for all the rest?” I would, like, if she was one of my teachers now, and she did it to me now...I would just get up and whack her one.

Next year is the real GCSE exams. See, the Christmas exams are just exams. All throughout the year we get mocks, and they go on our record. And then, next year it’s all proper exams. No more mocks. So…I want to do well in those.

My parents split up quite some time ago, but they are still together...if you know what I mean? They live in separate houses, but they are still together. Everybody just wants to move out of the Shankhill Estate; because it’s such a crappy place...the worst place on the planet you could live. I can’t stand it. Well, there’s riots almost every night. People break into the Courthouse…yeah, they’ve set it on fire twice. Sorry, three times actually. Well the fire brigade and the police come. The police come to stop people from going into the Courthouse, and the firemen put the fire out. Catholics and Protestants rioting near the Happy Palace…it’s on the Crumlin Road.

I don’t even know why my Mummy needs to go into Thorndale because she has raised a twenty-two year old, and a twenty-three year old. Thorndale is a parenting assessment’s this place where they get assessed on how they cope with the kids, and their cleaning and their cooking. They give you help in what areas they think you need to progress in, and stuff like that. My Mummy doesn’t really tell me a lot about it...apart from that it’s a parenting process thing

But my Mummy’s key worker went out to my house, and because my brother hasn’t cleaned up or finished putting the beds up or anything, we are not getting to go home on Monday...because Fiona says it’s not up to standard. My brother is not even going to lift a finger. He would rather stay at his girlfriend’s house than help us get home…and he is twenty-two, coming twenty-three, and he is a lazy bugger...and I don’t get on with him at all.

My Daddy is sitting up in his house, not bothered. There is eight of us, altogether. I reckon my life could be better. No fighting, and like…and if people just wised up a bit, all round. No one ever says sorry to anyone in my family.

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