Iskren, Foster Child, 14-years-old: "I Was in a Trap for Children. It's Hard to Accept Changes. Even the Little Ones."

Iskren, Foster Child, 14-years-old:

My name is Iskren. I'm 14. I don’t have a writing talent, I love science. For some people it may seem strange, but for me is a real act of courage to go back to my childhood and remember events that I would rather forget. To leave them out there in another life. I hope now that by telling my story, I will help someone else and will inspire him the way I was inspired years ago with the goodness around me.

I was “old” enough, 4 years old, when just like many other children (I know some of them) I stumbled upon incomprehensible and strong еvents. The strongest. Shaking, even sinister, for my perceptions back then. Like a lightning, striking unexpectedly.

I found myself in a trap for children. In an institution for children without parental care. I have a mother and a father, even a smaller brother. But for some reason, not dependent on me, I was trapped. Without exit. And It was not just me. We were a lot. Only the presence of other children in a similar situation somehow soothed me. And a banana from time to time. Yes. A social worker sometimes was giving me one to comfort me.

The first days I spent alone in a small room. Then they let me with the other children. Sometimes they brought us out in the yard and I always stood by the fence. I looked outside. There were children passing,holding hands with their parents. They seemed lighthearted. I wondered why I'm here. Am I not like those outside?

Enough already, it is becoming very depressing. I don’t want to go back. Not now. After the big institution, I got into a small one. There were fewer children. We received care and love from the social workers and a psychologist. We played outside with other kids from the apartment building, I even had friends.

Still, I felt different. Until it was time for me, just like all children, to have a family. Big! Mine! With mom and dad and with two elder brothers, with grandma and nephews who were born later. I was very happy. Everything frightening and unpleasant was left behind me. Mom told me that I was so exhausted by the emotions that I fell asleep in the car on our way home. I had a happy summer. Games, toys, a new bike - everything. Mom and dad were holding my hands, and I joyfully rolled forward, then backward.

It's still hard to accept changes. Even the little ones. We always argue at home when I have to part with something. With furniture, clothes, toys, which have become too small and outdated. But with the help of my foster parents I manage to deal with these small partings. It sounds strange to me, when I say "foster parents", because they are such only formally. But actually, they are my real parents. They love me very much. And I love them. When they say I'm their youngest son, I believe them and I know that this will always be so. They always encourage me to look forward, not to be afraid to be my real me, to respond when someone is unfair to me, to have my own opinion and to stand up for it. And I do all of these more successfully with each passing day.

My life now doesn’t mean that I have completely forgotten my mother, who has given me life, and my father. I often think of them, I hope they think of me. I’m not angry with them. I hope in future they will show greater will and courage to change, in order to be useful at least to themselves. I want to be near them, but I fear that they do not want me. They never attend the meetings we should have. They never have money. They have even stopped calling me on the phone. I stopped thinking about this. But I feel sorry.

There are numerous difficulties and critical moments in our lives as foster children. How are we dealing with them? Well, each one of us in his own way. Most often I talk to my mom. I know from her that there is solution for every problem, when you're not alone, when there is someone beside you and you can stand together against the problem and decide how to proceed. My father and I did deal with "male" issues. I felt really good when he sometimes protected me from malicious children at school.

My elder brothers – they are old enough and don’t live with us. They work in bigger cities and live there. But they come often and especially on holidays we get together. They help me with whatever they can. They teach me technical stuff and IT. Besides my family, in the town where I live, everybody knows and loves me and I treat them with respect. I respect my teachers as well, some of them I love. My teachers in English, mathematics and Bulgarian language have put a lot of effort, so that I deal easily with my lessons now.

Two years in a row I receive a scholarship from the National Foster Care Association. I am very proud. I feel that it is my money that I have worked hard to earn. To win a scholarship, one must meet certain requirements. Now I'm eager to study more next year, so that I can apply for a scholarship from my school. With the money I will collect now, I plan to sign up for a programming course in Sofia. I will live at my brother’s home during the course.

I think I live happily. The more I grow, the more I feel good things lie ahead. I have an incredible choice of pathways and they all are interesting and exciting. Now I know that I will do everything to become a good and successful person.

The child's name is changed, but the text is written by him. The picture is used only for visualization, it doesn’t display the child.

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