What I am about to share with you today is what I hope will change everybody’s treatment to children that are “born wrong.” Three years ago, I was taken away from my birth parents and told that they could not hurt me anymore. But even three years later the things they did in the past still hurt. I feel that I was born the wrong person, in the wrong place, at the wrong time. I still feel that way because I am reminded each day for three years that I am still fostered.

To our friends and peers, do not make assumptions. Do not assume that we are not wanted because we are fostered. Do not assume that we are badly behaved just because our birth parents may have been. Do not assume that our carers are not our parents because we do not call them mum and dad. We are not born wrong; we are just children.

To our families, do not leave us out of your photographs if we are not going away. Do not tell people why we are fostered, it’s our stories to tell if we want to. Do not call us fostered, we are not foster children, we are not born wrong, we are just children.

To our teachers and professionals, we should not be judged by our pasts but by our present and future. We may not like you coming to our safe space, do not judge us, it is how we feel inside.  Let us speak up, do not judge us, it is how we feel inside. Don’t use our old names, that’s not who we are inside. Do not judge us, we are not born wrong, we are just children.

 To our social workers, we know you mean well but you say that we miss our birth parents, we might not. You make us talk in private because we will feel safer, we might not. You force us to do a questionnaire about our lives, we might not want to share. You take away the only professional that listens and understands us, we might not want them to go. You say that you want to go into our bedroom, we might not want to show you our room, we might want to tell you about it instead. You offer us different things for different children from different local authorities, and we feel that it’s just not fair, it’s not our fault. We are not born wrong; we are all just children.