As I recalled my earliest memories I was keen to impress on the group that I don't look back and see my time in foster care as a negative, my expression wasn't from feeling sorry for myself, I completely understand that in the absence of my biological father, my very young mother, too young to even consider a woman would want to get herself together after having me at the age of 15 and, in some respects I think it was very brave decision to take. I didn't say this in front of the room of kids but I'd prefer to be fostered than to have been aborted and to not have had the privilege of life in the first place!
I'm sorry that when the DOCS ladies dropped us off at Grandma's, you weren't allowed to stay because you were too much for her to cope with. I can't imagine how awful it must have been to watch your sisters get smaller and smaller in the distance as you were driven away in a car you didn't recognise.
In an ideal world, nobody would need to be adopted, but this is not an ideal world. Adoption parties cannot prevent a child being taken into care, but they can help take them out of care. They give 'hard-to-place' children a greater chance of placement. They tackle some endemic problems in the adoption process.
We attempted everything under the sun to get pregnant and, although we are currently working with a surrogate, we got elbow, neck and knee deep in to the adoption process before that opportunity presented itself. When we made our announcement that we were adopting, we were shocked by the misconceptions people have about adoption.
Children's homes can provide the upbringing a young people deserves. Opportunities struggled for and achieved despite a system that actively undermines such success deserves national public recognition. Imagine the self-esteem that would be shared by young people and staff. Imagine the change in public perception.
Last week Michael Gove gave a speech on the future of adoption. He challenged head on the belief that taking children from damaging home situations into care was itself damaging. As a foster carer myself I strongly welcome this clear and unambiguous statement. It is great to hear him say that care is a positive outcome for some children. Over the years, my wife and I have cared for significant numbers of children where we strongly felt that the rights of parents had come first, when decisions over whether to take children into care were being made.