William’s story in his own words…

E. Smith Service user stories

I was known by Social Services by the time I was 3 months old. It took until I was 7 to get adopted. It was hard for my parents, and as soon as I was 18, they kicked me out. With foster children when you turn 18 the government steps in — but not with adopted children. I was in the same situation but got no support.

I’m on my own now; I have no family. I’m stuck in this world alone trying to move forward. Now I’m trying to find accommodation and build my life. Everywhere I’ve lived I’ve been kicked out of. I even lived with my real mother but there were financial problems so I had to leave. I met my real dad also — he’s remarried and started a new family and moved on. I’ve always struggled to hold down a job. I’m just drifting along, alone. All the adults in my life have abandoned me. I try to block it out, and I’m looking forward to getting my own space. This is the first time I’ve broken out of the vicious circle and am moving in a positive direction.

Terri from Street rescue told me to come to the 999 Club Night Shelter. The 999 Club has been a roof over my head.  They have been the only ones who have helped me. At the 999 Club I have talked to CRI (the substance misuse team). I’m going to get guidance for my binge drinking. They helped me understand how much damage I’m doing to myself. I also spoke to someone about getting my cycle proficiency so I can get around. On Friday I’m having a meeting about my housing. My application will be sent out and hopefully I’ll get a place. I don’t know what I want to do, that’s what worries me.  But I do want to study English, so I can write, increase my vocabulary.  I write poetry just to get it all out.  I am optimistic and excited for the future—it can only get better.

Problem Child

So I’m a problem child?
Who taught you that?
Who made you lose sight of what you once had?
Was it me a child that destroyed your desires?
Well I’m sorry you’re all burnt out.
If you want me to go just say now,
Because you no longer wish to teach me how.

I was once your child.
I was once loved.
But our differences shoved you aside
And now that’s where you freely choose to reside.

I’m not a problem child,
The world around you spun you webs full of lies.
I think you forgot it takes two people to tangle
And more than one person to clean up the mess.

This mess we call stress, I know you’re getting old.
I don’t want to fight.
But fucking hell when was the last time
You were at my side.

by William, January 2016

Names have been changed for reasons of confidentiality.

Illustrator: Sanjana Chandrasekhar