Emma’s Fostering Blog. Sexuality.
Duty rang – Paul is 15 and at the office because his Mother is refusing to have him home.
The family are known to social services, this is a voluntary placement for the weekend and I was given basic information. I arrived to collect him but the office was shut and he was alone outside. I couldn’t believe they just left him outside – It was Friday 5-15pm. I wasn’t sure what to do, I thought surely I should tell someone that I was collecting him but there was no one to tell, so once home and settled, I rang duty to make a complaint.
His mother was very religious, and he suffered strict discipline in the home, and certain topics such as sex were forbidden. When she suspected he was gay, she disowned him and threw him out. I could see Paul was angry and neglected, and I saw the cuts on his wrists and I knew he was cutting himself so he needed help emotionally. We had daily conversations as he seemed to be getting more bad days than good, and he was still cutting and very confused about his sexual orientation. It was hard getting him to accept that he didn’t need to label himself, or be pushed into any one direction, he needed to do what felt right for him, and in time, he would know what felt right.
I was relieved when he had an appointment with CAMHS and over time the anger and the cutting decreased. We looked up information together; ways to keep safe by not sharing personal information always tell someone where you are going and meet in a public place, learning about Internet safety or forums.
We discussed sexual health, and discussed unprotected anal sex and the high risk of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS (STIs) Paul was now 17 and in a better place emotionally – I remember one evening I was cooking dinner he came into the kitchen wearing a dress, high heels and red lipstick, he announced he was going to a gay bar, I did not expect this, it caught me of guard. I think I handled the situation well however I was concerned, as he was vulnerable, naive and could easily be taken advantage of, but at the same time he needed to experience his choices and we had to let him. I made a plan so he was safe, and he was taken and collected to the venue.
Paul eventually met an older man and I knew if I made an issue it could be a problem and I didn’t want to create a barrier that would be hard to overcome, so I discussed this with his worker and we supported him until it ran its course.
My thoughts are the weekend turned into three years as he point blank refused to go home, so always expect the unexpected.
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