[The following is a brief but powerful personal communication from a Care Leaver, SK, who was responding to my request to meet and discuss the subject of Belonging as it related to Care leavers and their experiences and perspectives. This and other of his reflections greatly assisted me in writing a paper entitled, Towards Belonging for Children in Care: Guided Journey or “Wandering Lost”?]
I’d love to meet you. I have so much to say. Until we meet here are a few things to think about.
Belonging, just like time, is a social construct and institution, a gift without which we are lost, without direction and without a platform. It’s like being in space.
I have never felt like I had any sense of belonging until recently. For me, belonging means that whilst I am here I am valued, cared for and my wellbeing impacts the wellbeing of others. When I am sad, someone wants to make me happy; when [my] tears fall, somebody catches them and wipes them away with a smile. When I am gone, I will be missed, and if I wake in hospital, people will be there to claim me. Regardless of my flaws, I am wanted and valued. But still today I am lonely..
Belonging shouldn’t be something we wish for; we should just have it. When we grow in our mother’s womb we are given a heart, a mind, limbs and belonging. Children in care are not given belonging. We must earn it, and that’s what makes us the invisible minority we are. And so whilst others seek wealth and success, we [Care Leavers] often continue to seek belonging which blinds us to and obstructs us from all else. It, truly Belonging, is everything.
I belong in the town I live and to my friends, but I don’t belong to any individual person. It’s a curse… Everyone likes me, but I don’t feel loved. I’d give away all I have achieved to feel love and be loved :(