My first Christmas in foster care in St Albans was a real shock to me and I think was the only time I cried from sadness and disappointment during those two years. Mum and I used to make a real effort at Christmas time and we used to have a large Christmas tree and we used to give each other nice presents. I used to make things during the lunch hours in the Craft Room at school and with a bit of help from the teacher and the technician I was able to make things that looked really expensive but that were actually not too dear at all.
My foster parents only had a small tree and my present from them was a cheap wallet. And that was all. They gave that to me at breakfast so during the morning I kept thinking that they would give me something else after lunch - but they didn't. I felt so sad that Christmas was never going to be how it had been before Mum got ill that I went up to my room and cried. It didn't help of course and so I never did it again.
Most of my pals were busy with family for the days around Christmas so I got bored. My foster parents never made me feel particular welcome in the lounge where the TV was so I would leave the house and just wonder around in the park. I felt quite lonely and left out - I was almost starting to want the school term to start so I would have more people to talk to!
After Christmas my social worker, unusually, visited me at school. She asked me about my Christmas and I told her the truth about what had happened. I think she was quite surprised because she had already told my foster parents off for ignoring my birthday a few months earlier. Anyway she then went back to my foster parents and they must have had a big row because when I got home my Foster Mum had red eyes and looked quite embarrassed. My second birthday and second Christmas in Care were a bit better so whatever the social worker said must have worked.
When I timed out of foster care I moved in with the lovely Mrs H. She used to buy me a present and bake me a birthday cake and once I met Jane - who later became my wife - I started getting presents and cards from her as well. Jane's family were very good at remembering events like birthdays and for our whole time together we used to receive and send little gifts and cards. Jane used to write all the dates on the calendar we kept in the kitchen so nobody would be forgotten.
It is funny how things improved so much and so quickly once I left foster care and started living with Mrs H.