“Mate, it feels like I’m running at the edge of the world, criticised and they just can’t understand me.”
Jake (21) is in his 4th week with us and I actually do think I understand him, but not sure that matters much yet.
He can’t eat with us it’s just all too much.
As a child, 38 different foster parents and care homes. Moved around Britain to the tune of a financially incentivised bidding war. One that long forgot it was dealing with humans, young vulnerable humans at that.
I find it almost unbearable. I think we both do. Me feeling wretched that he can’t join us and Jake’s childhood experiences leaving him unable to do so.
“Back when I was younger they were talking at me, but never listened to a word I said.”
Not feeling able to join us for a meal is not uncommon. I think it is often a reaction to the trauma of being in the care system… some control where you have had none.
“Always yap yap yapping and complaining at me, made me think I was better off dead.”
We work with many young people like Jake, absolute products of the care system… A system that failed them, that turned them into a commodity to be traded and shipped around Britain. Often staying for a night or two before being moved again. Literally on a best price procurement basis.
Some of the young folks we meet are so broken (63 care homes/foster parents is the record so far), that they can’t do it. They simply can’t even stay with us. The next stop is prison and so the system grinds on…
Until they reappear some years later at LandWorks and we try again.
“Chris, I learned to speak my mind, just not out loud”
But, and seemingly against the odds, some do come through it…
Today Jake is helping to do some cooking, not yet eating with us all. But at least starting to take pride from the gratitude of others for the lunch he has helped cooked.
He will eat with us, one day. Just not yet, it takes time.
He’s still running at the edge of the world.
7th April 2022