'Bad Parent, Good Parent' by Caroline Kelly

Two hundred is the number of my children they say; myself I have lost count. The number is not important. No matter how many children I have, they are all special to me. I can name them all, with enough time, although I cannot tell you where they all are now.

Despite that, I know I have been there when they needed me and if they needed me again, I would be there again if I had the chance. I would never let them down.

Not like I let you down, Mikey. My first born, my beautiful baby boy. I think of you each day, feel guilty but never more so than today, the anniversary.

I should have done more, seen the signs, locked you in your room until you were clean, anything to keep you safe. But I didn't. And I pay for my failures every day, every year that you are gone.

I have not and will not make the same mistake with the other two hundred children - if that number is right - or with any future children. I will not try to be their friend, like I did with you. I will be their mother, at least for the short time that I am given that chance.

I failed you as a mother.

I will not fail them as a foster mother.

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