Name: William Daniel Princeton
Birthday: 4th September 1998
Foster Parents: Matt and Katie Adams
Area to live: Chichester
Date signed: 16th December 2006
Signature: Katie Adams Matt Adams
Fostering was never for me. Neither was adoption. I didn't get on with Matt or Katie. They tried to become Mama and Papa but I couldn't cope with that. It reminded me of how Hattie acted. My darling sister Hattie. I stayed with them for two years, until I was ten.
Then I ran away. In my opinion it was perfectly planned. I had stashed away fruit, chocolate, cake, some sandwiches and crisps. I had a couple of water bottles and some juice cartons hidden in my room too. The night before I planned to leave I packed up my rucksack. As I added each item I ticked it off on my checklist.
Spare clothes i.e. pants/socks
Hattie's last letter to me from 2004
I ticked everything off except the blanket. There wasn't room for it but I wasn't looking forward to freezing each night. Maybe I could strap it underneath.
That night I went to bed early and got changed into my joggers and shirt before slipping on some baggy jeans and a hoodie as soon as I thought it was safe; that the coast outside my room was clear. I couldn't let Matt or Katie doubt anything.
Once they had both gone to bed and had been there for nearly two hours I decided that it was probably safe for me to get out of the house and escape without any difficulties.
I crept down the soft carpeted stairs and slid along the kitchen floor. The key was in the back door so it was easy for me to unlock and stealthily squeeze through.
Now I was free. I knew I had to run now. Anywhere within five miles of home was unsafe territory.
I walked through fields, along rivers and through a flock of sheep which hadn't been brought in for the night. It was warm but I was still glad for the double layer of clothing I wore.
At a distance of six miles and with daylight nearing I stopped and set up a mini camp under a haystack at the very edge of a huge field. I hoped I would be okay to rest there until I wanted to continue.
I fell asleep immediately and didn't wake up till noon. I ate some of my food and consulted my map. Right, I thought, I need to head west. And that is what I did.
I spent the next few days following this routine. It worked well and I didn't get stopped by anyone. I began to think that Matt and Katie hadn't noticed my disappearance or that they didn't care. That was stupid of me. A missing eight year old was quite serious, especially when that eight year old had been adopted and was under special protection.
Soon after this realisation I kept spotting people pointing at me when I ventured into open public areas and when a police car trundled along the road I had been walking on just before I dropped into a nearby hedge I knew that I didn't have much of chance left. They had 'found' me.
Whatever happened I wouldn't hand myself over. I hated Matt and Katie.
The next day I had to cross the canal to continue along the route I had planned. As I came out onto the tow path a police man appeared. His hand clamped down on my shoulder and a husky voice whispered
"And where do you think you're going young sir?"
I was speechless. How could they have found me?
"Please come with me. We need to discuss some things don't we?" He led me down the tow path towards a police car into which I was forcefully pushed into.
"I'll ring Matthew and then we can get to the bottom of this." said the driver as we drove into the police station.
* * *
The questions went on forever. Why had I run away? What was I thinking? Couldn't I have done anything else like talk to someone? Didn't I know it was a serious thing to do? I zoned out and began imagining things. Eventually it was over and I was free to go.
* * *
They said they would put me up with another foster family until they found somewhere for me. This was not really much better than when Hattie and I had stayed with Max and Grace. But it was better than Matt and Katie's. At least they left me alone here and didn't interfere. I wondered how much they knew; what the police had told them.
* * *
A couple of days later I had to attend a consultation where I was told that nobody could take me in at the moment. They said I would be going to the nearest children's home.
Life was tough for me after that. I stayed in the children's home for the rest of my life. And here I still am at the age of eighteen.
I want to see my family. I'm ready to see them again. Hattie will be twenty-two now and the twins nineteen. We should catch up on the lost years.
That night I received a letter from Lissa asking whether we should meet and saying she had also made contact with Hattie. This was the best news I had had in a long time and I replied straight away. There was no doubting what my answer would be. Time had flown slowly, in reality, but looking back to Papa and his death I knew it was a thousand years ago since we had really seen each other.