Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Innocent Parent" left a long and heartfelt comment about the post below this one, with a few digs at Foster Carers and the system in general.

The thing I took from the comment was a moment to think what it would be like to have your own children taken away.

I've had Social Workers tell me that, shockingly, some parents are, on balance, glad to see the back of them.  I imagine that if you can't cope with children, if everything about them is a mystery to you, if you've run out of ideas to get them to be what you want them to be, it might be a blessed relief to have a quiet home, and to be able to go up the pub whenever you want.

Blue Sky's Child Psychotherapist told me during a one-to-one, that a foster carer would not necessarily be truthful  if she said to a looked after child;  "I'm sure your mummy and daddy love you", because, he said, he'd come across parents who genuinely had no feeling for their children, none at all.

This is, I hope, rare and exceptional. But we can safely agree that lesser degrees of emotional indifference are common.

I had assumed that the parental bond, especially the maternal instinct, was so strong it was universal. The evidence is that in some parents, it's entirely absent or deceased. And in many others, sub-standard.

I can't imagine what it must be like to gaze down at your new baby sleeping, or crying, or laughing and feel nothing? Or to pick them up from school and your spirit falls rather than rises? 

I can't imagine what must have happened to such parents when they were little, for them to grow up like this.

But. I don't have to imagine the effect it has on their children. Nor do you have to imagine either, if you are a foster carer. Because we have to deal with the effects, day in, day out, from the moment they show up at our front door.

I'm going to go on believing there are parents of children who are taken away that are distraught. Not because of the shame, the inconvenience or the cuts in their benefits. But because they have good feelings for those children. 

It's for them to turn those positive feelings into positive parenting.

They could start by supporting the Foster Carer.

I was approached once after a Contact, by the Contact Supervisor who said to me discreetly "The child told his mother that you'd got cross with him earlier that day" My first thought was: "Oh dear, some sort of complaint?" But then the Supervisor said "The mother replied "I'm not surprised, you can be very disobedient, I'm sure your carer dealt with it properly."

As a Foster Carer, that mother's support helped me. And, above all, helped the child.

The Secret Foster Carer


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