Monday, October 23, 2017


We didn't quite get through the night.

It's not unheard of for new foster children to need you during the first night.

So I tend to sleep in my dressing gown and with our bedroom door half open, and with their bedroom doors open too.

Sure enough I heard some stirring, voices.

I checked the time; 5.50am.

Slid out of bed in the hope other half gets a bit more sleep, he's got work.

Stood on the landing listening. The two who were sharing the bed were at it. Some kind of squabble.

We'd worked out all the safety precautions with our social worker; they were appropriately clothed, topped and tailed, and had slept in the same bed almost all of their lives.

And, presumably had found reasons to argue.

The whispered expletives were pretty coarse, but hey, they were keeping it down.

Fostered children often find comfort in conflict.

I whispered;

"Alright in there you two?"

Silence. Thing was, they sounded wide awake. In which case they'd struggle to go back to sleep and could well wake up the whole house. I hissed;

"Everyone else is asleep, so quietly as you can, let's sneak downstairs and have some fun."

Made a big thing of getting down the stairs quietly. I find that when you get a new arrival, the early bonding is a big deal. So here we were acting like a gang of burglars sneaking out, and they loved it.

One asked; "What sort of fun?"

I replied; "We've got lots of toys to see. And I need you to help me find some cartoons on the TV."

We made it into the kitchen. We've got a dimmer switch and I kept the lights low to keep up the charade we were somehow getting one over everyone else. I turned on the little telly, made cereal for them a cup of tea for me. 

Channel Five runs cartoons from 6.00, and luckily it was one I knew, 'Puffin Rock', so I could explain a bit about it, which was good for my stock. I didn't overdo it though; these kids are often fed up with being told stuff and are aching to tell adults things.

The commercials were more popular than the cartoons. Things to buy. A Play Doh oven, an electronic secret diary. A trailer for an animated movie; they said they'd like to go and see it.

Normally I'd seize on that and promise a trip to the multiplex at the weekend if everyone behaved. Can't do that. They might be gone before teatime.

So there I sit, watching cartoons, my mind going ten to the dozen:

"This is my first emergency placement, I'm as green as grass. Presumably the placement officers at Blue Sky and the local authority will be going ten to the dozen the minute they get sat at their desks to find permanent placement for the three of them. But what if it turns out there's no home which can take all three? They'll have to be split up. They'll hate that; they've already experienced a massive upheaval....Social workers won't be able to feed me any news before mid-to-late morning at the best. Until they do it's down to me to tell them what I can. What do I say? The advice is to tell the truth.."

Then comes the $64,000 dollar question, from the older one. It almost always comes in the first few days, and you're never ready for it. The child didn't catch my eye, just stared into the cereal bowl and went;

"When are we going home?"

To be continued...


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