Sunday, October 29, 2017


This is a kind of a rolling blog on a recent emergency placement of 3 sibs with us.

They are gone now - which is why I have a chance to blog. I kept records of their stay, which Blue Sky RETAIN; I tweak any information which would allow then to be identified.

Last time I talked about the early morning wake-up of two of them.

I'm picking up about an hour later, the whole family is getting moving.

The 3 emergency sibs had arrived around 1.00am, completely out of the blue. One of our foster children, Ben, woke up and was unbelievably helpful. The other foster child, along with my own kids, are in the dark.

Ideally I'd have woken them up gently in their own beds and broken the news; children don't like huge routine-changes especially first thing on a school day.

But it turned out that all but one had pieced together that something was going on from noises on the landing and voices downstairs, and that hurdle was crossed without mishap.

THOUGHT: Our own children gain so much from our fostering.

It's true. I'm not going to pretend it's plain sailing always, what is in family life? But on the whole our children gain maturity, responsibility and a sense of achievement from being in a family which fosters. They see how hard we work as parents to make things work. 

They learn from the children we foster.

I've just remembered a little true story which illustrates this, if I may... I don't think I've mentioned it on the blog before, but it's amazing.

A mum of a girl who was in the same class as a foster child I was caring for approached me and asked if she could encourage her daughter to play with my foster daughter because; the mum hoped some of the characteristics of the foster child would rub off on her daughter. The mum saw my foster daughter as independent, forthright, feisty. Able to look after herself.

An accurate profile of her public persona. (Mind, she's all those things and a whole lot more when she's back home...)

So how about that! 

True story.

Back to the first morning, 8.00am;

We breakfasted all over the place, nine mouths to fill, then the house emptied. I had the 3 newbies rattling around exploring what toys were available and squabbling over the remote. Ben, my eldest foster child, went back to his own bed now it was free to "catch up on some Zeds".

The kitchen is a wreck, as are all the bedrooms. In fact the whole house is upside down. I have to steel myself to put the children first. The youngest is most needy, understandably. Our training teaches us to begin offering attachment as soon as a normal placement foster child arrives, but I'm out on a limb with how to behave towards a child who might be gone in a few hours. Might it confuse the child (a child who's confused enough) if I try to mother her, and then I'm gone from her life in a heartbeat? 

Maybe I should be neutral.

Who really actually knows for sure?

Thing is; I don't have a range of ways to behave towards some poor mite who's suffered goodness knows what nightmares and is entrusted to me for even a few moments. They can expect all the kindness I can muster, end of. 

Ten to nine in the morning, and I'm playing a kind of peekaboo game with her. I didn't expect any movement from social services on finding a proper home for the 3 new kids for an hour or two, I used to work in offices, no-one's available until 10.00am in offices.

But the phone went. 

Fostering never sleeps...

To be continued.


  1. A cliff hanger ending...

    Thanks for your blog post. I love reading them. Weve just done our training weekend, so we are about two weeks away from our first placement. Im nervous, excited, daunted, scared, hopeful...

  2. ...giddy, curious, exhilarated... and the rest. I remember those pre-first-placement days like they were yesterday.
    Well done for getting to where you are. I suggest you enjoy some of the everyday freedoms that will soon be scarce; lie-ins, straightforward bedtimes etc (maybe they're already scarce).
    And standby for some stellar moments; the phone call asking "would you consider a child who...?", the headless chicken last minute preparations (spare toothbrush, nightlight, supermarket run to stock up on the child's specific favourites).
    Then there's the first sight of the child getting out of the social worker's car, and the enormous tug on the heartstrings as the forlorn mite traipses up your path full of trepidation.
    Then there's the famous honeymoon period, maybe a few days, a few weeks.
    Then there's the moment when you realise they trust you; when they drop their guard and have their first (understandable) wobbly.
    Happy fostering!
    And on behalf of all the children you will help and support, maybe even come to love; Thank You.

  3. I'm a teenager in... two unstable homes, and I found this post fascinating.
    First, I'm really young, 16, and my situation has never been close to as bad as what foster children are coming from. My parents divorced when I was nine, I'm the oldest of four, and it was (is) a bitter divorce. It's been one thing after another since then; parents remarrying, almost redivorcing twice, people dying, etc. However I feel safe and loved by my siblings and parents and I'm doing well right now.
    Second, I'm reading this blog because I want to foster someday. :)
    Anyways, I've been through trauma and I can definitely say that if I had been taken from my home at any point by strangers, I'd DEFINITELY want a temporary foster parent to try to bond with me. Not in a pushy way, because I'd retreat. In a gentle, warm way.
    Likely I'd be unable to function. If I feel I can trust an adult, even a strange adult (sometimes especially an adult I don't know as well), I tend to let my guard down. I tend to allow my hurt and brokenness and fear to come to the surface. I'm desperate to know somebody cares, that life isn't just full of suffering and despair. The other day actually I started sobbing after my mom said something that normally would make me slightly disappointed, if that... I cried for hours. I needed her to be there for me. I needed to know she wasn't going to give up on me the moment I showed signs of weakness.
    I'd need that even from a temporary foster parent. I might find it really healing to have a temporary foster parent who, in the midst of something traumatic, listened to me and gave me a hug. Let me cry and be broken with only love in response. Even if I never saw them again, it might make the difference for me between feeling traumatized later on and feeling like, "bad things will happen but I'm not alone even in the most awful pain; I remember when Foster Parent A was there, even though I barely spent any time with them..."
    Or maybe I'd really appreciate the simple things like a smile, a kind word, etc. Especially with sibling sets, taking care of a younger sibling for the older sibling will mean more to the older sibling sometimes than if you fixed all older sibling's problems. Siblings going through tough times tend to have either incredibly strong bonds or entirely shattered bonds, I think.
    Anyways that's all I wanted to say! :)
    Thank you for being there for kids who are hurting and broken and loving them through all that. You will never know how much that love impacts them.