Friday, April 13, 2018


We've had a couple of weeks of school holidays, a different type of fostering.

You could say there are two modes of fostering; when schools are up and running and when they're closed for holidays.

When schools break up your foster son or daughter is home all day, or at least in your arc, seven days a week, as distinct from when it's five days of school and two days of being around home.

Even if the child is anti-school, there's still a structure about Monday to Friday which vanishes when it's school holidays.

Our Blue Sky social worker always schedules a visit during the school holidays, just to check everything's cool. She's a great person.'s what happened (it was tiny but rather good)...

Our social worker showed up at 10.00am, on the dot as usual, smiling and full of the joys. They always arrive exuding positive vibes, sometimes we need it, sometimes we don't, it's always a boost.

Always a boost.

Where else can you work with someone who comes and spends a whole morning drinking tea and helping you by giving you guidance and advice but also telling you you're fantastic.

I worked in all sorts of jobs before fostering. Nobody ever, ever came to me with kindness and support and told me how good my efforts were. No manager, no boss, no shop steward, not even colleagues. The people I worked alongside were cynical about the exercise, and often miserable about management.

Okay sometimes foster carers enjoy a good whinge. Who doesn't?

But when your Blue Sky social worker turns up at your house, as they must and do relentlessly, it's all about making sure you know you're not doing this fostering thing alone.


What happened was this. And I'm sorry if it sounds like nothing, but at the time it was huge.

We have a child who is unconsciously anti-parent. This is not surprising, the vast majority of children who come into care have a problem with their parent figures. The dear child doesn't always interact with us as one would hope.


So. The social worker turned up at 10.00am and we drank tea at the kitchen table and laughed and stuff...but she needed to touch base with the child, to make sure the child was okay and not harbouring any secret worries.

The child, who was asleep when the SW arrived, was persuaded  to venture downstairs to say hello.

On arrival at the bottom of the stairs I said:

"Hello, you alright? What would you like for breakfast?'

Child replied, in a gloomy voice;

"I dunno do I?"

Now, the thing is, I've taught myself to get past minor infringements with this child, because the child is making good progress and I've learned that if you go zero tolerance on every little thing you can end up with a full scale wobbly, and that risks putting the child's progress back a month.

But social worker decided she couldn't stand idly by. Instead she put on a big grin and went;

"Well that's not very nice, when someone offers to make you breakfast. I think you can do better than that."

Child stopped in tracks, gave it a quick think, let out a self-conscious chuckle and went;

"Yeah, sorry...I've just woken up like..."

Social worker wasn't done, she said;

"So...what do you want for breakfast?"

"Er..we got any cereal?"

I replied;

"Yep. Co-co Pops or Weetabix. Or Porridge."

"Can I have Co-co Pops?"

Social worker went three out of three;

"Can I have Co-co Pops...WHAT?"

Child; "Can I have Co-co Pops please?"

Child took breakfast into the front room, social worker joined child for a private chat, I heard them having fun; laughing their socks off.

Child went upstairs, social worker came back into kitchen;

"Well you've got a very happy child there."

I replied; "Not every minute of every day I can tell you."

"Loves it here. Has loads of respect for you. Feels safe and cared for. Sense of belonging."

I said; "Really. Is this you reading between the lines?"

"Nope. Those were the exact words used. But if I wanted to read between the lines, I noticed the request for breakfast was 'Have WE got any cereal' not 'Have YOU got any cereal?'"

Social worker zoomed off, leaving happy child and happier foster mum. Child had a tad more respect for a while afterwards. Foster mum had a tad more respect for her own efforts. For a while.

Then we all went back to being where we were in the first place, which, as the social worker said, was a pretty good place.

Child working on survival and doing it their way.

Foster mum like the swan, paddling away like mad beneath the surface, but above the surface...

...hissing at everything that moves and flapping both wings in frenzy...

Only joking.  

My take on the serene swan thing...


  1. Other than the 'keeping calm and carrying on', in the moment, how do you deal with a full scale wobble? I suppose it all depends on the kid.

  2. Good question. I'm doing a full post on it. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Do you have any experiences with foster kids diagnosed with PTSD that dont sleep well, and if they do sleep, are awake super early, 4-5am waking everyone in the house up to show she is awake and leaving EVERYONE exhausted.

  4. What a good question. Worthy of a full reply; I'll post it as a proper blog post.