Sunday, May 20, 2018

FOSTERING; A BOX OF CHOCOLATES

I often think fostering is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.

Or what it’s going to give back.

Several weeks before we gained accreditation as foster carers I was invited to the Blue Sky offices for a routine meeting to talk about our upcoming appearance in front of the panel of experts that has final say on whether you’re approved to foster or not.

Actually, Blue Sky had an added agenda. They were being smart.
One of their carers was in the building, with her placement. A scamp of a lad called Duran.

We all met up in the coffee area, and I noticed Duran hiding under a coffee table, trying not to be seen. He saw me spot him, our eyes met briefly, and I winked. His secret was safe with me. He grinned a mischievous grin.

I chatted to the foster carer, a brilliant person. She’d never had children of her own and had been worried that she might miss things. But no; she’d worked in an office where strange behaviours and souls in need of enlightenment are just as good a preparation to foster as having your own brood!

We all got up to go together, and headed for the lift down. When the lift door opened people piled in, but I stood back.

“Aren’t you coming in?” asked my social worker.

“No,” I replied, “I’m going to take the stairs and race you down. Anyone coming?”

Duran leapt out of the lift; “Yeah!”

We won, Duran and me.

A few weeks later we went before the dreaded panel (actually it was a great experience) and walked out qualified foster carers. And were met by my social worker who said: 

“You remember you said you’d be willing to take a child from the get-go?”

I confirmed.

“Well we have someone for you this weekend. A 48-hour respite.”

I said:

“Tell me about the child.”

“You’ve already met him. It’s Duran Everham.”

Turns out that Duran was considered a handful, so much so they’d put me together with him to see if there was chemistry. 

Long story short, Duran came. And he was a handful. A ball of boisterousness, more energy than I’ve ever seen in any human, awake at 4.00am and needing to do stuff. Petrified of his own company. Attention span zero. Need for permanent attention, occupation, stimulation. Pushed me to the max, then a bit more.

He'd been passed from pillar to post as a child before he came into care, none of his 'real' family could cope. He'd learned that he wasn't wanted. He'd tired out several foster carers before the lovely couple who had him at the time he stayed with me, and I could totally understand why they needed respite.

Weekend over my social worker told me it doesn’t get any more taxing than Duran Everham. She said he was beginning to chill out at his regular foster home but it was feared he’d regress in a respite home. However they’d seen enough to trust me with his respite care.

Obviously, Duran didn’t put me off fostering, not for a nanosecond but blimey it was quite a debut.

Next to our home came a timid mite. Then a lovely teenager. Followed by a sweet but sad girl who couldn’t face bedtime, we’d been told why.

Then came a call from Blue Sky;

“Would you be willing to do a weekend respite for… Duran Everham.”

We agreed without hesitation, but girded our loins. Durham was motored over to us on the Friday afternoon. When I opened the door he was standing there with an unprecedented look of peace on his face.

He was a handful again, but nowhere like the first time.

After he went home we gave and were given feedback with his full-time carer. I mentioned his improved behaviour and the look on his face when he arrived.

“Yes,” the carer said, “Because you actually wanted him back. You wanted him. You were pleased to see him. It’s still rare for him to feel wanted and it meant the world to him.”

I happen to know what’s happened to Duran because he turned up for a job at the place where my husband works. I went to a works function a while ago and Duran was there with his other half. They were expecting their second.  We didn’t chat hardly at all,  but he kept shooing me a look.

The same look he’d had on his face when I’d opened the door for his second visit. The look that you get when you see someone who wants your company.

Fostering is MORE than a box of chocolates, its a three course blow out. 

Pride for starters.

A main of Pride, a side of Pride...

...and Pride for afters.












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