Sunday, August 05, 2018


One of the many things that social services and fostering agencies hope we foster parents to try to get right is keeping our foster home as normal a home as possible.

Yeah. Right.

I always think it's like trying to keep a rowing boat on the level when someone steps in with no balance. The thing rocks, everyone hangs onto the sides, then after a bit the newcomer stabilises and so does everyone else.

Mind, sometimes those moments are half the fun.

So; we have a new child Ryder, and we happen to be in the middle of a school holiday.

And my sister-in-law is going in for a new knee.

I could talk about Maggs until the cows come hime, she's a rock.  You value your friends in fostering. Don't have to be lifelong friends, can even be trusted colleagues, just someone you can have a whinge and a laugh with. Maggs bounced back after a difficult marriage break-up - on better terms with her ex these days than when they were married, funny, there's a lot of that about - and met the love of her life on the internet when the whole IT dating thing was about 20 minutes old. That was years ago and they have two children age 8 and 6. Thing is that he works nights.

And now she's going to be crock for at least a fortnight.

Maggs has bailed me out more times than I can count. She got herself security checked so she could look after our looked-after children for a morning or even a whole day. Maggs has never said no.

So, boot on the other foot, Maggs needs cover while she's laid up. Obviously I'm there. It's a bit more complicated when you're a foster home, but the job is to run a home that's normal, and helping out a pal is normal and after all her other half is my other half's half-brother (ain't modern life wonderfully complicated?).

Anyway, last night, tonight and tomorrow night Maggs two children are staying here. Brilliant! the house is like the youth club I always dreamed of!

A houseful consisting of; me and him, our own children, foster children and 2 others. The others sleeping on cushions and pillows in the front room (everyone else envious). Stuck in the middle of all this mayhem is new foster child, Ryder. I'm watching like a hawk in case she boils over, but if anything the chaos gives her cover.

It started out awkward, everyone not sure who was who and what was what, but believe me in minutes there came a businesslike calm about the house. First off people scattered to their own corners with their phones, then gradually got drawn to the TV where one of them had got up videos of a band (Green Day?) and deep discussion began as to whether they were rubbish.

It was a GREAT evening. We had a houseful of; children whose parents foster alongside children who are being fostered alongside children who know nothing of fostering.

We watched a Netflix film that was edgy and therefore cool and kept an eye out if any of the younger ones found it tense. If they did they kept it in, and no-one had nightmares. Everyone had my home-made popcorn and complained there were more un-popped kernels than the quality stuff you get at CineWorld.

There was no big result. In fostering it's about bit by bit. The bit on this occasion was that fate chucked us a situation which meant we had to be a normal home and do what a normal home would do, and we did, and it was a winner. And some foster children from homes where things hardly ever clicked could relax in the atmosphere of a home where there were clicks going off everywhere.

Me and him went to sleep with the torch on the bedside cabinet just in case of a power failure (happened to us in Spain). I told everyone that if there was any problem in the night I'd come and find everyone. Didn't want to end up with a houseful of children who watched a slightly spooky film and are all spooked out in the dark.

Eldest foster child sidled up to me at breakfast next day and said "Mum..." (Always sends me doing cartwheels when they choose to call me 'mum'). "Mum," he said "Just so you know...torches are so last century, we all have a torch on our phone duh?"

Perfect weekend, right down to the essential rebuke for being a dinosaur.

A happy dinosaur though...


  1. Happy dinosaur when your torch batteries last a lot longer than the phone battery does! Its nice to have a houseful. Ive got my adult sons with me for a holiday. Its the first time they have met our foster child, and his ears perked up when he heard my sons call me "Mum" I also heard a mumbled "she's my Mum too" which made me smile and reassure him that there was plenty of love to go around. However, two new playstation buddies to plsy with soon set his mind at rest!

  2. Lovely to hear! Every family's shape is unique, what we all try to offer foster children is a ticket into a dynamic where love and kindness, consideration and respect are the general rule. Doesn't matter where you are in the scheme of things; grandparent, parent, adult child, young child, sibling or foster child you get and you give.
    Sounds like you've got something special right now.

  3. Sounds like you had a houseful.
    My social worker and I have been discussing how I'll introduce my foster kid/s to my nieces and nephews and how to arrange sleepovers etc. Its exciting times for sure. My panel is still on for four weeks today. Eeeeep!
    I had a nephew over last weekend who I havent seen for two years, so I hadnt talked to him about fostering. I explained what it is, and that he was staying in foster child's bedroom. And like I was an Air BnB he gave me an evaluation. 'This is good...' 'This could be better...' was hilarious but I'll take the points on board. The books in the room were a massive hit and he liked the educational toys I'd bought (scrabble sized tiles for spelling and number work etc).
    Its all coming together nicely. Hopefully I wont be a dinosaur :)

  4. I hope the four weeks fly by, not just for your sake, ut so's the system can start using your obvious skills and good heart to better the life and lives of a child and successive children. Your nephew sounds like a good'n - your network can help in many ways once you're up and running.
    Stay in touch, we want your story.