Friday, January 25, 2019


Little fostering moments.. You have to love them. They are a huge part of my life.

A child picks up her apple core after watching a Simpsons with the family and puts it in the kitchen pedal bin.

If you foster you'll know that a tiny thing like that can be a monster triumph. A child whose previous home had no sense of tidiness or hygiene can hardly be expected to know that food debris needs to be dealt with. On top of that; getting a child to eat an apple is a triumph anyway!

Little moments like that = big win for Foster Carer.

Then there are other fostering moments. The larger ones. The really HUGE ones.

These are not so easy to read.

For example;

Had a foster child stay with us called  'Angel' - who stayed for quite an extended period - who loitered in the kitchen one afternoon having come in from school. The fact she loitered in the kitchen was an alert because she usually wanted to get out of her school clothes fast  and enjoy some peace before food. But on this particular afternoon she hung about.

So, after a bit,  Angel said;

"I'm thinking of telling Guy what I think of him."

'Guy' (also known to some as 'Gary' and others as "Wesley') was her possible father. When I say 'possible', you're probably ahead of me, she could have several fathers, no-one knows who her real father was.

But the guy who hung around the house when she was growing up was this guy called Guy.

I met him - bumped into him - a couple of times when I took Angel for Contact with her mother. Contact is where children in care are taken to have a meeting once a week with one or more of their significant others; their mum or dad or other family members.

Angel had been told that Guy was her father.  But she didn't like him.

And frankly, when I bumped into him, nor did I.

But. In fostering the practice of bringing our foster children to Contact means we meet all sorts of adults who have had children, or find themselves somehow 'looking after' children, and who struggle to get it right.

It's rarely their fault that their parenting is adjudged to fall short.

Maybe when these adults were small they deserved someone coming to into their lives to help them out, which is what our fantastic Social Workers do now.

So Angel asked me for advice on whether she should tell her 'father' what she thinks of him.

Blimey, this is one of those moments when you need your Social Worker, but you don't want to be calling them day and night. So you make a decision. Use your common sense.

So I said; "That's an interesting one. I'll have to think about that."

BTW, if I could pass on one tip it would be that. When asked a really difficult question by a foster child about their lives and in particular what they should do, a good reply is "That's an interesting one. I'll have to think about that."

Then what you do is ask your Social Worker.

But Angel was insistent. Wanted to know is she should upfront her 'father', and there were lots of issues involved in that.

Some of those issues I got, some I could only speculate about.

So I said to Angel;

"Well... life, if you do things or say things, you are stuck with them. If you wait and keep thinking about them then you always have the option. You can either do something or not. Or say something or not. You have control."

Angel did nothing. At least not then and to my knowledge has still kept her powder dry. It may be that at some time when she is an adult and able to take big decisions she does or says what she needs to.

I think I hope she does.

I think and hope I got the advice right. I know Angel took my advice and that is something I should feel good about.

Before I fostered not many people sought my advice, even fewer took it. They do now that I foster.


  1. Oh jeez, talk about advice. I was asked by one of the teens I had, who had been with me about a week at that point, if they should stay in care. It was a big decision for them, and I told them I couldnt make it for them. We did talk about how they felt about being in care and what life was like when they weren't and I then arranged for them to talk to their legal advocate. They chose to stay in care.
    But boy that was a heavy question!

  2. Sounds like you got that one spot on. With the big questions it's usually a good idea to defer, and they ended up making the right (hopefully) decision themselves. Often they just want to air a subject and get reaction, but we have to tread careful dispensing wisdom. Doesn't stop us working hard in our mind for them.
    No let-ups in fostering!

    1. Oh yeah I agree. They just want to 'put it out there' but as with many things need to make up their own mind. You cant make decisions at all for them (and I wouldnt want to!), but I guess its like when one is making your own life decisions... it's good to bat things around. Hehe but there is a big difference between being asked if I think a shirt matches some trousers to whether a kid should return home!

  3. You're so right. And those big questions often come when you're least expecting them. So there you are at the sink frantically peeling two more potatoes because you've just been to the freezer and found out there's only one garlic baguette and the pasta bake dish has a crack and you're supposed to throw away cracked oven dishes and someone says around the kitchen door "I'm getting a tattoo tomorrow on the way home from school".
    Mind, we don't get bored...