Wednesday, February 27, 2019

WHAT IS A 'PERMANENT PLACEMENT'?

One of the senior management team  at Blue Sky once said something to me that has stayed with me ever since. I always wondered if one day it would come true.

The manager in question had shown up at our house along with our regular Blue Sky Social Worker because a local authority had asked me and my family to foster a child with a very difficult history. 

We were all waiting nervously and excitedly in my kitchen when the car carrying the local authority Social Worker and the child pulled up and I made for the front door to welcome them.

As I went to greet them  the Blue Sky manager whispered to me; 

"Here we go then, maybe for just one night, maybe for the rest of your life."

The child in question is now older and wiser (aren't we all...). The child is a joy to behold and it's hard to remember the traumatised and fractious infant who showed up that day. 

The child is never going to be returned to the natural parents.

So. We have agreed that the child is to become what's called a permanent placement with us.

For us this means we want this child to be with us for the rest of our lives, if that's what the child wants. 

It's quite a thing, and talking about it to you here on this blog helps me come to terms with the wonderful enormity of it.

The child is totally cool about it, so much so that the meetings and paperwork are viewed as an inconvenience which get in the way of playing computer games. It seems as though the child's message to everyone is; "Obviously I'm family, what's the big deal?" 

Social Workers are required  to have conversations with the child to ensure they understand and are happy with the change, and they get the same message; "Do we really need to talk about this? Isn't it obvious that this is the best thing? Why all the questions?"

Everyone's conclusion is that the child is doing cartwheels inside, but not risking acting over the moon in case it evokes the wrath of the gods. Some things that are too good to be true must be celebrated with caution, I get that.

We're taking the child's lead and not making a song and dance about it. But one small thing that's happened as a result breaks me up in a good way, it's this;

The child asked if their surname could be changed to ours. Not anything complicated like Deed Poll and stuff, just at school. The school were brilliant and agreed straight away. "Actually," the Headteacher told me "It happens more than you might realise, mainly with divorces and parents re-marrying."

What knocked me for six was the child's class teacher. He went into the school on a Saturday, on his own time, and moved all the name pegs under the coat-hooks in the classroom so that our child's new name-peg was in correct alphabetical order.  He had to unscrew 20 platelets, stencil a new name and re-screw them all back on, one place away from where they had all previously been. When I thanked him he said he was proud to do it, he said he could feel from the child how proud the child was to have our family name.

That's a 'permanent placement' then, right there.

That's it for now, sorry, can't see the screen properly, it's blurry...

Damn these fostering happy tears.


3 comments:

  1. That's wonderful! Congratulations to you all. Brilliant understanding from the teacher.
    I love your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Lucy, nice to hear that from you.

    ReplyDelete