Friday, May 31, 2019


So; Ryder, our most recent foster placement, is going home soon.

Knowing as I do certain details of how chaotic her family life was before social services intervened I'm concerned for her. But the professionals have done their homework and we Foster Carers trust their judgement. They're a fantastic army of trained and talented people who simply want everything to be okay for everybody.

Ryder is giddy at the prospect. She's begun packing, begun planning and rehearsing her departure from here and her arrival at her real home - she's even fussed about getting her hair right.

I've seen this plenty of timers before; children in care want nothing more or less than to get back to the life they know well. Even if it's a difficult life.

One phrase that remains in my mind was uttered by a teenager staying with us;

"So I'm stuck here in fostering while the rest of my lot are playing happy families?!"

"Happy families."

The last words you'd use to describe her lot would be "Happy families"'.

But then that's the likes of us looking from the outside.

The logical Foster Carer would find themselves lying in bed asking themselves; "Why would anyone want to leave my home which is sweetly run and a safe place to live to go back to a home which is all over the place?"

I got one answer to this question in a favourite movie of mine;

Some years ago I watched the film 'Ghandi'.

Ghandi wanted to persuade  the British to leave India. He had a meeting with British officials in which he said he wanted India to be returned to Indians.

However India was potentially very chaotic, so one of the English generals said;

"Mr Ghandi, if we return India to you there would be chaos."

So Ghandi replies;

"Perhaps. But it will be our chaos."

There you have it. It's their chaos.

They have more attachment to their chaos than a stranger's  orderliness (of course there are exceptions to this, but it does seem to be the general rule).

I'm currently sharing Ryder's excitement at the prospect of going hime. I indulge her daydreams that everything is going to be wonderful - but only when we are alone together. I have another foster child who isn't going home and I'm careful to avoid setting him thinking any more than is necessary.

At the same time as indulging Ryder's anticipations I'm trying to manage her expectations, saying things like;

"I expect everyone will be busy and rushing around when you get back." Meaning "Don't expect a throng at the front door with banners saying 'Welcome Home Ryder".

I say;

"Your mum's boyfriend has moved out, but is still allowed to see your mum." Meaning "There will still be plenty of tensions and the odd ruckus."

And so on.

Where I can say exactly what I mean, and manage my own expectations is when I say to her;

"We will miss you so much. We'll never forget you. We'll always be grateful to you for bringing so much to our family and our home."


  1. You are such a blessing. I've been reading your blog for years, and you constantly inspire and encourage me to find ways to be more thoughtful in my own life, even though I am not (yet) a foster-carer. Thank you for everything you do.

  2. Thank you Amanda, how kind.
    ps love your enigmatic "yet"...