Wednesday, July 31, 2019


One thing that's always struck me in fostering is that the poor dears who come to us for care often open up about their lives; but not always to their Foster Carers.

We find out in roundabout ways that they have talked to their Physics teacher, or maybe they've opened up to your nephew at a family barbecue.

I know it's pathetic of me but every time it happens I feel a tiny bit jilted. My logical brain tells me that a troubled child would surely seek out the person who cares for them, shelters, feeds and protects them.

I have to remind myself that my own children didn't reveal much of their fears and frailties. My friends said it was the same with their children. I put it down to some sort of natural order of things.

This happened once;

A foster child called Ricky had been with us for six months. He was a lad who spent most of his time being silent, some might say sullen but I found him simply in need of an arm round his shoulder. Every so often he'd let off steam and you just had to facilitate. In other words just stay away, let the child expel their negative feelings. The emotion doesn't last very long and they're at peace for days and weeks, sometimes months  afterwards.

I wanted to try to get to the bottom of his sadness and anger. I hoped I could help him. Fix things.  But Ricky was an absolutely closed book.

Well, towards me he was.

But he clicked with...his hairdresser!

This hairdresser is the same one I use. One day Ricky told me that the haircuts I gave him were not up to much, so I booked him into the place I go to and his hair was cut by Trish who is a nice person, very trendy. She wears black, has various piercings, a few bits of body art, and has a girlfriend.

Ricky opened up to Mandy to such an extent that Trish felt she should chat with me about it the next time I was in her chair. I should say at this point that Trish is such a good friend that she's part of my network. That said, I wouldn't tell her anything about my placements that would compromise their privacy. But if a foster child of mine confides to a third party I'm right to hear what transpired so I can assess whether to build it into my fostering.

So. Ricky told Trish that he was a bit gay. Well; "maybe".

Of course I could see straight away he was never likely to tell me that. Or probably never tell anyone, at least not for a while, except luckily my hairdresser.

Obviously once I discovered this my feelings for him went to a new high; this was a foster child who needed all the support I could muster. But I couldn't reveal what Trish had fed back to me.

I raised it with my Blue Sky Social Worker and we agreed that if Trish had become someone Ricky could trust and wanted to talk with we should allow it to happen; but that it would be confined to professional encounters (only when Ricky is getting his hair cut. Trish is a £30 per cut hairdresser, but it was worth every penny to book Ricky in for a 'trim' once a fortnight.

The end result was a relatively happy lad.

Who had excellent hair.

And a Foster Carer who was also happy that the job was getting done one way or another.

Listen; if you're thinking about trying fostering. Do it.

The good you will do is second to none; especially when you learn how to mange things from the background.


Post a comment