Wednesday, August 28, 2019

FOSTERING AND BICYCLES

Bicycles can play a big part in fostering.

I was at a Blue Sky Support session, it was a while ago now, but I'll never forget the story a foster dad told.

Blue Sky hold regular Support Meetings. Foster Carers turn up (voluntarily) to swap fostering stories, share laughter, drink coffee...that sort of thing. I love them.

Sometimes its single foster parents, sometimes couples.

On this occasion we went round the table taking it in turns to recount what had been going on in our various homes over the preceding few weeks.

So. One couple had a story, the dad started it;

"I've got fit, that's what's happened this month. See, we've got a lad who's had a hard time and he's kind of withdrawn into himself for his own protection. Didn't want to go to school, didn't want to come out of his room. Didn't want to talk. Wanted to eat his meals in his room. But we would call upstairs to tell him his meal was ready so that he'd have to come down and get it, and because he got hungry he had no option, so at least we got 60 seconds with him every mealtime. One morning I asked him if there was anything else we could do for him. He paused at the door and replied "I'd like a bike".  So we found him one."

The dad went on to explain they filched an old bike from a nephew who'd outgrown it. The foster dad  unveiled it to the boy, whose eyes lit up. The lad said; "I wanna go for a ride."

Ah. Here was the dad's problem. He couldn't let the lad just go off. So he went into their garage and dragged out his old (very old) bike. And off they set, the dad on his dead bike. He continued;

"I guided him down a road and into fields where there was no traffic. Then he set off. With me giving chase. He set off at breakneck speed. He wasn't trying to give me the slip. He was trying to get away from everything. At a pace. I couldn't keep up or catch him, I just kind of held on. Every so often he would stop and glance back over his shoulder, see I was hanging on and set off again. What could I do but follow?"

Us Foster Carers were exhausted just listening;

"Then, after about half an hour, he went under an underpass, where a motorway crosses over the fields, he stopped and for the first time in five miles I caught up. He was stood on the bike, like the boss. I pulled up next to him, panting. He said to me 'Shall we go on?' and I replied 'If you want.' and he replied 'Nah, Mandy (my partner) will be serving tea.' So we headed back."

He joined us for tea that night, he wanted to tell my partner how he'd trounced 'dad' in the bicycle race. Mandy played a blinder, talking about what an amazing cyclist their foster son was.

This foster parents story is what fostering is all about.  Yes it can be tiring and demanding, obviously. But the rewards beat everything.

The dad had us crying with laughter about which bits of his anatomy took three weeks to heal.

The mum had us all filling up with nice tears about...er...fostering.







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