Sunday, August 09, 2020

CONTACT JOY

So we had a strange 'contact' meeting between eldest foster child and a couple of members of his real family.

We had to do it outdoors, so we met up in a park. 

We had to keep our distance so we laid out cushions on blankets 2 metres apart.

We brought some snacks, still in their wrappers, which we sprayed with anti-bacteria and wiped dry as we handed them round.

Sounds like a nightmare? Yes, but it wasn't. It was delightful. 

Much better than normal contact meetings. Normal contact meetings between 'children in care and their significant others' are just as sterile as they sound, described like that…

They happen in contact centres which are either designated buildings or rented spaces with token chairs and used toys and posters blue tacked to the wall informing about the services that social services offer. Or else they get jazzed up by happening at a 'fun' venue such as one of those places with thousands of balls you can dive into.

One way or the other, contacts are artificial. The participants often feel singled out as different from everyone else; because only children in care have 'contact'.

Our meet-up in the park was gloriously the same as everyone else. We didn't stand out at all. No-one would have guessed it was anything other than an extended family having fun and behaving responsibly. I've never heard a better natter between a foster child and his elder sister, they bonded better than I ever thought possible;

"Heard from mum?"

"Nothing. Does anyone know where she is?"

"Nah, you know what she's like."

"I kind of hope she's alright."

"Yeah, I suppose. You alright?"

"Yeah not bad. How's school?"

"Good. I like working at home. How's work?"

"Good thanks, except I have to work every other weekend.."

And so on and so on. Beautiful. 

Then we played a socially distanced game of cricket. Brilliant.

When we got home eldest foster child was happy as could be.

The pandemic is dreadful, spreading death and illness, fear and mistrust. 

All I'm saying is that our last contact was one of the best ever, should be a blueprint for a happier healthier future.





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