Friday, January 08, 2021

TIME TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

 A reader writes;

"Thanks to you, Secret Foster Carer! It was your blog that pushed me over the edge to foster. I love the small moments you capture. And I love noticing when they happen to me. I fostered a 1 month old baby for 3 months recently. When she went back to her mom, her mom (who is 20) wrote me a note that thanked me "for having her back". It was such a wonderful young person thing to say, and it meant the world to me. Everyone deserves to have someone who has their back. -Roma"

Pushed Roma over edge? Blimey, sounds like a hairy moment in a Hitchcock film

…no, wait a minute…come to think...that's exacty how you feel when you're on the point of giving fostering a go.

You've read up on it; back in my day it was books and newspaper articles, today there's plenty of stuff on the internet. All the while you're browsing, you're thinking and wondering and imagining.

You picture yourself doing it; sometimes you see yourself as the perfect foster parent with a brood of smiling foster kids. You dote on them and they dote on you. They cheer your dinners as they arrive on the table and thank you with their eyes for all you do for them.

Sometimes you see yourself up the creek without a paddle. You know which creek; temperamental child, disconsolate, ungrateful, unmanageable. You wonder why you got yourself into fostering.

You are indeed standing looking over the edge.

So you put it off. You say to yourself; "It's something I shall do when the time is right for me".

Fair enough.

But picture someone else, a real person, one I know.

You are a six year old girl. You have never been loved, never told a bedtime story, never been sung a nursery rhyme. You have never been to school because the adults in your house were worried you're plight would be discovered and they'd get into trouble. You have two older siblings who are as frightned and angry as you, but they take it out on you because you can't fight back. You're allowed out to wander the streets, even late into the night; the adults in the house don't want you under their feet, they've got drinking and smoking and other things on their altered minds. You are never fed, it's up to you to creep into the kitchen and find some food. Sometimes there's nothing, not even some cereal dust in the bottom of a box. It's a shame the dog died, you could lick the sides of his bowl if he'd left some smears of dog food. You sometimes had luck checking the cartons from last night's takeaway for a stale pizza crust or the bones of a KFC. 

That child - and thousands like her - can't wait while good people such as your good self, people who have all the skills but probably don't realise it, put it off until a bit later.

I KNOW it's a scary thought. I KNOW you feel you're standing looking over the edge. But Blue Sky is your parachute and the drop, once you jump, is not that big. Remember; you're not getting into anything you can't get out of if you need to, for whatever reason.

Have another read of Rona's words.

Then pick up the phone.

You're on Blue Sky's website right now, there are lots of ways of contacting them. They're friendly, kind and understanding. They're on your side from day one.

I remember with total clarity the day I plucked up the courage and dialled their number. I remember the song in the voice of the person who answered;

"Blue Sky Fostering, how may I help?"

I said:

"I'm thinking of becoming a Foster Carer"

She replied;

"How wonderful! Oh that's really great news! Good for you…I'll put you through to someone who you can have a chat with…"

She did.

It was the best phone call I ever ever made.

Is it all smiles and plain sailing? No.'Course not.

Is it hell on wheels? No. 'Course not.

Most days it's in the middle, like normal life. Only in normal life you're on your own, imagine normal life with an army of positive-minded professionals  looking after your back!

The allowance, which I recieve fortnightly (I don't know about others, I don't ask), is respectable and the tax people are, shall I say, fair (it's not a wage, it's an allowance). I'm not saying it's tax-free but it's taxed differently from how earnings are taxed, and it results in the allowance being a useful addition to the family income.

There's been a huge spike in the number of chidren needing a foster home.

They need you, and not sometime in the future.

Blue Sky are waiting for you.

So too is a poor frightnened child somewhere.


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