Monday, September 06, 2021


 It's always an upheaval when a foster child leaves. The house is quieter, there's less work to be done and those that are left behind in the home have to re-configure.

Ged is gearing up to fly the nest; he'll be 18 soon and is hungry to put his childhood behind him and stretch his wings. There are so many positives, but you still have to keep an eye out for impending difficulties.

And there is a big one. See, our youngest foster child adores Ged. 

Ged, to him, is everything that I and my other half aren't. Ged is cool, he's a geezer. He knows what today's music is about, he can talk for ever about gaming.

Youngest wants Ged to be his dad - he doesn't say so but it's written all over him. He wants to go with Ged, but hasn't said so. When Ged goes it'll leave a big hole in his heart, and that's in part a healthy, normal and profound thing.


Youngest has experienced endless abandonment in his short life before care. His real father came and went, other 'fathers' came and went. Then his mother overdosed and has never fully recovered. He was fostered initially alongside his sibs (4) but it all got too much for the foster parents and the little mite who came to us was deemed the main fly in the ointment. And boy was he a handful at first.

We set square on keeping him with us partly because of the fear that if we abandoned him back into the system it could be the last straw. Anyway, we haven't yet given up on a child and one gets possesive about a 100% record in anything - mind this is a good obsession.

Blue Sky worked with us shoulder-to-shoulder to help him find a bit of peace; Oppositional Defiance Disorder is a gruelling house guest. But you get what you pay for in fostering, and though the emotional cost to us was steep to begin with, it began paying for itself within a couple of months.

I'm not claiming he's a saint, but he's come on in leaps and bounds, and Ged's arrival gave him the role model he's always craved.

My job in the next few weeks before Ged goes is to talk to my BS social worker about how to play it. Do I ask Ged if he can stay in touch for the sake of the youngest? Do I talk to youngest about it, try to get as much understanding of the coming event as I can? Do I make plans such as a farewell dinner for Ged or play it like it's no big deal?

The probability is that it's going to be tricky - sticky even - and we'll all have to react to however it impacts youngest. 

Oh, and remember to enjoy all the enjoyables such as helping a fine young man enter the world, and appreciating that youngest has learned to attach to a parent figure. Maybe he'll transfer that bonding to us? That would be nice…

But in fostering you never hold your breath..


  1. Hi SFC thank you for these. I have spent a long time reading through and have finally caught up with the present!

    My partner and I (young couple) have recently been approved. We have taken on a few "respite" placements over the summer holidays and are about to accept a teenager who is very oppositional, sweary etc. We think she is an incredible young lady and hope we can help her through her last years in care.

    I wondered if you had any advice to help welcome her. She has been moved about within the system a fair amount. I don't want to bombard her with info but want to help her settle in.
    Thank you

  2. Hello 'NaiveNewbie' and welcome to the best world there is. Fostering can be a nightmare and a dream job all at the same time. Like they say; you only get out of life what you put into it.
    Welcoming a teenager; she'll probably be on her best behaviour to begin, then have to let off steam eventually. Take it as a kind of compliment, it means she trusts you. You might try talking to her as you would an adult, most teens are desperate to grow out of their childhood, young people in care even more so. If you have any preferences about things like footwear around the house, they're worth mentioning. Show her how the bathroom lock works, and how to get the shower temperature right, then it's all about food.
    Find out what her eating preferences are and give her her favourite meal on the first evening. Put the food out in bowls and give her an empty plate and say 'help yourself' (obviously you do the same thing). It saves them the worry of having stuff on their plate they don't like, ot too much/little. Or even fads such as baked bean juice not touching the sausages.
    Give her space, she'll be petrified inside.
    Oh and put a bowl of fruit in her room and tell her it's hers.

    All my love, and same from all at Blue Sky

  3. Thank you so much SFC, apologies for the late response,it has been a little busy! Today is moving day. Fingers crossed for a smooth... ish transition!
    Thank you for the advice especially with the shower as I hadn't thought about that really.
    Now to continue pacing the living room!