Friday, October 22, 2021


 Our eldest foster child - not a child at all - is getting ready for the outside world.

He leaves fostering any time soon.

Ged's smart, in a street-wise way. He's only been with us a couple or three months, but he's still our boy. You have no option but to let them into your life from day one. Seeing him go off alone to face his future alone is emotional.

On the surface it seems more emotional for us, his foster family, than him, but I suspect his nonchalance is about acting grown up.

You remember how you fussed first time one of your children went off on their first sleepover? Making up that overnight bag of toothbrush, clean underwear, pyjamas ("I'm not wearing them mum, no-one's going to be in jim jams!") pieces of paper with phone numbers. And so on.

Well, let me tell you getting a child ready for an everlasting sleepover is a site worse.

Luckily his Social Worker has been on hand with the information about what he needs and what he's going to be provided with. Say what you like about the state, our country is magnificent at caring for young people who have problems.

He's been offered accomodation in a sort of sheltered home; a block of single room apartments with communal facilities. He's been guided towards several employment opportunities, and helped with his benefit rights. 

However, the poor lad is still dangling on a thread as to whether or not his estranged father will come through with his verbal promise of providing him with funding. And we have had no option but to find a way to break it to him that he may have to go it alone.

He'll be disappointed as heck, but surely less bamboozled if he has prepared himself it may happen.

The conversations are similar to so many that we fostering folk have with chidren in our care about their real parents.

We try to help looked-after chidren get a bead on reality about what's happened to them but have to tread warily because they don't ever want their parents to be criticised by someone else. One often  finds oneself diplomatically acknowledging that the parents meant well, and had a lot of bad luck, and may well be all the better from having some help with the routine problems that previously they faced alone. 

Only when you've laid the ground can you go into the matter that the children themselves deserve better.

Ged is reluctant to 'split' on his dad. Like many of us, he pictures his dad as somewhat heroic and noble; a victim of circumstances and other people's failures and deception.

I'm pretty certain that his dad is either in prison or spent plenty of time inside. Which can be quite colourful for a lad-about-the-streeets. It beats having a dad who's an IT manager. 

However the question remains; if Ged comes into his windfall, where has the money come from?

Technically and ultimately it's not at all my problem. But.

When one fosters each child who arrives becomes your child the moment they step through the door. It's the only way. You offer attachment and empathy from the get-go. You don't merely care, you also worry, fret and fear for them. You lie awake plotting how to make things as good as they can be for them. You live for the moments when you see them smile where previously they didn't, or hear them singing in their bedroom.

You simply want them to find some peace and ight-heartedness.

I'm gearing up to wondering out loud with Ged if he'd be better off without any apology money from his dad. Even if it materialises.

Got to find the right moment, and the right way of saying;

"You're smart. You've got what it takes to do what everybody does and try to build a good life and living on your own ability and hard work."

Then I know he'll say "Then how come everybody buys a lottery ticket?"

See what I mean about him being smart?


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