Recently, we took the whole family to the cinema. A normal outing that we have done many times to our local venue. This trip was going to be different.
As we were waiting to go into our screen, my partner Richard* went to the toilet. He came out very quickly looking startled and explained he had just seen a little boy who looked the image of someone we cared for a few years ago. It was possible – we knew he was still in Swansea.
This placement had broken down after 9months due to a list of errors that were out of our control. He had become aggressive and violent literally overnight. It was a very sad day for us when the decision was taken to end the placement. We had worked very hard with this little boy and for 9months he had improved in every way.
Unfortunately the night he was placed with another family we didn’t have the time to say goodbye. Over the next few days, his belongings were packed and that was the last we saw of him.
Calon Cymru gave us all a lot of support during this time and respected our wishes to have a month off. We needed to evaluate ourselves and make sure we still wanted to pursue a career in fostering. We attended a therapy session with studio 3 as an end of placement protocol.
So, back to the cinema. It was him! And he had seen us.
What should we do?
Did he still hate us?
I smiled and gave him a thumbs-up, my heart was racing (the last time I had seen him was when he had hit me over the head with a big stick).
He copied my actions, addressing Richard and me by our names. This felt really good.
We took our seats. Who would be sitting in front of us… of course he would. He chatted loudly to us and asked if we had another foster child. I introduced him to my young person and they greeted each other warmly. I pointed out he was the little boy in the photo frame at home. This seemed to make his day; he thanked me for not forgetting him, this was obviously important to him. I asked how mum was and he told me all about her Xmas presents. At the end of the film, he came and hugged us all and wished us a Merry Xmas.
In a recent training course, I was told that it is a fact that every foster placement that breaks down will get a little bit longer at each home. The times we were told it wasn’t our fault, even the therapist said the right things but tonight I finally had closure.
I believe my family made a difference to this boys life. He thanked me for everything that we had done for him and he would visit us soon.
*Foster Carer’s names has been changed for privacy reasons.