Well, here we are, nearly October half term, which means that Christmas is fast approaching. Sometimes it is important to take time and be thankful for all you have. I always feel that this time of year is that time for me.
We are very fortunate to be a ‘blended’ family, both my husband and I have been married before and we each had birth child/children. I had a daughter and my husband had two sons. Luckily, we have all blended perfectly. When you decide to be a foster carer it is a family choice, the whole family needs to be consulted and, in theory, agree to the prospect of having someone else’s child come live with you. Both boys had left home and my daughter was 13, she had more input because she was still living at home.
One of the things she requested was that the foster child not go to the same school as her, she really enjoyed school and was academic and she did not want to have a potentially negative influence interfere with this. We thought that was a fair compromise. We decided as a family, that we would be open to all ages and either gender. Fostering has been a roller coaster of a ride for us all.
We initially fostered teenagers with behaviour that challenges. My daughter has had times during this period that were, at times, difficult for her and she has been able to discuss it with us and the team at Calon. There is always a solution and it is better to discuss feelings and solve whatever the issue may have been. We have travelled all over the world as a family that fosters and the input from the local authority and Calon has been instrumental in us being able to achieve this.
My daughter has become a very important part of our fostering team, at times, quite frankly, we could not do it without her. She is our support both officially (via Calon Cymru) and unofficially (emotional support for me). She has completed some paperwork to enable her to be our respite, which means Julian* does not ever have to be disrupted if my husband and I need a night off, he can stay in the family home and my daughter looks after him.
Both boys have families of their own and are extremely supportive of all that we do. Our grandchildren are well rounded and accepting of ‘difference’, I am sure as a result of being part of a family that fosters. The love and support from our families enables us to foster; family get-togethers are precious and the perfect opportunity for us to demonstrate to Julian* how loved he is and that he is very much part of our ‘tribe’. With Halloween and Christmas looming, our family traditions will be upheld, a Halloween party and Boxing Day Bash where we all get to celebrate and be thankful for each other. However, it is important to be mindful that celebrations can be difficult for a child that is looked after. Difficult memories and past traumas may be brought to the surface. Having the support of your birth family to assist the child through this period is invaluable. Our grandchildren share their love unconditionally and this makes us very proud grandparents.
Happy Holiday from Daisy Doo and her fabulous tribe xx
*Foster Carer & Child’s name has been changed for privacy reasons.