Throughout our fostering journey, we were open and honest with our daughter. This was a decision that affected us all. We had prepared her as much as we thought was possible at the time.
Despite being an only child, she had been brought up with younger nieces and nephews. She enjoyed being the playful cousin, how could this be any different?
The first young person to live with us was a teenager, similar in age to my daughter. On paper, this was a perfect match for us and initially, it was good. The two girls were pleasant towards each other and their relationship was building. My daughter encouraged her to join in when friends came to visit. Unfortunately, things did start to change; we were seeing a different side to this young person and eventually, sadly the placement broke down soon after due to various reasons.
Our second placement was a young, cheeky, hyperactive boy. They got on great. This time it felt more sibling-like, they bounced off each other and argued over the TV channels.
Our daughter did, however, receive an allegation against her. As you can imagine, this was very upsetting for us all. Luckily, we had all followed protocol, Calon Cymru supported us throughout the whole scenario and further advice was given. The allegation was put down to being a cry for help from the young person.
The placement continued to decline and after a time the boy became abusive towards me. I can only imagine how she felt witnessing this behaviour and not being able to assist in any way. Her friends were advised to stop visiting the house until the situation was smoothed out.
We currently have a wonderful little girl living with us. She looks up to my daughter and wants to be just like her, but she is shy towards her. They have gone out and enjoyed time together and have similar interests.
I do feel my daughter now has barriers in place from her experiences in this journey, but also that she has grown from any of the upset. She keeps a safe distance but does always involves the young person, always buys sweets, and takes her shopping. They are good together and if this little girl had come to live with us earlier maybe they would be closer.
Just like us, I don’t think we can really ever prepare our children fully for fostering. They are brought up in safe environments, their lives have been innocent and protected. How can our children fully understand?
Despite the troubles with our first two placements, we have become stronger.
We have googled and laughed at words used by the young people – it’s amazing what I have learnt. Most importantly we make sure we have time together.
Calon Cymru always includes my daughter and has offered her emotional support for whenever she has needed it.
She feels part of this journey and is proud of what we have achieved. The positives do outweigh the negatives. Fostering can be hard on birth children so don’t forget to hug them and ensure they don’t feel left out. They are equally as important.
*Foster Carer’s name has been changed for privacy reasons.