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Fulltime Foster Carer - Harriet author of: A Less Ordinary Family

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Fostering Alice – Fostering Blog


Last week I was able to dodge an extra hospital appointment by being bold in asking the hospital whether it was really necessary – as we have an appointment booked for next week anyway. At the time I thought it was a good call, but yesterday I was slightly regretting my decision when I thought Alice was on the brink of another infection. Sometimes it’s a difficult call as a foster carer – when you have delegated authority you are able to make lots of the every day normal parenting decisions for your foster child. But if you are like me then you will have a tendency to overthink some of the decisions you make. Generally I am a fairly cautious person and would never be risk taking in my decisions.

Sometimes though, I just try and make a good decision based on previous experience, gut instinct and what I think is best for Alice and the rest of the family.

I couldn’t do anything yesterday as it was bank holiday (and I couldn’t class it as an emergency) so I got up early this morning and took a sample of her urine to the doctors as soon as it opened at 8 o’clock. I was grateful to the receptionist who fetched the nurse straight away to check the sample. I was incredibly relieved when she said there were no signs of infection. What a relief – I had made the right decision last week not to take the extra appointment.

The thing is with Alice – it’s often hard to know when she is genuinely ill. Like many children with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) Alice never seeks comfort or asks for support when she needs it. In the past we have failed to know when she has been quite unwell. We now try to spot the signs a bit earlier – but this is not an exact science. Usually there is increased irritability, quick temper, shorter attention span, and the last things we find are physical signs of raised temperature, rashes etc.

So I can wait for the appointment next week and put this down to her simply being grumpy! I do often wonder whether I would look at things quite so closely if she didn’t have physical disability. I know for certain that I do not put my own children under the same microscope. It is different when the child is not your own and there seems like an added layer of scrutiny on your parenting skills and decisions. I am sure there have been many times when I have not got things right with Annie and Lauren’s health, I have missed the early signs and could have got them seen sooner by a doctor – but no-one is judging me on them. With Alice it feels different – I do have to justify all my decisions to my own agency social worker and ultimately to the local authority – who are Alice’s ‘parents’. The main thing is that Alice is fine – well fine physically (still not sure why she’s so grumpy!) and we are seeing the consultant next week. Fingers crossed – all will be well until then.

A Less Ordinary Fostering Family Blog.

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