So after two snow days all three girls are back to school today. Whilst the temperature has risen slightly and the snow is beginning to melt, I think the conditions are far worse getting to school for the older two. It is without a doubt that getting the wheelchair across ice is much easier than through snow, for Lauren and Annie on foot it is pretty treacherous, although, I think after being confined to the house since Sunday, we are all relieved that school is open today.
Alice can be very difficult to live with when she doesn’t get her own way or if she thinks that something isn’t fair (even when it’s out of our control). We know that we have to play the long game with Alice and giving in to her and letting her what she wants all the time does not help in the long run.
It was the time last year when our boiler broke down and we were sat huddled around an oil filled radiator in one room while the plumber put in a new boiler. We had three days of actually feeling cold and having no hot water to shower. So this year, when the temperature dropped, we really are appreciating that we have a warm home and plenty of hot water for baths and showers! Having no heating was a one off event – because the boiler broke, we are so aware that for so many living in poverty, this can be normal – living in the cold because families have to choose whether to pay for the heating or whether to eat. It is a good reminder, that often foster children come from homes where they have lived in such conditions. They may now live in warm, loving homes, but they carry the emotional (and often physical) scars that came from their life before.
I know when we are dealing with some of these issues with Alice – it is still because of the scars she carries from her past neglect and abuse that are only just under the surface. Her default position is to get angry and lose her temper. Every time we think we are moving forward, it feels like she deliberately sabotages the good things and we take yet another step back. Even after five years, we wonder what progress we are actually making. Every time we meet with other foster carers, or do another training session on fostering or attachment, we know that we are moving forward. We are also reminded of the huge challenge that it is, and things do not change overnight. We realise that meeting together with other foster carers is absolutely vital for us, without that encouragement and acknowledgement that we are often all in the same boat and facing similar challenges, I think the discouragement would be too much.
A Less Ordinary Fostering Family Blog