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Fostering – The effect it had on us.

Beth and Harry have been living with us for other 18 months now and whilst we often reflect on how  far the children have come on, we also have to acknowledge and think about the changes this has had on our life and how we have had to change and had to evolve.

Our lives changed over night when Beth and Harry arrived. For a very long time our life was no longer our own.

All of sudden we had two children who depended on us and needed our undivided support and attention.  They quickly became the centre of everything we did and talked about.  For about a year many of our own wants and needs were put to one side.

The impact this had on our relationship and our relationships with our family and friends was noticeable.   It doesn’t help that at the beginning you are still only just starting to developed friendships with other foster carers, so you can’t even speak to someone else who would understand.

For a long time I felt like the only thing I ever thought or talked about were the children.  I had almost lost my own identity, I didn’t have time or energy for my own interests or seeing friends and family.

At the time you are not even aware of this, it’s only when you speak to someone for the first time in a while and you notice you have nothing to talk about other than the children.  I can recall on the odd occasion my husband and I would go out for dinner we used to make a pact that we wouldn’t talk about the children, at times I found it hard to think of things to say because the children were the only thing that was happening in my life at that point.

You have to change quite a lot when you foster, for instance I’m not someone that swears a great deal but all of sudden you need to think about what you are saying, what you are wearing around the house, remembering to take your clothes into the bathroom to change into after a shower, my husband can no longer shout at the telly when West Ham score a goal.

If you’re having a disagreement with your husband you need to go into another room and whisper, rather than just voicing your opinion.  It’s hard and takes a lot of getting used to.  These are all things you wouldn’t have to think about it they were your own children.

Unfortunately for us we didn’t really have many family or close friends that could look after the children for us, only my sister.

During our assessment we had suggested that we would use a babysitting service, this was agreed to at the beginning but when we came round to using this service its was deemed unsuitable.

We didn’t really have a suitable alternative, so we just had to wait till the children visited their grandparents and we are lucky to have this as a possibility as many carers don’t.  So we couldn’t even go out for dinner with my sister and her partner.  This was one of the things we found the most difficult.

I missed our get-togethers so much and especially after losing my brother I needed this more than ever.  Thankfully this situation has now been resolved but it all takes such a long time.

Whilst we understood that fostering would change our lives, I don’t think we were quite prepared for the changes it had on us and our relationships.

Thankfully I am pleased to say now that the children have settled and we have settled into our new way of life, we have started to find ourselves again. 

Whilst the children still remain at the centre of all of our decisions we are slowly managing to re-align the balance and getting used to a new normal.

Helen – A Blogging Foster Carer