Emma’s fostering blog. Birth Children
After a conversation with my eldest daughter recently, she shared her experiences of us choosing to Foster after she went off to university. Sam wrote- “I had been at university for a year when my parents decided to do fostering, I found it disconcerting that my bedroom was going to be used for the foster child – meaning I didn’t have a room of my own when I went home in the holidays. But in the big scheme of things, this was only a small issue and I soon got used to having someone else living at home with my parents. I suppose it helped that I was an adult, as I never felt jealous about my parents suddenly having other children to focus all their attention on.
If I had been still living at home then I might have felt put out, but during my university days, I was too focussed on studying and partying. It’s easy to understand why my parents want to foster, and I’ve never found it hard to interact with the foster kids – it’s great that they have a stable loving home”.
When you choose to Foster, our birth children hear, see things, and put up with behaviour, which they would not have done otherwise. Without a doubt, for me, one of the hardest parts about being a foster parent is the emotional turmoil and trauma a child experiences when first placed into our home, and all your energy is focused on helping that child. Sam was 19 and enjoying university, however she felt unsettled as if someone else was taking over her position, and we never knew she felt this way. Since, we have questioned why we didn’t notice her feelings at the time, and felt sad knowing she had deal with this independently at a time which was obviously challenging for her.
My youngest daughter struggled with the parenting style of fostering- the policies and guidance we had to follow. The different visitors and the many meetings at home, routine changes and safeguarding issues like using the bathroom, entering bedrooms and bedtime stories. She thought it was ‘unreasonable’ and ‘weird’ especially having to always wear appropriate clothing; the constant reminders about wearing a dressing gown.
The way behaviours were managed, having different expectations or discipline for foster children. However eventually they learned the children who came to us were victims of abuse, neglect, and abandonment, and they were scared and terrified coming into our home and they needed nurturing with all the extras.
My thoughts are, the biggest challenge for birth children is the ability to share their parents with other children that are not family. It is really important that you can talk openly, and make quality time to spend together, because our children play a vital role in helping Foster children settle at home, school and in helping to make new friends.
Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!