Fostering Blogs

Bog | Grandchildren

Emma’s Fostering Blog

Grandchildren

I guess for any person that has grandchildren when you see them you want to focus all your time and energy on them, and I know our Grandchildren say it’s the most special relationship because they have nanny and granddad to themselves who spoil them.

Your own children have grown up and moved out but you still have children at home so sometimes this can seem like a balancing act trying to have this special time. In the early years of Fostering we only fostered teenagers and all of them were boys. We had information on their backgrounds and some of the information was a concern so there were safeguarding issues to consider when around younger children. We had to put boundaries in place as the grandchildren were all so young and very trusting, they could be at risk, but equally we had to keep our foster boys safe. This is what my daughter in law wrote me for my blog when I asked her how our four grandchildren feel about sharing us with Foster children.

“The kids overall opinion of their grandparents being Foster carers is very positive as they look forward to seeing the Foster children just as much as they enjoy seeing any other family member. When talking about family the kids always include the Foster children, although the younger ones can’t remember life without the Foster children.

However, it hasn’t always been easy for the older grandchildren because in the early days when their Grandparents first started fostering it was all a bit strange. As their grandparents were foster carers our children had to learn boundaries. – In the early days as my children were all younger- there was one important rule, which kept everyone safe and this was to not be left alone with a foster child unsupervised. Sometimes they felt awkward, especially if the child they were looking after asked them to come and play upstairs or in another room.

They felt by saying ‘no’, the Foster child might feel rejected. They had to learn to be assertive and let them know they did want to play and include them but they had to stay in sight of the adults. After time each visit became less and less strange and as they grew up together they formed special bonds. The younger Grandchildren don’t really understand what fostering is, they just know it as… Nanny and Grandad look after children who need a home.

The older Grandchildren obviously understand a lot more, they can remember life without the Foster children but if given the choice, wouldn’t have had it any other way”.

My thoughts are our own adult children don’t always think as we do, their family life is very different to ours. Often we might be looking after children that we may not know very well or built trust with them and so this will impact on your family.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!

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Blogs | Crucial support

Emma’s Fostering Blog

‘Crucial support’ 

Often carers discuss support and this is crucial for the job we do as we have children living with us which means dealing with a range of overwhelming feelings at times.  Support from people who have experienced first-hand about what it’s actually like and how hard it can be at times.  I liked going to my support group, and at times when it was hard I almost felt like giving in, but after listening to others I often came out thinking my problems were not as bad as theirs.

It was during my second year as a foster carer that one morning I just felt at the end of my tether. I had enough of the constant wetting from James and his refusal to go to bed, I had a change of Social worker and I just felt he wasn’t listening and I felt unsupported. 

I remember listening to another carer in the group who had a child that constantly smeared and she had just found lots of faeces wrapped in toilet paper behind her sink, she was really struggling and began to cry and all the carers were supportive, encouraging and knowledgeable in helping her. Those carers became my support network. I never got to tell my story it didn’t seem as big an issue as hers, and I didn’t give in, in fact it gave me the strength to know that I could see this through, as it wasn’t as bad as I thought and determined to get a positive result.

A whole new culture crept into fostering. Instead of support groups they became information groups; honestly they could quite easily give us the information during supervision. The attitudes changed within fostering teams, from once being part of a fostering family, we were now being separated from one another, no longer allowed support groups in carer’s houses. The relationships and trust we had built within our own particular groups changed as minutes were now taken, so there were trust issues as carers felt judged or viewed as struggling. Foster carers were unhappy but FSW frowned upon any one that spoke out of turn about the changes, bullying and frozen out for speaking up.

Some carers resorted to having their own secret Facebook group, coffee mornings and social gatherings. However there was a huge problem with this as it meant some less experienced carers were not able to be included so they became isolated and began working in a different way from the older more experienced carers. I believe it hasn’t changed, but for me I am happily attending a support group where I can be honest and open with others, there are no minutes, a SSW who totally gets it; encourages honesty and discussion in a non-judgemental way.

My thoughts are support from other carers is invaluable and most importantly they should be led by foster carers and encouraged to speak up.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!

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Blog | Foster home

Emma’s Fostering Blog.

‘A Foster home.’

It’s true, being a Foster Carer does take over you and your family’s life, however it sounds like a cliché but it is rewarding and fulfilling knowing you are helping a child, and gives you a purpose for life.

Just seeing that change and that difference that we make to children’s lives, watching them achieve in becoming confident young people and supporting them on the next part of their journey as Care leavers, it’s amazing! You have to put yourself in the child’s shoes to really appreciate how difficult it is to suddenly be pulled out from your family and everything you know, to arrive at a house, a stranger’s house, and the door is opened by someone they don’t know, often in an area new to them, with different family values it is so difficult for them.

It’s strange for everyone; a new person in your home, building that relationship new routines, having different things to worry about. Then once you have built some trust, in time, they are settled in your house, feeling at home and part of your family, looking healthier, safe and sleeping soundly. It is the best experience and a really nice feeling knowing you are making a difference to a young person’s life like that. I have been a Foster carer for many years and decided to Foster when my own child became a teenager. I enjoyed being at home especially having all the School holidays. My first Foster placement was just meant to be short term but he stayed for a couple of years until he became 18 and went home.

Over many years I have felt so very privileged to have been a part of many children’s lives by giving them a home.. Being part of children’s hopes and dreams and making them happen, watching the great achievements, however small and growing and developing into young adults. I have learnt so much, each child brings something new and gives me so many memories that will stay with me forever.

Each day I have been consistent and have persevered. I do everything in my power to help them have a good life full of love fun achievements and boundaries  in giving them the chance to succeed in life and grab the opportunities along the way. In my experience all children need to feel happy, wanted, loved, listened to and to feel safe. To be a Foster carer means it’s your job to help them feel like they belong with you and support them as you would your own child. They have their their own birth family too, that’s really difficult for them.

My thoughts are that there are many reasons why children come into Foster care; we have to be non-judgemental towards their parents. This is a skill, and important for building relationships as communication with parents on child care matters when needed is relevant to the child.

Emma – A Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!