Emma’s Fostering Blog – Memory Book.
I knew I had built a good relationship with Jess but it hadn’t always been easy, she took a very long time to build trust with me and had now finished her sessions with CAMHS. Life story work- Jess needed to understand what had happened to her at different ages and stages of her life and her Social worker could provide an explanation of why she was removed from her birth parents. After discussion with her Social worker it was agreed when we would start, and I knew this was going to take some time, because she had moved many times before coming to me.
I attended an excellent workshop on Life story work and I wanted this to be good quality work, looking at her past and present. I put together a memory book but I also made a train with carriages and a drawing book for her to express how she felt. The train and carriages were made from different colour card and had 12 carriages- because she moved 12 times, 8 of those moves were to different Foster Carers.
The memory book began with positives of her time here with us, celebrations; birthday Christmas, holidays, photos and wider achievements, then working back to the reasons why she became looked after – The Social worker gave us information on addresses and Schools she had attended – which took time as some information was missing, eventually we visited every place and she took photos for her memory book, Jess remembered every single move and memory- as if it was yesterday, some good, but most not.
Every carriage she made her own by drawing a memory of the times she had spent with different carers and family and we put dates on the back, this was her time line – this was a really difficult thing for her to do as the memories came flooding back, she drew pictures of how she was feeling in her mood book and we discussed her feelings of anger and hurt and she showed this to her Social worker who was supportive during the times her behaviour changed, as expected -into anger, hurt and sadness at times. For me it was heart breaking physically and mentally discussing the many places she had lived, the loss of friendships. As she engaged, I felt her pain, I felt as if I was living some of her journey and it transferred onto me.
Jess is an adult now- she told me she still has her memory book and the train which we made together, it’s incredibly important to her as this was her journey that she has traveled.
My thoughts are- foster children are individuals with a life story unique to them. They are separated from their family with experiences of trauma and loss. They need help to make sense of their experience, history and a sense of their unique identity.
Emma – A Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!
Foster Carer Blog.