Alice – Fostering Blog
We have had my Aunt to stay for a few days over the Easter break. Often having visitors (particularly ones to stay) causes lots of extra issues with Alice. Her attachment issues normally go into overdrive, and it can make our visitors feel particularly uncomfortable. Fortunately, my Aunt has been involved from day one of our fostering journey. Although she lives over 70 miles away, she has always been a regular visitor. One of the reasons she gets it, is because she was a foster carer in the 1960’s. Although things have changed significantly in foster care, many of the issues children face remain the same. She takes no nonsense from Alice. She doesn’t have the same emotional attachment that we do with Alice, so when Alice has a meltdown, my Aunt is very happy to step in and give us a break.
There are very few people in our support network who really understand the ins and outs of fostering. My Aunt is one of the few. Whilst we have a lot of support from many friends, we know that they only see a glimpse of our lives and have no idea of the realities of the day to day. Most people see the good side of Alice. Mostly in public she is pretty charming, and very rarely lets her guard down. At home it can often be a very different story.
Whilst it is a great source of help and encouragement to have my Aunt with us – she is not here all the time. I have found over the years that you need friends who you can look to for support – ones who you can just text and tell them things are not going great. You know they will be thinking of you and they will pick up the phone to listen to you, encourage you and tell you that you are doing a great job. I have also found that finding a local group of foster carers can be another source of support when things are not going well. As well as meeting up with foster carers at training sessions put on by our fostering agency, they also arrange monthly meet ups. I would say the meet ups are invaluable and the best source of support – a chance to talk openly about how things are going.
It never ceases to amaze me that when we have gone though the most trickiest of times – there is always another carer who has been through something similar and can offer advice. Although our social worker often offers the same advice – somehow it feels different when you know it has been tried and tested by someone in the same boat!!
A Less Ordinary Fostering Family.