Families and Michelin Stars Blog
So sharing house with a prospective Michelin star chef is having an effect on my waistline.
All the walks, runs, etc. I put in prior to James’ (name changed) arrival have been kicked into touch, buried under a deluge of cakes, pies and pastries. However he seems happy and content so that suits me.
However, looming on the horizon is a meeting arranged by James’ Social Worker. The meeting has been called as a couple of Mum’s relatives have come forward to say that they can be looking after James, rather than him being in Foster care.
According to the Social Worker they have come forward after hearing of Mum’s ‘difficulties’ and she is duty bound to talk to them. I haven’t mentioned this to James yet as he is nicely settled and I don’t want that disrupted. But Mum then decided to ring James and tell him that he will be going to live with Uncle Robert or Auntie Jean. James wasn’t happy.
A difficult conversation was held that afternoon. James hardly seems to know the people who have come forward and doesn’t want to go there but I have to remain ‘professional’ and not be seen to criticise anyone or anything.
This is a predicament I have been in before. If you are too enthusiastic about the plan then the child feels that you want them to go. If you are negative then you risk being seen as obstructive by the Local Authority. So I have found that the best option is to say nowt.
I reassured James and told him that no decision will be made without consulting him and that any decisions were made to benefit him.
So it was a rather subdued Chef during the afternoon. I tried to cheer him up with my usual wit but there was no smiling. James took himself to his room and played PlayStation while I did some paperwork and sent a few emails. I heard his phone ring on a number of occasions but he didn’t pick up.
Later that evening, over dinner, James started discussing his life at home. He described how Mum would never have any money for food as she spent it on ‘other things’. He told me how he would go shoplifting, just to get food to eat. He never had clean clothes and some of the people at school would mock him as his clothes were dirty or too small. He said that, for a time, he never attended school as he didn’t like the ridicule.
All the time, I was trying to keep a mental note of what was being said, so I could record it for his Social Worker. The conversation went on for several hours and James became quite emotional on occasions. He said how he was envious of his friends who had both their Mum and Dad living at home.
I explained that single parent families were quite common nowadays but he replied saying that he felt like he didn’t have any parents as Mum showed no affection towards him at all. She never went to school meetings or supported him with his education.
At midnight a rather tired and emotional James took himself to bed whilst I spent two hours writing up the conversation and emailing it to his Social Worker and my Supervising Social Worker. I’m sure there were two people in the house who had a rather restless night.
A Blogging Foster Carers Diary.