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Fostering Blog | What a Day

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So after the drama of the ‘visit’ from Mum and friends outside school James(name changed) was to be given a daily lift to school by yours truly.

I didn’t mind this as I could do any chores on the way home from dropping him off. Both the Social Worker and the Supervising Social Worker were horrified by Mum’s behaviour and her subsequent telephone call. It had obviously unsettled James and he was a nervous wreck. His Mum’s number was blocked on his phone and the Social Worker was to call her the next day.

There was even talk of involving the Police but I left that in the hands of the Social Worker, bearing in mind Mum was due in court soon for shoplifting. James was very quiet over dinner. He asked me why Mum favoured drugs over him and I tried to explain addictions to him. But he couldn’t see that a parent could put anything before their child or children.

I explained to him that drug addiction was quite a common factor in children coming into care and I cared for a number of children for this reason. James went off to bed but I guessed he wasn’t going to get much sleep that night. The following morning James was still very shaken and anxious.

He said that he had hardly slept at all. I did think about keeping him off but I decided that it would be better for him to carry on his normal routine so we got in the car and drove to school. When we near our destination I could sense James looking round to see if he could see the car, but it was all clear.

I actually took him all the way in and delivered him to the school office. When I left I actually found myself looking too. I stopped for some supplies at the Supermarket and got James some treats for that evening.

The Social Worker called me that afternoon to say that Mum was not picking up calls so she hadn’t been able to contact her. She asked after James and said she had a meeting with her manager that afternoon to discuss the situation and that she would email me afterwards. I pottered around for the rest of the day and left to pick up James.

He seemed ok as he seen Paige and been with his mates. We got home and I ordered Pizza as a treat and then gave him the treats I had bought earlier. His phone rang, it was number withheld, so I told him not to answer, just in case. The phone rang several times but we did not answer still. Eventually I took the phone and answered, it was mum demanding to speak to James.

I refused, obviously, and was then subjected to a volley of foul abuse so I disconnected the call and turned his phone off. James decided to leave his phone on the table in the dining room and went to bed. I updated my diary sent a quick email to all concerned and then took myself off to bed.

What a day!

A Simply Fostering Foster Carers Blog.

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Fostering Blog | Motivation

Fostering Blog

The household feels different now. A loved up teenager, Christmas sorted, car passed its MOT, what can possibly go wrong?

James (name changed) seems to like his new ‘attached’ life style. I keep reminding him not to disassociate himself from his mates and he assures me he isn’t. The only negative for him at the moment is that football has been suspended due to the lockdown and he’d just got into the side. The bonus for me is that there are no early weekend starts to take him.

The great thing with James is that he is very good at entertaining himself and doesn’t mind his own company. I suspect this because of Mum’s negligence towards him. He has a number of TV shows he enjoys, likes watching sport, has his game console and, unusually these days, likes reading a book or magazine. He also helps around the house and now knows how to use the washing machine.

Does he have faults? He talks incessantly, spends far too long in the bathroom and sings when he has his headphones on. Sometimes it feels like he’s lived there for a lot longer than he has. I do feel sorry for him though.

He’s been through a lot in his life and I am sure I don’t know half of it yet plus it must be so difficult for all kids in today’s virus scenario to be able to enjoy life fully.

James went off to school today and I actually couldn’t think of something to do. I went for a walk and picked up some bits at Tescos. Got home and it was a bit difficult to get motivated to do anything, so I put a film on and sat and chilled.

You can’t beat some daytime laziness, occasionally. About 15:30 I roused myself and started to sort dinner out because James would be home shortly. My phone rang and it was James, can Paige come round for dinner and could I drop her home afterwards?

I checked to make sure her parents knew and agreed. So they came home shortly afterwards and after all the formalities we had dinner and chatted away until it was time to drop Paige home. We got to her very nice home and her Dad came out to say hello and the ‘handover’ was complete.

Driving home was quick and when we got in James was full of questions about what I thought of her. I told him that she was very nice, polite and they went well together. James went to bed and I updated my diary and answered a couple of emails.

The only nagging doubt I had in mind was what would happen if, and when, James had to go home to Mum. He enjoys life at the moment, he doesn’t want for anything and is healthy and happy but what if that’s changes and he has to go back to the chaos with Mum.

I parked those thoughts as nothing would be happening for a couple of months yet and why worry about something you cannot affect. I went to bed but found it difficult to sleep as I had a lot on my mind.

A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.

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Fostering Blog | Mental Effects

Fostering Blog

James (name changed) came home with a message from Paige’s father asking if I could call him that evening. James was anxious about this as he had no idea why. I asked if there had been any problems and he said, categorically, no.

We had dinner and I went into my bedroom to call Paige’s dad, Darren. I actually felt quite nervous about making the call as I thought it was going to be bad news. Darren seemed like a nice bloke, he was simply concerned about James being in care and the reasons behind it.

Obviously I couldn’t give him all the background but I simply said that he was in care through no fault of his own and that he was a nice young man, well mannered and honest. He accepted what I told him and we discussed the rules I set for James around school work and friends. We said our goodbyes and I went back into the front room where James was sitting like an expectant father.

I explained the conversation and he was, initially, miffed that her Dad had concerns because he was in care. I explained that some young people come into care due to their own behaviour and not for the reason he did. He seemed ok once I explained everything to him and went up to his room to sort his stuff for the next day.

About an hour later he came back down and said he wanted to ask something. He asked if people would always think badly of him because he was in care.

It was a tricky question to answer as there is no doubt that some people make a generalisation about being in care and what it means. I told him the honest truth that some people would judge him because of it but that he should show that he was a strong individual who was not weakened by his past. He seemed reassured and he went off to bed.

This is a side of fostering that isn’t always talked about, the mental effect of the trauma involved of being in care. I’ve seen the mental effects of being in care, quite clearly, in many of the placements I’ve had. It seems to happen mainly in children of secondary school age but happen in younger placements. It depends on the circumstances of coming into care and the behaviour of their parents.

I’ve experienced horrible situations where parents are more concerned about their own wellbeing over that of their children. I remember one Family Group Conference where a parent actually stated that she wasn’t coping with her children being in care as she couldn’t claim any benefits for them! Nothing about her children and how they were coping.

Also where a parent, who put her children into care because she couldn’t cope with parenthood, then proudly announced, in front of her children, that she was pregnant!! She ended up having two babies while her older kids were in care.

You do wonder about the long term effects of this on the children as they go into adulthood and if they receive the support they should do, I suspect not.

A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.