Emma’s Fostering Blogs are by an experienced foster carer who gives you an honest and revealing insight into the ups and downs of foster care. A great resource for other carers and those interested in becoming carers.

Fostering Blogs

Mothers Day

Emma’s fostering blog

Mother’s Day

As Mother’s day is approaching we are mindful that this is a difficult time for our foster children they really miss their family and worry if they are happy, and I’m often asked if I think their mum is thinking of them. I find at this time I reflect on those who sadly don’t have their mothers or grandmothers still with them.

Although my mum is no longer with us I’m grateful for the time that she was and I will be celebrating her life this Mother’s Day. I know first-hand what pain it can cause a child who is growing up in an environment which may be different to their school friends. At School they are making mother’s day cards which can also make them sad and can add to the fact that they are different. 

In the early years with Dan it was difficult for him, I didn’t want to make a fuss just in case, as I knew he was hurting so much from constant rejections from his mother, she just kept letting him down by never turning up to contact, never sending a birthday or Christmas card. However, one day our foster children may be parents so it’s also important that they experience how families do come together to celebrate and how it is possible to change their own experiences into positive experiences for their children.

It’s very different now because he claimed me a long time ago as his Mum, as he got older he made an incredibly difficult decision as a teenager and he decided not to see her, of course I tried and the social worker tried to change his mind, but he stuck to it and actually in a way it was probably the best thing he ever did. He seemed to relax and achieve and he became more invested with us.

Dan always buys such thoughtful and lovely cards, with words that have brought tears to my eyes many times, he completely feels and is part of our family and our wider family. I am so pleased that I made a pact to myself to never give up fighting for this once small complex child, no matter how difficult it became and I’m so glad I took permanency on him. Our adult birth children have been incredible with the children we foster; they are so supportive of them, accepting them as family even during special times when they have had to share with them on their special day.

My thoughts are we all understand our need for mothers, but there are probably a number of different adults in our lives who have stepped into that role; provided us with a safe space, looked after us, listened to us, loved us and as a Foster carer we can do that too for the children who can’t be with their mums on this special day.

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

Fostering Blogs

Guilt

Emma’s fostering blog

Guilt

Dan is globally delayed and functions much younger than his peers, he has special needs, recently we have seen a certain maturity about him and he is starting to question why he came into care.

As Dan has lived with us since he was 5 years old his memories are confusing for him, as he often gets mixed up thinking he did certain things with his birth family when actually he did them with us.  This is quite difficult for us, especially finding a way to explain at his level of understanding and at times he is challenging me, but It does help that he has his life story book, lots of photos and memory books that we can look at together, Dan is very dependent on us to provide so much for him but unfortunately I can’t take the bad memories away, and I have to be mindful that I am providing new positive memories for him of his time with us. 

I must be honest it’s not helping when he has contact, as it doesn’t seem to really be about him, just the parents, they have learning difficulties, it’s not their fault, so they don’t know how to respond to his needs, he asks them questions but they can’t respond in a way he wants them to, so I think we are hearing some make believe and reality and in his own way he is trying to resolve his feelings about his family.

It’s been a difficult week and now Dan is going into respite, I know he is anxious because this has been the topic of conversation from him all week, even counting down the sleeps, this is just his way of coping and even though I know this, but hearing he would rather be with his respite carers somehow upsets me. Last night he was trying to organise me!

Making sure I had remembered to pack his most favourite things including our family photo of his favourite time together, we always say to him ‘when you look at this we want you to know we are thinking of you, I know he finds comfort in that. I have been told the picture is the first item to get unpacked, then Sponge bob who he never sleeps without and who goes everywhere with him.  On the way to School he wanted to reassure me that he was coming back- ‘don’t worry I will be back’ he stated and I chuckled to myself, we had a hug and I reassured him he was definitely coming back as this was his home and I loved him.

My thoughts are every time he goes to into respite the guilt hits me like a ton of bricks, because I never think anyone will care about him as I do. Then I think to myself this is a difficult job and I’m doing the best I can, I need this time out to recharge and just be me.

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

Fostering Blogs

Hannah’s contact

Emma’s fostering blog

Contact

Contact is stressful for Hannah and each time we get a change of Social worker the parents get up to their old tricks again which impacts on Hannah.

Last year contact was for an hour but now her new Social worker wants to change ‘what’s working’ to two hours, she pretended to respect my opinion but did what she wanted to do anyway, and then was surprised when after an hour Hannah put her coat on to go as she couldn’t cope. 

Hannah came home with carrier bags of second hand things- a used bag with someone else’s name in felt tip all over it and inside was dirty, books with another girls name written in them, and Barbie cups, plates all used. DVDs about twenty, all copies and some not age appropriate, the others she already owns. Then next contact, the same again, more old books, used cups, bowls plates.  Hannah was confused as she had birthday cards from other people and she doesn’t know them; an Aunt, I have no idea who she was, neither did Hannah and so she soon became agitated with me. I didn’t know this person and they are not in her life story book and at several LAC reviews it has been discussed with them the importance of not introducing new people as she would not benefit from this at this time.

Hannah is a teenager she is having her periods, wearing some make-up and perfume, yet they insist she still calls them Mummy and Daddy at contact and she struggles with this. I do have an issue with the second hand things she is being given not only because she has those items already but there is no thought there as they are filthy, torn or parts missing and this is very disappointing for her.

Over the years before every contact I email the Social Worker with suggestions of things she likes and that are reasonably priced in hope they may just get her one small thing that she would like, Hannah is a delight she likes the simplest of things. Hannah was a young child when she came into care, she has moved on, they have not, they can’t see this, and it is sad, but they cannot meet her needs as they have learning needs of their own and are still treating her as a much younger child. The Social worker needs to be looking at Hannah’s best interests by really looking at this contact to see if it can be improved as I do not want to send Hannah to contact where she is constantly reminded of the trauma.

My thoughts are Social workers need to manage the complex emotional needs of children, birth families and carers when planning contact, but foster carers have a crucial role to play in supporting contact and they need to be supported to do this by their social worker in whatever way is needed.

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