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

Hobbies Blog

Emma’s Fostering Blog

Hobbies.

It’s very difficult to find activities and hobbies for children when you have no idea what they like, or choosing birthday or Christmas presents for a child you don’t know, this is very difficult.

I soon learned when Dan had pocket money that choosing something was a mammoth task for him, so I would find two things he liked and then get him to choose which one he would like, but even that would take ages.

It was almost his birthday, he had only been here 4 weeks so we tried to find out what he liked, only he didn’t know what he liked; he just found it impossible to choose anything himself.  In the end I got things like Lego, play dough and easy puzzles, things that we could work with together as Dan was much younger emotionally for his age.

I will never forget that birthday Dan opening his presents one after another, rather quickly, and it was obvious at that time, it meant nothing to him as he seemed emotionless stating ‘is that it’. I remember looking back feeling quite disappointed as I had tried hard to make his birthday special.

I have learned over the years with most children that it really is down to us to sow the seeds, and watch them grow.

It wasn’t long before I saw that Dan couldn’t play he didn’t know how to, so I set up a routine of play with him for a certain amount of time and then gradually over time moving away to encourage individual play.

Dan loved Thomas the tank engine he was 8 this seemed to be his only interest and whenever he saw a Thomas ride outside he wanted to go on it. At first it was ok he was small for his age but by the time he was 9 he had grown considerably and couldn’t fit in it anymore, despite him trying and then having a meltdown when we had to say no and this was very difficult and devastating for him.

While we were camping in Somerset we visited a small train station and we saw a steam train ‘flying Scotsman’ go past and people were waving so Dan started waving back, from then he loved all steam trains.

At Christmas we got him some DVDs, books on trains and a giant electric train set and he had a completely different reaction this time, as his face lit up. He spent ages playing and this was the first time we had seen him able to really enjoy playing alone.

My husband loves jigsaws he finds them relaxing, before long the two of them were busy working on ‘The mallard’ and when they completed it Dan was so pleased with himself, which was the best thing ever.

My thoughts are as Foster Carers it’s our role to support children to go on holiday and pursue hobbies, interests and talents and find opportunities for them to develop these.

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

siblings

Vulnerable foster children Blog

Emma’s fostering blog

Vulnerable.

As foster carers we often care for children who are globally delayed, when Sam came she was 7 and unable to do so many things for herself.

Sam has had to be shown how to dress herself, put on shoes, eat with cutlery, had limited basic language much of a toddler, could not read, write or do basic number skills, was unable to say whether she wanted a drink, and could not follow simple instructions, had no routine, kept wandering off, had no social skills and no friends. She is a very vulnerable child who is trusting of everyone and would go with anyone, she is socially isolated and open to all forms of abuse and bullying. 

When I went into Sam’s room one morning she was sitting on the window ledge in just her underwear, we had to remind her all the time to shut her door when getting changed and there were times when she would come down not appropriately dressed.

Then the arguments during the summer at bedtime because it’s still light outside, but it 8pm, she just doesn’t understand she thinks bedtime is when it’s dark outside.

However now 14 months on and she is very settled, having  the right care and patience with her she has now  learnt so much, and she is very capable of doing plenty for herself.  She now responds well to boundaries and rewards.

She responds well to her behaviour chart which she loves getting stickers. Sam understands the reasons she may need time out when she needs it and has quickly learned there are consequences to her actions, she does not like consequences; not having internet or her DS.

Although Sam presents as a happy but needy child, we do have to make allowances as she does have a high level of emotional needs. 

Today I bumped into someone I knew, Sam had never met this person before, she was really friendly and wanted to talk to them, and this often happens when we are out; talking to complete strangers and this makes her very vulnerable.

We are constantly trying to ensure her safety we are working on this with her. Just hearing Sam come home from School on a Friday, she rushed upstairs to get changed, while shouting down the stairs that she needs dinner early tonight so she’s not late for her club, and still no concept of time- funny really she gets in at 3.15pm and youth club is not until 7pm.

The fact that this is the first club she has managed and been attending for some time is great. Sam now can manage a variety of different opportunities and is seeing with peers after school, and has now made a couple of friends.

My thoughts are watching Sam make progress even in small steps, remembering that everything she does is a big achievement, is totally amazing.

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

foster care blog child

Fostering presumptions Blog

Emma’s Fostering Blog

‘Never presume.’

Adam had arrived as an emergency from home; he was small for 8 and looked more like 5.

After settling in and having a good meal tonight, I ran him a bath and while I got him a towel and a spare pair of pyjamas Adam just stripped off naked and was standing in the hallway, eventually Adam got into the bath but he just sat there looking blank.

After a while it was apparent that he needed help, perhaps no one had shown him. When he got out of the bath he just stood there, and then he got upset asking for help because he couldn’t dry himself. Adam was even unable to put his pyjamas on as he kept putting both legs in one leg, he needed a lot of guidance and it took a long time until he managed it, he was then very pleased with himself.

Before bedtime Adam seemed reluctant to go to the toilet, but did, then he came down stairs quite excited stating “I did a huge big wee in the toilet” I thought this very odd, but we praised him anyway and he seemed happy.

I settled him in bed and he started crying that he wanted his mum and dad, then a string of complaints such as having tummy ache, headache sore arm and felt sick. I reassured him that it would be OK and read him a story, and bid him goodnight.

Adam was in and out of his room crying wanting mum and dad and wanting to put his shoes on to go home, eventually we managed to get him to sleep for a few hours. This was heart breaking to watch every night the same thing screaming for his parents, trying to comfort him was incredibly difficult.

After a couple of weeks it just stopped as he accepted he had to stay with us for now. Adam was very withdrawn, almost depressed, had little energy and hardly spoke, Adam needed nurturing, to learn and be allowed to become more independent for his age. We found out that Adam had been kept as a baby at home, he still used a potty to go to the toilet, it made sense then how pleased he was just to be able to use the toilet and achieve for himself. 

It’s now 7 months later; School are pleased with the change in Adam, since being with us, he is really achieving at School, and Adam is also doing well at home as he can now dress himself and takes pride in being smart and clean. 

My thoughts are as a child learns how to be more independent, it’s important to let them know how proud you are of them. Getting dressed, putting away toys, and brushing their own teeth may not seem like a huge deal, but it really is when you are a foster carer.

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