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.

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Fostering Blog | Happy Alice

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As I opened the curtains this morning, I was quite shocked to see a snow scene from the window. It had certainly snowed this time. My first thought was that I had not yet found the waterproof spray for my coat, the second thought was that I was going to have to manage Alice’s emotions when she realises it has snowed and its not quite so easy for her to go out and play in the snow as it is for Annie and Lauren. Alice is in a wheelchair and snow is not so easy to get through. She also has problems with her circulation due to the complexities of her physical disabilities, so cold weather is not great. We can usually manage things for a short while, but then we get the fall out from Alice as she really does not understand and to her it simply isn’t fair.

So I take a deep breath before I wake the girls. Annie and Lauren are over the moon, they get straight up, and after wolfing down their breakfast in 5 seconds they get dressed, add layers of warm clothes, and then waterproofs over the top, and put their wellies on. They leave the house to go and call for the neighbours. It was so lovely to see the girls outside playing with their friends in the street, building snow men, snow dogs and cats, a huge a huge snow slide. Most of all they were building memories – these will last a life time.

Then there was Alice, I got her up and dressed and took her down for breakfast. I took my time, as I knew the longer I took then I could probably get away with not being out for so long. Eventually, after I was ready, we went outside. There was no way of getting Alice’s wheelchair out in the thick snow, so Charlie brought a sledge round to the front door.

Alice was pretty happy to be sat in the sledge being pulled round. If she had sat upright then we would have managed to stay outside a little longer, but as she insisted on leaning out of the sledge, gathering in as much snow as she could, she got cold quite quickly, very cold indeed. So with much shouting and tears, we had to take her inside. After getting dried and warm, I put on a movie and made her hot chocolate. I know it wasn’t the same as being out with the girls and their friends, but we know her limits!

It was a couple of hours before Annie and Lauren eventually came in. They too were freezing!! They were glad of a chance to get warm and dry. I have a feeling we might be in for a couple of snow days this time!!

A Less Ordinary Fostering Family Blog

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Fostering Blog | Snow Day

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Although we knew that snow had been forecast today, we were definitely not prepared for the amount of snow that we saw when we woke up. It looked like a blizzard was coming down. I frantically grabbed my phone and started looking at the school websites and various social media to see whether it would be declared a “snow day”. Unfortunately there was no news, so we had to get up and prepare to go to school. The snow was coming down thick and fast but so far the traffic was keeping it from settling on the roads.

Just before leaving the house we had one last check on the school website – but sadly no news. So off we all went, Lauren and Annie left to go to their school and I went with Alice to her primary school, while Charlie left for work. It was one of those days where I was glad to be wearing glasses. The wind was blowing the snow right in our faces. Alice was complaining bitterly. She was not at all happy that she was having to go to school in the snow.

To be honest I wasn’t prepared for a snow day so I was actually relieved. I had plans and was so pleased I could still have the day to myself. No sooner had Alice got into school, and we peeled the layers of waterproof clothes off, that the snow stopped.

As I walked home, it surreal how different the weather was. It was almost as if it had been a dream – and I really would have questioned myself other than that I was soaked to the skin, which reminds me I really need to respray my coat with waterproof spray.

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Fostering Blog | Frightened Alice

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After a pretty chilled weekend, it back to school today. Sure enough, no one wanted to get out of bed this morning! After several times of calling the older two, I had to use my “cross mummy voice”. Its pretty annoying to have to resort to that – but sometimes it is the only way. Alice nearly jumps out of her skin. Drama now proceeds. Alice tells me that I frightened her when I shouted. It is difficult to know whether I did actually frighten her – she doesn’t cope with loud sudden noises on the whole, but on the other hand she also likes attention to be on her – good or bad. While I am shouting at Annie and Lauren, attention is certainly not on her. I chose to ignore it, and carry on getting her breakfast.

This is when her tactics for attention changed. She started her “go slow” morning. She took at least two minutes over every mouthful of breakfast. After breakfast she procrastinated instead of getting dressed. This used to be a huge issue when her and Lauren were at the same school – because if she made us late then Lauren would be late too. The result was that I would get cross trying to hurry her up – she would then go even slower. We are in a different season now that Lauren walks to her new school with her friends. If Alice decides to go slow, then she is only making herself late. I have to say I am a lot less stressed about it. I am have no time constraints as I am a full time carer. So if she is late the only person that gets annoyed is her when she misses going in with her class and has to go in through reception. I also make her tell her teaching assistant why she is late.

I think the fact that I am now more relaxed about this means she doesn’t get the reaction she is hoping for and she is actually very rarely late. If I could use this experience when thinking how I react in other situations, I am pretty sure we would have a lot fewer and shorter outbursts. We know that Alice craves attention, and sometimes the truth is we feed it by the way we react. We are still learning, but we know it is a long journey – so there is a long way to go – for us all!!

A Less Ordinary Family Foster Care Blog