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 | Alice is disabled

Alice – Fostering Blog

Friday.

Today is Friday – well at least I think it is Friday. I’m struggling to know what day it is to be honest. It’s that funny time between Christmas and New year where everyday feels the same and no-one knows quite what day it is. It doesn’t help because Charlie has the week off too, so all routine has completely gone out of the window. Alice hates the lack of routine. We know her behaviour deteriorates during the school holidays and the routine has stopped. Whilst she needs the routine, we are in desperate need of the break from the routine. We need the long lazy starts to each day just to recharge the batteries.

There are parts of the routine that remain no matter what day it is though. Because Alice is disabled, there are a number of things that have to happen – no matter what. She has various medicines throughout the day, she has her catheter changed every three hours and suppository given to help her bowels move. These things remain whatever day of the week it is, whatever else is going on we always make sure these things take place at the right time – although I have to admit it is not always easy, there have been times when I have missed things – when I can’t quite remember the last time the catheter was changed or by whom.

We have had my great Aunty staying for a few days. It has been great to have someone around who knows us well. She is great because she shares the load, she helps around the house, cooking, clearing away and so on. But most of all she takes a turn with the discipline with the children. Just like a grandparent she steps in when she needs to, she picks up when we are at our wicks end, and knows just the right tone to take. Alice has not once wrapped her round her little finger. My Aunt was a foster carer when she was younger. She and her late husband fostered over twenty children in the 1960’s and 1970’s. She says things haven’t changed too much with the needs of foster children. It is so good to have her here – she just gets it. Not many people really do – so we make the most of her wisdom while she is here.

A Less Ordinary Family Fostering Blog.

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Fostering Blog | Alice however

Fostering Blog

Tuesday.

It is only twenty four hours since Christmas and already it is beginning to feel like a blur. All that planning and preparation that took place over the last few weeks and it is over in what seems like a blink of an eye. Twenty four hours ago we were here celebrating Christmas Day and today – Boxing Day we are sitting in our pyjama’s sat in front of the television watching repeats and films that we have seen many times before. Yesterday was a real mixed bag. On the one hand it was a very special day – for us we are celebrating the birth of Jesus – it is one of the biggest celebrations of the year for our family. On the other hand – all of the things we “add” to the celebration – the food, the decorations, the tree and all the gifts, somehow seem to distract us from what it is all about. It is easy to forget what it is all about when we spend so much time and energy trying to create a perfect day, and another Christmas passes by and here we are on Boxing day with left over turkey and all the trimmings.

For our family the giving of gifts have always been a joy – we actually feel the pleasure of giving a gift and see the joy of the receiver as they open the gift. Our foster daughter does not always show gratitude when given gifts. She has no inner monologue and she often makes her displeasure known – even in front of the gift giver. Lauren and Annie have learnt to be polite and thankful even when they receive something they don’t really like or when they get something they already have. They have learnt the art of tact and having a poker face when needed.

Alice however, shows no mercy. It can be very uncomfortable – particularly when it is someone outside of the immediate family. Whilst we know that she does not always mean it personally, you cannot help but feel disappointment, especially when you have bought something for her – chosen it especially, having put much thought in to it. There is also the embarrassment when it is with a friend or someone who has given a gift who doesn’t know the family so well – we feel the urge to explain things or make excuses.

We also have the drama of the opening of the gifts that her birth parents gave her. I don’t think it would matter what they gave her – you can pretty much guarantee that whatever they give – that tends to be her favourite gift of Christmas. It is usually something totally inappropriate for her – either clothes that are far too big or far too small, toys that were popular two years ago or DVD’s that are unsuitable. WE  become the bad guys when she wants to watch the DVD and we have to make an excuse as to why she can’t watch it.

A Less Ordinary Family Fosdtering Blog.

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Fostering Blog | Alice’s choice

Fostering Blog

Friday

It is finally the last day of the school term. After what seems like a very long term, we have finally reached the end. It has felt over the last couple of weeks that we have been crawling to the end, fighting off the seasonal coughs and colds, keeping anything more serious well and truly at bay. We have friends over the other side of our city who do not break up for another week. I know earlier in the term I felt it was madness to finish over a week before Christmas but now I am relived that we have all made it to the end in one piece.

Charlie will be working next week when the children are off, so I have made a few low key plans. One idea is to take them in to the city by train and go and see the Christmas markets. There is always the option of the cinema – and there is usually a variety of films to choose from. We are pretty much prepared for Alice playing devil’s advocate when it comes to choosing a film. She loves to choose the opposite of whatever Annie and Lauren pick – and she usually gets the reaction she knows is coming. We have learnt from this, and now I choose the film with Lauren and Annie well out of Alice’s hearing. We now just announce we are going to the cinema to see the chosen film – no negotiation!!

We are also hoping for a few quieter days, so I have organised my friend to come to take Alice out for a couple of days respite to ensure this happens. This will not only give me a bit of time with the older girls, but also some precious time to get some of the Christmas present wrapping done and any last minute shopping done.

Alice is not a fan of shops and supermarkets at the best of times so if we can avoid it with her then we do! She will get some quality time with our friend, meaning she will get her one-to-one fix for the week. Sometimes we have to weigh up whether the fall out from this will be worth it, as often she returns like a monster – craving all of our attention. But I figure with Christmas round the corner, she will get plenty of attention and gifts to see her through the phase, before it is back to reality – then she will be back at school!

A Less Ordinary Fostering Family Blog.