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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Alice however

Sunday’s Fostering Blog

After a day of catching up with all the washing that accumulated over the holiday and putting away everything we have taken on holiday, I feel pretty exhausted and in need a rest. I put on the kettle and make a cuppa – ten minutes on my own with a cup of tea will do wonders. We soon get back into the swing of things and it is now time to get ready for a new week to begin. Uniforms need to be ironed and packed lunches need to be made and bags need to be packed with everything needed for the following day.

Annie who is 14 and Lauren who is 12 are able to help with these things and I can pretty much leave them to get their own stuff ready. We have a copy of their school timetables on the kitchen wall – so they can check what lessons they have coming up. They just have to remember is it week one or week two on their timetable! It was so much easier when I was at school at every week was the same! They have a quick check to make sure all their homework is up-to-date and then get their bags ready for Monday.

Alice however is only eight and whilst at that age Lauren and Annie would be doing a little to help, it is not really possible for her to help. Alice is our foster daughter, she is physically disabled and in a wheelchair and she has learning difficulties and problems with comprehension. She also has a lot of behavioural issues, so it feels like there is a lot to negotiate with and lots of battles that take place; we have to choose which battles are the most important ones to face. We also have to be realistic with her limitations and there are many things that she simply cannot do not because we are not wanting her to reach her potential, she just does not physically or mentally have the capacity to do certain things.

As well as getting ready for the week ahead with practical things for school I also need to get ready Alice’s supplies for the week including all her medications and continence supplies for school. I regularly have to check on supply levels and make sure that I order ahead of time her prescriptions and continence products from the local continence service. They are usually pretty good at getting things to me on time but there have been a few occasions where I have been let down and we have run out of supplies. This results in a panic trip to the local hospital to be bailed out. I now keep an emergency supply of everything for those ‘just in case moments’.

Funnily enough since I have done that, I have not needed them! However I will continue to keep this stash – just in case! Charlie gets Alice to bed while I continue to get everything ready and then we have a couple of hours with Lauren and Annie before their bedtime. We often use the time to chat and catch up or to play a game or just sit and have time out and watch a DVD. Tonight we opted for the DVD and we sit in our lounge with blankets, enjoying the last day of the holidays before school is back tomorrow.

A Less Ordinary Family Foster Care Blog

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Entertaining Alice

Saturday’s Fostering Blog

It’s amazing how quickly a week off goes. The time has really flown by and it’s now time to pack up. We have been staying in a cottage owned by some friends. This has been great as we have really been able to make ourselves at home here. Our friends have the house completely kitted out as they stay here pretty regularly, this means we didn’t have to buy all the extras we usually have to for holidays. The only downside was that we had to bring bedding – which we will have to take home to wash and we have to clean the house before we leave.

Cleaning a house with three children still in it is pretty difficult. I got Lauren and Annie to work in their bedroom – stripping the beds and packing their clothes. We resorted to giving Alice and iPad to watch some of her favourite programmes. Charlie and I went through the house and cleaned it top to bottom, then Charlie packed the car while I got the packed lunch together. Now feel pretty exhausted!! As Charlie had done all of the driving over the holiday (mainly because I hate driving on country roads) I offered to drive home.

It was a three hour journey home, I figured we would only need one toilet stop so we should be home mid afternoon. I soon regretted offering to drive as we hit traffic on the motorway. In the end we made two stops and it was just short of five hours door to door. Annie and Lauren are good travellers and have learnt to occupy themselves on long journeys. Alice however is high maintenance and needs entertaining. The battery on the iPad was drained from giving it to her while we were still at the holiday home, so Charlie did his best to keep her entertained. It made for a very long journey. When we got home, we managed to persuade Alice it was an early night because of the clock change. Whilst that makes no logical sense – we just needed a break! Hopefully we wont regret that decision in the morning!!

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Fostering Blog | The battle

Thursday’s Fostering Blog

After a fairly disappointing trip to the lighthouse on Monday, when our trip was hampered by poor information and inaccessibility, all was redeemed today when we had the opportunity to take a boat trip. The trip took us off the coast and over to a little island a couple of miles off shore, where we could see up close the local wildlife. We had been assured from the literature that the boat itself was accessible and we were pleased (and relieved!) to find on arrival that they were true to their word and we were able to get Alice onto the boat easily in her wheelchair.

We were all thrilled to see so many different birds on the island – including guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes, but the highlight to us all was seeing Atlantic Grey seals bobbing up and down in the sea. They were almost within touching distance. With the help of the boat’s skipper, who was giving a full commentary on the trip, we could see in the distance a number of baby seals. We had only ever seen seals in a zoo before, so we all felt like it had been an incredible experience.

One thing I noticed on the trip was that Charlie, Annie, Lauren and I naturally kept our heads up – listening to the commentary and looking carefully for what was being described. Alice however was looking anywhere but where she should have been. I noticed she spent a lot of the trip looking at the other passengers on the boat. She focussed on on them – waiting for them to notice her and then try to engage them in conversation and attention. She had pretty much missed most of the wildlife and experience of the trip. I tried to help her to look up, I got down to get level and pointed out some of what was before us. I wondered whether she was struggling as she was so much lower down in her wheelchair, but I realised when I got down, her view was fine.

In truth she was much more interested in getting attention from the strangers on the boat. She was having a completely different experience than the rest of us. This is a classic example of the out working of her attachment disorder. Whilst we can try to help her, there are times and places where it’s just not worth taking on the battle. I knew that if I’d pushed things even a little more the trip would have ended on disaster – I would guess that Alice would have had an outburst – which in itself would have given her the attention she craves so much. So instead I got back up and enjoyed the rest of the trip.

A Less Ordinary Family Fostering Blog