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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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!!

A Less Ordinary Family Foster Care Blog

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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