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Life Story Blog

Helen’s Fostering Blog

When a child re-write’s their life story.

Most children have vivid imaginations, and this is all part of growing up, but for many of us overall our childhood memories are happy and there is no need to fantasise.

We have noticed that sometimes with Beth and Harry the lines between what is fact and fiction can become very blurred.

Prior to living with us Beth and Harry spent 18 months living with their previous carers.  They don’t mention them very often anymore and its almost like they have blocked out that part of their lives. Its been 3 years since they lived with their Mum and younger brother and to hear them talk about that time, you’d assume it wasn’t that long ago.

When they talk about living with Mum, they are unable to recall upon any happy memories.  They appear to have no idea what age they were when certain events occurred, often saying “when I was 0, this or that happened”.  They can recall a few details about their home and that the 3 children shared a room together.  Beth remembers looking after her baby brother during the night.

They will often tell the story of when they left the house wearing just their pyjamas to run away, a taxi driver picked them up and took them to the police station.  They recall how they would wake their Mum up and there would be another man in her bed that they didn’t know.

They tell us they used to eat cereal for dinner and chocolate for breakfast.  They remember being so tired when they went to school that they would fall asleep at their desk.

For a long time when Beth and Harry first came to live with us, they would make stories up about their life with their Mum, fabulous stories of the wonderful, fun things they did.  When one is telling a story even though its clear its make-believe the other one will always go along with the fairy-tale, enjoying the happy pretty picture that is being told.

Its not hard to imagine why a child who is in foster care would wish to re-write their history.   The thing is they start to believe it themselves, particularly Harry and I think it’s the reason why he finds it so difficult to understand why he is unable to live with his Mum.

Harry has told me on a few occasions that he doesn’t remember being 6 years old.  I have explained to him, that’s probably because he was 6 when he was placed in foster care and its possible that he has blocked that time in his life out as it is too painful for him to remember.

One of our biggest concerns for Beth and Harry is when they must accept the reality of their history.  How are they going to feel when they learn that perhaps them going into care could have been avoided. 

Obviously, this is something my husband and I talk about often, we want to get the balance right in helping them deal with what has happened to them and allowing them to move on without dwelling on the past. 

Accepting their Mum’s mistakes were very possibly because of her own upbringing and bears no reflection how much she loves them. 

Helen – A Blogging Foster Carer.

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