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First Evening

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First Evening Together

The two children that arrived on that first day have changed so much in the last 14 months. So much so its hard to think of them as the same children.

When they first arrived on the surface both children appeared lively, friendly, inquisitive and even happy, until bedtime arrived of course.

It didn’t take long to see this was just a front and a lot of nervous energy.  Over the time that they have been living with us, we have talked about that first few days and they themselves have admitted they were feeling frightened and very unsure about their new home and family.

At first Harry who was 8 years old at the time was constantly just telling us jokes, and dancing around.  To us it was clear he just wanted us to like him.  It was a surprise to me that before he had even been with us a few hours he was asking if he could live with us forever and be his forever family, I recall him saying I’m 110% happy here already.

Beth who was 9 at the time was so engaging, she had asked me to help unpack her belongings, so we both sat on her bedroom floor sorting through things when she came across her memory box from her previous carers.

She talked me through the memory book and told me who everyone was, also in this box were cards and other memories, some of which were from her previous carers, others that were from her family. I was a bit taken back when instead of putting them back in the box she placed all of these items into a plastic carrier bag and wanted to shove them at the back of her wardrobe out of sight.

I asked her if she didn’t want to keep them safe in the memory box and she simply replied, “nah that was then, this is now”.   Later that evening like her brother Beth asked me if she could stay here with us forever.

When my husband returned back home after picking up my stepdaughter, the children were super excited about meeting Libby and they were keen to open the door singing happy birthday to her, I think Libby probably felt a little overwhelmed as they dived all over her like long lost friends being reunited.

Both Beth and Harry continued with their happy chatter throughout the evening until bedtime came around.  Libby read them a bedtime story and pjs were put on, I don’t doubt they were exhausted but understandably bedtime was going to be difficult for them. Another new bed, bedroom, home with all its own unusual noises and smells and a new family to get their little minds around.

I remember Harry becoming very distressed and telling me he had a tummy ache all day. They must have been wondering how long this one would last and if we were indeed actually nice people.

I recall explaining to both children, that if they felt worried during the night, they could come and knock on my bedroom door and I will come out if they needed me.

I couldn’t think of anything worse than them sitting in the dark feeling scared and alone, besides as exhausted as I also felt I knew the chances of me sleeping well that night were slim. 

Helen – A Blogging Foster Carer 

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Our First Foster Children

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Last Minute Preparations Before the Children Arrived.

When I woke up that morning and I knew my life was about to change, I was also acutely aware that wasn’t just how I would be feeling today.

I couldn’t get out of my mind how might these two young children be feeling.  I was a bag of mixed emotions that I knew I didn’t have time to understand and I was a grown women who was surrounded by all that makes me feel safe, my husband, my home and all of the things that made me me.

I got up early that morning and armed with a short list of things the emergency carers had stated the children needed I rushed off to the shopping centre to purchase some new school trousers, socks and PJ’s etc.  I also picked up a welcome gift for each of them, which was tricky as I didn’t really know that much about them.

As soon as I arrived back home a Social Worker started transporting over all of their belongs from their previous carers.  Bless her she made 3 journeys back and forth including a pet hamster that unfortunately we were unable to take as I feared my cat might think it was a treat for him and that definitely wouldn’t have been a good start.

With my hallway full of two children’s worldly belongings I wasn’t really sure what the best thing would be to do, should I unpack them and make their rooms feel more familiar, or would they want to do that themselves?

After a bit of dithering I decided to pick their bedrooms for them and put a few things out. And if that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, I then had to start wrapping all of my stepdaughter’s birthday gifts and sort out decorating the lounge with her birthday.

There wasn’t even any time for lunch let alone to collect my thoughts.

It was explained to us that the children would be met after school by their Social Worker who would tell them a little about us before driving them to our home.  As we had not had an opportunity to meet the children prior to them coming to live with us, we decided to send over the short video that my stepdaughter had made.

In the video Libby had included photos of us, our home, what would be their bedrooms, and a photo of our cat.  Besides each photo she had written a little bit of information about us.  The video finished with us not only welcoming children into our home but to our lives.   This video still gets mentioned by the children a year down the line, they tell us it really helped them and whilst they were still very nervous this had helped make them feel excited too.

4pm came round quickly, there I was sitting in my lounge with my husband, our supporting social worker all making small talk about these two children who would arrive any minute now, no-one would have properly noticed but I felt like I was standing too close to the cliff edge.

I was so worried about getting it right, what if they didn’t like me, what if I didn’t like them and that was how I was feeling so god only knows how a 8 and 9 year old child who had just been moved from yet another foster home was feeling.

The doorbell went and in burst two very lively, chatty blond hair children who have now become the centre of our lives.

Helen – A Blogging Foster Carer

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Fostering Referral

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When a Referral Becomes a Placement!

When I received the referral that ended with us being placed with two children, I was aimlessly wondering around Costco with my brother and sister.

I took the call from my agency whilst leaning up against a fireplace that had caught my eye.  Over the phone I was told about two children who required a placement by the following day.  I was given some brief details about them over the phone and I telephoned my husband to discuss.  At that time, we were still waiting to hear about two other sets of children we had been discussing for a few weeks and as I’ve said before we were already invested in these children.

It appealed to us that those children would be able to get to know us a little over a period of time before they came to live with us.

That said, I was intrigued enough to go straight back home and read through their referral.  I telephoned my husband who was at work and went through the referral with him.  We agreed that I would speak to the children’s social worker but ultimately, we wanted to carry on with the children that we were already involved in.

Things turned on their head when I telephoned the children’s social worker.  She told me all about these two children and my heart went out to them.  The decision changed to wanting to take them the minute their social worker explained to me that if we were unable to take them, they would have to be split up as there was no-one else available who could take them together at that time.  My own link and love for my sister and brother is so strong this thought really sadden me.

It was a little difficult to be heading in one direction and then all sudden you do a 180 degree turn in a different direction. I think it is fair to say we didn’t really have time to think much more about it than that, we kinder just had to hit the ground running.

The children sounded like they were perfect for us and what we believed would work best for us as a family.  So, with plans changed so quickly we had to get ready to have our first placement and two children that would be arriving the very next day.

I remember that evening being a bit of a blur. As soon as my husband came home from work, we drove to both of the children’s schools so that I knew where I would be taking them on the Monday.

We read and re-read their referral and discussed at great length what we might need to be mindful of.  Most importantly we needed to call Libby (my stepdaughter) and explain to her that for her birthday that weekend she would be getting two foster siblings that hopefully were going to become a big part of hers and our life.

Helen – A Blogging Foster Carer