Helen’s Fostering Blogs
Reflection from last Christmas to this year.
Beth and Harry have been living with us for 15 months now and this Christmas marked our second together. Throughout the month of December, I couldn’t help but notice the difference in them both from this Christmas to last year.
If I am honest our first Christmas together was a bit strange for us all. My husband and I didn’t really know how the children were going to be at such a special time of the year.
What were their past experiences of Christmas? Were they good or bad memories?, Could they be overwhelmed?
During their relatively short lives we were their third family they had spent Christmas with. I wondered if they had even had the chance to create what was a traditional Christmas for them, given their age and different families that they had lived with.
We quickly noticed that Harry was struggling in the build up to Christmas. He seemed uninterested and emotionally he was very up and down.
I recall each morning we would listen to the radio on the way to school and Heart FM would do ‘Sleeps till Santa’ each morning, it must have taken two weeks of listening to this to grab his interest and slowly he become a little more excited, but I felt like I was having to really push the excitement.
Harry and Beth’s arguments seemed to increase as the Big Day approached and by Christmas Eve, they went from playing nicely to a full-blown argument screaming and crying hysterically. We sat down with them both and started a conversation around not being able to be with our family at Christmas.
Harry was very vocal and explained that for some people they can feel very angry and sad. We also spoke about the fact that they were also not able to spend Christmas with their previous carers who they had lived with for eighteen months.
They had only been with us for less than 3 months so in many ways we were still strangers to them. I recall explaining that I did have some understanding how sad it was as I also missed my Mum and Dad.
After our chat both Beth and Harry seemed to relax, and the arguments stopped.
I think sometimes it’s also hard for them both to say they want to be with their family for fear of upsetting us. Obviously now they know us much better they don’t have to worry about stuff like that, they are fully aware we totally understand that their family is everything to them, and we have total respect for that.
A year on and it was totally different, firstly they now know us very well but most of all they know what to expect on special occasions.
They were constantly remembering what we did last year and were excited about doing the same again. They love our cheeky elf that comes to stay and this year there was a new addition to the elf family, they couldn’t wait to decorate the Gingerbread Houses and receive their Christmas Eve boxes.
This year just before bed Harry read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ poem instead of me telling it to them. They knew that they would get a day out with their youngest brother who had been adopted, visit their grandparents, and call their Mum on Christmas morning.
We try very hard to ensure that there is contact with their family over the season so that they can feel like they are still very much part of their lives and Christmas as much as they can be.
For us it was such a magical Christmas, finally we all knew what to expect, we all feel completely comfortable with each other.
It feels natural and we look forward too many more Christmas’s together.
Helen – A Blogging Foster Carer.