Fostering Blogs

Respite

Emma’s Fostering Blog

We all know that tiredness and stress can make us grumpy and irritable, no matter how loving and even-tempered we are on a good day. However fostering a child can be very draining and challenging and our own physical and mental health deteriorates as a result.

I know when I need a break when I manage to get a babysitter, go out with my husband and all we end up doing is talking about the children, we both feel drained. However I find it difficult – it’s not normal for children to go to respite with people they don’t know. Often, there is uncertainty and inconsistency in the respite carer so the children don’t get to visit first or know who they are going to until last minute, Sometimes Dan will exhibit greater difficulties upon returning from respite care which does have a considerable negative effect on us asking for respite care.

People reading this may think it’s strange to have respite, you don’t send your own kids to strangers – we don’t want to – and that’s the issue, we want consistency of a long term respite carer as your own children who go off to their grandparents.

My children are grown up but still need me, my grandchildren who share everything with our boys but now and again it’s nice to just be alone with them because I find myself always putting Dan before the needs of others and they never complain. We don’t go out much in the evenings for a meal mainly because of the autism Dan finds it difficult to sit and socialise; once he has eaten he wants to go. This respite gives us the opportunity to do other things that we can’t do because of his needs but I don’t want to think of him having a horrible time I want to go away knowing he is well cared for and having fun, looking forward to his visit as if it were a small holiday.

So often we are discouraged from taking a break, because of the wellbeing of the child but equally important is the wellbeing of the Foster carers. This is the same with our annual leave which is equally important it gives me much needed adult quality time with my husband, I don’t want to feel guilty – the children have many wonderful holiday experiences with us which are chosen to suit their needs. Having a break if planned right which means including the child, having a visit, knowing where they are going – I find I return to Dan feeling refreshed and rebooted, with higher levels of patience and tolerance and not having to face greater difficulties or feel guilty.

My thoughts are – Foster carers who are looking after children shouldn’t be left to themselves when it comes to their physical and mental wellbeing, we don’t think about this, we just carry on which risks our physical and mental wellbeing.

This is what being a Foster carer is about.

Emma a Blogging Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!