This week we have had the absolute pleasure of looking after my good friend’s little boy whilst she was in hospital. He has taught us so much about what it means to be a foster carer. I thought I would share some of them with you.
- It’s okay for them to grieve. Quiet moments, asking questions, seeming subdued is okay. It is not a reflection of how they feel in your home, they just want their Mum, and of course that is okay. Allow them this time.
- Even though you are parenting, you are not their parent. They have a family. It’s your job to talk about their family and facilitate contact.
- Even though you, as the foster carer, know you are doing a good thing it doesn’t take away from the huge guilt you feel. I feel it all the time. When I’m driving to school, when we’re playing, bathing or at bedtime I have a feeling in my tummy that is saying “this is not your job, it should be his Mummy”.
- I have noticed I have been extra sensitive when speaking to Mum. This is already heartbreaking enough for her, I want to do everything I can to support her in her heartache.
- All of the “holiday” activities that I have spent years looking forward to and all of the sensory play activities that I have been so looking forward to haven’t happened. And that’s okay. They haven’t been appropriate. They are so many more joys in just a normal day.
- Getting up in the night isn’t the drain I thought it would be. I can still function in the morning and I quite enjoy sleepy snuggles.
- It surprised me how excited I get on the drive to collect him from school. I can’t wait to hear how his day was and sing together all the way home.
- I have rediscovered Tesco grocery delivery services. It is great.
- Visits don’t always go to plan. They struggle with people coming and going. Every day needs consideration and planning. Slowly and softly.
- It doesn’t matter if you say yes a bit more than you usually would. They are hurting and it’s your job to help them feel safe and secure. An extra yoghurt never hurt anyone!
- I’m both sad and happy to see him leave us. Knowing he needs to go home and enjoying him living here are conflicting. But the excitement on his face when Mum calls says it all. It brings my whole role into alignment.
Thank you for teaching us both so much in your short time with us. It means we will be even more prepared for when our little guy shows up.