Being Brave.

I’ve learned something in the past three months through all of this.

I am brave.

I was worried that I wasn’t being brave because I was scared and anxious about taking the risks I was taking.

But being brave isn’t the same as being fearless.

Being brave is feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

It’s being open and vulnerable and honest.

I feel the fear everyday I am not working, but I know this is the right thing for me and my family.

This is being brave.

I am shamelessly terrified and this is what brave looks like, because I am feeling those fears and pushing through and doing it anyway.

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The waiting game.

So we’re waiting for a foster child to be placed with us.

It’s such a waiting game.

Let me put it into perspective…

 

We first contacted our foster agency on 20th May 2016.

We completed out Form F Assessment on 18th August 2016.

We got approved to be foster carers in February 2017.

I left my job on 24th July 2017.

The date today is 28th September 2017. We still haven’t started fostering yet.

I am receiving around three referrals a day on average (it was eight this morning), i’m reading these horrendous tales and thinking hard about whether we could support them or not.

It breaks my heart that the first kids that I declined I would now jump at in a heart beat, but I didn’t know what was out there, they didn’t fit what I had in mind. I didn’t know that my feelings about this would change, I didn’t know they were perfect.

I am now accepting most referrals that enter my email inbox. After all, we need to give it a try, how can you really tell from looking at a piece of paper. I certainly know we would give it our best shot and anywhere is better than where they are currently.

and yet none of these referrals are actually turning into anything. They look really positive and moving ahead and then we hit a roadblock…

usually about distance to travel to contact or their current school, or finding a more experienced or closer or cheaper foster family instead.

placement after placement is not working out for one reason or another.

Im starting to wonder if it will ever work out.

We’ve now reached the point that I have had my last paycheque from my previous job. I am officially jobless. Unemployed. I have never been unemployed before, not since I was fourteen. It is an incredibly daunting feeling. I am doubting everything and have huge concern and guilt about putting unnecessary pressures on my husband.

I know you are right when you are telling me that we are so close, that our child is just around the corner and that it is fate that we find them…but I can’t help this niggle in the back of my head that says, “yes, but what if it doesn’t?”

 

Heartache

We received another phone call today.

Every time I receive the phone call, my heart breaks. 
We have lost countless children now. I have actually lost count but it’s definitely in double figures.

I’ve imagined each and every one sat at our dining table for dinner, being tucked into bed with a story, enjoying a sensory bathtime and opening presents at Christmas. 

Every weekend we feel less motivated to go out and do things because it would mean so much more if they could enjoy it with us.

They are sitting waiting for us, as we are sitting here waiting for them. There are just so many people and so much messy chaos in between us that just as our fingers are about to touch they get pulled away from eachother again.

I will never find out what happened to these paperwork kiddos. They are part of my mental family picture one minute and then vanish into non-existence the next. 

My brain is struggling to keep up with the endless initials and situations, but my heart is doing just fine falling for these kiddos one after another.

I can feel my skin thickening with every blow. I don’t want it to, I don’t want to turn into a cold and heartless foster carer that’s seen it all. I want to feel the ache, it shows me I’m human, it shows me I’m still able to care.

Afterall my heartache is minuscule compared to these kiddos poor young little hearts, as they are passed from parent to parent. 

Let me feel the ache. Let it ooze through me, because it means you were loved, even if you never knew it.

Goodnight My Darling

We meet you tomorrow my darling.

You must feel terrified and confused and angry and lonely. So lonely.

We’re here. We’re thinking of you. Wishing we could scoop you up tonight and tuck you in and kiss you goodnight. But it’s another Mother’s job tonight.

We’re going to be rubbish tomorrow, but my god we’re going to try our best for you, my darling.

People keep telling me that you are lucky to have us, but I think it is us that are the lucky ones. Because of your trauma, you have fallen into our care. There certainly is nothing lucky about that. 

We are the lucky ones because we get to love you. 

It’s a strange thing, falling in love with pieces of paper. I don’t know your face or your name. But I feel responsible and protective somehow.

A mothers love, I guess.

Even if you never call me Mum, you are going to make me a Mother tomorrow, and for that I can never thank you enough.

Until tomorrow my darling.

Things will be different tomorrow. I promise.

We’re ready.

So our agency said our house is good enough to pass the Health and Saftey check which is the last piece of paperwork holding us back from bringing a little kiddo home.

I could not stop smiling all afternoon. I kept jumping and dancing and hugging Jim tight, thinking “how did we pull this off?”

It has been a crazy year renovating our house and going through this process. I remember the first time our social worker came over, the kitchen had been ripped out and the outside wall had been knocked down. There was dust everywhere and I was cooking on a gas stove on the floor. (See pictures)


Our Social Worker showed great faith in us and smiled, asking to see our drawings of what it will look like!

As time moved on, with Jim working every waking hour, we got closer and closer to completing our home. When we reached the point of decorating our spare bedroom I could not wait! I had been thinking about this room for a very long time.

It is now a beautiful bedroom with a mass of toys and books I’ve collected over the years. I can’t help but peek in every time I walk passed. I try and imagine what it is going to be like. 

Recently, my friend’s little girl played in the room as we caught up. It made my tummy smile to see these toys being used. She left a trail of chaos behind her and I soaked it all in. I left the toys how she had left them for a few days, not wanting to put them back in their place.

I’m so ready for my house to be a mass of chaos now. I hope when it does happen that I remember how desperate I was for it and not wish it away. I hope each time I tread on a Lego brick or find playdough behind the radiator, I remember how lonely  and empty my perfect little house felt without it.

So, we’re now at the marketing stage of the process. It’s when they let the Local Authority (LA) know about us. The LA will reply with possible placements they have. These will get sent to us for us to accept or decline. 

They are not expecting this process to take long, maybe a matter of days. They are expecting us to be popular as we are one of only two couples willing to place children with special needs in our agency (Which I think is shocking)

Thinking it may only be days, Jim and I had date night last night to celebrate. It might be our last for a while. It was lovely to speak openly about our wants and wishes, talking about what we are excited for and nervous about. We connected better than we have in ages. The relief of being at the next stage has lifted our spirits. It feels like it’s really going to happen.

I’m excited, more than anything, to see Jim become a Dad. He is going to be so wonderful, so kind and so patient. So understanding and so eager to do everything right by them.

I’m also excited to see family and friends, who have had updates for years, finally meet our foster child. Everyone will have a lot to learn from this little kiddo, I’m sure, me included.

I’m looking forward to reading bedtime stories, preparing school lunches, playing in the garden, bathtimes and generally being a full time stay at home Mum. I often feel like I’ve tricked the system knowing that I am getting paid to be a Mum. It’s what others could only dream of. I urge anybody that is interested in fostering to get in contact or follow along with our journey. Good foster carers are desperately needed.

So, I guess I will see you on the other side of Motherhood for my next entry. When I’m swearing at Lego bricks and praying for a chance to sleep!

Sounds like fun!

Start of something new

I thought I would be feeling more doubt on the evening before school starts, having handed in my notice before the Summer. Honestly, that’s far from the truth. I can’t stop smiling, dancing and have an overwhelming feeling of contentment.

Boy I’m going to miss my kids, I love those boys to their bones, truely unprofessional amounts, every one of them. And the staff that have supported me through good and bad, through thick and thin. I’ll miss them all. 

This time tomorrow I will wake without knots in my tummy, I can make my own choices and can make my own mistakes. I can make of my life what I put into it and that is so thrilling to me.

Our house is so near completion now, so close to being ready for our little addition in a matter of weeks. Jim and I actually wondered today what people do at the weekend if their house is finished. Honestly, we’d like to know!

I feel excitement and nervousness in waves when thinking about starting our foster journey. I’m so ready to learn something new. 

I may not be going back to school this September, but learning how to be a Mum is going to be the most important lesson of all.

I’ll try my best to keep you posted on the goings on as we prepare for our kiddo.

Have a great Monday, and remember if you are dreading Monday, maybe you need to make a drastic change in your life too?

What excites you and scares you all at once?

Just a thought.

A letter to our little one

Dear placement. That’s what we call you at the moment. As we do not know your name. In fact we know nothing about you. Not your age or gender or your situation. 

Only that you will be coming here to live for a while. It may only be a short time or it could be a really long time. Our job is to keep you safe. 

Even though we do not know each other yet, we have prepared a bedroom for you. It’s a beautiful room ready to be filled with wonderful chaos.

All of the toys and books and clothes that are in this room are yours. We are looking forward to doing lots of fun things together. 

We’re so close now. It’l be a matter of weeks before our house is turned upside down. I can’t help thinking about where you are right now. Your situation will be getting pretty desperate right about now. 

I hope I do good by you and your family. I can only imagine how your family are feeling too. I know you will be pretty confused when you arrive here. I promise we will give you time and lots of smiles. We will wipe your tears and will be here for you, when you are ready. 

Lots of people are excited to meet you. We have been talking about you for over a year. 

We’re as ready as we will ever be. I know you are going to teach us lots. We will make mistakes, we haven’t been parents before. I promise we will try our best for you and will always put your feelings first.

Take care little one. We will see you in a matter of weeks. In the meantime we will be waiting here, ready to love you.