Today is the day we meet our son

I have purposely not written lengthy blog posts about our journey since meeting him. I have given little hints on Instagram. The fact is, this is not my story to tell.

I didn’t think it fair that you guys knew things that he didn’t. He got told about us yesterday. I have no idea how he took the news. We meet him today, again I have no idea how we are going to be received. We’re prepared for the worst.

Foster care isn’t slow motions runs at each other with open arms. Foster care is cautious and heartbreaking. It’s confusing and just so darn hard. It’s joyful too, hopefully. All mixed into a muddy mess.

I can’t wait to see his face, having still never seen a photo, I’m desperate to see if my image of him is anywhere close. I can’t wait to hear his voice, see his mannerisms, start to learn him. Heck, start to love him.

Jim and I are nervous. We’re setting ourselves up. We’re both determined for this to work in the long term, in the short term our plan is to go with the flow. Roll with the punches. Take his lead.

I am so pleased we got here after all of those months. We first applied for foster care in May 2016! People that registered this Spring are at the same stage as us now. It’s mad, but I’m glad we were considered. This is a long term thing. We have to be right for him. Everyone else seems to think it’s a perfect match, I just hope that in time he feels that way too.

I don’t want to wish this week away. I want to soak in every moment and savour every piece of our lives and home as it is now. This is it. This will change us forever.

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Our first week as foster carers

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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”. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. I have rediscovered Tesco grocery delivery services. It is great.
  9. Visits don’t always go to plan. They struggle with people coming and going. Every day needs consideration and planning. Slowly and softly.
  10. 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!
  11. 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.

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!

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. 

Infertility

We’ve been trying for a year.

If it worked straight away, I would be complaining of sleepless nights and sore boobs right about now. Instead we are booking doctors appointments to find out what is happening.

I don’t know what they are going to say. I honestly don’t mind either way, it’s just time we know now. So we can plan our family together, what ever that looks like.

It excites me that our children could be out there now, living and breathing and needing us now.

It sure is becoming a momentous year for us, in every which way.

 

But why foster care?

It’s a really hard question to answer, but one I am getting more and more in recent weeks.

Even our head decision maker on the foster care panel asked us if it’s the right time.

I can’t explain why in one answer. There are so many reasons. The main one is just my instinct.

You know when you just get a feeling in your gut?

I can’t explain it anymore than that.

I have a pang in my tummy that it’s something I have to do. These thoughts are like a screensaver to my brain.

Whenever I’m not thinking about anything else, my mind veers back to dreaming of foster care.

Other people’s main concerns:

Q. Do you think you’ll be able cope?

A. I don’t know. I know it’s going to be incredibly hard and emotionally draining, but I’m hopeful it will balance out with success stories. I have an amazing support network around me that I know will help us through this.

Q. Why now?

A. If not now, when? Is there ever a good time for anything?

Q. What if it’s dangerous?

A. The truth is there is a little risk, placements sometimes don’t work out and that’s okay. We have amazing trainers at our agency that teach us how to deal with possible situations. The truth is these children are in far more danger now than they could ever put us under.

Q. What if you want to keep them?

A. If appropriate for the situation and placement we could file for adoption. But I am also okay that may not be best for the child, or us or others linked to the placement. The fact is there are going to be lots of adults involved in the upbringing of our foster child.

Q. What if they give you a child that you don’t want?

A. Firstly it doesn’t really work like that, you don’t just get given a child. You read their profile and they read yours and you can decide yes or no before they arrive. It is normal for 1 in 3 placements to break down and we will be supported through this if that is the case.

Q. What if it’s too difficult?

A. I just need to try.

Q. What does Jim think about this?

A. (I just asked him) “It’s not something I would ever have chosen to do, but it really excites me how passionate Jordan is about it and that makes me want to do it.”

If you are interested in Foster Care or have any other questions please get in contact with  me. I would love to speak to you about the process.

I am also hoping to update you all in either blog/photo/video form in the coming months as we accept our placement and welcome them into our home.