This week is fostering and adoption week, I thought that I would share my experience of fostering. I had a lengthy approval process before I was approved as a single foster carer and thus began the most challenging and most rewarding career vocation which I have ever undertaken. My children were enthusiastic; my daughter, Ella had always yearned for a younger sibling, she was so happy that our approved age range was 0-5! We had several short-term placements of children ranging in age and need; it proved to be a good introduction to all the records and rules which needed to be in place for the children who would be in my care.
I think that if you are considering fostering or adoption you need to go into it with your eyes wide open. Children who end up in the fostering system are there because they have been abused or neglected in some way and in the main they are damaged as a result. As a carer or parent of fostered or adopted children you have to have patience and understanding in abundance and you’ll also need a thick skin too. When we were matched with our little Cameron he was such a precious, beautiful child aged 3, but so neglected and damaged by his former life.
When he came to us he could barely communicate, rarely cried or laughed and didn't really know how to play. After about three weeks he began acting out, he would have tantrums and would hit out, these tantrums increased in ferocity and he became almost feral in his actions. Even though I knew that this was him testing our love for him, it was tough going and I cried on more than one occasion. I’d read a lot of literature on damaged children before I went into the process and this along with the fostering training helped to prepare me for what was to come. When people talk to me about wanting to foster they often say ‘I couldn’t let them go’ but I’m not sure that enough thought is given to the child’s behaviour.
During his time with us Cameron experienced a whirlwind of emotions, but he left us a different child with secure attachments and he laughed and sung whenever he could. It was hard seeing him go and the thought of him still brings a tear to my eye. It was tough but so rewarding knowing that we had helped build his resilience and we had showered him with the love that had been missing in his life. He was adopted and I often wonder how his life is now; is he happy? Did he overcome the effects of his early life? I pray that he was one of the success stories. Could you be a foster carer or could you adopt a child? Click out the link below for more information.