‘Photos with dates and information are a lifeline to some children.’
My name is Tabitha and I have been a foster carer for 6 years.
The young people I have been privileged to meet have often been hugely affected by their life experiences and just want to feel safe. It is fascinating to see what they develop into when you assist them to find their voice! The results may not always be what you like, as they normally need to work through a lot of anger.
Since working for the Compass Group, I have provided a long term home for two sets of siblings, have offered respite for various young people and have supported two young people who were not in main stream schooling to return.
We are proud to be foster carers!
Monday 20th October
After a hectic weekend visiting a Zoo with my placement (‘G’), I’ve learnt a few good tips to save my sanity.
- Dress child in something distinctive when they manage to run off so they can easily be identified.
- Don’t assume that they will be deterred by any signs saying “Dangerous”, “Do not lean in”, and “Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times”.
At least we managed to stay away the whole weekend without a call to the Emergency Duty team or a trip to A&E!
Today I went to a meeting at Compass HQ in the Midlands, got in the car and realised that I needed fuel, it was raining and the queue was massive at the petrol station. Late again!! I called when it was safe to do so but felt a little lame. Why does everyone need fuel on a Monday morning?
There were about 10 carers and a Manager and we had a very productive meeting with other foster carers from around the area who are trying to raise the profile of fostering as a profession and be the contact for prospective carers. They were inspirational and enthusiastic, I felt it was a worthwhile meeting and a pleasure to listen to the experiences the children are having that are placed with them. We planned events for the coming year.
Came home and edited and filed the photos of the placement so that they are a lasting memory of the previous weekend. G looked wired on them and I reflected that maybe it was a bit overwhelming for her to have so much stimulation in such a small space of time. Top tip: Photos with dates and information are a lifeline to some children as most cannot recall the when’s and where’s and forget details, so we tend to take a lot. Our last placements still look at their memory books and are represented on our wall with other loved ones! Spent a bit too long looking at old photos which span over the 6 years we have been fostering and wondered where all the years have gone. A great trip down memory lane!!
Watched a couple of video images I had from an old phone and loved seeing the siblings playing during contacts, I looked a lot younger too!
It rained at school pick up time and we were off to open a bank account. This is a process that is harder to achieve than tickets for Glastonbury or meeting the Queen. We are not G’s legal guardians, the Local Authority are, and we do not possess an original birth certificate. We had checked before the appointment what we needed to do and armed with a letter from the school, we trooped down to the bank to complete the task.
It turns out that the appointment we made after school had been brought forward by text and I was not aware of this. The new time was during school time. We are not allowed to take G out of school so that would not have worked anyway.
Also the letter we had from the school had G’s date of birth on and it was clear what it was but it did not explicitly say DOB so they had to cancel the appointment. It’s not so bad with a child you can reason with, but G only wanted the piggy bank and was not happy to come away empty handed.
We had to call the school and asked them to re-copy the letter with DOB typed in next to the numerical date and rebooked for Friday. Deepest Joy!! She has only saved £10 so far!!
I’m feeling fairly frustrated and then my partner tells me that I have a meeting with the TA in the class tomorrow as there has been another incident today where G has cried the whole afternoon under the table. Going up to Juniors and being a small fish in a large pond is proving to be very hard and we are dealing with a lot of regression. It’s frustrating when its two steps forward one back.
I’m updating the records which we have to write weekly for each placement and starting to realise that her behaviour has not been settled since the second week in September. I’m mindful that we are about to have a school holiday and then we are into the Xmas term. This involves contact with her birth family and the age old problem of gifts, sad memories and worry on her part!!!
As I am typing this I can hear her in the kitchen with my partner making me a special tea and really enjoying herself. It’s really sad that she is held back in some areas of her life and is falling behind her peers.
We talk about getting spots and how to clean your face properly at dinner and she is delighted that I like the tea. I finish the records just in time for the bed time story. That last hug of the night and her rigid routines are very comforting for me too. She likes a heated bean bag, seeing when her birthday is on the calendar and being a parcel that the Zoo has sent to the carers. Maybe tomorrow will be better for everyone!