Tabatha’s Blog: 17th November
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!
This week has been rushed because school do so many activities for Children In Need. G has been worried about getting a wrist band and spending £1.50 on it. She also needed to bake for the event and due to all of her extra-curricular activities there was not much time. I bought the Pudsey Bear outfit several weeks before so she knew what she was wearing. It’s never good for G to wait until the last minute to know what is going on. I always buy for 4 weeks ahead if there is an event at school or something she needs to have as a way of reducing anxiety, showing her always works too!
G really likes planning and to stick to what is promised so she knows what to expect. She has a desk calendar in her room and it’s the best £1 I spend at Xmas. I open it and put all the important things in it: her family’s birthdays, contact and her yearly anniversary with us, she really appreciates knowing how long until her next big life event.
Since our last placement broke down, G keeps asking what has happened to the two girls who were removed last week, the problem is that once a child leaves your care it is highly unlikely that you find out anything else about their progress. It’s likely that all communication is cut dead! G eventually broke down and said that she was worried that we would send her away too. G needed a lot of reassurance since we were attacked and it has clearly affected her more than we initially realised.
We always underestimate the worry about Christmas that the young people do too. G is starting to speak about what she would like and is getting quite excited. However, at the back of my mind is the concern that all of her routine is stopped several weeks before the end of term and she is also going on Brownie camp for her birthday. She has a few testing weeks ahead of her and hopefully she will rise to the occasion. I am thinking about introducing a fun way of getting her to write her Xmas cards as it is a struggle for her to write them neatly and concentrate. I’m thinking about allowing her a mini real tree in her room that she has to care for and water. Nurturing and responsibility is a life lesson that we are trying to introduce into whatever we are doing.
As foster carers we are continually analysing our actions, external forces and G’s emotional state when making decisions and navigating through each week. It’s not always easy to plan things when she is not coping and sometimes we have to cancel our activities as she is unlikely to manage. We try not to take it personally when things don’t go to plan or G does not do well. It’s more important to give her real life experiences and help her to socialise appropriately than to wrap her up in cotton wool. Even after two years we are finding out about new triggers and trying to undo negative experiences and re-parent. It’s never too late to work with a child to give them a positive experience of life. It’s a huge bonus when G goes to bed smiling, feeling safe and we have all had a good day, we try not to take it too personally when it does not happen that way!
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