Tabatha’s Blog: 22nd December
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!
As it gets closer to Xmas and social workers book appointments in to see the children our house once again becomes a meeting area and we have to be on point with information, coffee and teas and hospitality, even if we are juggling Xmas shopping, contact, school productions, loss of routine and anxiety about things you cannot even predict.
Once a young person who we had looked after for 2 Xmases started struggling and asked me if I was going to be bankrupt for Xmas. She was worried that she would not get fed or have any presents. This was how she had experienced 10 Xmases of poverty and neglect and her experiences with us were not enough to stop the worry of going back to that state. We showed her her presents wrapped up and the food we had put away and her behaviour instantly improved.
All I can think of before Xmas is making sure we are ready with Xmas presents, food and if we have missed anything for the kid’s stockings. When a new child comes we always try and find out if they have any expectations about Christmas. We show them our timetable of key events and offer them the opportunity to join in or opt out. We try and incorporate traditions they have and mark any significant life events.
One thing we try and explain is that each child has the same spent on them and if they want labels etc. then to expect a smaller pile of gifts on the day!!
Our new placement does not like her photo being taken and I guess it’s triggering feelings which are negative. It’s in the back of my mind to ensure that she is not photographed by family or professionals.
We put the star in our window and we are over half way through our advent calendar so it’s time to go into a local forest and cut our tree down! We like the young people to understand where things come from and that some of the most enjoyable traditions don’t cost anything. It’s going to be interesting to see how we manage having a non-believer and believer in Santa under the same roof!
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