THE CURIOUS PERFECTION OF NOT BEING PERFECT
The Secret Foster Carer's Blog
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1w ago
 Is there trouble in fostering? Challenges? Of course, from time to time. "Expect the unexpected" I often say, but only now and then. Look, there's trouble in every family no matter how conventionally blessed. Ask the Windsors. Ask the Von Trapps. Blue Sky is often approached by people wondering about fostering who are thinking; "Would they want me? Would I be any good? Me with a messy divorce and a son who hasn't spoken to his father for ten years?" Our social workers reply; "We need people who've had life experience." I know it sounds glib but it's the honest truth. The normal messy thi ..read more
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RUDDY KEYS, AND FOSTERING
The Secret Foster Carer's Blog
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2w ago
 It's sometimes a bit frustrating having to write up little mini-episodes of "A Day In The Life Of A Foster Mum". Why, because life - especially fostering life - doesn't happen in neatly boxed-up vignettes, with a beginning, a middle and a neat ending. I try to make my experiences bite-size because you're busy, I'm busy…who wants War and Peace? The door keys saga from my last post is a case in point. I wrote up "Close Encounters" about how an older foster child benefited by being given a set of house keys. He then enhanced his bond with me late one night by talking about how he lost ..read more
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CLOSE ENCOUNTERS
The Secret Foster Carer's Blog
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3w ago
 Getting close to your foster child is hard graft. Earning their trust isn't easy, and frankly, it happens few and far between. So; Terry (aka "Tezza", "T" and "T Man") reached an age where he could go into town by himself. He then reached an age where he didn't want to say what time he'd be back. So we talked to Blue Sky and it was agreed.  Terry could have his own key. Blue Sky are SO good at advising. We went through all the possible pitfalls, the pros and cons, and it was agreed, based on the fact that Terry is a really trustworthy lad. This is a big day for any young person, but ..read more
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HOW DO FOSTER PARENTS GET AWAY FROM IT ALL?
The Secret Foster Carer's Blog
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1M ago
 We've just returned from a mini-holiday, all of us. Five days in a converted barn in lovely countryside about an hour-and-a-half's drive.  A just-about-tolerable distance for a convoy of…thirteen people. Yep, when I say "all of us," I mean our entire extended family. Half of the troupe are blood relatives, the remainder are family through fostering. Three generations too; healthy. Two members of our funny old family didn't come. The first no-show was battling mental health issues (as are so many young folk these days, so sad). The second non-attendee…I'll come to in a moment. Might ..read more
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FOSTERING AND THE CAR
The Secret Foster Carer's Blog
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1M ago
 So, currently we have three foster children, my maximum due to bedroom availability.  Looking after a brood of other people's children has it's ups and downs, but the kids seem to like it. Strength in numbers. They swap their stories with each other of their journey into care. It bonds them. They do it by themselves, no coaching needed. Is there an element of "My woes are worse than yours" - a common game played by adults - no. If anything there are hints of genuine caring for each other. Nothing thrilled them more than the morning last week when the car broke down on the school run ..read more
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THE MYSTERIES OF "MATE"
The Secret Foster Carer's Blog
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1M ago
 A new foster child takes all your focus. You have to consciously remember to look after all the other people in your life, not to mention yourself. Our new child, Alicia, is pretty undemanding. Quiet, no wobblies, maybe a bit scatty with apple cores and crisp packets. Normal teen stuff really. But every foster child brings their foster parents some new things to get our head's around. In Alicia's case it's mainly one big thing; she's transitioning. Used to be male, is now female. Aged 14. Alicia is a wonderful young person. She's cheerful, happy-go-lucky, positive and rock solid. She hel ..read more
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FINDING THE MOMENT TO TALK
The Secret Foster Carer's Blog
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1M ago
 Our latest foster arrival, Alicia has been with us about three weeks. She's a charming teen, if a bit disorganised. Understandably so, what with the chaos going on in her life. I woke up at just after 3.15am and didn't know why. I lay there for a bit before hearing the faintest of voices from downstairs. I slid out of bed, wrapped myself in my DG and crept down. Alicia was watching Netflix. In my book, what you DON'T do is get heavy. You need to check out what's going on before judgement. She was in the back room, which is off our kitchen, it's kind of a kids area, as in all crisp wrappe ..read more
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FOSTERING - KNOW YOUR ONIONS
The Secret Foster Carer's Blog
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1M ago
I was watching the TV news, a camera crew was on the streets of Belfast asking members of the public about the Troubles. An elderly man said something that's stayed with me; "Anyone who thinks they understand the Troubles in Northern Ireland doesn't really know what's going on." See, I think the same about fostering. The last thing a foster parent should think is that they know all they need to know about fostering. Almost every day in fostering we foster parents stub our toe on some bedpost that wasn't there yesterday. It might be something specific to our current foster child, or the way the ..read more
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FOSTERING'S HONEYMOON PERIOD
The Secret Foster Carer's Blog
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2M ago
 Been a hectic couple of days. A new child coming into the home takes up all one's attention. So much for the foster parent to learn. And teach. It's an even bigger thing for every child coming into care. Jeez, think about it. When I was age ten I discovered I was being sent to live for a week with my mum's best friend, Vera Caldicott. She had two sons, the eldest being about my age. I was given no breakdown on why I was being farmed out, except to get a whiff that a) it would be good for me and b) that Vera's eldest child Malcolm was a handful, and that, because my mum was a head teacher ..read more
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PART TWO
The Secret Foster Carer's Blog
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2M ago
PART TWO Alicia is arriving at 4.00pm. I've noticed that 4.00pm is a popular time to bring in a new foster child. There are so many subtle things in fostering. If the 4.00pm drop-off is a preferred practice I can only guess as to why it works.  The social workers (one from the local authority - who are overall guardians of the child) plus a Blue Sky social worker (supporting us - the foster parents) usually devote a full hour to the handover. Then, at somewhere between 5.00pm and 6.00pm, they leave. And, until you get the first phone call from Blue Sky the next morning to see how things a ..read more
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