Reminiscences

This week I received a transition plan for Squidge. In a few weeks he will leave here and go to live with his daddy and that will be the end of his time with me, and the end of my time as a foster carer.

It's over a year now since I first thought my fostering days may be over. At the time I was disillusioned, tired and felt let down. A combination of factors meant that I did end up accepting one more placement and I'm glad I did. Glad because, despite the pressure of being a single, working mum to three young children plus all the extra fun involved in the duties of a foster carer, Squidge has been an absolute delight and brought us much love and joy.

Glad also because, in my seven years of fostering, I have never had a child I've cared for successfully returned to a birth parent. We are all very optimistic about the plan for Squidge's future, and I'm happy to be ending my time as a foster carer on a moment of joy.



Forgive me if, in the grip of an 'end of an era' feeling, I fall to reminiscing. I have photographs of each of the children I've fostered on the wall of our living room, and their handprints on a canvas on my mantelpiece. Most of these little ones will not remember me, and I will never see them again, but they will always have been part of our family. Some remain so.

Tomorrow will be the 7th anniversary of the day OB came out of the blue one April afternoon. I was naive, inexperienced and nervous, but we found our way together. He was the first one I handed back, wanting to believe that everything would work out. Less than a month later he was here again, and he never left. As I write, he is at drama club, a football-loving, cheeky-faced seven year old.

Very soon after his return, OB was joined by NB, all kisses and cuddles and strawberry blond curls. Together they lived as almost-brothers for 18 months before NB moved on to his new family and new life. We have been privileged to meet up with NB and his mummy several times since then. OB will still occasionally tell me that NB is his best friend.

LB came next; a tiny wee thing here for two weeks while every effort was made to find a place that could support him and his young mum together. They found that place and the two of them moved on together. I hoped for them. Years later I found that LB had eventually been adopted.

Shortly after that, on a snowy December afternoon, we struggled through weather-bound traffic to a distant hospital to collect Baby Girl. Beautiful BG was a mere three days old, with just about everything stacked against her. When she left us for a new family ten months later my heart just about broke. Only recently we were able to visit her and marvel at the tiny tornado that she has become.

Almost exactly a year after we brought BG home, we were at another hospital collecting four-day-old Birdy. She also never left. I put her to bed half an hour ago and gave in to every request for "kisses and huddles".

While Birdy was still tiny, we brought home a sad, frightened wee boy who didn't even stay long enough to get a pseudonym. I will never know what happened to him.

And then came Twinkle. Nobody who met Twinkle could ever forget this funny, smart, challenging little whirlwind. She stretched us to our very limits over six months and yet we did begin to see some progress as she adjusted to her new world. Twinkle very nearly returned to her first family but, as with many of these children's tales, there are many twists before the end, and eventually she, too, was adopted.

Then there was the baby that never came. We visited him daily in hospital for over a week. I rocked him and fed him and loved him, but in the end he went elsewhere and he will probably never know the identity of the woman who gave him his first bath.

Finally Squidge who, like all the others, has a story that he will find very hard to understand as he gets older. At least he will have those around him who knew him from his earliest days to help him make sense of it all.

And there it is. It's not a long list compared to many other carers, but each one of these children has made a unique impression on me which I suspect will never fade. We have lived on a knife edge between hope and heartache for seven years now and I don't regret a single day of it.

Comments

  1. I think we all desperately wanted BG to stay, but in hindsight can totally see why God had Birdy up His sleeve! Absolute treasures all of them! I guess OB will always have my first love, a delightful smile that even as a 7 y o, he can't hide. I'll not forget NB jumping in for a big cuddle first time we met, and fabulous to see Squidge's new found confidence. Good Job Suddenly!

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  2. This is beautiful to read. We are just setting out on our second adoption journey, and it's brought a tear to my eye to read about your foster care and perspective. I don't know you but you seem an amazing woman; our son's foster carer was a single mum and just incredible. I've just discovered your blog and am looking forward to catching up on some more of your posts: do you plan to keep writing when you stop as a foster carer? x

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    1. Ah, thank you for reading and for your kind words! I suspect I will carry on writing - I've got the blogging bug well and truly now!

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