Kevin shares with us a reflection of his first year as a foster carer
The last 12 months have been a bit of a rollercoaster for the family. We’ve had a few ups, some downs and very little flat coasting. On balance I would say it was a positive experience but with a very steep learning curve.
Nobody really knew how challenging it was going to be to support A, who was the first child we fostered. This was probably a good job as he may have been deemed unsuitable for us newbies to fostering.
I am extremely proud of my family and especially to my partner Lisa for all the love and care she has shown to A. I am grateful to Capstone for all the support and understanding received. We felt like valued members of the team and it helped us to keep going.
We have learned so much from this past year and hope to put it to good use in the future. Parenting, whether it be your own child or a foster child is about love, compassion, understanding, boundaries, consistency and at the centre of everything, the child. Stick to these rules and you won’t go far wrong.
Although there is a lot of common sense applicable to those rules we still found the training extremely interesting and insightful.
The return of A to his mother has left me conflicted. I feel like we have lost a member of our family and it is still pretty strange with him not around. We are however taking the positives from this; sleep, time to ourselves and a sense satisfaction for a job well done to name but a few. I worry about him though. I am full of admiration for his mother for how she turned herself around and how she stuck with the program in what must have been some pretty dark days. I still believe where possible that a child should be with their birth parents and there is no doubt that A and his mother love each other very much.
I have always thought I was pretty self aware but having A as a placement this last year unearthed in me levels tolerance, patience and understanding I wasn’t sure I had. This has helped me in both my personal and professional relationships.
I feel a sense of pride for what we achieved with A. The boy that left our home was so very different to the boy that arrived those many months ago. I feel concern because I know he still needs so much help and support and his journey is just beginning. I feel a sense of loss as he is no longer with us. I feel gratitude to Capstone for the support and understanding.
Lisa and I have been talking about whether we would take another placement. I think we probably will. We are confident in our abilities as a family and we are confident in our support from Capstone. I know it sounds like a bit of a cliché but I really feel we can make a positive difference to someone’s life and that’s a pretty cool thing.