What it’s like for our own kids

I remember when we started fostering I chatted with a lady who worked for Capstone and had fostered herself over the years. We were talking about the effect that the life of fostering had had on her own children and how they reflected on it now they were adults. For her, some took to the same kind of life themselves and started a second generation of carers. Others flew from the idea as far as they could and went to the city and got jobs way outside of social care because they did not want to live like that again. Some had stayed away from drugs purely because of witnessing what some of their foster siblings turned into when they did them. The birth children were deeply shaped by what happened in the foster children around them and somehow it contributed to a map for their own life.

Opening the post this week I found the yearly monetary reward for our two kids for being part of a fostering family. It is a lovely thing and they love getting it, it makes them feel valued which, of course, they should! If is easy to forget that when birth kids are young they trust us that fostering is a good idea and go along with it because we think it will work. It is a tremendous thing to journey with these young souls as they not only are brothers and sisters to strangers but also do a much better job than we do of helping other kids feel safe.

Recently, we have been helping our two by trying to get them to remember that they don’t have to be the adult to Holly. Because their understanding of situations is much better than hers they will often take our roles by telling her what is acceptable or not which often ends with Holly getting very frustrated! Although the kids aren’t meant to be telling her what to do I guess it is only learnt behaviour. They are emulating their parents, they are trying to be good carers even though their language is misplaced! During a whole family discussion over tea last week, Holly wanted to raise the fact that she doesn’t have to share certain things that belong to her. We agreed and also took the opportunity to remind us all that our birth kids are great at sharing. They share their toys, their home, their parents and they do so readily. It made me feel proud but also reminded me that occasionally professionals involved with us forget this – rightly, much effort is afforded to the child in care be it advocates or Easter eggs but birth kids can be a bit invisible. They contribution is often astounding.

These kids that go along with us are magnificent and even though they may have a hard time they bring so much to the metaphorical fostering table. I know for myself I can take them for granted and when we go on holiday in a couple of weeks I have mentally made a note that I’m going to tell them of all the good that they do and reward them with copious amounts of ice cream. Maybe if you are in our situation you could encourage yours too!

James

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