One of the hardest parts of being a foster carer is saying good bye to a child who you have cared for. Not only do the children make attachments to us and our families but we also make attachments to them and this makes it all the more difficult when it is time for them to move
Two of our foster carers have given their experience of how they found this. One of them will be giving her experience of saying goodbye after a placement that lasted a year and half and the other her experience after her first placement that lasted 2 weeks.
I was approved in March 2014. I had a couple of referrals which after discussion with my supervising social workers, decided against due to my lack of experience and the particularly high needs of the children.
At about 4.30pm on Monday 2nd June, JES rang me to let me know of an emergency placement for two children. By 5.15pm it was confirmed that they would be with me and we agreed what time they would arrive. The next two weeks were a steep learning curve for me, my partner and
my children but the placement went really well and we were able to continue doing all our normal activities because the children went to breakfast and after school club. If anything
we were more organised having the children with us. I had to employ strategies to ensure the daily logs were written up properly, this was quite hard because I wanted to write loads on each child but I found ways to say what needed to
be said as accurately as possible.
The whole process with regard to the children leaving was complicated as I was told one day that the children could be with me for up to a year due to the issues of the family and then finding out the next day that they would leave at the end of the two weeks! Emotionally, we were all over the place but it was all exciting and really rewarding. The two children were well behaved and a pleasure to look after. An easy first placement.
By the time we all got our heads around the leaving date, I got busy with buying gifts and cards, in a strange sort of way – I was ready for when the children left, I wasn’t heartbroken as I had expected to be. All ended well and feedback from the children’s social worker was really positive……..on to the next one or two!
We were fortunate to have met the child who was due to come and share our lives as he had come a month before for respite care. We knew what his likes and dislikes were, so that made
the initial transition straight forward. As he relaxed and became more comfortable his true personality began to show. He could
be helpful, loving, cheeky, rude and quite disruptive all within the course of a day. However we soon learnt to adapt and read the signs and respond accordingly, always being honest, affirming and encouraging.
Our objective was to give the child positive experiences and that could be as simple as empowering him to have the confidence to
go to the shop and ask for what he needed, using good manners or to travelling across the other side of the world and immerse himself in a different culture and everything in between. This was often very challenging as he was operating outside of his comfort zone, but seeing him grow in confidence and talk with great pride and joy about his experiences far outweighed the often constant repetitive encouragement to get him to try new things that were positive and to take advice on how to do things in a positive way that would enhance his life and make life easier for all involved. What gave us the most joy was when he repeated things that we had taught him, i.e. “ You said that you must not say uh or what, but pardon and you just said uh “.
The child in our care has now left to begin a new chapter of his life and whilst there has been lots of tears and sadness alongside the fact that we miss him dreadfully, it was the right decision. We hope we have instilled in him some solid foundations that he can build on, which will enable him to lead a very successful life.