Foster carers, we see you...

Our thank you to all the selfless and wonderful foster carers who go above and beyond to love the children in their care.

We see you when you bend down to engage with the six-year-old you are caring for, ensuring you’re on his level so he doesn’t feel overwhelmed, offering your hand so he can choose to hold it on his terms, speaking clearly and softly your kind words of encouragement.

We see you when you resolutely pace back and forth with the crying baby, rhythmically and relentlessly patting her warm back, breathing deeply in the hope that it will help calm her down and keep you from screaming also, all the while murmuring, whispering, humming – anything that might soothe her tired and fractious little body.

We see you waiting outside the classroom, wanting to catch the teacher who doesn’t quite understand your eight-year-old and explain how they could potentially engage her better in lessons, knowing that if you could all work together for her sake it would make such a difference, keen to find out what topics are coming up next term so you can do your own research in preparation.

We see you when you take the four-year-old swimming for the first time, sitting with him at the edge and explaining how the arm bands will keep him safe and you won’t leave him for a second, gently cajoling him to try going into the water, and cheering for him when he finally dares to let go, with an enormous smile on his face.

We see you kneeling down with arms outstretched, calling to the one-year-old across the room, rattling her favourite toy to get her attention, hoping that your photographic skills will be up to scratch so that you can capture those all-important first steps for posterity.

We see you in the LAC review, advocating for the five-year-old to get the play therapy that he deserves, fighting for extra support for him and for you, arguing that he does have the potential to work through some of the trauma he’s experienced but that he needs professional support to do it.

We see you trawling the internet to find out everything you can about the latest boy band so that you’ll be able to engage the twelve-year-old in her favourite topic of conversation, dashing out to the supermarket for magazines and Oreo cookies and bedsheets in her favourite colour, hoping you can make her feel welcome even if she’ll only be with you for a fortnight.

We see you as you point out the red car and the blue sky and the green grass and the yellow ball, repeating the colours on a loop for the three-year-old who didn’t have any language when she came to you, labelling everything that she touches or points at, learning what sounds and which faces mean she is getting frustrated and needs a change of scenery.

We see you in the extra training session that you begged to be a part of, taking meticulous notes about the latest theories and therapies, scouring the pages of recent publications, learning as much as you can about FASD and the outworking of it so that you can give the nine-year-old the support that he needs.

We see you waiting up for the teenager to come home, nervously pacing as the minutes tick past, anxiously clutching your phone, desperate to call or text to make sure she’s on her way home as promised, hoping beyond hope that there won’t be another knock at the door from the police officer you’re becoming all too familiar with.

We see you at the back of church with the seven-year-old who is having a bad day and doesn’t want to go out to his group this morning, giving him the bag of stickers and pencils and colouring books and fiddle toys that you carefully assembled for just this kind of moment, and we see you shaking with suppressed emotion as he throws it at the wall.

We see you counting out raisins for the two-year-old as you try to teach her how much is enough, encouraging her to eat them one at a time, reassuring her that later on there will be dinner and tomorrow morning there will be breakfast, yet still discovering browned apple slices hidden beneath her soft toys.

We see you changing their nappies and clearing up their vomit.
We see you mending the toy they broke in a fit of rage.
We see you saving every scribbled drawing for the memory book.
We see you cheering for them on sports day.

We see you forcing a smile and a wave as you say goodbye, and then we see you sobbing after they have left.

We see you caring for them, fighting for them, forgiving them, loving them unconditionally, and letting them go.

To all foster carers:
We see you.
And we stand with you.
And we thank you – for all of this and more – for every unseen moment of sacrifice and selflessness.

Thank you.

Author:
Home for Good


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