What does a moment in time mean to most of us? It may mean a person’s whole life time or it may mean precisely what you see in a photograph. The picture looks like a mother and son enjoying a day out at the seaside. In fact what you see is a foster mother and her foster son doing exactly that. For my lad every day is a moment in time, every day is not knowing if this will be his forever family, every day is deciding who he can trust to keep him safe.
This is the journey that my husband and I started with him nearly 3 yrs ago. When someone says to us ‘I admire you for doing what you’re doing, they are damaged children, I don’t know if I could do it’. I have to remind them that it was an adult that damaged these children and it is adults that need to help them heal. We don’t need admiration, all we want is for the children who come into our lives to have the same opportunities as everyone else.
We decided to foster about 5 years ago, we started our journey with an interview in our home. Then we attended a skills to foster course and over those three days we got a better insight into the life of foster carers and the children that come into the care system. Once we decided that this was what we wanted we went through a 6 month assessment with our assessor and sat in front of a panel of about 15 people awaiting our fate. I have to say I burst into tears when they said yes, the build-up of emotions was overwhelming.
Our lad was our 2nd placement, he was with us for 2 weeks respite but sadly was not able to return to his previous carer. After 8 weeks with us the council wanted to move him, he was distraught as he had attached to us and us to him. In the end with the help of an advocate the council gave in and let him stay.
So almost 3 years on we are a family. Every day has it challenges but we work together to make sure that he feels safe and secure and that every moment in time counts.
I am happy to talk to anyone who is thinking about becoming a foster carer. It really is a life changing experience.
Irene is a foster carer with GLF.