Hi, I’m Amee, I’ve been a foster carer for GLF for 4 years and to date have been lucky enough to have fostered 9 amazing kids, this is my blog!

Driving home for Christmas

Since my last blog I’ve been thinking a lot about my most recent experience with fostering at Christmas which was incredibly special and I have to put it down as one of the best Christmas’s I ever had.

We had a little girl in our care who was aged just two years old!   As new foster carers, the reality hit us quite sharply that all of a sudden Christmas wasn’t going to be all about us and what we wanted to do!

We had, as we always did, wanted to go to Scotland to spend the festive season with family!    However, it soon transpired that as our little one had lots of contact sessions with her birth family it was going to be difficult!   Contact is often something that gets spoken about a lot in the run up to becoming a foster carer!  They talk about it in the assessment process, they talk about it in the training!   But actually, until you actually become hands on involved with contact it’s quite hard to appreciate just how much turmoil it can cause!

Eventually after lots of organisation, emails, phone calls we got agreement from her social worker to allow us to take her to Scotland for two days!   Yes, DAYS not WEEKS!!    We were quite annoyed of course but the reality was we had to put her best interests first!

“She was glued to the spot not moving or rushing to open the presents, she was just in pure shock!”

That Christmas morning, very very early we heard a very loud bump!   A certain someone had fallen out of bed!  We all rushed in to make sure she was ok.  Her little face, oh my gosh I have no words for it!  She was just in complete shock as she had seen all the presents and her stocking overflowing!   “Amee Santa’s been” she kept repeating over and over!  She was glued to the spot not moving or rushing to open the presents, she was just in pure shock!  Oh, the memory of it burns in my heart!   Just a tiny moment in time that for me is worth a billion billions!

“Just because its Christmas doesn’t mean that the child’s needs stop!”   

Boxing day when most families are still scoffing the Quality Street around the telly, feet up in front of the fire!   We were hare-tailing it down the motorway back to London!  And oh, did I moan!  I moaned the whole way!  Moan, moan moan/ are we there yet/ are we there yet!!!

Foster caring is just like being a parent only way more work!   Its 24/7, 365 days a year but usually as a parent you tend to get to be able to make those little decisions like going away for Christmas or if you want to stay home and do Christmassy stuff like bake gingerbread and play silly games!   Just because its Christmas doesn’t mean that the child’s needs stop!   And that includes contact with their birth families.

It was only recently her paternal Grandparents had found out of her whereabouts and desperately wanted her to go home to live with them!   As is often the case in fostering extended families have lost contact with the child and been unaware of the situation the child has been subjected to!    Once the child is in care it’s not just a simple case of oh your Granny has turned up, off you go and live with her!    They are then put through an gruelling assessment process to ensure they are suitable and able to meet the needs of that child!

“2 hours is all they had with her.   I had complained about having 2 days!”

So, that Christmas in another house somewhere far away from Scotland was another family who had just as much love for this little girl, if not more than us!     They were without her that year but the following year and all the years that have followed they were not!     That Christmas contact session on 27th Dec, the one that I moaned and moaned about having to do!   “Oh, it’s not fair “ I ranted to my fiancée  Scott why can’t we just have a week off with no contact?     In the waiting room of the contact centre I watched as one by one they all poured in wearing Santa hats, carrying what seemed like hundreds of presents.   Granny, Grandad, all the Aunties and her Daddy.   2 hours is all they had with her.   I had complained about having 2 days!     As I left, her Granny handed to me a present ‘to Amee and Scott” it said!  Even during their darkest time, they had still thought of us!     The two hours was quickly over and I could see them trying to hide their tears as we walked away!  Outside as I tried to load this precious 2-year-old and all her hundreds of presents into the car I could see them through the window clinging to each other, sobbing hard and trying to comfort each other!

I got it then, of course I did!

Merry Christmas everyone.