Groundhog Day…

21 06 2009

…well what I mean is, fostering is a little like Goundhog Day for us. Every time we get a new child we seem to live the same things over and over again: the same difficulties and solutions; the same successes – and sometime failures ; the same satisfaction when something goes right; the same stories and songs at bedtime… but everything just slightly different and with a new personality.

That’s partly due to the fact that we choose to foster toddlers – and boys only – all the time. So we are permanently stuck in the terrible 2’s (what’s so terrible about them anyway – I think they’re great fun and just a normal but important part of growing up).

My eldest son put it well: it’s a bit like Doctor Who – our foster children just regenerate into a different person every year or so. Underneath they’re basically the same -they just look and behave a little different.

This struck me just the other day at our youngest son’s sports day at school. There we were, chasing yet another foster child around the playing field, trying to stop him getting in the way of the events, stealing the football and generally running off to where he wasn’t meant to be. Whoa – deja vu! We’ve been here before – several times – but with one minor difference each time – a slightly different little boy. (Never seen my wife sprint so fast as when he disappeared around the corner of a classroom – well it made me laugh 🙂

We think we’re getting better at looking after this age group each time we go through it; we understand their needs a little more, know when a cuddle is required and when a telling off is in order, know what’s going to happen at reviews and hearings, know which health professionals to get involved at which stage, know how to deal with toddler behaviours.

Maybe one day we’ll get so clever that we’ll know how to stop it all happening in the first place?

Well we can dream…

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It’s a family thing

6 06 2009

I liked the start of the article in the Guardian’s Down With The Kids column this weekend.

“With the birth of our third child last month, my wife and I now have more kids than pairs of hands. As a footballer friend pointed out, this means we must change tactics from man-to-man marking to zonal defence.”

The truth of fostering for us is that we’re all foster carers, all 5 of us. It’s not just Mum or Dad who are the foster carers, we all do our bit. And it’s been great for our own kids. They have all become much more responsible as a result and take it all very seriously. Imagine having civilised, mature, responsible teenagers 😉 Unheard of? We do!

You know, I think I’d actually recommend fostering just because of the benefits to my own family. Sure, there can be some downsides, but the family is definitely stronger, I think we talk about things more and we appreciate each other too. If they weren’t part of it then it wouldn’t work! It really is something to do as a family for us.