Birth Child Stories: Meet Georgia
Meet Georgia, a young lady who has had a number of foster siblings over the years. Here she gives some insight into her experience.
What is your age and what do you like to do in your spare time?
I am 23, and as for spare time, I don’t get much of it. I am currently in my third year at uni doing a psychology degree, working as a healthcare assistant and have a little boy aged 3. When I have spare time I like to go out with my son and partner making memories and having fun.
How did you feel when your parents first came to you to say they were thinking of fostering?
My initial thoughts about my parents fostering were mixed as I didn’t know very much about it, however, I did not dislike the idea.
How was your experience with the assessment process? If you were interviewed, what were your thoughts?
My experience of the application process was pleasant and undemanding. I had a meeting with the social worker who asked me several questions about myself and my life and I was more than happy to answer.
Can you recall that first experience of a foster child coming to live with you? How did you feel before and after? Was it at all like you expected?
The first foster child my parents cared for was at weekends for respite care of a young girl with disabilities. I gained a strong attachment to this little girl and struggled in the beginning with the idea of her coming and going. However, after a while this becomes easier to deal with and I think you develop a barrier in how deep your bonds become with the foster children. This barrier acts as a support for when they leave so that it doesn’t cause emotional distress.
What are the challenges of being part of a family that fosters?
One of the biggest challenges I have encountered, amplified by being an only child is how much attention and time the children take away from their career. Very little of the carers time especially initially after placement of children is left for any other family members or socialising. I struggled for a long time, in the beginning, accepting the foster children as I felt they had taken my parents away from me. However, now I live back at home I consider the girls a part of the family and couldn’t imagine life without them. You learn to ignore and see past the nasty things they say to your parents and the hurtful things they do. I think studying psychology has especially helped me as I have a better understanding of their behaviour and the unconscious factors behind it.
What are the positives of being part of a family that fosters?
Difficulties aside, the foster children are like added members of the family. More company, more people to make memories with, more people to see develop in the family home into happy and healthy adults. The girls are brilliant with my son and enjoy very much playing with him and sharing his toys. It is very rewarding seeing the children transform, progress and develop over their time in care.
What happens when a child/young person leaves your home? Can you recall how you feel?
I think this question is very subjective and would depend entirely on the relationship you personally have with the child and the terms on which they leave the placement. For my parents’ first child I was quite distressed that I would never see the child again. However for other children who have left the house is has been more of a relief due to their violent behaviour and hostility.
What advice would you give to other birth children that are currently going through the assessment process with their parents to become a foster family?
Keep an open mind and remember to communicate. Your parents are trying to do the best they can for the children in care, don’t worry if you feel like they’ve forgotten you, just remind them that you are there and feel like you’re being pushed out. As my parents did, they will take it on board and as difficult as it is, hopefully, spread their time more evenly to suit everyone’s needs.