The Unsung Hero | This is Fostering
As part of our Foster Care Fortnight campaign, we wanted to use the theme ‘This is Fostering‘ to explore and share stories from all parts of the fostering community. Every foster care journey is different and all fostering families are unique in their own way. Each person that works in foster care will have their own version of ‘This is Fostering’.
Today we are sharing with you the reality of fostering from our Support Manager; who experiences first hand just what fostering is truly like from the eyes of a foster child. Claire works very closely with the young people and our Foster Carers to ensure that the placement remains stable and the young people get the help that they need when they need it. Here, she tells us why she sees a Foster Carer as the unsung hero in a young persons life.
Claires ‘This is Fostering’ Story..
“There is no such word as “perfect”, there is no such thing as “normal” and everyone is allowed to have a bad day!
There is not always an answer to every question and you can not always be prepared for the questions you will be asked.
But this is what makes foster children so special. A lot of them have never had anyone they can trust to answer their questions. They have never been given choices and a lot have never been praised.
They are so vulnerable and simply quite scared and confused. But let’s go into their world for 2 minutes.
Life in Care
You have been removed from your family (parents, grandparents and siblings), your friends and your pets. You’re taken to some total strangers house and told you will be living there for now and that you were not safe living with your family. You, as a child, do not know what ‘safe’ is. You have never experienced it. Your life was your routine, the shouting, swearing and hitting was normal so what is safe?
These strangers that you are supposed to now live with are scary. They are pretending to know how you feel and what you are thinking. But they don’t because as a child you do not know what you are thinking, or fully how you are feeling. Your whole world has been ripped away from you and you are expected to be ok with this.
A Foster Carer’s Role
So as Foster Carers you are like the superheroes of life. You do not know this and neither do the children yet! But you will all be starting a journey of healing and growing together.
Professionals are there to help you to understand what is happening and why. My role is to work with the children and the carers to help everyone understand what is happening with the young person and their life. A lot of foster children don’t understand their feelings and emotions and suffer a lot of anxiety, anger and stress. They all handle it very differently and sometimes by having a third person to talk to it can help them to go to their Foster Carer for reassurance and to be embraced.
I find that with my job a lot of children explain to me over the years of working with them that they now understand what ‘safe’ means. They can see why they were removed and that they can see all the care and love the carers have given to them.
The Unsung Hero
The carers do not always see the amazing work that they do, this is because they see it as normal and that they are just doing what is needed. They do not see the simple reassuring “well done” and “thank you” as being some of the most important words a child can hear.
They do not see that a TV in their bedroom is so special to a child and that having a friend round for tea is something new. Over time the children see Foster Carers as their family, their home and their life. They learn to embrace the change and take the journey of foster care together. This is something and someone that the child will never ever forget.
During this lockdown, I have seen just how happy our children are with the foster families and how new memories are all being made.
I appreciate that currently the NHS are the hero’s, but I still think and always will think that Foster Carers are the every day unsung hero’s.”