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Even after fostering for 25 years I am still moved to tears by the abuse and neglect that some children have experienced at Christmas before coming into care. Their suffering seems more poignant at Christmas time when glad tidings of great joy should abound and love be with us all. I think I must have heard of every atrocity and sadness being committed over Christmas, from the little boy who carefully picked the batter off the two chicken nuggets he found in an otherwise empty freezer, to make them look more like the turkey he saw the rosy-cheeked children enjoying on television. To the four year old who was badly beaten on Christmas morning and then shut in a cupboard for waking his parents too early. He’d woken them to ask if Santa Clause had been – he hadn’t.

Sadly the number of children brought into care often goes up just after Christmas when families - already struggling to cope - are forced together for the long holiday and bombarded with images of the perfect family having a perfect Christmas, and find it all too much. Also, it’s not unusual to have a foster child arrive on Christmas Eve. I always have a few extra presents ready just in case. But, of course, for us as foster carers being able to give a child or children their first proper Christmas is wonderful and the best Christmas present we can have. It makes all the planning and hard work that goes into Christmas completely worthwhile when you see the smiles on their little faces.

I hope you have a truly wonderful Christmas. This quote says it all for me:

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree is the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Much love,

Cathy x (