Not just a job - Mairi's story #SandD2015

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My family – me, my mum, my dad and my three younger brothers. It had been like this for four-and-a-half years when my mum took on a job that was different and more difficult than any other job she’d had or ever will have. It involved us all, not just her – my dad, me, my brothers and our home, our family life. My brothers and I never really understood what the job would involve, Ruaridh, my youngest brother was only four and I was 10. Yet, I now don’t see it as a job, it is way more than that to all of us. It is one of the best experiences of my life and I love it.

We didn’t know what to expect, we didn’t realise how emotionally involving it would be, in bad ways but mainly in good. We were told one week prior to our first foster child arriving and I, at least, anticipated it with excitement. My parents knew very little about him and I was told even less. We’ll call him Andrew, for confidentiality reasons. He was only ten days old when he first arrived at our front door but that didn’t stop him from making his presence known. I remember so clearly watching my parents with this tiny baby; he was premature and covered in wrinkles as if he was too small for his skin.

He grew so quickly over the next few weeks and was almost unrecognisable by the time he was a few months old. As he grew so did our love for him, and he slotted right into our family, I don’t think I really realised in those first few months that he would actually have to leave he was so ingrained in our family, I couldn’t imagine life without him.

Joint parenting

During this time he’d had regular what is called “contact” with his parents when they looked after him for an hour or two under the supervision of a social worker. It was a weird experience, a stranger would come round in the morning pick up Andrew and take him to visit his mum and he’d get dropped back later. The only way I can really describe it as joint parenting - my mum would write Andrew’s mum a note saying when he needed fed, if he’d need a nap etc. Then he’d come back with a note saying what happened and what they did at contact. This was done to give his parents practise of looking after him so that when they were ready, he could go to live with them again. Initially this worked well with Andrew; we all believed he’d be able to go home. Yet, it didn’t stop it being a bit weird. For example, I remember us trying to teach him to walk and when he did take his first steps we were all delighted. So we told Andrew’s mum he was close to taking his firsts steps so she’d have that experience of seeing him walk for the first time. 

By Mairi, 15

Mairi's blog was written as part of our Sons and Daughters Month blogging competition. Find out more about Sons and Daughters Month.