Sons and daughters are here 12 months a year

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We hear from Alex Shewring, the daughter of a foster carer, about what being a foster sibling means to her

Halloween is upon us and it marks the end of Sons and Daughter’s Month. However, it’s at this juncture that I’d like to remind everyone that, just because Sons and Daughter’s Month is finishing, it doesn’t mean we have stopped fostering.

Half-term coincided with Sons and Daughters Month this year. For me, school holidays are a time to forget about my responsibilities and finally sleep in past six in the morning for a week. But with a foster kid in the house, that week turns into running a sleep away camp – planning activities and making lunches and ensuring not too many vases get broken with nerf guns. It’s akin to running a scout camp which, trust me, isn’t easy.

I enjoy fostering. I like taking care of kids and helping as much as I can with as much of the fostering process as possible. I like being involved with every aspect of the process. I like to know exactly what’s going on in my own home. Unfortunately we aren’t considered to be ‘professionals’ by some people, when we are arguably some of the most professional people – we can argue our points like trained lawyers, protect children like mama lions, and organise families like fortune 500 CEO’s. We are professionals, that is a fact.

Along with being professionals, we are still people. We are as professional as our parents and, for those of us who are under 18, we have to act like grown adults – fighting for children’s rights and protecting them as if they were our own family, even though we are children ourselves. Children protecting children – giving a voice to those who don’t have one, even though we are hardly listened to ourselves.

We are sons and daughters and we are one of the most important parts of the fostering system. We can help foster kids develop the important social skills they need. We can teach them to share and how to play and how to treat their peers, all while keeping them in a comfortable and care-free environment. Granted, schools and parents can teach them those skills, but nobody does it quite like a sibling.

It’s Halloween, everyone is trying to come up with the best costume. To become someone else for just a night. Someone or something from the imagination of some unbelievably creative mind. Werewolves and vampires and mummies that exist for one night, and one night only.

Halloween may fall in Sons and Daughter’s Month but do not let us disappear with the vampires. We are real, and we are here for 12 months of the year, not just one.