Fostering is so much more...
It's waking up in the morning and having a safe, happy, warm home for a child to sleep in. It's seeing someone who arrived so small and under nourished, someone abused or neglected, someone who didn't enter the world on good terms. It's watching someone like that go from barely surviving to living to their fullest. It's giving a chid a future. It's raising them like your own. It's feeling like you've made a difference to everyone, anyone, someone.
Okay so sometimes it's hard; Mum's busy with babies 24/7 because her job is constant. I have to learn to share my things, my home, my family with a stranger. Sometimes I'm woken by the cries of the babies and I put up with toys and mess everywhere.
But it's also a massive plus to my life; I'm proud to say my Mum doesnt have an ordinary job and that I have foster siblings! Mum is always at home to take care of me when I'm sick or hurt. And most importantly of all I get to cherish extraordinary children who have gone through so much. I get to teach them how to love and feel safe and I take part in watching them grow and learn each day.
When things like frequently changing social workers or a collapse in the "system", waiting for court dates or letting birth parents have multiple chances become distressing for the child and my family. At times my family feels consumed by our placement, like they have become our life and blood. This makes it so difficult to let go of someone who for so long has been part of you and your life.
In the weeks leading up to the transition the house becomes more tense and the tissues are brought out more often. It feels like you are losing an arm or a leg or part of your own family. Selfishly you dont want them to leave, although you know they can finally have a forever family. It's so tough to say "good bye" to someone you have watched develop and change and love.
Although much of the time fostering is a massive advantage it isn't always so fun. When foster children first come to us they are very damaged, stressed and temperamental. They wake at night and are sometimes violent and loud. Especially with babies, their only way of communicating is to scream and cry. This is very hard to over come. One of the most annoying things about fostering is other people thinking they understand. Often saying things like "I couldn't do it - I'd find it too hard" which makes me angry as it makes me feel like they think I'm heartless or don't develop feelings for the child.
Of course I find it hard but it’s a choice we, as a family, made in order to save a child's life. Others try and compare and understand but the truth is, it's merely impossible to know what it's like, what it feels like unless you are a foster carer. Sometimes even other foster carers do not understand, as although they have also been through similar struggles, they have not dealt with this individual child. They have not grown to love them like you do. They haven't picked them up from the lows and watched them at their highs.
But the majority of the time it's realising that even though you are only one small person in this world you can help improve an issue that is much bigger - a small child's life.