Mrs Caregiver is a former nursery school teacher who lives with her husband and two sons. She decided to apply to become a foster carer after clearing out her husband’s former study (he was sent out to manage his firm’s office in Guernsey Monday to Friday, and no longer needs it), realising she could put it to good use, and she and Mr Caregiver have finally been approved for this new adventure.
In this fictional account, follow the Caregivers as they navigate the ups and downs of foster care, chronicling a journey full of surprises as they come to terms with their new role.
It’s a little past midnight, and I’m tossing and turning, perched on the fence between anticipation and nervousness. My stomach is performing the sort of cartwheels that my 16-year-old gymnast self would have been proud of.
All the training we've received and hours-on-end of waiting; it’s all about to be fully realised. And yet, like a shadowy cloud drifting across the moon, I know that something’s gone terribly wrong for the young one about to arrive on my doorstep.
No amount of training could possibly fully prepare one to face this reality, but come what may, I’ll welcome the child with open arms.
Deciding that I can no longer fall back into an easy slumber, I slide out of bed and into my fluffy house slippers. It’s time for a midnight stroll around the house.
The night is quiet, not a thing stirs within these walls. The odd loose floorboard creaks as I tiptoe past one room after the other. The doors are closed, the name plaques hanging loosely around the doorknobs tell me who occupies those chambers; two sons that I know like the back of my hand.
But there is one that I know little about. His is the only door left slightly ajar, and as I give it a gentle nudge, it swings forward to reveal his new quarters. A single bed in the corner with a brand new mattress, soft cotton sheets, a Captain America duvet cover with matching pillow case, and a set of pyjamas neatly folded at the foot of the bed.
By the window with a garden view stands a tiny desk and chair. There’s a pin board dangling off a shoelace tethered to the lamp, on which there are photographs of our family as we know it. Their names are printed off on little labels, but in time I hope he will do away with these and turn to the still frames of his mind.
On the front of the wardrobe, I’ve attached a make-shift leather pocket inside of which he will find the family’s dinner menu for the week featuring some of his favourites (I’ve had to look far and wide to find some of the ingredients!), and a little comic that my eldest put together chronicling life in our household.
It looks like everything is ready for when he arrives in a few hours’ time. The luminous wall clock overhead has one of Mickey’s gloved hands pointing at ‘one’ while the other snails past ‘twelve’. The butterflies have somewhat settled in my tummy, my eyelids feel heavier than they did an hour ago.
There’s no use fretting over it now, all I can do is wait. I’ve ticked all the right boxes, and undergone training for this. We're not alone; everybody from social worker to my immediate family make up the backbone of this bold endeavour. There is more than enough space at the table for the little one who has endured more than what his young years are capable of.
Like the fairground candy grabber, I don’t know quite what to expect. But be it a salted caramel that gets stuck in your teeth, or a packet of sugary Haribos that’s a sure way to cavities, the sweet far outweighs the bitter, and as I close his bedroom door behind me, I know it will be all right.