I am always reluctant to single any of our Foster Parents out for praise, as whenever I hear of the work that our families do, in Panel at home reviews, through our Link Workers or Out of Hours -- I am consistently surprised by the level of commitment to the children and the lengths that they go to ensure that our children have a good experience.
Kate Tyler has taken the time to write about a very young lad that she cared for for the last year. He arrived as a mother and baby placement, the mother couldn't stay, so Kate was left literally holding the baby for eleven months. Inevitably, there have been ups-and-downs, but she has stuck with him as he settled, and they shared many important milestones over the year. He was a regular feature at supervision, and some of us had the good fortune to meet this appealing little lad on many occasions.
Pre-adoption work brings it's own set of challenges, and Kate portrays the emotion perfectly in the article that she has offered. Kate knows that she has been the most important person in this baby’s life up to now, and has sacrificed her own emotions secure in the knowledge that she was doing the best for him.
You were a bag of bones, “like a skinned rabbit” (my Dad said). You sat silent and watchful, not moving, even when you were hungry – but your eyes said it all.
She left you after only 2 days, no kiss goodbye and no second look back. I cried then but you still stayed silent.
When we got back home I took you as mine. I kissed you and wrapped you up and cuddled you for ages. I made plans. This was to become your ‘first day’.
I put you on a baby harness and got as close to you as possible. Skin to skin. You breathed in me and I breathed in you. So the attachment began.
I felt blessed when you cried in hunger and rejoiced that you had found your voice. You grew fatter, noisier and playful. You interacted and became one of the family.
Even during times of illness and hospitalisation you remained cheerful (but quieter). Some old signs of emotional withdrawal and watchfulness returned but you soon bounced back when we got you home.
Days passed and you became ‘one of us’, part of the gang, my little boy.
Contact was frequent and sometimes very confusing. You cried when leaving and regressed when you came back. It was painful to watch. I hurt for you.
Court came and the decision was for you to be adopted. This was a great relief but then the reality set in. You were going to leave me. You aren’t my baby; you will be someone else’s.
I woke frequently in those coming nights, my eyes wet with dream tears. I knew they were for you. I felt I wasn’t letting you go, you were being torn from me.
I got up frequently in the night and stood over you while you were asleep, drinking in your slumber, peaceful and content, wondering if your new Mummy and Daddy would love you just as much. They couldn’t possibly, could they?
Then I met them. My heart soared as they reached out for each other excitedly as I recalled funny stories about you. I knew they had fallen for you, and this made it okay to really let you go.
We had a timetable, a plan to work with. Days would be mapped out for you to be introduced to them and eventually the day would come where they take you for good.
That day is today (26/01/16). I woke early and wrote this down. I didn’t want to forget. My heart hurts, my chest hurts. You look too little to have had so much happen to you and now you have to have another – letting me go.
I wash you – for the last time, feed you – for the last time, cuddle you and sing to you – for the last time because they are here. I panic a bit – ‘No sorry, not today thank you’. But I don’t. I hand you over with a smile and a final kiss. This is torture. I wave goodbye and go back inside.
I feel as empty as the play pen. I sit and stare for a bit, tidy up random things and then go into your bedroom. Your smell is still there; I breathe you in again and then open the window, wide. You are no longer here. This is someone else’s bedroom now, that’s how it is, that’s how it has always been. That is fostering.
Image credit: Pexels
Last modified on Wednesday, 06 April 2016 15:27