Three Years On…
Last week we shared Anna Whitakers blog post ‘One Year On’, that talked about her first year caring for her two long-term foster children. This week we revisit Anna and her family to see the extraordinary change they have made to the lives of two children in their care. Not only have they grown as people, but as a family too. Anna shares her story below…
Three Years On…
“It’s that date again. The anniversary of the day we took the new additions into our home and family. Three years! Where does the time go?
When I began writing this post I stumbled upon a couple of drafts for this date last year that were never posted. I wish I had posted something but never mind.
Anyway, time ticks on and as it does the bond between us as a family grows ever stronger. We do more than rub along nicely together, we actually enjoy spending time with each other. Don’t get me wrong, there have been some up and downs and, as we enter teenage girl realm, we expect many more hiccups but generally we’ve found our equilibrium.
As we’ve got to know and understand the children we can predict triggers and, sometimes, prevent behaviours that were difficult to deal with at first. Our birth sons have continued to learn and understand that the way our foster children react to situations is sometimes beyond their control. My youngest son found it particularly hard to see his mum being kicked and punched by the little one but he understands now why it happens and has helped to calm situations and be a good role model.
One of the things that has been hard for us all to cope with is the lack of control over certain aspects of the children’s lives. As we are long-term carers we have what’s called delegated authority for some everyday decisions such as sleep overs, school trips, and haircuts. But we still have to refer back to the authority for most things. Decisions are sometimes made that are frustrating but we understand that they are not our birth children and therefore we can give our opinion but have to accept when it isn’t taken into account.
Another influence which has a huge impact on the children and our daily lives is that of the children’s birth parents. Unfortunately this is sometimes a negative influence and can impact massively on the children. We know that things with one of the birth parents are unstable at the moment, and that the children are going to be very hurt and upset, but all we can do is continue to love, help and support them and hope we can be the bigger influence in the end.
As I look back over the past three years I am still astounded by the way these children have grown, physically, emotionally and spiritually. The ambitions they have and the dreams they harbour give me hope for their futures.
So here we are three years later. Three years of love and laughter. Three years of tears and tantrums. Three years of learning and growing. And although I know there will be hard times, I don’t regret the life changing decision we made to welcome these beautiful, loving, wonderful children into our lives.
Three years on, and many more to come.”
In 2017 a child will go into care every 17 minutes and with a national shortage of 9,000 foster carers, we need your help to reduce the shortfall. Contact us on 0808 301 8460 or come and see us at one of our fostering information events.