25th May, 2021
As a fostering family of 14 years offering long term, short term, respite and emergency care we have been able to help support and offer some stability to a large number of children from varied backgrounds and with different needs.
All our children have individual needs and present with various challenging behaviours. We had looked after siblings for respite before so maybe two or three weeks at a time until two years ago when we had the pleasure of 3 siblings from another country. They bought a whole different set of challenges for our family. The language and understanding were our first hurdle then there was the different way of life these lovely children had been used to.
After a few stressful months we gained their trust through caring, nurturing, basic routines and lots of patience and playing. Soon they started thriving and learning, at home, school, and nursery. These children loved being part of our whole family and friends’ group. When we woke them each morning and they smiled saying 'Good morning' is the biggest reward a foster carer can get.
During the first lockdown we all struggled for a few weeks, with keeping the siblings all happy at the same time due to them being different ages, personalities and being out of their usual routines. But having to be at home all of the time was a blessing in disguise for our household. Paul, Matt, and I all helped with home schooling and got into a good routine of exercise or dancing with Joe Wicks, Kids Bop or other fitness classes on YouTube, schoolwork each morning. We would all play, do craft, cooking or gardening in the afternoons. The weather was great, so we had our swimming pool set up, and made lots of obstacle courses in our garden. This helped the children to share and take turns, they learnt to play tennis and other ball games as well as all learning to swim with Matt's help even the 3-year-old. The children were found their separate new families during the lockdown and this had a whole new set of challenges for all of us due to restrictions however, with commitment, lots of support and good planning all three children are in their new homes now and are all very happy and settling well where they are. We have regular virtual contact from all three children as they ask their new families if they can share their news with our family and we are all planning to meet up when restrictions are lifted.
The thought of having siblings longer than a couple of weeks was quite scary at first even with our training and experience but it was the most rewarding time for all our family.
The Sims family