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Long-term placement celebrations

We went through a long, uncertain time about the girl’s futures. It was originally planned for them to go up for adoption, and we had both agreed from the beginning that we would support whatever course of action was in their best interests. It was then recommended that they were so settled with us that they should stay, but another long-term family for the girls had potentially been found.

The girls came to live with us on Valentine’s Day just before the first lockdown. It was an incredibly tough time for them when they first arrived, as they were separated from their three older siblings and their Nana. They were dropped off at night-time by two ladies they did not know, so it was quite an overwhelming experience for them. We had taken a good guess that they may like unicorns and so they had these and other teddies waiting for them in their rooms. Lockdown included lots of walks and home-schooling meant we were able to spend much more time than usual together which really helped the girls to settle in with us.  

Our youngest foster child was particularly sensitive to loud noises to begin with. If she heard a motorbike, she would quickly jump on our lap. We went away to Blackpool during the first easing of lockdown, and she struggled with the noises on the pier. We also had to keep reassuring them that if we left the room, etc. that we were always coming back.

With routine, consistency and reassurance; over time the girls both began to thrive with us.

We let them choose things for their own bedrooms and kept photos of their family around for them to help them feel secure.

We went through a long, uncertain time about the girl’s futures. It was originally planned for them to go up for adoption, and we had both agreed from the beginning that we would support whatever course of action was in their best interests. It was then recommended that they were so settled with us that they should stay, but another long-term family for the girls had potentially been found and so no final decision was made.

The girls kept asking where they were going to be living and we couldn’t build their hopes up. We knew for certain that they would be with us up until Christmas, but after that it was uncertain. Our eldest foster child hit a really low point after Christmas and when we talked to her, we found out that it was because she was so worried she was going to be moving. It was such a difficult time for everyone.

Kate and I, along with the social workers involved felt strongly that with how settled the girls were, they should continue to stay with us as per the recommendation. We didn’t want them to move and felt that it would now be detrimental to their wellbeing. We persisted and then after months, we eventually heard the amazing news that senior management at the local authority had made the final decision that they could stay with us long-term.

We took the girls to Pizza Hut to give them the fantastic news. They were both so happy. We had each of their rooms decorated separately to celebrate their individuality. Our eldest foster child carried on with the unicorn theme, whilst our youngest foster child chose pink and purple dinosaurs. They go to dance classes, rainbows and swimming lessons. We want them to experience as many opportunities as possible. They absolutely love spending time with their siblings still and both of them have grown so much in confidence. During a recent holiday, our youngest couldn’t wait to get on all the rides at a theme park (a stark difference to Blackpool pier!) and the eldest climbed all the way to the top of a climbing wall which was such a shock as she has previously struggled to believe in herself with any kind of activity like that. Once she had worked out how to get back down, she wanted to do it all over again! We have watched her grow from a baby to a confident child before our eyes.

We can take them anywhere; they are both so polite and we are incredibly proud of them. They want to go on a plane next!

To anyone thinking about becoming a foster carer…

…we would say it’s the most rewarding thing you can ever do. Seeing the difference and watching their confidence grow is just incredible.

Go with your heart and how you feel. If it feels right to you, then just go for it. If during the application process it doesn’t feel quite right, then now is perhaps not the right time, as it’s so important that you’re all in.

It’s the best decision we’ve ever made to become foster carers for both the short-term placements we had previously and the girls we have now who we are happy to say, will be part of our family forever.

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