M had always said to us that when he finds his forever home, he wants a party. After nine months of M living with is, we found out about the fantastic news that he could stay with us long-term, so we granted his wish with a permanence party.
M came to stay with us as our first full foster care placement almost a year ago now. We had previously had short respite placements. One of M’s previous carers had sadly passed away from COVID-19, so it was a really difficult time for him.
Our first meeting with M was in the park and we were so nervous on our way to meet him. When he saw us, he shouted “I’m coming to live at your house forever”, which just evaporated our nerves instantly!
M was an anxious child when he first came to live with us. Over the months, he has become much more independent. There are big things like him now being dry at night for the first time, but also small things that we notice every day. Things like him tying his own shoelaces and feeling more confident when he is out at the park or when we’re away on holiday. It used to be that he would need to be physically close to us the whole time, then he would be backwards and forwards like a yoyo to make sure we were still there. He will now confidently go off to play and make friends which is a big change for M and his confidence in himself.
Home-schooling M has been really positive for us, as it helped us to further reinforce boundaries for him. He engaged really well and this really helped him to settle in. He has been doing brilliantly since going back to school, but it was quite a distance to his previous school which made each day really tiring for him. It’s an anxious time at the moment looking towards finding a closer school for M, but we know this will be positive for him in the long run.
After nine months of M living with us, we found out about the fantastic news that he could stay with us long-term, so we granted his wish with a permanence party. We had close family and friends there, balloons and a paddling pool. We bought a canvas and some acrylic paints where M’s handprint was placed in the middle, then ours and those who will be close to him around the outside letting him know we will always be there for him.
Our home felt like we were rattling around before M came and we now just love how busy and full of life the house feels. When we first started fostering, we felt dubious about having an older child and what you imagine/ hear that will be like, but we feel like we’ve been so lucky with our previous respite placements and M.
…I would say to just start the process and be yourself. If you find it’s not for you along the path to approval, that’s fine. When you are approved, you are under no pressure to take a placement that doesn’t feel right. We’ve never been pushed or pressured to take a placement that we weren’t sure about and have always felt comfortable to ask any questions. The training and support we’ve received from Capstone has been really good.