There is no question about it, fostering can have a huge impact on family life. We have been fostering since our son was three. We child minded before this so he was always used to having other kids in the house, sharing his toys, special occasions and his mum and dad!
When we started to foster he was excited about who was going to be next though the door and having a new "big brother or sister". He found it exciting one day when we had 6 police cars turn up for a placement that had a warrant for his arrest.
But as he's got older things have changed. He's had to deal with getting attached to children that have been adopted that he wanted to keep, although we have been lucky enough to be able to stay in contact it wasn't an easy time for him.
It has however made him aware of how lucky he is. He knows we would go to the end of the earth for him. I, however, often feel guilty when I've had to put the other children in our home first. In hindsight, I think if I could go back in time, I would have waited until he was older to start to foster, but we make sure that we set time aside to have one to one time with him and have a holiday with just the three of us once a year.
As the boys are TLC placements, we have the benefit of weekly sessions with a therapist that has advised us on ways to move forward, not just with the boys but to help us build relationship between the other children in the house and our extended family.
When the boys arrived 6 months ago it was as if a tornado had whipped though our life! They didn't hold back about what they thought of me and that can be very difficult for your own child to hear and not to react to. We always give him an idea of their background to help him understand what they are going through but that's sometimes no comfort to him.
Fast forward to this weekend and how things have changed We all went swimming and our own son was teaching the youngest to swim on his back, this would be tricky with any child but we think that he is on the autistic spectrum, so it's a whole different ball game. He was so patient, calm and encouraging and I was very proud. He has put the last 6 months behind him and built up a relationship with a little boy who wants to be part of our family and not be treated like an outcast, like he was at home.
At Blue Sky, they have a birth children group were they can talk about how they feel and give their opinions on what they think. This is really important as they can speak as honestly as they like (and they will!!), and be supported and listened to. Our son says that when he's older he would like to foster too, so he can make a difference. I think he'd be quite good!!
Take care, from The Von Trapp family!