In fostering a large part of the fun is watching progress.
There's always plenty to drive you up the wall; clothes strewn over bedroom floors, toothbrushes obviously not used for three days despite assurances, vegetable wars, nightly re-negotiations about bedtimes.
If you're not careful you might miss the positive developments your child makes. The reason you might miss them is because they aren't flagged up by causing you inconvenience. Quite the opposite; they make your life easier, so they're not so easy to notice.
What happened was this;
I'm about recovered from a small operation, but they won't let me drive yet.
One of our looked-afters started a new school and normally I'd pick him up in the car. But I can't. So he has to walk home.
Now, when I was his age we all walked home, parents didn't do school runs. The culture is totally different now and I'd expected a ruck - he's doing a much longer day and now had a 30 minute walk up a hill at the end of it. He gets a ride in the morning from his foster dad, but his day is now ten and a half hours. Long day.
We explained why he'd need a walk and he was completely cool.
Now, it would be easy to miss something here. One could easily say that the child is simply doing what has to be done, so no big deal.
But it is a big deal. The child is pitching in to our family's needs. Not really done that before. It's huge. No moaning, no arguing, no feeling sorry for himself. No trying to negotiate a toy or a phone upgrade.
We could easily have ignored his contribution. We could have said to ourselves that he had no choice, that it would be the same for any other kid, that lots of people do 10 hour days.
He's traipsed home every afternoon and flaked out on the sofa without a single whinge or attempt to wangle anything to make up for his discomfort.
He's been so fantastic we'r trying to think of a way to reward him.
Why look at it like that? Because you are mad if you deprive yourself of the celebration of a great moment. You just have to keep your eyes peeled.
Why not go looking for the joys of fostering in the same way that it's easy to notice the struggles?
It makes sense, and makes everybody happy!