Sunday, October 28, 2012

You just want to give this carer, who commented after the last post about us carers getting too sensitive, a hug.

She (I'm guessing it's a "she", forgive me if you are a "he") commented:

"Oh how true this is. I especially felt it when a placement broke down due to increasing violence against me. I was made to feel inadequate and told the child would be placed with perfect foster carers (I am a single carer).

Child had multiple placements before they came to me. I was able to contain and survive the violence for longer than anyone else had done, and the placement with the perfect carers - lasted just longer than the honeymoon period - hmmm so perhaps I didnt do so bad after all!!!"

It's so frustrating to read a comment that deserves more than a reply on a computer screen, but it's all I can do, so I'll try to give you my best shot.

It's clear what your main concern is, but you raise several issues; violence, receiving a child who has had numerous placements that failed, being a single carer. I don't know how single carers do it. I know a few, and they do do it, and one in particular I know does it as well, if not better than most.

And right there, without thinking, I've gone and done it. The thing that seems to be your main lament.  I've gone and judged other carers.

How bloody dare I?

Who am I or any foster carer to go trying to work out if others are good or indifferent, and why?

I can try to defend myself by saying that analysing the practices of other carers will help me in my work. At a push I can tell myself that it's important I remain vigilant so that I can intervene and support other carers who may need help.

Aw c'mon, who am I kidding? We all know the real reasons we are interested in other carers lives. Let's be absolutely honest with ourselves for a bit. Does us good.

The main reason is we're plain nosey about other people. Even nosier about people we know. Our own lives are complicated and fraught with so many little details. We are drawn towards getting as much information as we can about other people. Why? Maybe because it's a comfort to know that other's lives are complicated and fraught too.

We are at our nosiest about people who we compare ourselves to. The people who we think we are compared to by others. We naturally want to think well of ourselves, and believe that others think well of us too. And it's this that leads us towards finding fault with others, and being worried that others are finding fault with us.

These are instinctive urges deep in our very heart and soul. Maybe somewhere in the depths of evolution or God's scheme there is a good enough reason for it, but most of the time it's plain destructive.

It's not confined to foster carers, obviously. Everyone gets wound up thinking they are being judged unfairly. 

Prime Ministers, the Royal Family, film stars, footballers, soap stars.

Social workers, teachers, nurses and doctors, bus drivers. Even....

Even who?


Even who???

Even looked-after children. Make that ESPECIALLY looked after children.

Let's come back to that.

The carer who contributed the comment deserves to feel good about everything, every single thing they have done. I can only say those words, it's for you to try to come round to knowing that.

And anyone, who accidentally or not, made you question your powers and credentials, and this could mean all of us, yes me included, and not just other carers, must TRY HARDER.

Try harder for ourselves. And for our children. Because, you know what? I read that comment a good few times and missed something. It didn't jump out at me until I was pecking away at the keyboard.

Somewhere, in that comment, is a child. A child who has been placed and re-placed, and re-re-placed, and as far as we know is still on the move. 

If anybody feels really, really unfairly judged it's the child. Because we know from all our training it's not the child's fault that they have massive issues.  They are even more certain of the injustice of their lives than the experts.

What can we do? Our best, as this carer did, to try for the child. And if our home and well-being is under unacceptable threat, we contribute that to a professional decision - as you clearly did.

You participated in a decision that was right for you and the child.

Of course the injustice of being made to feel inadequate is excruciating. But the injustice of waking up in yet another strange bedroom, with a new set of people, who say they want to help you until you give them a regular dose of how angry you really deserve to be, wake up in another strange bedroom. 

I hope to God  you don't feel any criticism in that last bit. None is intended. You did all you could, and did it better than any of the previous carers...

Oh hell, there I go again.

The Secret Foster Carer

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for those comments all of which are true. I held on to the placement eleven months after the assault, and the accusations of me attempting to throttle them, the permanent exclusions from school for violence, etc etc etc. I had intended to keep the child until 18, but it became unsafe for me to do it - child is no longer in a family placement but in a therapeutic community. The damage by birth parents compounded by multiple placements and changes in social workers.

    I havent given up, several very successful placements before this one and just in process of going through panel to be a full time fosterer!!

    When the failed placemnt grows up and reflects on their time in care - they will at least know that I did all I could to keep the placement intact - and even now I still think of that child almost every day

    Oh by the way - I am female!!