We have just had Mothering Sunday, a day where we make a bit of a fuss and treat our mothers to flowers, chocolates, breakfast, a rest etc. I considered how the day would have been if we had foster children placed with us. It must be very hard to be without your mum on a day when everyone else is celebrating theirs. These wonderful, festive days aren't so wonderful for everyone. But I suppose it doesn't have to be just the 'big' days that cause the pain. I'm sure that any one missing a loved one will have triggers of loss and sadness in the mundane of life.
Mothers day is also a day for appreciating motherhood. I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to be 'Mummy' and love every minute (even the frustration, exhaustion and messiness of it!) I am also very excited to be given the opportunity to parent other children while their parents cannot. There are around 50 children taken into care each day in the UK; there are approximately 4,000 children waiting adoptive families and more than 8,000 foster families needed to take on the the 'burden,' giving homes to our most vulnerable and damaged children. When I think about these numbers I am even more grateful to be given the opportunity to help.
Recently I have been inspired by 3 amazing Mums; one is a friend of a friend who has fostered and adopted children with highly complex medical needs. She manages to juggle everything a child normally needs alongside the delicate and vulnerable health issues they also have, so that their lives remain as rich and happy as possible - she does this with so much love and care, its amazing.
Another one is a lady on a reality TV programme who has had 16 children so far! OK, she started a lot younger than me, but I don't think I could go through that many pregnancies or labours! The inspiring thing about her was that she was so optimistic, happy and enthusiastic about her children, and her children seemed happy, healthy and thriving! She and her husband worked hard to support them all both emotionally and financially, yet their marriage seemed stronger for it. This mother, and her family, didn't make me want to have a football team of kids, but made me realise that you can nurture, cherish, love and raise a large family.
The last Mum is a lady who was interviewed on the Mothers Day 'Songs of Praise' special (a Sunday evening tradition) She lives in a deprived estate in south London and one day found out her son had got involved in the very scary and dangerous gang life there. Her reaction to this was amazing. Instead of trying to keep her son away from it all she decided to open her home to her sons 'friends.' She cleared her living room of furniture and filled it with a pool table and massive TV. She always had enough dinner for everyone, welcomed them all into her home and showed them love - they called her their second Mum! Getting them off the streets, keeping them well fed, warm and happy had such a great affect on the young men that many turned away from gang life and have gone on to better things (including her son). With gun and knife crime so common place within gangs, she could have even saved their lives. What a fantastic testimony to have!
All 3 women have given me new motivation and enthusiasm for fostering children that desperately need a home. By filling your house with kids it doesn't mean you dilute the love and care you give them, but by offering a warm and welcoming home you can help change the future of the most disaffected and damaged child. Thank you ladies