I saw a quote on the fostering network website the other day from someone who had been a foster carer for over 20 years saying 'fostering is the best and worst job, it's a vocation.' I understand this lady's perspective because when thing are going well (they are attending school, not getting in trouble, smiling, talking positively about the future etc), all the hard work is worth it, you have the best job in the world. Unfortunately you can also have your difficult days where you feel you are running through tar, where you need to be trouble shooter, fire fighter, counselor, mediator, diplomat etc etc
I feel extremely privileged to be given the opportunity to foster, it is an honour to be thought good enough to be able to help and support a child on their journey to adulthood, however small the influence. But it can also be extremely draining.
When your day job is to work with vulnerable and damaged children you still find that they can get under your skin, take over your thoughts, give you sleepless nights etc etc but that physical act of going home and leaving the office/classroom/youth club/clinic helps give you some separation and space.
When things have been tough recently with our foster child (Christmas is always a tricky time) I have had moments where I have felt trapped in my own house, needing somewhere else to go to retreat and get some space. Looking after foster children full time can be full on.
This is why foster carers need good support networks and It is really important to access them as much as you can. So, a little message to all supporters out there - your role is vital and necessary, thank you!
As well as a support network Supervision, coffee mornings, training, out of hour helplines, social events and respite are just some of the other things foster carers are offered.
Well I think I'm coming through the thick fog now and I'm still smiling! I also still want to be a foster carer (which is the most important thing!) so all is well. I'm going to book in some respite soon though, just so that I'm recharged and ready for anything.