Last week roundup results #44

Welcome to this week round-up result page.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who nominated new articles or voted for their favourites. And, of course, congratulations to all the winners of this week roundup.

If you are new to our roundup and want to know more, have a look at this page.

This week top 5

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Last week roundup results #43

Welcome to this week round-up result page.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who nominated new articles or voted for their favourites. And, of course, congratulations to all the winners of this week roundup.

If you are new to our roundup and want to know more, have a look at this page.

This week top 5

Voting for this roundup are closed, but did you know that a new roundup is always on? You can visit this week roundup, or add new article to it.


adoption-and-fostering-roundup-badge


You can now add the roundup badge to your website and make it even easier for your readers to vote for you.

You can find all the details on how to do that on this page.


And if you would you like to receive the results of our roundups delivered to your inbox each week, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

When Caring Becomes Hurting

Since the day our foster daughter Holly has returned back to our home, we have been living under siege.

I feel for her. She left us to return to mum, and what was supposed to be the start of her new life was instead a nightmare that lasted 8 long days. She came back traumatised, hurt, scared, and angry. And I understand why.

I know why she so openly hates me, why she is so insanely jealous of my son Ben, why she lashes out constantly, why she cannot return to a good routine. I understand all the whys and I can justify all of them. I cannot really blame her. She is one of the victims of alcohol abuse and domestic violence, a casualty of a foster care system that doesn’t run as smoothly as it should.

As much as I understand why Holly is behaving as she does, I cannot ignore that, as a result of it, my son is afraid. Scared of Holly hurting him, scared she will get to him while he’s sleeping, scared that he won’t be able to protect me next time she hits me, scared she will stay here with us for good.

My son is my first priority. It’s my job to protect him and take good care of him. My role as a parent is to make him feel safe and secure. And with Holly staying here with us, I can’t.

So, we decided to give notice, we asked social services to find a new family for Holly. It was a hard choice to make, I felt I failed her, but I cannot have my son living in fear. So, two weeks ago I called and emailed both Holly’s social workers and mine and told them that, as sorry as I was, they needed to find her a new home, somewhere where she doesn’t have to constantly compete with other children for the attentions she so desperately craves.

First I was told they would move Holly in one week, then they say at the beginning of the following week, later that it would have taken two weeks, then again up to 28 days, and finally they mentioned a meeting in few days to discuss the next steps.

I’m so angry and disappointed. Social services are taking their time to decide what to do. Their first meeting together to discuss Holly is over two weeks after I gave notice. No one in this time ever offered support, came out to see us, or gave any tips to better cope with the situation. What I got so far is two phone calls from two different social workers asking my point of view so that they can bring it to the meeting. No one even explained how to give notice works, they just told me I have to be patient, up to 28 days patient, apparently.

No one from the fostering team told me I could also ask to place Holly in emergency care if the situation gets unmanageable, I had to find out about that by myself. Most day I think I should. Social services, in specific my social worker, failed to protect me and my family and left me alone to deal with all this.

But above all, I feel guilty. I put my son in a stressful and frightening situation. I can explain million times to him that no harm will come to me or him, but I would tell him a lie. Holly regularly bites him, scratches him, barges in his bedroom in the middle of the night, screams on the top of her lungs, and mock him by calling him names or just saying the opposite of what he’s saying.

My son has nightmares, he cries in his sleep. I can hear him most nights sobbing in his sleep “please Holly don’t hit me”. When he wakes up in the morning he crawls in our bed and he always asks: Is Holly still here?

I feel powerless. I put my son in this situation and now I cannot help him get out of it. I wanted to care for Holly and I ended up hurting my son instead.

Holly attacks are getting more violent, and more unpredictable. To keep my son safe, I finally decided to install a gate at Holly’s bedroom door. I keep the kids separate as much as I can. I’m becoming someone I don’t like, and someone I’m not proud of. But what choice do I have?

The reality is that I cannot cope with this placement anymore. I never thought fostering could have made me feel so lonely and isolated. Never thought that the so called professional could fail so miserably in protecting all of us, both my family and Holly.

There are no winners in this situation. My husband goes to work every day knowing that he won’t be able to offer any practical support, my son lives in terror, I’m exhausted, and Holly is just alone in her suffering.

Holly will move out of here one day. I don’t know what there will be left to save by then. I want to think that the summer holidays, lots of love and plenty of laughs will be enough for my son to feel safe in his own home again. But for now, he will have to rely on the temporary sense of security that a baby gate can provide, knowing that the person he’s afraid of cannot do him any harm, and waiting for the day there’ll be no need for it anymore.

Last week roundup results #42

Welcome to this week round-up result page.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who nominated new articles or voted for their favourites. And, of course, congratulations to all the winners of this week roundup.

If you are new to our roundup and want to know more, have a look at this page.

This week top 5

Voting for this roundup are closed, but did you know that a new roundup is always on? You can visit this week roundup, or add new article to it.


adoption-and-fostering-roundup-badge


You can now add the roundup badge to your website and make it even easier for your readers to vote for you.

You can find all the details on how to do that on this page.


And if you would you like to receive the results of our roundups delivered to your inbox each week, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Last week roundup results #41

Welcome to this week round-up result page.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who nominated new articles or voted for their favourites. And, of course, congratulations to all the winners of this week roundup.

If you are new to our roundup and want to know more, have a look at this page.

This week top 5

Voting for this roundup are closed, but did you know that a new roundup is always on? You can visit this week roundup, or add new article to it.


adoption-and-fostering-roundup-badge


You can now add the roundup badge to your website and make it even easier for your readers to vote for you.

You can find all the details on how to do that on this page.


And if you would you like to receive the results of our roundups delivered to your inbox each week, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

About Fostering

It was only 8 days ago when we had to say goodbye to Holly, our foster daughter. It was heartbreaking and bitter. We waved goodbye and we prayed for a happy ever after for her.

Then yesterday the phone rang. The fostering placing team told us there was a chance Holly would have come back into care, and one hour later Holly was already running in our living room. When she arrived she looked tired, a bit absent, perhaps confused, but soon after that she got back into her old habits, and she returned to all her challenging behaviours.

She came in with nothing, just a shopping bag of dirty and mismatched clothes. She didn’t even have shoes on her feet! I just couldn’t understand how in a short week she could have lost all her belonging, and how no one seemed to care that she had no shoes on. When the social worker left, I panicked. I went hiding in the bathroom and cried. For a short while, I let it all out. I cried in sorrow and anger. I felt like I couldn’t breath, trapped. When I calmed down, all I knew was that I couldn’t run away from this, as much as I wanted to, and I had to be there for this little girl.

After Holly left us to be reunited with her mum, I tried to make sense to the prior six months spent with her. I felt like we went through hell, I was physically exhausted and emotionally drained. The endless defiance, aggression, meltdowns, and rejection took everything out of me and left me like an empty shell.

I wrote a letter to my husband Diego explaining to him how I felt during what has been the hardest period in my life, and to try to plan what to do next, and how to keep our son Ben safe.

Here it is, at least a part of it.

I knew that the experience we had with Holly was a stressful one, but only when she left I fully realised how bad it really was.

I felt a guilty sense of relief when she left, together with the sadness of seeing her go away. It was like being able to breathe again, relax after months of tensions, empty my mind. I knew how stressed and exhausted I was, but I didn’t understand the extent of it until she left and I (we) returned to normality.

I worry sick that the next placement will be as bad, or even harder, and I really don’t want to find myself in that position again. I didn’t like what I became while Holly was here, it was against all I think it’s good and right for a child (any child) but I couldn’t help myself. The exasperation and secondary trauma took over me, and I lost control of myself. I was left empty and hurt. What if this happens again? Not only I’ll end up being profoundly unhappy, but I can seriously impact on the child’s emotional wellbeing, and not in a good way! And I wouldn’t want to live with that.

During the entire permanency, I thought I protected Ben, I thought I stayed close to him, nurtured him and always put him first. Not surprising, that wasn’t the case. Now that I’m spending time alone with Ben, now that I’m calm and mentally/emotionally available, I realised how much I missed. He can do so many things I didn’t know he could, he got much more articulate in his speech, in the way he processes information and situations, and in his general knowledge. I didn’t see that happening, even if I was here with him every day.

Ben keeps telling us how much he loves us. My personal view is that he’s happy to have found us again, to have regained not only our full attention, but a loving relaxed family life. He told me few times “mum I love you, I don’t want to miss you again”. That broke my heart. It’s not different than any other emotional neglect. Now I can see him smiling again, be happy again, be nice, funny, silly, loving… I don’t want to lose that ever again.

Also, we as a couple have seen some hard times lately. At some point, I really thought we lost each other and I seriously thought we were breaking up. But now, I think we are happy again. I know you feel the same way!

Now Holly is back in our lives. Tension is already taking over our home. The kicking, spitting and screaming already made an appearance. Ben had nightmares last night and by 5am he was crawling silently in our bed. Everything seems to be falling apart again, and I’m not sure I can keep it all together.

A little voice inside me keeps saying “let her go”, but I don’t know if I’ll be able live with myself if I decide to do just that.

Full Time Tire supports MadLug, a charity that helps children in care carrying their life with diginity. Read about them.

Last week roundup results #40

Welcome to this week round-up result page.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who nominated new articles or voted for their favourites. And, of course, congratulations to all the winners of this week roundup.

If you are new to our roundup and want to know more, have a look at this page.

This week top 5

Voting for this roundup are closed, but did you know that a new roundup is always on? You can visit this week roundup, or add new article to it.


adoption-and-fostering-roundup-badge


You can now add the roundup badge to your website and make it even easier for your readers to vote for you.

You can find all the details on how to do that on this page.


And if you would you like to receive the results of our roundups delivered to your inbox each week, you can subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Saying Goodbye

Holly, our little foster daughter, moved out a few days ago.

When I look around the house, there is no trace she has ever been here, if not for a picture frame sitting on the window sill.

Holly arrived quickly in our lives, about 5 hours after we even knew she existed, and she left almost as fast. It was just a few days ago that we got a call from her social worker to say Holly would have left in a couple of days.

The news came as a bit of a shock, but not entirely as a surprise. It was in the air, it was the only choice left on the table. Her social worker didn’t really do a good job in representing her best interests, and the outcome just reflected that. I keep trying to remind myself that my role as foster carer it’s not taking decisions on what will happen to a child, or to judge the outcome of the court. But my role includes compassion and hope. So I hope every day that Holly is safe and looked after in her reclaimed life.

In the meantime, the phone already started ringing. We have a boy who needs a placement, would you consider an older girl, what about a siblings group? And every time I say no, every time I answer that we cannot accommodate a child, a little bit of me feels like dying inside.

I think back at Holly, at how she plainly said I made her feel sad, at the many times she told me she didn’t like me, and at how she never kissed me goodnight. My memories are filled with kicks, growls, and shouts. But there is no hostility or resentment from my side.

The day she returned to mum, I went to drop her off together with my son Ben. Holly was first glad to be outside the house, and then excited when she found out we were waiting for mum. And when mum entered the room, nothing else mattered anymore. Certainly, not me, nor Ben.

Ben and I stared at her walking away with mum. Holly didn’t wave goodbye, didn’t kiss us, didn’t hug us. She just looked up at her mum and asked in a joyful voice that I don’t recall she ever used with us Can I sleep in your bed tonight?

I stood there tall and brave for my son. The further away Holly walked, the closer I felt like screaming at mum Please, don’t fuck it up. That was also the moment I realised how much I loved Holly, how much she became part of our family, and how much each of us learnt from her.

My son Ben, my husband Diego and I, we all carry memories of our time with Holly. These memories will be in our hearts forever. Our time with Holly changed us, made us somehow better people, a better family. And our memories are a testament to it.

But I cannot fail to see all the pain that these memories are made of, Holly’s pain and ours. I wonder which of these memories will stay with Holly, if she will think of her life with us from time to time, if one day she will forgive me for all the sadness I caused her, and if she will be able to let go of all the anger she brings with her everywhere.

I sometimes glance at that picture on the window sill. She looks gorgeous, happy and without a worry in the world. And I know that’s exactly how I want to remember her.