Foster carers stories

Rachel's story

mum and toddler

How can the most rewarding and heart-warming thing we’ve ever done also be the most heart-breaking thing at the same time? When our first child Gemma arrived in our care, we had no idea how much we would fall in love or how quickly.  We were advised that if returning to mum’s care was successful then the placement would be around 6 to 9 months. She was an absolute joy and full of energy, but at two and a half and non-verbal this came with some challenges. It didn’t take us long to build our own way of communicating using sign language.

The first few months were a real eye opener.  We were caring for a fun and loving little treasure yet every time there was family time we saw a totally different side to them. There would be lashing out and real aggression. It became apparent just how much this was affecting this little one who didn’t have the words available to tell us how they felt.  All they could do was show us.

It soon became clear that returning to family wasn’t an option and adoption was identified as the most appropriate path. When we heard that a family had been found and we heard about them, we could not believe how perfect a match they were for each other. 

We prepared papers to describe what the little one was like to care for, their likes / dislikes and routines so that this could be shared with their forever family in order to make the transition as easy as possible.  Things like using the same washing detergents or same brand of foods or getting ready in the morning in the same way can be so important for making the move as comforting as possible for the little one.

I don’t think I will ever forget the look on her face as she sat in the car or how broken hearted we all felt. Our little one leaving us after 18 months was the hardest thing ever but what did help with the grief was knowing that we would be seeing them again in a couple of days’ time.  The coordination planning involved several follow up visits.  This meant that we were able to visit in the new home to show her that we were still here and that we were happy for her and where she was but also for our own peace of mind.  The placement in our minds could not have been any more perfect for our little pocket rocket.

Did it stop us doing it again? Our next placement arrived just a couple of weeks later!