Once upon a time there was a young boy named Tim. His Mum and Dad were both foster carers, he had heard that a new child was coming to his house.
Tim was worried as his Mum told him that he had to share all his toys with the child and sometimes the children broke his toys. Tim put his favourite teddy in his bedroom along with his Lego – as he didn’t want to share these as they were special.
Tim helped his mum make the spare room nice and cosy for the little girl.
The next day the little girl called Emily, who was 5 years old, arrived at his house with the social worker, Jessica. She handed all the paperwork to Tim’s Mum. Then Jessica says “Tim, can you show Emily around?”.
Tim did as he was told and said “this is where you are going to sleep” showing Emily her bedroom. Emily climbed on the bed and asked if she had to share with anyone else. She smiled when Tim said “this bedroom is all yours, you don’t have to share with anyone” Emily said that at home she had to share with both her big sisters and that sometimes they were unkind to her.
Then Emily said, “I’m hungry” so Tim said, “we have a couple of minutes till dinner so do you like apples?” Emily replied, “Yes”. So, they had an apple each and Tim told Emily that she can always have fruit if she is ever hungry in between meals at their house.
After eating their apples Tim asked Emily if she wanted to watch TV, so they watched Tracy Beaker for 10 minutes. Tim’s Dad then came in and told them that dinner was ready, so they both ate their pasta. Emily used her fingers to eat her dinner really quickly. Tim’s Mum didn’t say anything to Emily, but Tim knew that his Mum would want to help Emily to have good table manners.
Emily went with Tim’s Mum to put her PJs on. When Emily went to bed Tim could hear her crying, Tim knocked on the door and said, “are you okay Emily?” Emily shouted “NO, I want my Mummy” Tim went and got his Mum and she sat with Emily. Tim was worried about Emily, as she looked really sad and angry.
The next morning, they woke up and Tim’s mum said, “were going to the Zoo today as a treat”, Tim bounced, but Emily didn’t know what a Zoo was, so she asked Tim and he said it was where animals live and play. “WELL I’M NOT GOING!!!!” shouted Emily.
Emily and Tim’s mum were in her bedroom, Tim could hear Emily sobbing and Tim’s mum was trying to calm her down. She told Emily a story of when Tim went to the zoo for the first time and some of the animals that they may see, she also told Emily that she had packed a picnic for them all to share at lunchtime. Tim did not know what to do so he went into his bedroom and got his best toy out and knocked on Emily’s door.
Emily opened her door and said “WHAT”, “I have got you a toy” said Tim. Emily took the toy out of Tim’s hand she cuddled the toy “thank you Tim, we can go to the zoo now”. “YAY” they both yelled and off they went.
In the car Emily was really wriggly in her car seat. After about 15 minutes Emily started moaning and was trying to get her arms out of her car seat. Tim was really worried, but his mum talked to Emily about keeping safe in the car. Emily did stop, but Tim could see she was upset and nervous.
At the zoo they saw a sloth, giraffe, capybara and lots of other animals. Emily stayed really close to Tim’s Mum, so Tim walked with his dad.
At lunch time Emily wanted to eat her crisps and chocolate bar first. Tim’s mum said she should eat her sandwich first Emily bellowed “NO YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO YOU'RE NOT MY MUM!” Tim’s mum took Emily to the butterfly house, they were gone for quite a long time.
When they came back Emily sat down and said, “I’m sorry” and she ate her sandwich, then her crisps and chocolate. As they went on Emily got tired, so they started to head towards the exit and the shop. They went into the shop where both Tim and Emily were told they could choose a small cuddly animal as a memory of the day. Tim chose a capybara and Emily chose a tiger, as she said they were cute. In the car Emily cuddled her tiger and was soon fast asleep.
An hour later when they arrived home Tim’s mum told them that tomorrow would be a busy day because Tim’s family supervising social worker, Hermione was coming to visit.
Tim told Emily that she had to guess what colour Hermione’s hair would be, as it was always a different colour when she visited. She guessed orange, Tim guessed pink.
As Emily was so tired, she had a bubbly bath, but was too tired to even have a bedtime story and was fast asleep cuddling her tiger as it was her new best friend.
In the morning Emily was sad that Tim was going to school, but Tim reassured her that he would be home later, and they could play in the garden on the trampoline.
When Hermione arrived, Emily was right – her hair was orange! Emily was shy with Hermione but enjoyed playing dollies while she and Tim’s mum chatted.
After school Tim explained to Emily that Hermione was there to help Tim and his family as fostering could be hard sometimes – and that she was really kind. Emily said that the social worker, Jessica who had brought her to Tim’s, was also kind and had said she was trying to help her mummy. She had told Emily she would arrange for her to see her Mummy and her sisters soon.
Later that week Tim’s Mum took Emily to see her mummy at contact. When Tim and his Mum collected Emily, she was crying and said “I want Mummy” she was clutching a blanket that she said was from home.
Emily was very quiet on the journey home, but during tea time she got really angry. She was shouting at Tim and his mum that she wanted her mummy and hated them and demanded that they must “get me my mummy now”.
Tim’s mum suggested a nice bubble bath as it would help her feel calmer. Tim heard his mum talking to Emily saying that she understood that she was upset and angry and that all the grownups were doing their best to help Emily and her Mummy.
Top tips for fostering families
- Fostered children are often sad, angry, frustrated and confused when they come into care and after contact with their family
- They need lots of reassurance that it’s not their fault that they can’t live with their family
- The first few days when a child comes to live with you are really busy and chaotic and you can expect lots of visitors e.g. social workers
- During the first few weeks the adults have lots of meetings
- Your supervising social worker is there to help, listen and support you. You can talk to them if you are ever worried about something
- Fostered children will have lots of questions
- Fostered children may not have been very happy at school – this is something you can help them with, by sharing books and doing colouring/writing with them
- Sometimes fostered children are not very good at sharing or taking care of toys – I always keep my precious toys in my bedroom where they are safe
- They may be scared of things that you don’t understand, so be patient with them