Posts Tagged ‘ Foster ’

Nanny Won’t Mind

I got awoken this morning, not by the usual weekend shouts of two children who cannot possibly play quietly in a bedroom alone together. Nor did I get awoken by the semi-usual shouts of my mother as she calls for her foster children to get upstairs to get washed and dressed.

No this morning I got awoken by my husband informing me that the foster kiddies had trashed their bedroom.

So up I got to inspect the damage.

Yesterday, the three of us adults in the house (my mum, my husband and me) had rearranged their bedroom to give them more room to play and potentially keep all of their toys out of my mum’s living room. Not that they’re ever really here to play with their toys as they spend 5 out of every 7 days with Dog’s grandparents.

All they really do at our house is wake up (optional trashing of the bedroom), have breakfast, get washed and dressed and then over 8 hours later of playing and getting treated, they get dropped off, attempt to calm down, have a bath and then go to bed.

Not that trying to get Cat to go to bed is anything easy. Either Cat corrupts Dog, coercing the sibling into playing, or Cat just refuses and sits on the hall landing until finally someone carries them to bed.

After carefully planning their bedroom for a bit of nicer Feng Shui and with the vain attempt that by playing in their bedroom on a morning, they might not wake my mother up at 6am, we put them to bed in it last night without the usual problems from Cat.

That should have been the first warning sign.

Fair play to them, the toys leading to quieter play had kind of worked. Until they decided to fill their toy cups etc with water from the bathroom and near flooded their room. There were toys strewn across the room, the rug was soaked, the hand towel in the bathroom was soaked and the newly moved furniture had moved. And we’re talking chest of drawers here!

At least they had been playing quietly though.

Except one of them (we’re leaning towards Cat) had knocked/grabbed/I-don’t-know-what one of the many photo frames adorning the walls. These frames are simple clip frames (about 6 in total) and all filled with photos of my mum’s previous foster children. These frames have all been up for the past year and a half that the kids have been living with us with no problem whatsoever.

What my mum had initially seen was simply that the frame was missing from the wall and the photos strewn across the room. What I then quickly discovered that the entire sheet of glass from the frame was shattered into many sharp little pieces. Thankfully this was behind the chest of drawers.

Oh, wait, it was that chest of drawers that the children had attempted and succeeded in moving slightly.

It was a potential disaster waiting to happen.

In all of the years that mum’s been fostering, never has she seen this sort of destruction. In the 18 months these two have been living with us, we’ve seen them destroy almost every single toy they’ve ever been given, but we’ve never seen this. We’ve seen them climb across everything to get to toys, or just because the sofa’s bouncy and “fun”.

It’s the confusion of visiting grandparents who don’t know them well enough at all for entire days, but who don’t act like the parental units they’re hoping to become. In the end it’ll bite them in the bum when they fail to control Cat and Dog if they get granted Special Guardianship. It’ll bite them in the bum when, in ten years, they have two unruly teenagers on their hands.

It’s difficult to not get angry and frustrated with these kids, but it isn’t their fault. They have no idea whatsoever what’s going on. But I can tell you one thing that’s for sure, it’d be easier if the Grandparents stopped acting like grandparents 5 days a week. Children need rules, restrictions, routine.

How do I know that the Grandparents aren’t instilling these three Rs into them? Because when being told off about the state of the bedroom one of the children responded with “Nanny won’t mind”.

What hurts most, other than the ruined photos of children we tried to help over the years, was that it was Dog that said it.

~ Persephone M

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Too Many Cooks

My last post on the foster kiddies we have was one written in frustration at social services who can’t seem to communicate or even make logical decisions. Until we discovered the true extent of the issues with the court hearing and how everyone involved had been mislead (because the grandparents, parents and us as the foster carers believed the case would be over and done with by now), the majority of my frustration on the matter was actually with the grandparents.

They are the prosepective soon-to-be special guardians of the two youngest children, the two that my family foster. Now, the children’s family is kinda complicated. There are three children, all under the age of 6 and each with different fathers. The eldest, 6 year’s old, is going to be allowed to move in with her father with whom increasing contact has been occurring in the past year and contact with the mother is agreed upon; I’m not privy to the frequency, but both parties (parents) have agreed. Nothing has been decided about contact between this eldest child and the two younger siblings. Which is something I find frankly disgusting of social services.

Meanwhile the two youngest, 5 and 3, are being considered to live with the youngest’s grandparents. Of course, them having different fathers means that the grandparents are not related to both children. I’m sure lots of you think that its fine because it happens a lot in step-families, but it’s not that simple at all.

For ease, I’m going to refer to the two kiddies as Cat and Dog. I mean nothing disrespectful to either, but Dog is cuddly and loyal, loves eating and has the biggest, wettest, soppiest kisses ever. Cat, on the other hand, can function fully on their own, doesn’t form attachments and can perform to the crowd to seem completely different and lovable, but will scratch you at the first chance. So, Cat’s older and the grandparents involved are not Cat’s, they are Dog’s. I repeat though, that it doesn’t necessarily matter that there’s no blood linking them because it happens all the time in the modern step-family. As long as everyone involved loves the children, that’s all that matters.

Until you realise that ever since Cat’s father arrived back on the scene (he’d been absent Cat’s whole life and Dog’s father was the active father for both), Dog’s father said he was only interested in Dog. Some might find this harsh, that for 3-4 years this man had been the one and only father both children knew and now he’s turning his back on the one that isn’t biologically his. In his favour, he knew that the biological father was on the scene and wanted to get to know Cat. He also knew that his chances of getting custody of his child was easier than custody of both. It may not have had anything to do with not loving Cat, at least that’s how I see it – he did it *for* Cat.

Yet Dog’s grandparents are still seeking Special Guardian status of Cat. Every other day the grandparents get both kiddies for 7 to 8 hours where all they seem to do is take them out and visit cousins and other family members. There are two main problems I can see with this. Firstly, there’s no guarentee that the grandparents will get guardianship, so all these people they’re spending days with, they might net ever see again. Obviously, they’re also not even related to Cat and most of them aren’t biologically related to Dog because grandmother is his step-grandmother and the “cousins” are hers biologically. This just leads to complete confusion and exhaustion for the kiddies, being paraded around 101 people every other day.

The second main problem with this is that the grandparents are spending the days acting as grandparents and having fun with the kiddies. How are they getting to know them in normal circumstances, mundane day-to-day routines if the grandparents are being fun? As Special Guardians, they cannot be grandparents, they have to be parents and at some point they have to face this reality and not just spend 8 hours a day treating them to family day trips.

Last week, Cat was finally able to have a second visit with their father, because social services keep failing to arrange the meetings which is awful given that Dog’s dad no longer “wants” Cat (I say “want” because I honestly believe he’s doing it for virtuous reasons and if Cat’s father were not on the scene, he’d still “want” her). We informed the grandparents of this and they were totally shocked. They had no idea that Cat’s father was involved, that if they get Guardianship he’ll be involved along with the mother. They had no idea that their own son did not “want” Cat. Will they still want Cat if their own son doesn’t? Why should they try and keep their son’s family together by having both of his children when, as far as he’s concerned, his family is only Dog?

And his new child that Dog isn’t even allowed to know about as per the Word of Social Service Gods, yet they can be introduced to a different “cousin” every day, but not Dog’s own half-sibling. I have no idea how the grandparents are keeping that to themselves, perhaps because they have nothing to do with their son (there’s clearly little communication) and maybe the only reason they want Guardianship of Dog (and Cat) is to get one over on their son.

I fear that if they decide they don’t “want” Cat, because their son doesn’t, that Cat will be heartbroken upon losing Grandmother, Pop and all the new cousins. Especially if the grandparents are successful in getting Guardianship of Dog because then Cat will lose Dog, too.

The Social Service Gods should really have placed more rules and guidelines on everyone involved so that even more people didn’t get involved. These two kiddies are going to become even more scarred by all of this.

~ Persephone M

The Failings of Two Lives

Apparently there was a court case this week which was deciding where the children were going to go and live. There are 3 children in total, but only two fostered with us. There are 3 fathers seeking guardianship, one mother and the grandparents from the youngest child – who are interested in the 2 youngest, so the two we have.

We were led to believe that the court hearing this week was to formalise the grandparents having the youngest two and the father of the eldest having his child. Afterall that was why contact with the grandparents had changed over the past few weeks, causing the decrease in behaviour and why we’d been given a plan of sleepovers the kids could have and even a moving date. Wasn’t it?

Well, no. Not exactly.

The hearing was only a residency hearing, which apparently means that it was only for all parties to learn of the proposed plan so that any objections could be made. Now perhaps in a “perfect” world this would mean no objections and the actual court case proper can go ahead. Oh, yeah the *actual* courtcase is in over a month so the moving date (two weeks’ time) was never going to be possible.

So social services, in their wisdom and experience in fostering children (afterall their OFSTED was a good, I believe) started upping contact between the children and their grandparents. These are two children who’ve spent over a year seeing their grandparents and a father once every 2 weeks and their mother every week within the safe confines of a contact centre suddenly seeing their grandparents pretty much every other day for up to 8 hours.

But they needed to become more used to the people they were going to go and live with. Which is completely fine, but there’s one little snag. The all knowing social services increased this contact in preparation for a court hearing that could be objected to.

Can anyone see where a problem could arise? The children’s lives were put through turmoil and upheaval, breaking their routine and altering their lives with no explanation in preparation for a court hearing where a residency decision would be made. Except objections could be made.

And made they were. The mother and father of the middle child are both (individually) objecting to in part the decision of grandparents and of the low level of contact the grandparents are setting.

My current annoyance isn’t over a group of adults who can’t try and do what’s best for two under 5s but that social services have handled things so badly. They altered contact before objections were made as if there was no chance of there being any objections. Except there were. Could they not have foreseen that? In all their time dealing with foster children in the system, have they never had objections before? Had it never crossed their minds that one of the total-4 parents could object to not being allowed their child? Or that they wouldn’t mind agreeing to only seeing their child three times a year?

No, in all of their experience and wisdom, objections were never going to happen so they increased the grandparents’ contact ready for the move. And the children didn’t know what was going on because no one from social services came to tell them, which didn’t matter because it was a done deal.

Until 2 parents objected. Now we have a month where sleepovers had been planned to ready the children which might not be needed. A judge may decide that no parties will ever be happy so no one can have these two children. So what was the point in all of that increased contact when, if it goes to adoption, all contact will stop?

How can social services have been so short sighted? Do they not realise that there are 2 incredibly confused children involved in this, that they are more important than the mother, the fathers and the grandparents? Why could they not have waited 2 weeks until this residency hearing and then started altering contact?

If they’re barely coping with an increase in contact, how will they cope if it suddenly vanishes? Especially if no one comes around to explain it to them. Have the local social services ever dealt with these cases before or has there truly never been a case like this before? Or can they just not do their job?

~Persephone M

Who cares for those in care?

I share my home with two foster children; I’ve mentioned them before. One has just turned 5 with the younger still being 3. In the past 16 months we’ve shared 3 of their birthdays, a Christmas and a birthday for each of the adults that live here. That’s a huge chunk of their lives especially given their young age.

The problem at the moment is quite simply that there is no communication to us at all. Recently they’ve been visiting their grandparents a lot more without having anything explained to them. We’re only allowed to tell them what the social worker says we can. Same for their parents and grandparents. Except the social worker hasn’t spoken to us in over a month.

So these two young children have gone from seeing various family members on a weekly basis in a contact centre to now seeing one set of family more frequently, in Mcdonalds and in their home. But no one has deemed them important enough to explain this to them.

They have no idea what’s going on. Their routine is broken. They play up constantly. Silly little naughty traits that we’d got them out of have all come back. They don’t go to bed on time. They have nightmares. They won’t share their toys at school. They cry for no reason. The older one stomps around like a hormonal teenager. And they’ve both become far clingier than they have ever been.

Yet there’s nothing we can say to them. We can’t explain why they’re seeing Nanny every other day but not mummy. We can’t tell them they’re being prepared to go live with Nanny. We can’t explain that they’ll likely never go home to mummy.

Yet we have to deal with their change in behaviour, knowing that it isn’t their fault. Imagine, as an adult, suddenly having a routine change and seeing an adult more than you had done with no explanation. I’m not sure I can understand it all emotionally so how the hell are two children?

And how am I supposed to sit by? Until we hear what is definitely happening and are told officially what’s happening, why and what we need to tell them, we can’t tell them a damn thing. Our hands are tied as they play up naughtily in utter confusion.

Why do none of the social workers care enough about these two children to stop this?

~Persephone M

Sunday Omnibus – Mothering Sunday

Happy Mother’s Day!

I’ve been back at work and my stomach is feeling much better – my t-shirt no longer hurts simply touching my skin which is always a good thing! And then I spent my weekend attempting to treat my mum which is so difficult with the two foster children in tow.

To try and give her a rest, my husband and I took both children to the park and I took my camera. The biggest problem I always have when I’m out with these children is that people assume (or I assume they assume) that I’m the parent. Every child has tantrums, these two are slightly more troubled than the average child – they are only 3 and 4 and in the care system. They’ve lived with us for almost a year now, but they still keep getting new information for their tiny brains to process which causes more behavioural issues. Then again, I’m sure every parent feels other’s eyes on them when their child has a tantrum in public.

I just always think: They’re not mine!!!!!

The bigger problem that I have is when they call out to either me or my husband. I’m not sure of the current stats, but I know the city in which I live used to have a very high rate of teenage pregnancy and I always feel as if it has a high incidence of single parents. So I always feel odd when one child shouts out to my husband because, obviously, they call us both by our names. Do people then think my husband is just yet another boyfriend that I’m recklessly bringing into my children’s lives? Or that I’m an unattentive mother as I wander around the park taking pictures leaving the boyfriend to play with the children?

Or do they not think a thing?

Anyway, in honour of my mother who not only did a fantastic job of raising me, but she’s helped foster (for whatever length of time) a good handful of children including these two for almost a whole year, some pictures from today without showing the faces!

I think each image can be a metaphor for the care system in general – constantly pushing and getting no where; struggling to climb or reach, and then slipping back down; caged in or out from normal life.

I also posted an image from the park on my 365 blog. You can find it here. Other images from the past seven days include daffodils, rain drops, sunsets, fog and the end of painkillers!

How was your week?
~ Persephone M

Sunday Omnibus: 29th January

It’s been a weird week; this blog already contains the evidence of that. So, I’m going to gloss straight over the beginning of the week.

My week’s been okay. I’ve still been quite lax when it comes to this blog, but I have been pretty much non-stop writing. I read an amazing blog which has inspired me to work on my original writing a lot more and I set myself the goal to spend one day of each weekend working on a novella I’m on the third draft of with the aim to start posting it in February.

Yeah, well, I spent the day writing other stuff! I am going to work on my novella. When I looked at it late last year (I started it on February 14th) I added in a wealth of new scenes and honestly do think that it won’t take much to get it presentable. Perhaps February was a bit too optimistic, but I created this blog to share my creativity.

Which I do do. This blog began as purely poetry with the aims to put the novella and anything else I wrote on here. That was April and in August it evolved into including my photography. There’s still been no crumb of fiction writing. And I need something to keep my brain consumed.

So, that’s what I have planned for the near future, the only issue is if I continue on in my passion for the other writing which I post under a different persona. I am addicted to it. Cannot stop. Not sure how to. I kinda don’t want to, apart from I feel I should work on my novella.

There’s also the fosters who still end up taking up more time than they perhaps should. The three year old is fully settled back in – the temper tantrums, the inability to stay in bed all night long, the desire to always have their own way! The four year old…

Oh, dear, the four year old. What can I say? Perhaps a reaction to staying in respite for a week, but the already badly behaved one is now worse and I honestly didn’t think it could become worse. Every room in the house except for my bedroom and living room has been wet in by the 4 year old. And when questioned as to why they wet themselves the answer is always: Because I did.

This week has escalated into lies about who has wet when there is only one possibility. It has evolved into pooing themselves at school. They even went as far as to rifle through my mother’s belongings and ripped up her diary. Five seconds after being told off and the foster screaming in tears, it’s all laughter again and they don’t care.

The four year old has no love for anything. You can remove any toy or priviledge from her as a consequence, but they don’t care. Within minutes it’s forgotten.

They’ve only been back a week and my mum’s exhausted. I’ve got some property stuff to deal with over the next few weeks and am concerned that I won’t be able to help out as much.

It was the cutest thing today though, randomly I asked the three year old if they’re broken. No, shake of the head. Then, because they have a fascination with punishing their older sibling, I asked if they were a sadist. Nodding of the head. Are you a masochist?

Taking the room by complete surprise the three year old kissed me for no reason until I realised: maso-kissed. So cute.

Despite now having Tivo (yeah, baby!), I best go – Dancing on Ice: Duel Night is on!

Hope everyone else’s week was fun, here’s to another one!

~ Persephone M

Moment in Time

Moment in Time by PersephoneM
Moment in Time, a photo by PersephoneM on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
This is an image of a “light wheel” belonging to the fosters that I had spinning at full speed and caught this ‘moment‘. Very glad I took a series of photos on the night they got it as, by just the next day, both fosters had broken them!