Foster carers know only too well that the long summer holidays can present challenges. Keeping children entertained can be challenging. The first thought that everyone has is a special trip or a big day out. But you can’t do that every day. Just unrealistic. A lilt bit of ingenuity can often save the day. Foster parents don’t want the children they are caring for just resorting to spending hours on a computer or smartphone. Fostering is about far more than that. If you are a foster carer looking after a young child then there can be different choices. It depends if you can enter into their world. It’s one that can see a little bit of magic in what for adults can seem the most ordinary thing.
This blog series is all about providing a ‘snap-shot’ of a small facet of the world of fostering as our foster carers experience it. Hopefully there will be something to suggest an idea or two if you are already a foster carer. For those that aren’t, we hope it may give you a little nudge in the direction of fostering.
Hello, my name is Akshara I have been fostering with Rainbow for three years. They are very friendly people. Everyone I meet there smiles a lot. It is a happy place. Rachit is my husband and we both find fostering a lovely thing to do. We were excited when we were told we could be foster carers. That was the day we were Approved. It was a bit frightening. We were told everyone thinks that. What was nice we were sent a leaflet on the computer telling us what we could expect to happen next now we were foster carers. Rainbow also called us regularly but we did not have to wait long for our first child. She was young, only six years old and just with us for a few nights. It had been an emergency. Having her made fostering seem very real. It was not a difficult time as the little girl we were told would be going back to her own parents. There had been a family problem which was being put right.
That seems a long time ago. We now have another little girl staying with us, She has been with us for nearly eight weeks and it is working well for us. She is Indian and is seven years old. Her name is Nisha. There was quite a lot of upset when she first arrived which was late at night. This felt very different for us. She was in tears and had not much with her. We have had a lot of support from the Rainbow Social worker. It was a difficult time at first. The Rainbow training we had to be foster carers did help a lot. Rachit and me spent time trying to make her room very special. We bought an indoor plant and a small watering can for it. At first Nisha ignored everything and stayed upset. Gradually she has got a little happier. One morning it made us happy to see her in her room and she was watering the plane we had got. It was good that over the next few days the plant started to grow much better. You could see the difference. And this made Nisha happy.
Now she has stopped school for the summer. We are happy she seems happier. Although we don’t have a big garden, we have bought some flowers for it and said Nisha can have her own little garden in it. That has made her very happy. Now it is summer we spend a lot of time in the garden. We have been to a garden centre and got some small flower pots. We even got some packets of seeds which have nice pictures of the flowers so you can see how they grow. Nisha is a good girl and seems to have settled with us. There are some times when she is very quiet.
Last weekend it was very hot. Too hot to go out far. Rachit and me we decided we would spend the afternoon in the back garden. There was a flat piece of concrete quite close to Nisha’s own little garden. Nisha had planted all the seeds we had got her in small pots. She asked what she could do next for her garden. We could not think. Then Ranchit had a good idea. He went to the shed where there was a bucket which he filled with water. He also got a paintbrush. While he was getting those things I told Nisha I would ask Rachit to move the garden umbrella to make some shade for her. It was so hot. Then Rachit showed Nisha that he could make pictures by using the paintbrush in the water and painting on the hot dry concrete. It’s good to have ideas like that if you are a foster carer. She was happy with this and laughed when he drew a funny face. Rachit then went upstairs to Nisha’s bedroom and got the small watering can. This made good patterns on the concrete. The sun was so hot that the concrete dried very quickly so Nisha could make new pictures. She made a picture of me and her and Rachit. Rachit said it was very good and we all laughed. Nisha was very happy when he took a picture of her picture on his phone. In the evening when we had come in to make Nisha some food, Rachit disappeared. When he came back he had printed Nisha’s picture onto paper from his phone. She then put them on the wall in her bedroom after colouring them in. Rachit told her she was a very clever girl. When she asked why? He said because she had made a garden outside as well as one in her own room. It looked like that with all the pictures on the wall.
We are hoping that Nisha can stay with us longer. Our social worker at Rainbow says to us that there is no reason why her placement with us could not be long term. Things are working well and we are happy. This is because we know we will always get help from everyone at Rainbow if we need some.
Names changed to protect privacy
We are pleased that Akshara spent the time to share, what was for her and Rachit, an enjoyable summer’s afternoon. It just goes to show that a simple idea can be very memorable for a young child. It’s just a matter of capturing their imagination and seeing the world through their eyes. There are just so many possibilities. And youngsters like nothing more than the adults that foster them spending time with them.
Rainbow supports their foster carers to get the most from fostering.
Akshara and Ranchit have only been fostering for three years. Not long. But they have already made and are making a tremendous difference to the lives of some vulnerable young children. We have seen their confidence grow and are delighted that they will be likely to have a long term placement. It’s one which closely matches the preferences they had when they first approached us to become foster carers. This is what we are excellent at doing: transforming lives for the better – something we had been doing for over 21 years now. And it’s been recognised: we have been rated ‘Outstanding” in all areas by Ofsted. so if you are thinking of becoming a foster carer, we are one of the leading agencies. Right now, there is a need for an additional 8,600 foster families in the UK. Rainbow is looking for new applicants in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Call for an exploratory chat about foster care on 020 8427 3355 or make use of our National Line – 0330 311 2845. Remember, There’s no pressure or obligation.
We think that it’s a good idea to explore our website so some suggestions for pages to look at right now – http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/record-keeping/
and in addition – http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/fostering-in-hampshire/
All our Rainbow foster carers receive the benefit of a FREE subscription to FosterTalk magazine. It has a great deal of interesting information. In the Summer edition, there’s plenty of general guidance. For your reference visit – https://www.fostertalk.org/discounts-communications/fostertalk-magazine