Foster carers are by definition caring unselfish people. No one could really doubt their motivations – they are, to the rest of us, self-evident. But how much do we, the great British public, really think about what it is to care day in day out anyway? Most of us, thankfully, are blessed with moderately good health. We don’t meet caring professionals on a daily basis. That is, usually, until our parents reach old age. Then we meet individuals whose lives are defined by the jobs they have caring for people every day. The pandemic has changed this along with the mood of our country. And millions of us now sense this. Changes are being wrought that extend to the way we live our lives, and quite possibly how we think of ourselves. So, our behaviour has changed markedly. There has been an outpouring of positive sentiment and appreciation to key our workers. Almost to a man, woman and child, we have been clapping and banging saucepans every week to show we care for those who care for us. Most of us have now realised key workers – including foster carers – do exist and without them, our country cannot function. This has been quite a lesson: we now understand even if we can shut our front doors on a world outside that can often seem threatening, we will always be dependent upon others – just as they may need to depend upon us. These lessons could only have been learnt under such unique circumstances. Never before have so many of us felt so vulnerable: not just for ourselves, but for close family members and friends facing perhaps much greater risk.
Our lives have been put on hold. Being prevented from participating in an endless round of consumerism has been; I suspect for all of us, a salutary experience. We may have begun to realise that buying things we don’t really need is being careless of the earth’s resources. It has been a unique period of time. On our screens, we have seen people who are already vulnerable going out of their way to provide support. Most would agree that aged 100 you are pretty vulnerable. And yet the nation saw Captain Tom walking to raise £30 million for the NHS. A remarkable accomplishment. Across the country, people have been coming together in their local communities to pack distribute food parcels to vulnerable people – the elderly, lonely or impoverished. And we now have a veritable army of volunteers. Is it my imagination – there seems to have been a sense of fellowship abroad: that sense we are all in this situation together. Echoes of a long-vanished wartime spirit when bombs fell from the skies and did not respect a person’s income, position or status.
We’re not out of the woods. The economy is in a parlous state. In fact, it’s in the worst condition since records began. Growth has plunged by 20% and we are now technically in recession. This means levels of poverty and unemployment – directly linked – are almost certainly going to rise. There will be strife in families with the likelihood domestic violence will remain prevalent. Many vulnerable children are trapped in abusive households and for many, the relief and support of being able to go to school won’t come until September. That means many could well come into foster care.
People have been sensitised to the concept of caring and what it means. And definitely what its absence portends. If you doubt this you need only to look at the global outpouring of anger at the death of George Floyd. This has sparked mass protests in countries around the world. But what has been shown conclusively, is given the right circumstances we all care.
The treasure at the end of this Rainbow could be life-changing for you.
What does all this mean? Well, the likelihood is that we will all emerge from lockdown having been fundamentally altered. We have had time to both reflect and examine how we lead our lives and decide what matters. It is to be hoped that the spirit of care in communities across the land will last after the ending of lockdown. And it is also to be hoped that many will want to find new ways of expressing this. There are so many ways this can be done if people can see the world through fresh eyes. In recent months we have celebrated key workers – yet they have always been there working way tirelessly and little appreciated. Foster carers and social workers are key workers working to support those who are most vulnerable in society: children – often abused and traumatised. Rainbow is a community built from the efforts and commitment of such people. If the pandemic has made you rethink the direction your life has been taking – or even who you really are – fostering could now be the path to take. The experiences of foster carers are all unique and different. What they do have in common is the knowledge that fostering has transformed their lives. And the lives of those they care for.
Very simply, when the chips are down – as they demonstrably have been – we need and depend upon one another. This was put more elegantly, forcefully and memorably by the poet John Donne – words that resonate through the centuries and speak to us today. It is to be earnestly hoped that now many more of us are listening and ready to respond.
No man is an island,
Entire of itself;
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
Join our Rainbow community of foster carers.
Many of the most vulnerable children and young people in this country need help. They don’t have a family to help and protect them. They are alone. And there are more of them. If you are at a crossroads in your life – or want to repurpose the qualities of care you’ve discovered you possess –
there are children waiting for you to pick up the phone to Rainbow. We are slowly emerging from one pandemic don’t let it have opened the door to another where children are left despairing without hope and a future. Change their future by changing yours.
We’re recruiting: Rainbow Fostering London; Rainbow Fostering Birmingham; Rainbow Fostering Manchester and Rainbow Fostering Hampshire – depending on where you live, contact one of our offices to start your fostering career.
Life, as we have seen is a lottery, Here we have some winning numbers for you that payout in ways you won’t expect. And keep paying out! 0330 311 2845
Rules and advice in relation to the coronavirus pandemic are changing. Information and guidance is being regularly updated – so to make sure you remain safe please visit – https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus
People considering fostering always have many different questions so it’s a good idea to see these on our FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page – http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/frequent-asked-questions/ And for an interesting blog, we can recommend – http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/fostering-measuring-placement-stability/