Monthly Archives: December 2016

So this is Christmas…

It passed with the blink of an eye, really. I haven’t felt even remotely Christmassy this year. Perhaps it’s the mild weather, or the lack of Christmas music, or even the fact that I bought most of the presents back in November. More likely though, it’s the huge lifestyle change that happened at the end of November, so much of Advent was taken up trying to get our heads round what life looks like now. This also meant missing carol services, Christmas meals and going to church at 11.30pm on Christmas Eve. But it hasn’t just been the lack of doing Christmas ‘stuff’ that has left me out of sync, it’s what I’ve been focussing on.

Christmas is, after all, about more than presents. And after planning and buying the kids’ presents, it all felt rather materialistic. I know that Christmas is about Jesus, that this is His season more than anyone else’s, but sometimes just knowing it doesn’t feel like enough. This year though, it’s those roots of faith that have had to suffice.

Christmas has been more different this year than to any other (obviously). The day started at 7am (which isn’t as early as it could have been, I know!) and involved opening all the presents within 1 hour of waking up (we’ve been spreading them out during the day since I was pre-teenage years). Thankfully, we weren’t at our house during the day so the kids had to choose one toy to take (harsh, I know), which meant that we were spared the swapping-toys-every-five-minutes chaos. All the components were there (the food, the tree, the presents, church, the carols…), yet I still feel like it barely happened.

[That could just be because my brain still thinks it’s sometime in early summer – the house renovations took over everything so my seasons are all totally messed up. And it was double figures on Christmas Day – what’s that all about?!]

So yes, a different day. But the kids coped with it well and had fun, which is more than we could have asked for, considering they’ve only known us for a month. Now it’s onto the post-Christmas illness/where-on-earth-are-all-the-toys-going-to-go/too much chocolate times. Only one dose of calpol so far, the toy boxes have been ordered and the chocolate hidden (from me and the kids 😉 ). I’ll take that as a win.

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First Impressions

Well. Not really too sure where to begin. It’s been over 2 weeks since the last post and oh my GOODNESS a lot has happened in that time. December arrived, as did the first frost…oh and 3 children. Arrggghhhh!

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We got our ADM decision thingy on Friday the 25th and arranged to go and meet the kids that evening. (I need more emojis to accurately represent all the emotions!). Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to remember in amongst the rollercoaster of emotions that would follow, I wrote down what sensations the nervousness was creating.

Feel like my eyes are going funny (after driving the 10 miles or so), whole body is shaking inside, need the loo!, hot and cold at the same time, heart going fast, feeling a bit dizzy.

It’s strange how thinking back (2 weeks ago today!), I can feel it all again. It was such a strange position to be in. And pretty unusual for task-centred (short term) foster carers – normally you get the call, say yes or no, they arrive – all within hours/minutes. No chance for introductions or anything. It’s surreal though, meeting these kids who are going to come and live with you and who you’ll be caring for…but they’re strangers to you, as you are to them. Weird.

Anyway, we went in and…WOW they were excited! Hyper and bouncing, really excited to meet us. We did some playing, then did bathtime (to get rid of the ‘naked bogeyman’ as their then-foster carer said!) and bedtime, then spent an hour or so chatting to the foster carer. She told us more about the family and the kids, then we went home (and picked up a cheeky MaccyD’s on the way). And that was it, first meeting done.

That weekend, we had the kids for both days and dropped them at their foster carers in the evenings. Saturday was tough – we couldn’t bring them back to ours so we had to spend allll day out. Just ‘out’. Which meant for a full on, possibly over-stimulating day. This was when it hit home harder. I had a moment of, “Erm, I’m not sure I even want kids” as I began to appreciate the selflessness required to parent (whether corporately or otherwise). Over the next couple of days I continued to feel completely overwhelmed by the task before us. Like, seriously. It is HUGE and scary and daunting and hectic and…I just can’t find the words. At a training day last week I met another foster carer who’s 4 months in, and you just look at each other nodding in solidarity at being lost for words to describe it.

Over the last 2 weeks, there have been good days and bad days. Days where I feel swamped and have held back the tears til after bedtime, days where I just want to scream and run away, days where I’ve just been so tired that there’s no enthusiasm left. This paints a pretty dire picture, can you tell that today is a slightly miserable one?! ‘Glum’ would be the word I’d choose to describe how I feel today.

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Far too much chocolate has been consumed in recent days…

There are good times, though. The chats in the car, colouring together, seeing them experience things for the first time (the shower has brought the most excitement so far).

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Thing is…I find myself feeling…fed up. Argh, does that make me a rubbish foster carer?! Kids can be annoying, like seriously annoying (this I already knew), and when they’re there all the time…and you don’t have a whole lifetime of relationship and unconditional love to fall back on…it is HARD. Hard to choose to spend time with them, hard to choose not to lose your temper. It’s hard to choose to love them. And yes, it is a choice. For me, loving them isn’t coming easily. It has to be a choice, even – especially – when I’m finding them tricky. I care for them, I try to put their needs above my own, I play with them. And that is showing them love, of course. The ‘feeling’ of love may never come, which makes me feel awful, but love is more than feeling it. And for now, possibly for the duration of the placement, showing it will have to do.