8th May, 2009

Part-time fostercare

I have no foster children at this time.  It is almost three months since Angel returned to his Grandmother’s care and he comes to us just once a month for a respite weekend (I’m picking him up from his daycare this afternoon and he’ll stay till Sunday – I’m quite excited at the prospect!)

My daughter Jess works at our fostercare agency and tells me there are no more than one or two placements coming in each week at present, and a good number of carers available, so I’m guessing it might be a while before we have another little one in the house  (and so few kids coming into care has to be a good thing,  doesn’t it?).

Meantime I’m helping out with a little boy who’s in care with a friend of mine. He is two and a half and has suffered a good deal of trauma and neglect within his birth family.  He and his baby sister, just  turned one, have been with my friend for six months, and although things have improved (not so much screaming and head-banging) he still has some very challenging behaviours.

One problem is that he is quite aggressive towards the little girl, and has to be constantly watched.  He is prone to sudden outbursts and periods of dysregulation, and is also somewhat developmentally delayed.  He really needs a lot of individual attention and my friend finds this difficult – as a single parent living alone she feels unable to meet his needs fully when his little sister needs her so much too.

So whilst I have a fair bit of spare time I’ve committed to taking the little boy (I’ll call him Shane) out to the park or back to my place a couple of times a week.  I’m hoping to give him lots of sensory experiences, like water and sandplay,bubbles , coloured rice, playdoh and suchlike, because I think he’s missed out on that sort of play, and it might help him “catch up”  a bit.

A few weeks ago I sprayed shaving cream over a little plastic table and he played with that very happily.  His favourite pasttime  was to run a little metal car through the sludge then give the car a “bath” in the tub of water I had on the floor.  He became very repetitive with this play so I let him go for a while then diverted him with a few other ideas.  But he definitely preferred his car bathing.

When I gave him a sponge and showed him how to wipe the shaving cream off he became very engaged with that too.  Between the two of us it took some time to completely clean up the mess, but it was in the middle of the kitchen, so no drama.  I took some photos too.  Thought I might make some little laminated books of the activities we do, to try to encourage his speech.  He’s really only speaking in single words, so this needs some encouragement. I’m enjoying this little guy’s company, and am hopeful my time with him will be helpful to him, as well as giving his carer a little respite.

So with no full-time placement I have lots of time to do stuff that is usually too difficult with a baby or toddler around.  I’ve had my sewing machine out making curtains and cushions (and little padded sleeping bags for Seth’s pet rats). I’ve been reading more, doing a little knitting (a hooded poncho for my little friend Holly’s baby born doll – hope it works out.  I’m sort of making it up as I go along!) and the other night my hubby and I took the two kids to the movies – no babysitter required!

I am keeping busy – and that’s without the scrapbooking I keep promising myself to get back to – so I guess it doesn’t matter that I might be waiting a while for a foster child…..but I can’t help but feel that I’m just in limbo, and I won’t feel completely satisfied till I’m fostering again.

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