17 Apr Meet Ali
Hi, my name is Ali and I have been a foster carer with my husband Andy for 7 years now, although only a year with Fusion. We have two adopted daughters who are grown and independent and two sons. Our eldest son is at Uni and our 16 year old is doing his GCSE’s. I was asked to write this blog so that I can share our exceptional and everyday experiences with you and I’m sure many of you will identify with the things I talk about, although every child is unique, every foster family is different and none of us will share exactly the same story.
We have two long term foster children, a teenage girl and a boy who is 8 years old – I could say they were unrelated but that wouldn’t be true – they share a foster family and a very similar history of life before they came into care.
When people ask me what it’s like fostering I always get that Ronan Keating song in my head ‘ life is a roller coaster, just gotta ride it’! For us it really is like that sometimes – we share wonderful ‘family’ happy times and you feel in control and positive but then…bang, crash, wallop… those behaviours that derive from early year developmental trauma crash the party and you feel like you are back to square one and that nothing you do makes a difference.
Fostering is NOT easy – I truly believe it is a vocation not a ‘job’. In fact if you are thinking along those lines you would be doing the young people in your care a huge disservice – you’ve got to connect on an emotional level and that means dealing with your own emotions when things appear to ‘go wrong’ as well as trying to help your young people cope with their own inner turmoil.
We moved to Fusion because of the training – I need to continually tap into the different courses because they keep me grounded, give me strategies and most importantly help me take a step back, review our home life and understand the issues from different perspectives. It also helps remind me ‘It’s not ME, it’s not THEM, it’s the legacy of what’s happened in their lives and actually we ARE making a difference even if it feels like we’re at the top of the coaster and hurtling down the other side!
We are a complex family – most families probably are in reality. The great thing about fostering for a good agency is that you are not alone – there is support, respite and a sense of being part of a team. It’s half term – the children are watching tv and later we’re off bowling. All is calm and tranquil. I was given a huge hug and a big smile this morning – I feel blessed but I have my seatbelt on …just in case!