This time last year I stood in a field, watching my foster child in a game of rugby.
Feeling a bit cynical that we had driven for an hour, just for him to stand still and do everything he could to avoid being involved in the game, I wrote an email to my partner entitled: ‘Just Why Do We Bother?’
At that point, we were keen to get him involved in an activity that was social. He was a lad who had minimal contact with other children.
Struggling with his emotions, he didn’t understand how to interact with his peers. His language was limited – he could hold a conversation, but there were many words and youth language that he didn’t understand.
As he went to a small special school, where they did very little sporting activities, we thought rugby would be a good opportunity for him to be around others his age. We hoped his fitness would develop, that he would begin to understand his strength and perhaps develop a hobby he could be proud of. At that point it seemed hopeless and a lost cause, but for some reason, we persevered.
What a difference now! I’m watching him today and see everything falling into place. He is wearing the team colours and is muddy, he’s chatting to the others and play fighting; using people’s names, laughing and happy. Now he has an understanding of the game and although not the strongest player – he is trying.
He’s overcome many barriers to become accepted by his peers. It’s helped him move from the special school to a mainstream school, where he’s flourishing. Slowly he’s beginning to understand his emotions and deal with his past.
Many people say how well we (his foster carers) have done with him, today I realise that it’s much more than that. He has achieved this with the help of many others. There are many other people who should feel this pride. His social worker, our supporting social worker, his previous foster carers, his rugby coaches, his school teachers (from both schools) and our families.
We have all changed this boy’s life and he’s come an exceptionally long way in a year. He still has his moments, he still needs a lot of care, attention and support but he is now bearing his own weight.
He’s looking up with determination and heading into life, knowing that others have his back.
This is why we foster!
Author – Foster Carer in Somerset (Names have been removed for confidentiality)
We urgently need more foster carers to look after vulnerable children of all ages.
If you could make a difference to a child’s life – call us now on 0800 587 9900 or fill in our simple contact form
If you want to know more about fostering and adoption, put these dates in your diary.
Weds 24 January 19:00–21:00 Costa Coffee, Bridgwater, TA6 3BU
Thursday 22 February, Yeovil, BA20 1LE
Wednesday 14 March, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5EG
Our information-packed event will be the perfect chance to find out more and speak to our friendly and professional staff and fellow carers and adopters.
To book your place at this Costa Coffee event, phone us on 0800 587 9900. Those who come along get a free coffee!
For more forthcoming fostering and adoption events click here