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Julie’s story

Posted on: 14 July 2013

We live in Exmouth with our 16-year-old son. My husband’s a service engineer, and I’ve recently given up work to become a full-time carer. We’ve been with Fostering Devon for over 12 years, and in that time we’ve looked after 45 children. At the moment we’re sharing our home with a 14-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl – they’re brother and sister.

Just another Wednesday…

I’m up first, as usual! Cups of tea for both ofus, then rousing the kids and getting them through the bathroom. The youngest plays up and doesn’t want anything to eat, but she can’t resist porridge. Get everyone else fed and out of the door. Our two fostered children have contact with their Mum later on. Hope it goes well. If it doesn’t, we’ll have wet beds and tantrums for a few days. I can usually get the little one to talk about it, but the boy’s a different matter. Sometimes he’ll open up to our son, but not always.

Before that, though, I’ve got to take her to the dentist for a check-up. No problems, she’s got excellent teeth. But as soon as we walk out of the door she’s asking for chocolate! Drop her back at school, then pop into the office to check she’s put her name down for Music Club. She’d forgotten!

Head back home for a quick bite of lunch and then decide to go to the supermarket. As I’m parking the car my mobile rings. It’s the Fostering Placement Co-ordinator. Can I take an emergency? Now? I know I can always say no. But I don’t.

Forget the shopping! I need to go home, make up a bed and wait for my new child. Eventually the police bring around a 15 year-old girl. She’s a bit upset, and needs settling and reassuring. One of the policemen gives me a bit of background. Violent father, mother rushed to hospital, kids taken into care.

Just got her to relax a little, and the other two get back from their Mum’s. It seems to have gone well, thank goodness! I introduce them to the newcomer, both take it in their stride – it’s not the first time! One parks herself in front of the TV with a bowl of cereal, while the other grabs his football and heads for the playing field. Our son arrives, and I introduce him. He tries to make conversation, but it’s hard work so he goes upstairs and reluctantly starts homework.

My husband gets home from work. The new girl is very wary of him and doesn’t say a word. Understandable, I suppose. That’s a relationship we’re really going to have to work on! But she seems quite happy to watch TV with the little one in the front room so at last I get the chance to go to the supermarket for a quick shop! Also need to get some extras to feed one more person.

Back with the shopping. Now it’s into the evening routine – feeding all the kids, getting them showered and ready for bed. Have to miss a Support Group meeting this evening. It’s a shame, but I’ve got to be here for our new child. Got a feeling it’s not going to be a quiet night!

My husband and I tend to eat later when things calm down, so we can relax and talk. She may not be here long, but we’re going to have to keep a close eye on the relationship between the two boys and the new girl. Teenagers! Then we’re going to have to have a Placement Planning meeting here tomorrow – but that’s another day! This one’s been hectic, but then most of them are. And we wouldn’t have it any other way!