Diary of foster carers Anthony and Declan

October 2020 - Moving in

A young girl holding a toy monkey.
"We needed to get to know each other and figure each other out"

Ron and Hermione were being dropped off by their social worker today at 4pm. They were moving in!!

I busied myself getting the house ready. I had finished work the week before and spent the last week preparing for the big change in our lives. It felt strange not getting up for work every day. We were so excited though and I was looking forward to school runs and helping with homework and day trips and so much more that we had planned.

Still, we both knew it was going to be a massive change for the children.

They were coming to live in a strange house with strange people and we had both had moments of worrying about them both and how they must be feeling.

However excited we both were, we knew the children must be feeling scared and apprehensive about coming to live with us. Introductions had gone well (well apart from the fishing trip out to sea I took Ron on. Poor lad was so seasick. Not a great moment!!).

We were a bundle of nerves all day.

The house was spick and span, and their rooms were all prepared. We sat patiently waiting for them to arrive and then there was a knock at the door…

The first weekend

They came into the house followed by their social worker and we helped them bring all their bags in. Hermione was a bundle of energy and talked 10 to the dozen. Ron was more tentative and quieter. The social worker stayed for a short time and then she announced she was leaving and would call on Monday to see how the first couple of days had gone. And then we were all alone!!

We sorted their stuff out in their rooms and then ordered a takeaway and watched a movie. Whilst Hermione was more open and forthcoming, Ron seemed to look a bit lost and barely said a word. He then chirped up and asked if he could keep his phone tonight. We told him he could and then he asked what rules there will be going forward. We advised him we would discuss this over the weekend and would all agree together on the rules.

We knew this would be a big talking point particularly with Ron as he usually kept his phone and X-Box all night and this has led to problems in the past. At introductions, he had asked about rules and routine and we had advised that they would be put in place when he moved in but did not go into specifics at the time. I could tell he was thinking about it and probably worrying about it. He asked if he could go up to bed when the movie finished. Hermione also went up to bed and I tucked her in and made sure her night light was on.

With both children now in bed, we sat on the couch and chatted about how we both thought the first night had gone. As brand-new foster carers, we were aware that we had a lot to learn and as we had never had children full time before, we knew it was not all going to be plain sailing; particularly with cared for children.

Still, we had managed the first night and we were confident in ourselves that we would be great. We had lots of support and a fabulous supervising social worker. What could possibly go wrong?!

The weekend seemed to pass in a bit of a blur really when we look back now. We had children in the house. There was no more lounging in bed at the weekends eating rubbish and watching Netflix. It was a bit awkward for all of us. We needed to get to know each other and figure each other out. I think we were both mindful of saying the wrong thing to them both. They in turn were still unsure about us 2. Hermione was such a sweet girl and enthusiastic about everything whereas Ron was more guarded.

We went shopping in the afternoon to Asda and we asked them what they would like for their meals.

We quickly discovered shopping with 2 children is not the joyous outing we thought it would be!! Still, you live and learn!! Bowling and KFC in the evening completed our day and low and behold another day survived with no mishaps!!

Sunday and we spent another day getting to know each other. As a Christian, I attend church on a Sunday and Hermione was enthusiastic about coming with me. Result!!

Ron and Declan went for a game of tennis, which was a hobby of Ron's. In the afternoon we enjoyed a roast chicken dinner and then came the chat…rules and boundaries.

Deep breath, people.

It was about to get seriously serious!!

We started the discussion around bedtimes and device times and although Ron looked unhappy, he agreed that he thought what we were proposing was fair. So far so good. We knew from our training that devices to cared for children were extremely important. We explained to them both that we would see how the rules went and would always look at changing them if we felt there were not working and explained that it was important to have a healthy balance. Ron asked would he get more time when he was 14. As he had recently turned 13, I told him we would discuss it when he turned 14. Wow, this boy liked to think ahead!!

They seemed to perk up when we told them they would be getting pocket money. Hermione got excited and started planning what she would buy. All in all, it went well but we knew there would be issues going forward but we felt that we needed to put the rules and boundaries in place straight away to meet the children's expectations. They both had baths in the evening and the bedroom routine began ready for school in the morning. They both went to bed at their bedtimes and me and Declan breathed a sigh of relief that the first weekend seemed to go smoothly.

We sat on the couch together that night, looked at each other and we both said the same thing…"Oh my days, what have we done?!"

Still, we were buzzing with adrenaline and ready and willing to face the future whatever that may be. One thing was for sure; it was going to be anything but boring!!