Friday, 16 March 2012

Day eight of introductions - a really good day!

The boys were dropped off by their foster carers at 11am this morning, and they arrived with another few suitcases full of their toys.

The foster carers left straight away today, and we were relieved that the boys didn't even flinch when saying goodbye to them.

They were desperate to run straight up to their rooms, Joe is really only interested in his cars and road mat, I think he could occupy himself for hours with that. Charlie flits between one thing and another, but they seemed generally happy to be in the house.

Yesterday we were aware that we were mainly just boundary setting, and it had felt as though we had been quite negative. We were also aware that J & P were watching yesterday, and they have them on quite a tight leash and I think we were feeling we had to keep up to their standards. In reality, we will relax some of their rules but that's easier for us because we're going to be a family, whereas they are always aware that they are just carers for them. Last night G in particular was feeling a bit down, having felt that he had been no fun, so today we were determined to do fun family activities to keep them entertained.

After a bit of playing upstairs, we sat around the table and G led an arts and crafts session. This kept the boys (G included!) quiet for an hour, whilst I set about preparing lunch. After lunch we took the boys to the park with their scooters. Joe is very active and scooted all the way, Charlie is slower and fairly lazy, so we carried his scooter most of the way. We had fun in the park and promised to come back soon. Joe played really nicely with some other children and I was really pleased with the way he interacted with them.

Shortly after we got back home (aware of some of our friendly neighbours curtain twitching to try and get their first subtle glance of the boys!!) their social worker arrived for a visit.

She seemed really pleased with the way things were going, and assured us that she felt we were doing the right thing in not being quite as rigid with them as the fc's are. After all this is their home, and it's right that they should have the run of the house, and that they should be allowed to get excited and loud at appropriate times, something that I think is probably discouraged currently. Again, that's no criticism of the fc's who have done an amazing job, but it's the difference between a 'temporary stop' and a permanent residence. The foster carers also have to parent children directly removed from their chaotic, unstructured birth families, so have to have very tight boundaries to tame effectively feral children. Fortunately for us, this work has already been done!

Once the social worker left, we decided to have some family down time, and plonked ourselves on the sofa to watch a DVD. All four of us cuddled up, and it was lovely. Next G led some rough and tumble tickle time, which the boys absolutely loved, and just kept on coming back for more. I went to the loo at one point, and as I was walking back down the stairs I just stopped, and listened to the sound of hysterical laughter coming from the three of them in the lounge, and I have to be honest, I wiped a little tear away. I've waited a very long time to hear that in our home, and it was just lovely.

Joe did ask when we were going to take them back to J & P's and I was a bit worried that this was because he was getting desperate to leave, but I think in reality he knew he was going back there today and wanted to know what was going on. In fact the only time all day I had to have words with him, was when I asked him to go and put his toys away because it was time to go back to the foster home. He sulked and said 'No, I don't want to.' I am rather hoping that part of the reason for that, was that he didn't want to leave. I may just be kidding myself though!

They tidied nicely, Papa dealt with his first toileting accident (with Charlie, not his own accident!) and then we got them in the car. I realised that it had taken longer than I anticipated and we were later leaving than planned, I forgot that it's no longer going to take us 5 minutes to get ready to leave the house!

The boys (and dads) were exhausted driving back to J & P's, but we got back and all had tea together. Joe was really cuddly after tea, both with the fc's and with G and I, a good sign that he's not feeling torn loyalties - we want him to know that J & P still love him even though he's not going to be living there. Looked after children that don't understand why they are being moved from one place to another, think that adults just give them up, and this can deeply affect their trust of adults. The whole messaging we're promoting this week is that the fc's are giving them permission to love us and trust us, and that they aren't just abandoning them, and that even when they are no longer with J & P, J & P will still have them in their thoughts. For this reason we've put photos of J & P in their bedrooms at our house.

It was strange going in to their rooms at the foster home tonight which are now completely bare as all their toys are at our house, reinforcing the fact they are moving. We got the boys ready for bed, and G put Charlie to bed and read his story and I did Joe. I kissed Joe goodnight and told him what we were doing tomorrow. He asked if he could always sleep at our house now. I told him that he would be sleeping there tomorrow night, he would then have two sleeps back at J & P's and then after that, he could sleep at Daddy and Papa's for ever and ever and ever. He grabbed me and kissed me and said 'I really love you daddy' I told him that Papa and I promised to love him for ever and ever, and he looked genuinely excited.

We both feel that today we started to parent in our own style and that the boys had fun. We had fun too, and actually we no longer feel scared about tomorrow (the first overnight stay), we actually are desperate to get them all to ourselves.

Happy times. And now for wine.......

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