Do you stay in touch with the foster kids after they’ve left you?

Football is a common language spoken the whole world over.

Fostering Chelsea fans will have clear memories of that great night in 2012, when London’s finest won the Champions League with a superb Didier Drogba penalty.

I was watching the game with my son and a 10 year old foster child.

He wasn’t English, but he did claim to be widely travelled.

He’d been to a variety of Eastern European countries, Norway, and Gulliver’s World of Adventures.

I tried to explain, that though very exciting, Gulliver’s World didn’t actually constitute a sovereign Nation State.

He begged to differ.

We decided not to fall out over such trivialities.

For various reasons, he left our home.

We had a goodbye tea at his preferred restaurant, a local Maccies.

As a goodbye gift, I gave him a Chelsea Fernando Torres shirt.

For a short while we kept in contact, and then, eventually, we heard no more.

This is not unusual.

Foster Carers have no right to be informed about what happens to the kids we look after.

They’re not ours.

Occasionally, events would trigger memories of this young boy; mentions of his home country in the news, passing the same Maccies, or mentions of Gulliver’s World.

Tonight, on May 29th, (2021) Chelsea won the Champions League for the second time.

My thoughts went back to that evening in 2012, and for just a brief moment I wondered where he was.

Somewhere in Eastern Europe, a 19 year old was thinking the same thing.

I know Social Media can be an absolute PITA, but our foster child, now a 19 year old, used Instagram to track us down.

His message was short, simple and beautiful

This is a screenshot of the message from George. He’s a grown up now and happy for me to use his real name. He’s a University student in Moldova.

I don’t know if other Carers have had similar messages.

We’ve never had anything quite like it.

We may never get anything like it again.

It’s great to know he’s alive and thriving.

When we foster, we only know our part of the story.

If you are someone who needs to know ‘what happens in the end’, you will have to watch football matches or Disney films.

Published by

fosteringandadoptionwithphil

Birth parent, Foster Carer, Adopter and Recruiter of Foster Carers for Liverpool City Council

8 thoughts on “Do you stay in touch with the foster kids after they’ve left you?”

  1. Fabulous to have news of him!! I think of him every time we go to Gulliver’s! This one definitely tugged at the heart strings Phil x

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  2. Wow, I received my care records this week and it’s painful reading BUT I was fostered out 3 times during my time in care (13 years) each family has left a small Influence on me, all positive, all still enjoyed today, Reg and family from Bicester – my love of sport came from your willingness and encouragement, I still run, cycle and swim all thanks to you. These are things that make me feel good about myself, something I can do each day that leave a sense of achievement and satisfaction. To the Belands of Marcham, Abingdon who shared with me “family” living, the values of education and work, but the one thing that sticks is eating together as a family 40 years later we still do this, it’s my favourite time of each day, and something I hope to have passed on to my blended family and finally to the Bellmand of Charlbury who shared there family with me and allowed me to play, be inquisitive, fail and feel safe, thank you all, these things may seem trivial but they’ve shaped my life.

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  3. It rarely happens but occasionally. And it’s so special. New parents want to start from scratch and forget about the past. Not sure that’s always wise – but certainly understandable. The fostering phase of a care experienced child’s life is part of their full life story – and we hope to make it one of the best bits too – so I think it’s important not to try and brush it under the carpet. The one’s we’re in touch with are doing well. The others – we sometimes hear snippets but we don’t really know… But spot on – we have no right to know. There’s no doubt we want to though.

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  4. Fascinating and emotional read. I think it’s important to say that it’s the needs of the child which comes first, whatever we may want as carers. However, for so many reasons, keeping connected is usually (not always) important, not least to avoid feelings of abandonment for the child/children. Best practice these days is, thankfully, to promote keeping connected. But we all know it can depend on the social worker and local authority as much as the child.
    There are also practical reasons for staying connected. So, we looked after two girls three years ago, who subsequently went to live with birth Dad. We kept in touch and had the odd day out, not as paid carers but because we all wanted to. . When their Dad had some mental health struggles, the LA turned to us to have the girls for more formal and regular respite. When they came through our front door it was like coming home for them, they remembered so much, we couldn’t believe it. And it was so much better for them than the alternative of going to carers who wouldn’t know them (with respect to the great job respite carers do). They are with us as I write this, they know they are safe here and will have a great time (and great home cooking!) and also they can open up about worries they may have which we can feed back to their social worker. So as carers, when our children move on, I believe we should push the authority (if necessary) to promote what is agreed best practice and ensuring which they should be building continues contact into any care plan going forwards. Over the years of course this may drift into less frequent contact, or no contact, but the child knows if they need to speak with the only people who hold the key to what happened at a particular stage in their life, they can do so.

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