Matt, a foster brother to young boy D, shares the thoughts running through his mind when his parents decided to become foster carers for children with disabilities...
There's an old adage that I am rather fond of: "a man's home is his castle". I think it sums up the relationship that I have with my house having lived there my whole life, with only the most minor changes to its structure. It has been a place of stability for me the past twenty years. No matter how turbulent school became, no matter how disorienting starting university was, my home was my foundation; my family was the same, my bedroom was a sI left it, usually in an untidy state, and life was pleasingly ordinary. It was, therefore, quite a surprise for both myself and my sister when we were told that my parents were considering leaving their careers to become foster carers.
I, presumably like most people of my age, was more than a little concerned about what the implications of this changewould be. After all, foster caring is more than just a case of adopting a new profession; it's a total readjustment of an entire household, especially in my case as it meant a whole new extension added to my home as well as the daunting prospect of welcoming an unfamiliar child to the fold. This last aspect bothered me the most: who would this child be? What would they be like? At the time, the idea of fostering was very unsettling for me. If we go back to the idea of my home being a castle, it felt like it was suddenly under siege.
If you are reading this as someone whose parents have applied to foster and are awaiting their first placement, then I imagine you are feeling very much the same. There are two things that are important to remember before we proceeded: first, there's nothing wrong with feeling apprehensive. Being anxious or concerned is perfectly natural; it's a radical change to your family dynamic after all. Second, you do not have to hide the fact that you are worried and concerned; talk to your family. Open discussions are the best way of dealing with the situation and for fostering to work, everyone must be on board.
The last thing that I wanted to explain is that my fears, whilst legitimate, never came to fruition. The boy we have with us now is D (the little chap in the photo). If I was concerned before about the impact that a foster sibling would have on me, D has quashed all of them. He's full of life and energy, always wanting to go off on another adventure and has fitted ever-so-well with our family. My point in this was to demonstrate that being a foster sibling can be daunting, but for me, D has proved how enriching and enjoyable the process can be and I very much hope that is just as successful for any of you..