Welcome to the family

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The moment we suddenly became full-time carers it was clear that finding a suitable full-time carer to transition David to a long-term placement would be difficult. We increasingly discussed the possibility of changing our plans again and welcoming David into our family long term. On one hand there was a lot of anxiety issues and lack of clarity around what was happening in the future was feeding into that. On the other hand there were logistical issues to deal with from us both working full-time and we were facing a lot of challenges with anger. We had made it clear to our agency about how long we could commit to caring for David but every time this date got close we pushed it out further.

We deliberated. We discussed long into the early hours of the morning many nights. We prayed. We brainstormed on further changes to adjust the logistics of family life. We looked at things from David’s perspective, and from our own perspective. The more we discussed it the more we started leaning towards committing to David long term. I didn’t ever got to the point where I was a 100% at peace with such a big decision, but I came to an understanding that with any big decision in life it isn’t always clear cut and there is always an element of doubt and hesitation.

“We deliberated, we discussed long into the early hours of the morning many nights, we prayed, we brainstormed, … but I came to an understanding that with any big decision in life it isn’t always clear cut and there is always an element of doubt and hesitation.”

Then the discussions changed from if we do accept David into our family how do we approach this? So we also had discussions with our agency around what support would be required and where do we take things from here. We wrote a letter to him to help him understand about the change and what it means to be a part of our family, something he could re-read later to be reminded. We settled on a date and our clinician planned to visit to help share the news with him.

When the time came to share the news I don’t think he fully comprehended the change initially and it took a few questions before it sunk in. We shared the letter with him and gave him some time to read through it. There were tears and hugs all around and it was a special moment, one that I will treasure forever. However we all knew the challenges we were facing would not magically fade away, and likely get worse in the coming months. It was time to roll up our sleeves and get stuck into the hard work of growing together as a new family.

“There were tears and hugs all around and it was a special moment, one that I will treasure forever”

Below is the letter we shared with David the day we welcomed him into our family, however I have cut it down and changed it a bit to remove some personal details.

Dear David,

You are now a part of our family. As a part of our family, we will love you and care for you like one of our own. We promise to provide you with a safe and inclusive home. This is now your home and a place to call your own. In our home we respect each other, watch out for each other and include others who need our help, together as a team.

To us, you are an intricately and uniquely made child of God and you are part of His plan for us. We want you to know that your past does not define you. Your future is not something out of your reach in the distance. It is the choices you make each and every day which shape your future. We want to empower you to make the best decisions to work towards the future you want and deserve. At times you may act out and sometimes you might not even understand why. This won’t make us love you any less. We promise to help you work through your feelings and learn from these instances.

Relationships have two sides to them and we want to work at strengthening our relationship. We ask that you help to keep our home a calm and safe place for everybody in it. We ask that you try your best to make the most of support offered to you. We ask that you respect our desire to help other kids and potentially grow our family in the future by supporting us in welcoming other kids into our family, just as we have welcomed you, no matter how long they stay and especially when they need our help. We see your empathy and love to others and we know you will be a wonderful example to these kids, that you will help us love and protect them. We ask that you understand that for us to stay refreshed and ensure that we connect as husband and wife, we may need you to have regular respite weekends from time to time. This does not mean we don’t want you around but rather we want to keep offering you the best care we can by keeping our marriage strong.

We all need to remember that we are human and we are not perfect. We will make mistakes from time to time. We will get tired, impatient or frustrated, we will say the wrong things. Know that we will always be trying our best for you. You will forever hold a place in our hearts and we look forward to creating happy memories as a family. We pray that one day when you are older, you will look back at the time we spent together and not help but smile.

David, you mean the world to us and we love you so very much. Welcome to our family.

Love

A Foster Mum and A Foster Dad.

 

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