Friday, 26 December 2014

The greatest gift - A Fostering Story

As I have often said in my blog and through my AudioBoom podcast's, Fostering has its challenges!
This Christmas, we were asked to help with an 8 year old boy over the Christmas period. At first, we were reluctant to agree to this as we had just finished a placement and were in the middle of re-decorating the room. However, after some serious discussions with our Fostering team and some soul searching we agreed to have him for Christmas.

Things have been hard, this little lad is eight years old (Chronologically), however developmentally he is still around four years old. This causes real problems with his emotional development, dealing with anger, social interaction and understanding boundaries and rules. It has been a roller coaster of a Christmas, lots of problems to deal with and many tantrums! That said, he has had a loving and safe environment to spend his Christmas and lots to keep him occupied.
One of the most memorable moments for me was to see him opening his gifts on Christmas Morning. He was so very excited! He had asked Santa for some Hot Wheels and a Mousetrap (the game), and this along with a kiddie zoom camera were all wrapped up ready for him to open.

It has pulled at our heart strings to see how frustrated and angry he gets. He just cannot express himself like a child without learning and development difficulties can do. This global delay is the result of severe neglect, and all within the first eight years of his life. It is so sad to realise the amount of kids that are similar to him and a great deal more that are worse!

My own Son has been fantastic with him, helping him to play safely and being patient with him. We have all learnt so much from this little man.
We are just so pleased we have been able to give him a good Christmas.
Happy Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Making Time

Friday, 5 December 2014

What else is there?

As most of my subscribers will already be aware, I have a 10 year old Son who took over a decade to arrive (it was a long Labour!). Since his birth, my Wife and I have dedicated our lives to his Education and upbringing.
As a Foster Carer, it is obvious to me that there is a huge difference between one person's idea of 'dedication' to another's. This could be for a multitude of reasons, lifestyle, background, housing status or religious beliefs. Even as a professional carer, I sometimes struggle to understand the reasons behind why people do not prioritise their children.

Yes, I struggle with the understanding, however I also accept that life is not easy for the majority of the parents that are faced with having to deal with the social services and Foster Care within their lives.
We have been very lucky, in that we are healthy and have a good work ethic. We have been fortunate enough to of had consistent employment during my Son's first decade on this Earth, and now we are both Qualified to look after other Parent's children.

I used to question myself wether the way our boy had turned out was a 'fluke' or maybe he was just 'special' and we were lucky. As we have grown, matured and had training on different aspects of Childcare and the dedication needed to raise a well rounded child, we have realised the amount of effort and the sacrifices we made to ensure our Son had every opportunity that presented itself to him. The daily 'fun' maths and English lessons we gave him after School that he loved to do and were fun! The emptying and counting of a 'piggy bank' at his Nanny's house that taught him more about Maths and Currency. Above all, the TIME spent with him. That was the essential ingredient - Time. To enable that time to be spent, sacrifices needed to be made. Those sacrifices were made through freindships, outings and socialising.  It would of been easy to 'get a sitter' or 'palm him off' with a family member tyo enable us to go and enjoy ourselves. However, when you have tried for children for over a decade you come to realise just how important your role as a 'Parent' really is. You are not only responsible for their young life, but they are relying on you to go above and beyond to ensure they have every opportunity in life. I mentioned earlier that we had been lucky, there is always an element of luck to anyone's life but we never left it to 'luck' when raising our child. Planning was important, essential even, enabling us to make the necessary arrangements that would see him carried forward into adulthood. 


To become a parent, is to sacrifice the life you lead and commit yourself to the upbringing and welfare of another human.  These are things we gave up to raise our only Son. After all, when you really think about it, what else is there? 

Friday, 6 June 2014

Not a great experience with @IndesitSupport!

Early last week our Tumble Dryer decided it would stop working. As annoying as this was, we were well prepared as we pay for extended cover with  to enable us to sit back and relax during one of these episodes. We have extended support cover on may items through  and this gives us peace of mind that any eventuality will be dealt with professionally and quickly....

(Or so we thought!)

After a quick phone call to Indesit....

a repair was booked and we waited (a few days) until the day we would finally have the ability to dry our washing again! The day finally arrived and we were frustrated to find that the repair engineer had to 'order a part' to enable a repair! These things happen I'm sure, so again we waited (about a week!) for the repair man to bring us a shiny new part and to fire up the Tumble Dryer!
Due to work commitments, I had to call Indesit and rearrange the appointment for the Friday instead of the Thursday. This was all done and we again waited in anticipation for that day to arrive!
I tried to book a holiday day at work so I did not loose any money but unfortunately that was declined as it was over subscribed, so I decided to swallow the loss of a day's pay in order to get this repair completed. Unpaid leave for Friday was agreed through work and all was once again well in the world!
The big day finally arrived! This morning we made sure the area around the Tumble Dryer was all tidy ready for the engineer to arrive on his steed and deliver us from this central heating hell!
At 08:49 exactly, I received a call from  stating that they were very sorry to inform me that the appointment was canceled as the part had been delivered to the engineer damaged!
I explained that this was not acceptable, but the lady (Beverly) was adamant that there was 'NOTHING' she could do! I asked for a complaints escalation and she stated that they would tell me the same!

Fast forward to now, and I get a call from the Customer Complaints Department (Michael) who ran through the same script that Beverly had done and then offered me a £20 Sainsbury voucher for being let down! I explained that whilst this was a 'nice' offer I wanted to get to the bottom of why the appointment had been canceled in the first place. Michael stated that the parts had been delivered damaged and that there was nothing they could do to get a replacement part out to me today. The earliest repair would be Monday next week! I explained to Michael that if it was possible I was going to request some information by the Freedom of Information Act as I could not understand why the part had arrived with them on Thursday evening when the original repair was booked for Thursday daytime! It does not make any sense at all.

So, the open questions I would like answering from  are:

1. Why did the part take so long to arrive in the first place?
2. If the part arrived on Thursday evening, why was this parcel not checked for damage on arrival?
3. Do they feel it is acceptable practice to cancel repair appointments on the same day as the repair?

I am hopeful that I can get a quick resolution to this as it has really upset me. Especially when a local repair including call out and parts would of cost me less than the overall cost of today! Worst of all, I still have NO TUMBLE DRYER!

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Classic FM, Tea and baked Potatoes!

Today, I am preparing lunch whilst my Wife is at work. I am sat at the dining table listening to Classic FM (You can listen HERE) sipping a cup of tea and pondering the weeks events.
I never used to listen to Classical music, in fact it was always turned off whenever it came on the radio! As I have matured, Classical music has evolved with me. I could never understand how anyone could enjoy listening to this genre of music as it rarely had any lyrics to get your teeth stuck into. That was my mistake, I was always searching for music that had a message!
The English Language is a beautiful Language, however Lyrics are not the pleasure to enjoy within Classical Music. Instead listen to the iterations and variations on a melody, it is full of messages - if you listen carefully!
Even now, after a few years of listening and enjoying the genre I still could not identify many pieces by name. I am no expert: just a fan!
My Son, has now started to learn his second instrument. The Oboe has interested him for some time but as he was concentrating on his Piano tuition he did not want to distract himself. He is now at a stage with the Piano that he feels he can take on the Oboe without affecting his studying. Classical music and instrument tuition has been linked to many positive reactions in Children including, Memory improvements, Emotions & Mood and Concentration. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

One step forward....

Today is a special day for us as a Family, you see we are spending today as a Family of three for the last time! Tomorrow, we are to be joined by our first Foster child as a permanent placement. We have spent the last 10 days getting to know him and we are all excited at the prospect if becoming a family of four! 

The excitement is also slightly tinged with sadness as we have come to realise that our first ever dog (Casper) has reached the end of his journey. He is 16 years old and has become extremely thin and can no longer walk without assistance. 
We will seek advice from the Vet tomorrow but deep down we know the outcome. 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014


It is strange looking back on old emails and messages, so many things change in life that it almost seems like another person was writing and responding to those messages!
I sometimes daydream that I could take the most interesting parts of my career and life, put them together to create the 'perfect' existence for me..............

To be continued..

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A wake up call for the new year!

On New Year's Eve I arrived at my Mum's house to deliver a few items of shopping as she had been unable to get out due to a bad cough and chest infection.
It had started around Boxing day, and the Doctor had been called on two occasions: on both he had prescribed steriods and on the last visit a different form of antibiotics. Mum had said that she did not believe she was getting any better and so we did a little shopping for her and arrived to find the door still locked, this was unusual for Mum as she is always up with the sparrows!
I shouted to Mum and I heard her answer (which was a relief) and she started to make her way to the front door to let us in. I instantly realised something was wrong as she was muttering that she 'couldn't get in!' and seemed very confused indeed. Thankfully, she managed to unlock the bolts and I opened the door. As soon as I seen her I knew she was in trouble, her breathing was shallow and he lips were blue! I passed the bags of shopping to my Wife and grabbed her arm to help her to the front room, before we got out of the hallway she had collapsed. I caught her and laid her on the floor.
To cut a long and traumatic story short, she was taken to Hospital and was eventually diagnosed with Pneumonia.
Since then, it has been a constant journey back and forth to the Hospital and to Mum's house to let the dog out regularly. Today Mum seemed to of turned a corner and started to respond well to treatment. We are hopeful she may be home tomorrow!
The whole experience brought back memories of my Father who died at home and made me realise how much I take my Mum for granted. She is my Mum, i need her to know how much she is loved and appreciated everyday!
My Mum!