A day in the life of a Foster Carer: Part 2, contact

Picure by D's foster brother, aged 7

Today I was awoken by our foster child D, calling for me from his cot. It was 6.30am and he had slept well all night. As I wandered into his bedroom, I was greeted with smiles and arms stretched out wide for a cuddle. It was a lovely greeting. I scooped him out of his cot and he cuddled in tight.

When getting D dressed, I took some time to choose his outfit as today, he had contact with his mum. I always try to remember which clothes were bought by family members and dress him in the outfits they have given him for them to see. I picked out a lovely, bright t-shirt and shorts that his mum had bought him last week.

D sat in his highchair and eagerly ate a large bowl of porridge, washed down with milk. 

Whilst he ate, I took the opportunity to write in his contact book. Prior to each contact session I write in a book, detailing what he has been up to, what he has eaten, how he has slept and any falls or scrapes he has had for parents to read and comment on. It’s a good way to keep parents involved in their child’s day to day life.  I put the book in his bag along with some favourite toys, his water bottle, nappies, wipes, cream and a snack, ready for contact.

When everyone was ready, we took the older children to school, enjoying a little walk in the fresh air before driving to the contact centre. Today’s contact session was in the morning, so D was raring to go. We arrived at the contact centre a few minutes early, and D was keen to go in. D loved pressing the doorbell and greeting the contact centre staff as he entered.

Mum was waiting for us and I chatted to mum about how D had been and what had been happening since she last saw him. I work hard to build a positive relationship with parents, so they feel reassured their child is being well cared for.

D was excited to go into the contact room which was filled with lots of toys. He loved playing with them. I waved goodbye and told him I would be back soon. Today was a good day, and we had no tears as I left. I left D with his mum and the contact supervisor.

Today’s contact session was to last 1.5 hours. I usually take this opportunity to have a quick swim, or do some shopping, or sit down with a hot coffee at the local garden centre. Today I managed 30 lengths of the pool; it felt rejuvenating! I am rarely called back early but I always keep my phone close by just in case I need to return sooner, if he is unwell for example.

When I returned to the contact centre, I sat in the waiting area, to wait for D to come out. As the door opened, he rushed out with arms open for a cuddle. He had had a lovely time and mum chatted to me about what he had been up to with her. We all waved goodbye and I strapped D into his car seat. He was often agitated after contact, and was tearful in the car, but he soon fell asleep for the rest of the journey home. As we arrived home, he was still asleep and, knowing he would wake as soon as I lifted him out of the car, we stayed in the car for a short while whilst he finished his nap.

When he awoke, we went into the house and enjoyed our lunch.

We spent the afternoon playing at home and having some quiet time. D is often clingy after contact and he needed lots of cuddles and reassurance. We enjoyed dinner together as a family, then went about our usual bath time, story time and bedtime routine. Bedtime is often delayed as D loves a story, and one book often leads to two, then three and so on! We try to stick to a routine, making sure D is in bed by 7pm but tonight he was clingy and tearful, so he needed lots more cuddles and reassurance. He soon fell asleep in my arms. I lowered him into his cot and left the room dimmed by the nightlight.