Picure by D's foster brother, aged 9
Today was the day we had all been looking forward to. A highlight in the fostering calendar. The Fostering Christmas Party!
Every December, the Fostering Team work hard to put on a wonderful party for all the Foster Carers, children and families and this was to be our first one.
It was the last day of term so D and I picked up our excited children from school and we drove to the party. We had chosen our outfits in the festive spirit. I had donned a dress with Santa hats on it, the children had their Christmas jumpers on, and D was very excited to be dressed in a mini Santa outfit. He looked adorable!
We arrived at the venue and were welcomed in by the Fostering Team. The DJ was playing music and children were dancing and running around having fun. We found a table to sit at, but the kids were keen to join in on the fun with the other children. D was so happy, playing with other children and running around. I managed to persuade him to sit down and eat some party food, another favourite pastime of his! He was particularly keen to get to the cakes so speedily ate his sandwiches with delight.
After we’d eaten, he was keen to get back onto the dance floor to join in with the big kids. He looked super cute dancing in his mini Santa suit. I managed to grab a few photos of him, being careful not to get any other children in shot. He followed the big kids around the dance floor, trying to copy their moves and be involved in their games.
Then the music went down, there was some jingling and a loud ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’. The big kids knew who it was and sat down as instructed on the dance floor with big smiles on their faces. Santa had come to visit all the children! D was not so sure what the fuss was all about and continued to charge around as I desperately tried to keep up with him and bring him back to the dance floor. I caught up to him and managed to encourage him to sit down with the children for a short while. Then D saw the big sack of presents next to Santa and went to have a look in the bag! He then became Santa’s Little Helper, pulling out the gifts for Santa to give to each child. After a few gifts had been given, Santa called out Ds name and he got given a gift of his own! He went shy and his eyes were big and wide as he held his gift. He sat on Santa’s knee, looked over at me pointing the camera at him and shone a big happy smile at me. ‘Click’! One for the memory box for sure! He rushed back to me, focused on his gift, and sat with me, ripping off the paper. Santa had bought him a toy phone, with music and light up buttons! He was delighted! Once Santa had given a gift to every child, we all thanked him and waved goodbye. The children bought their gifts to me to keep safe, ready to take home. They were all really chuffed with their gifts. It was a lovely moment seeing all the children in the room looking so happy. Santa had done a great job!
The music came back on and the dancing and party games continued. The party is a great opportunity to see other Foster Carers and it was lovely saying hello to carers I knew and meeting lots of new friendly faces.
As the party wound down, I gathered the children and we said our goodbyes to everyone. The children didn’t want the party to come to an end, always the sign of a good time! We thanked the Fostering Team for a wonderful afternoon, they had worked so hard to make it such a great event. I felt very lucky to be part of the larger fostering community in Brighton & Hove. It’s a great team and we have met so many wonderful people since we joined. It’s a special feeling to feel so valued in the roles that we do.
As I bundled 3 sleepy children into the car, I was convinced they would all be asleep by the time we got home. They were! The festive season was well and truly underway!
Due to Coronavirus, our team our working remotly, but we are continuing to welcome fostering enquiries and applications because there remains a priority need for children to have safe and loving foster families. We are conducting information sessions, initial enquiries and home visits via WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams, and we are working closly with new applicants to progress their applications.
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details of our next virtual information session.