Fostering at Christmas time – an interview with a Focus foster carer.
Life as a foster family is full of ups and downs, there are happy times and challenging periods too. However, Christmas and the festive season can be a particularly difficult time for children in foster care. When it was announced last week that Christmas bubbles could only be for Christmas Day and several areas of the UK were placed into tier 4, families were left disappointed that they couldn’t be together for the holidays. Thousands of children feel this sadness every year when they are unable to spend Christmas with their families, for various reasons. This is why foster carers are so important, they provide children with a safe and loving home and can help them experience a happy family Christmas that many of us have previously taken for granted. If you are thinking of fostering in the new year and are curious what fostering at Christmas must be like, our foster carer N* has shared her experience of her first Christmas period as a foster carer. N joined the Focus Foster Care family in July, she has two daughters who live at home and is currently a foster carer for one child.
Fostering at Christmas – what is it like to be a foster carer during the festive season in 2020?
How many children are you fostering this Christmas? Have they been living with you for long?
I have one child with me who will be here for Christmas. She has been here since the beginning of August.
What will you do to make your child feel included and like a part of the family this Christmas time?
We have decorated her bedroom, and chosen personalised Christmas decorations and let her get involved with all of the decorating. She has told us about a tradition she has with her family of having a key in her room for Santa, so we have made sure she has a Santa key in her room.
Have you found anything challenging about being a foster carer over Christmas time?
It has been challenging dealing with the upset that comes with being away from family over the festive period, but I have tried to be as positive as possible and concentrate on the arranged contact dates and ensure facetime happens regularly.
Do you anticipate any difficulties over Christmas?
I think there will be some tears on Christmas day, so I have prepared lots of crafts and board games which I hope along with presents will be a happy distraction from any sad feelings.
Will your looked after child still be having contact with birth families over Christmas?
There is a plan in place to have contact Christmas Eve, which we are hoping will still go ahead – Covid restrictions allowing.
How are you navigating contact during the pandemic?
I am staying in constant contact with the social worker, and also directly with her family as I have built a good relationship with them. We are keeping up to date with the updates and guidelines and working round them as best as we can.
What are the best things about being a foster carer at Christmas time?
Knowing that I can provide a safe, warm, calm day for a child with no worries makes me really happy. I know it will be a hard day, but I am hopeful it will be a lovely day with lovely memories made.
What are your plans for Christmas day? Is the day going to be different now you are a foster family?
Our day will most likely be the same. We are going to make up and open presents and then spend the day playing, watching movies, eating yummy food and hopefully laughing lots!
What is your one piece of advice for someone considering applying to foster in the new year?
Go for it! If its something you are considering and you feel like you can offer a child a same home – do it. I have found it so rewarding. We can’t fix what has happened in the past, but I can’t think of anything better than helping a child to feel care free, looked after and safe.
What support will you receive from your agency over the festive period?
I have the on call rota and know that if I require any support at any time I can reach out and will be helped immediately.
N joined our team of foster carers in July 2020 and went through the whole assessment and panel process during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are thinking of fostering, we are still open for applications as usual despite the ongoing pandemic.
To find out more about fostering and how to become a foster carer with our independent fostering agency, please read the following pages on our website:
Types of foster care.
Who can foster?
How to become a foster carer with Focus Foster Care.
Fostering – frequently asked questions.
The benefits of fostering with Focus Foster Care.