It was obvious that the perpetrator of the calls etc. were from the girl’s family. We knew that, the Social Worker knew that as did the Supervising Social Worker. Mum, however was denying any involvement and was ‘horrified’ that people were asking her about it. So we adjusted all of our phones to not accept number withheld phone calls. It had unsettled us slightly as the period leading up to these incidents had been very quiet. The girls sensed that something was wrong, obviously, and asked us what was going on. We said that we were unsure and left it at that. Things went quiet again but I was quite angry about the behaviour of the people who made the calls. We were trying to look after and care for two young people who, according to their Mum, were beyond her control and that it was her that asked for her children to be placed in care, despite what she was trying to spin. Mum had told a number of people that the children were taken from her and that she was devastated when it happened. Whether Mum had suffered guilt about giving up her children I don’t know but her behaviour was becoming more and more unstable and we were in her sights as the cause of the fact that her children were in care. The whole situation made us slightly anxious and we became rather paranoid if we saw unusual cars parked outside or if the girls were five minutes late home.

Between me and my wife we were of the opinion that it was only a matter of time before Mum made her next move. The next holiday had arrived and we decided to send the girls away to an adventure camp for young people. The local authority had agreed to fund this so off we went to Portsmouth to drop the girls at the ferry terminal to take them to the beautiful Isle of Wight. After we got them checked in we stayed a night in Portsmouth, the following night in Brighton and then finishing our little trek in Whitstable. When we got home we did some decorating and spent some time with our own family. It can be hard, as a Foster Carer, not to get carried away with what’s happening with your placements and putting your family to one side. Obviously Fostering is your career and you have responsibilities for the young people you are looking after but you are also responsible for your own family, health and children. I have seen a number of Foster Carers who have struggled with the dual role of Carer, Parent and Husband/Wife. Yes it is difficult, especially when the Children in Care are demanding of your time and needy, which many are. Throw in demanding parents and awkward other family members and your own priorities can become slightly ‘foggy’. That’s why we always try to organise some respite during the school holidays for when we can 100% focus on our own children and family. The girls came back on Saturday, delivered by a worker from the Local Authority. They were tired but had enjoyed a great time at the camp. They had made lots of friends from all over the South of England and had a pocket full of phone numbers and email addresses so they could keep in contact with their new friends. We sorted all their washing out and they had dinner and went to bed as they were both tired.

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