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R.E.S.P.I.T.E (sing it like Aretha!) - Countryside Carer

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Our Countryside Carer shares her thoughts on respite care and why it's important to take a break and not feel guilty

Before we had a placement, we told each other that the foster children we looked after would always come on holiday with us. We sort of made the assumption that we wouldn’t need a break, that our children wouldn’t need a break, that our foster children wouldn’t need a break. And what do they say about ‘assuming’? That it makes an ass out of you and me. 


We definitely need breaks. I don’t know if it’s because our own children are still young or because there is a decent amount of children in the house or maybe we are just lightweights, but, we needed a break. Enter…Shirley (and Alan!). A good few months ago I mentioned to my supervising social worker that we would like to have a couple of weeks respite and she, along with other Nexus magical pixies found us Shirley. Another Nexus carer who, quite honestly, already has her hands full. ow lucky I was to have a community of foster carers around me who recognised my need for a rest. 

From the first conversation I had with Shirley I knew that the children were going to be happy there. She is, to put it bluntly, a complete pocket rocket. A bundle of excitement, enthusiasm and, most obviously, kindness squeezed into a lovely, tiny human. She oozes that natural, caring mother hen pheromone which makes you trust and like her within 30 seconds of meeting her. 

I was very lucky to have a community of foster carers around me who recognised my need for a rest. 

So, with Shirley decided on, we spend the next few months going backwards and forwards with the kids likes, dislikes, behaviours and any info that we thought she might need. And at home, I started talking about Shirley and her family. The children could talk about Shirley and her family with enthusiasm before they had even met her. They were excited! And I was feeling a whole host of emotions. Guilt, reservation, looking forward to a break, worried they wouldn’t want to come back…the list was long, and complex. 


When we went to meet Shirley and her gang at her house the children (and I) felt very welcome and very at home. We all fell in love with her dogs and were in awe of the children’s bedrooms and beautiful country views. Again, I was reminded of how lucky I was to have the option of Shirley, how lucky I was to be part of a company who took the time and effort to match her family with ours and how lucky I was to have a community of foster carers around me who recognised my need for a rest. 


So, the day finally arrived when the children were to be dropped off. Suitcases, rucksacks, ‘shoe bags’ and a ‘Thank You’ hamper for Shirley and her family were all packed in the car. And they were off. All I had to do now was have a break…easy right? 


Fostering stories


  • Foster Carer

Date published

19 August 2021

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