Thank you on post-it note


Fostering Blog – The Kindness of Strangers

2 February 2017

thank-you-cardI’ve been meaning to write this particular blog for a while, but I’d tucked it away in the back of my mind. Since I’ve been fostering, I’ve found that some things never change, regardless of time; you become protective of each child and fight like a Momma Bear for their rights, you can never have too many bags of crisps in the house and people can be really kind.

A few years ago a friend donated electronic game consoles to a teen in my care, including a stack of games, and another good friend sent a parcel long distance with a box full of goodies for a Star Wars obsessed child who had received nothing from his birth family for Christmas that year. He was delighted as he’d never received a parcel in the post before, and not only had my friend got all the current merchandise, she’d listened to me relaying details over the months and got very specific, on the nose, gifts. Each one was wrapped individually, and he talked about the parcel for weeks afterwards.

My friends have been very thoughtful, and family never cease to amaze me with continued generosity of not only their money, but also their time. I’m lucky enough to have a family member who works in the head office of an A list celebrity fashion brand and receives day passes for family events, sample clothing and VIP invites to exclusive launches. To M, this is like having a first class ticket to being supercool trendy teen of the year and it not only elevates her status within her peer group, but it boosts her self-esteem knowing this family member thinks of her and understands how important fashion is to her.

There are a number of young children within my immediate family and I’ve been passed so many useful items including a cot, bags of useful baby pieces, toys and games. As Baby S gets bigger, more things come out of my family’s loft and storage to be recycled my way. However, one particular event has left a warm cosy glow in my soul which continues to touch me, probably because I can’t say thank you as I don’t know who the donator was.

When Baby S first came to me, we had less than 2 hours’ notice from the initial call to picking her up from the hospital and my family, particularly my niece, rallied round, collecting the essentials while my sister in law, set up the cot and ran out to buy nappies and formula. After a couple of weeks, I had the basics and whilst chatting to Rachel, my midwife friend, I mentioned what else I needed and was planning a shopping trip. This included a play mat, baby bouncer and pram as well as the next sizes of clothing. Rachel put a notice in her office and someone left a treasure trove of baby goodies for her to give me. No name was attached, but it included a top of the range buggy and virtually new baby bouncer, an unused play mat, complete with detachable (expensive!) toys and bags of good quality clean, used and carefully folded clothes.

The kindness didn’t stop there. It was too much for Rachel to get home and deliver to me, so she roped in her mother who helped collect it and her dad, who dropped it off to me on the way to a meeting in the city. The first I knew was a knock on the door and Rachel’s father stood in a beautifully tailored suit with a baby bouncer tucked under his arm. He made several trips to the car and when he’d finished, it felt like the contents of Mothercare had been beamed into my living room. I was delighted and overwhelmed by how many people had cared and given. I still don’t know who the person was who donated the baby essentials, but the buggy alone saved me a lot of money and time.

Almost every time I pop Baby S in the buggy, I think of this person’s kindness and I’m still using the car seat from my niece who, if I’m not mistaken, is getting broody again. It will be a pleasure and a treat to reverse the love and send donations back to her.

As for me being a Momma Bear, I’m currently working up a head of steam, fighting for J to have additional support academically, and M has just informed me there are only 4 bags of crisps left in the cupboard. Apparently that’s technically a famine and I must rush off to Tesco immediately to stop the crisis. Funny how the “Vegan, organic, must be grown on the South side of the hill in the shade of a tree once kissed by an albino goat.” concept doesn’t extend to crisps and chocolate.  When it comes to snacks, no alternative is accepted and all attempts at own brands are immediately rejected. It’s Cadburys and Walkers every time.

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