When I first started writing things down right at the beginning of our fostering experience it was to de-stress and de-clutter my mind. It made me think about things in a different way and it was also a way of documenting our journey. When I was asked if my blogs could be placed online for other carers and prospective carers I was honoured and (obviously) agreed. At that point I made a silent promise to always be honest, upfront and truthful. It wasn’t going to benefit anyone if I lied about the process or made everything seem like a bed of roses. So with that in mind I’d like to share that two months ago my eldest son decided to go and live with his dad. If I had written this blog on that day, you would all be reading a very different explanation of the situation.
The move was a long time coming in everyone’s eyes. Differences and disagreements on both sides and the tension in the house was building. He had recently renewed his relationship with his dad and in his eyes his father could do no wrong. And it came to a head. During the lockdown where schools, our release, were closed for the second time I packed him up and drove him to his dads. It was a hard, long drive, for numerous reasons. I can’t hold a grudge, never could and carrying any sort of decision or consequence through, for me, is very difficult. I knew, in my heart that if I had come this far with the move then I meant it. He wanted to live by his father’s rules under my house and it just wasn’t going to work.
The first couple of weeks he was away there were a lot of mixed emotions on both sides. I felt like I had lost my son forever yet, when I thought about it rationally, I knew that wasn’t the case. The tension in the house, however, evaporated. His unhappiness had seeped across all of us and the atmosphere was tense. I breathed freely, which is an incredibly difficult thing to admit. As well as the range of emotions there were a lot of unknowns. Would he want to come back? Would he settle at his new school? Would he even want to have a relationship with me? I’m not very good at not having all the answers and I think this was the bit I found the most difficult. I just didn’t know what the future looked liked for us both.
Fast forward three months and our relationship is better than it has ever been. We talk or message every day and he actually engages with what I have been up to, not simply focusing on his needs and wants. We have plans to meet up and myself and his father have worked out systems and schedules to make sure the siblings see each other. We are able to communicate on a bigger scale than we ever have since our separation and for once I feel like we are verging on actually co-parenting, successfully.
It seems that some families do not fit the traditional mould and ours is most definitely one of them. Embracing that and doing what is right for the individual child has always been something that I aspire to and also recognising that the child in this situation has two parents and by choosing to live with one over the other shouldn’t be seen as a negative reflection but just that he has different needs. His happiness is paramount.