Today sees the beginning of Foster Care Fortnight, and Christina, mum to Mikey and Missy, shared her fostering story with us.
In early 2010 I was asked to mentor a vunerable teenager who was pregnant. I would be fostering the baby once it was born and helping the young mum learn how to care for a baby. Baby was born in June of 2010 and it was discovered at birth he had Down syndrome. I was asked if I was still willing to take him, which obviously I was. The parents left the hospital ,taking his clothes and his name (he had been called after his father until they were told he had Ds).
I walked into the ward to see lots of little plastic cots filled with chunky babies, teddies and congratulation balloons. Over at the window was a cot empty of everything except a tiny 3 pound wrinkly baby boy. The nurses had dressed him in what they could find in their cupboards as his parents had taken all his clothes, he had on what we still call his Simon Cowell trousers, rolled up so many times at the legs and up under his armpits. I was in love!! I carried him to the car where the other children were waiting and they instantly said “can we keep him”.
I took him to several contacts with his birth parents where they never turned up but we still had to go through the motions. His parents both decided he was to be adopted. I spoke to SW and told them if he was to be adopted I wanted to be considered. I’d adopted years previously but, had to go through the process again, but being a foster carer already made it a bit easier but I still had to go to panels etc before being approved to adopt again. Luckily Mikey was with me during this process. Finally the day came when he was officially part of our family and I wouldnt change a thing. We all adore him, he was just meant to be ours.
I continued fostering for a few more years until I decided to concentrate on giving Mikey more of my time. Fast forward to us as a family realising we had more to offer and deciding we would look into adopting again. I was quickly matched with a newborn little girl with Ds, and was told by social work that she was going to be coming to me with in weeks, then they suddenly decided to place her elsewhere. We were devastated, but glad she had a home.
Things stalled for a while, then I was at an adoption open day where they have pictures and details of children who are ready to be adopted. And there she was, a picture of a tiny little 5 year old sitting on a swing. I immediately enquired about her, phoned my social worker and the process began again. It took till she was almost 7 before she moved from foster care to our home. This was so frustrating and I was asked several times by social work did I want to move on and try to adopt a different child. No. I was totally committed to this little girl, who I had never met in person but knew was my daughter.
Finally she came to me on a foster to adopt placement, I was worried if Mikey would accept a younger sibling as he was always the centre of attention. But on the day Missy arrived they looked at each other patted each others heads and have loved each other ever since. At age 10 she became my daughter. It was a long journey but so so worth it she’s perfect.