Andy moves back to his carer in a couple of days - this month has flown by and it's really been a joy to look after him and see him learn and develop. He's grown both physically and in confidence since he's been here, he's learned new skills, had new experiences and tried new tastes, he's sturdier on his feet and has started to stand his ground with Jack-Jack. We'll be very sad to see him go, even though he's going back to his very experienced and loving carer. Over a 6 week period we will have been told about a child who needs a long respite placement, met him, moved him in and settled him, become attached, found out that our first placement is leaving us soon, and then moved the second placement back to his carer.
I'm working on a photobook for Andy's memory box at the moment, putting together a selection of the photographs we've taken of him over the month with captions about what we were doing, where we went and how much fun we had. A month isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things over the course of someone's life, but I still wouldn't like to think that he had no evidence of who he lived with and what we did.
No one ever said it would be easy, but emotions are running pretty high here at the moment as you can probably imagine. We're doing our best not to talk about what's happening in front of the children, and are mindful of who we do discuss things with. Quite aside from the fact that the children's histories (and futures!) are confidential, we don't want to overload our family and friends or give them an unrealistically negative view of fostering. It is hard work, it's completely different to parenting, and it can feel like it's just not worth all the emotional strain at times, but however well-meaning, we don't want anyone to suggest that we just throw in the towel.
Yesterday a little boy, who a month ago cried when he spilled anything down his front, successfully fed himself with a spoon all by himself and got absolutely plastered in yoghurt in the process. We couldn't have been more proud, and although it sounds cheesy, we're hoping that these are the moments we'll remember long after the children have moved on, not how hard it was for us.