So, we all know the phrase "you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family". We were thinking about this over the weekend as we took Andy and Jack-Jack to see the "In the Night Garden" live show. Due to the distance we had to stay overnight the night before, and chose to stay in an apartment rather than a hotel so that we could put the babies down to sleep in the bedroom and still enjoy our evening without disturbing them. After we'd arrived and had some dinner it was past their bedtime so we gave them a bath and settled them down in their travel cots.
The giggling and jumping up and down started the second we pulled the door to as the boys realised that being in the same room together was officially the best and funniest thing ever. Andy got over this pretty quickly but Jack-Jack soon bounced and giggled himself into a hyperactive frenzy, even managing to rock the cot from side to side with loud thumps. Each time I went in to resettle them I saw poor old Andy laying in his cot good as gold, looking more and more exhausted, resigned to the fact that there was a baby-shaped tornado gradually inching his cot closer and closer with each jump. After an hour or so of this Andy fell asleep, but it was another hour before Jack-Jack finally gave in. There was nothing else to do in that situation as we had nowhere we could separate them, and both boys really were too tired (despite appearances!) to get up and try again later.
These boys aren't related by blood, they're not step-siblings or siblings by adoption, they're just living together temporarily in the same foster family. It hardly seems fair when we think about how much they impact on each other.
This is something we think about quite often as we know that we want to carry on fostering once we've started our own family, whether by birth or adoption. We believe that our children will benefit from growing up in a fostering family, and whilst we're sure there'll be highs and lows as different children move in and out of our home, we hope that they'll grow up to be non-judgemental, caring individuals able to connect to and relate to people in all sorts of situations, who will want to grow up to make a positive difference to the world.
We can't choose our family (and our children can't choose their siblings) but we can choose our family values, and we hope that every child of any age who leaves us takes a little bit of these with them in how they've developed, learned and grown whilst they've been with us.