Final log to my foster son
We wanted to share this wonderful log which a foster parent wrote to their foster son, beautifully capturing their journey together.
Today is your 18th birthday so this is the final daily log that I am going to be writing for you since you came to live with us. It is log number 2444 and, for the mathematician in you, represents 37% of your life so far.
Each of the logs that we have written, over the many years, represent a day that you have lived with us and give a snapshot of your life. Some of the moments have made us exceptionally proud; sometimes a little sad; on occasion angry but most of all they just made us realise how much of a part of our family you are.
The day you arrived I wrote my first log for you. I remember the night you arrived you were in your school uniform just carrying your school bag and nothing else. You were so angry that you did not want to come. You have told me since that the only reason you came through our door was because you could smell curry cooking and as we all know your stomach is always your biggest decision maker! I remember going to the local shops once you went to bed because you only had the clothes you arrived in. You like to recall a story of the day after you arrived when we went for a walk to the park and my shoe got stuck in the mud and we had to recover it. The logs for the following week were filled with stories of the den you built using all of the blankets and sheets in the house and your incessant chatter and singing of Meatloaf songs.
Another log written of the first temper tantrum but certainly not your last. You climbed on top of a post box and beat your chest like a gorilla to show how angry you were with us. Being so new to fostering I was mortified. I can't even remember how we got you back down and into the car but we managed to get you home. Your temper did not end there though and we had a night of screaming and wrecking your bedroom. It seemed impossible that such a little person could be so very angry. We got through it and we moved on. Each time you lost your temper we understood you more and knew how to help you quicker but this did not happen overnight and we made lots of mistakes along the way.
I remember the log that I wrote for the day that you went to your first scout camp. I was much more nervous than you. Despite an early morning pickup I was the first parent in the carpark waiting to see you return. Until that moment I had not realised how protective I had become of you. Little did I know this would be the first of many pickups from camp; lots of early starts; very very muddy boots and smelly campfire clothes but the calmness that being outside brought you was worth every early alarm call. Over the years we have picked you up from one adventure after another as you achieved more and more becoming a role model for the younger scouts whilst reenacting scenes from 'Lord of the Flies' in the woods - remember the sacrifice of the giant jellybaby! I don't need to reread a log to remember the Christmas you had to learn the kazoo for a scouting performance. My head hurts just thinking of it!
Incident report after incident report written about your dramas at school. Each morning you got up for school and did your hair with gel. You looked so angelic as you got into your taxi. It sometimes seems impossible that this cute, little boy metamorphosed on the way there to be a demonic force who unlocked all of his wrath on the teachers and caused untold amounts of chaos on a daily basis! The conversations we had about how we were going to make things better at school and yet you went back the next day to do exactly the same thing. Somewhere along the line I realised that I had to change my approach because you weren't able to change how you feel about school and education and I let go of my unrealistic expectations of you and celebrated your achievements letting school deal with the issues there.
Logs charting the days spent watching you sailing and enjoying the sunshine. Your happy place with the wind taking you to see the seals and rocking you to sleep. Comradery with the other scouts with an easiness that you do not always have in relationships. Your friends have become our friends. Your extended scouting family an extension of ours. They accept you for you and you accept them and all their quirks too.
Another incident report written about how you got arrested at school. I arrived at the police station not knowing what state you would be in. We both knew the ramifications for this would be huge and probably impact on your living with us. We hugged and we cried. Thankfully you had calmed and the police let me take you home and you were numb on the way. I know my mind was racing with what I would do and the worry that I would be moving you to a residential school. Your faith in us to take care of it and make things ok rocked because there was no easy fix. The school agreed they would be prepared to try one last time and you agreed to try more. Whenever the school rang there was always worry in the pit of my stomach about what you had done now and how that would impact us all. Every meeting there was a discussion about a contingency plan for when (not if) you got permanently excluded. None of us really believed that you would finish Year 11... but you did, and you achieved qualifications. We should have had more faith in you because, as much as you hated school, you understood that the consequences were too great: without a school placement you would not be allowed to stay with us.
A log detailing your amazement of your first aeroplane flight and the wonder of finding the hotel had a 24 hour patisserie with rows of cakes you could help yourself to. You taught T (Perry to your Kevin) to swim and were a regular with the activities team. A late night rendezvous on the beach with some young ladies you met sent us into a panic as we could not find you. You returned to the hotel room with a big smile on your faces until you saw, normally very placid, H explode in anger from the worry that we had lost you both in a foreign country. Now we joke about it, usually at your expense, but we were really scared that night.
One of the hardest logs I had to write was when we were close to a breakdown with you staying with us. You were so angry with yourself and had upset those that you loved the most. I know that you had backed yourself into a corner and we could not make it better for you. You told us that you 'would rather starve than be in the same room with [us]' which stung like you had hit us. We knew that the situation was not healthy for any of us so we made plans for you to move on. When you were asked if you wanted to leave you were very clear, and very loud, that you were not leaving even if me and H were f---ing c---s! Finally you let me into your room as you hid under a blanket crying. Although a young man now your emotions still that of a small boy. We cuddled and I held your hand and then we made a plan of how we were going to move forward.
A log about the first time you brought a girl back home. I tried very hard to be the 'cool mum' but the thought of you being in your room alone with a girl gave me the ick. We met the situation with great humour and a lot of cringing. We are so proud of the respectful man you have become building romantic relationships based on equality and respect.
Logs written during a week of worry as you went to stay with your family for the first time. Although you always told anyone that asked that you wanted to stay with us we try to understand that your birth family are very important to you. I don't think you will ever know how happy I was to receive a text to tell me you were on your way 'home' . It was as simple as that.
All of those 2443 logs represent your life with us but they do not tell the story of how you have changed our lives. You are a phenomenal big brother to S and W and you have made us better parents - we are certainly prepared for their teenage years! Logs written over the years of the laughter we have had; the car adventures with H; playing games with the kids that make my stomach turn but they love you for; sneaking them treats I don't allow but you excuse it by telling me that it is your job as their big brother and the kindness you show to me in the little things that you do. The logs are all of our story of how we 5 have become a family and I am so very glad that you get to stay with us now you are an adult. Log 2444 finished and we sign off to make more memories! Xxx
Xcel 2000 is part of The Hazel Project.
Visit www.thehazelproject.co.uk to find out more about fostering with us and joining one of our Introduction to Fostering events.