Welcome home

Wednesday 2 February 2022

Welcome home 

‘Finally, ‘welcome home’ day arrived, where our children stayed the night and then never left.’

So much of our journey to becoming a family, was focused on self-reflection and consideration of the dynamics of our future family. Eventually, you end up in meeting after meeting, discussing the finer details of how you will finally meet, spend time with and then bring home your future children.

It all happens in a complete whirlwind.

You will absolutely be swept up in the moment, a day will feel like a second and then you will find yourself one year down the line thinking…how did that happen?!

Introductions – this is the period, usually around two weeks but can be shorter or longer, where you are gradually introduced to, spend time with, learn their routines and then bring home your children.

In yet another unusual situation, we began introductions just before Christmas, this was due to specific circumstances surrounding the children but is not a practice that is common. This meant that we spent most of the build up to Christmas 2020 preparing for the children and introductions – Santa really did pull Christmas out of the bag for us that year!

The plan was for around 9 days of introductions; a mix of mornings, afternoons, days out, days at our home and bedtimes were planned. We were impacted by Covid restrictions and so many things were different, however, we can say, looking back – we did not notice! We were totally immersed in the children.

Our social worker kept reliably informing us that; ‘you will be shocked at how quickly the children adapt and eventually don’t want to leave you’ – it is hard to imagine in such a short space of time that this would be possible! It really is though!!!

For nights beforehand, we worried about if they would like us, feel comfortable, cry for the foster-carers or not want to stay with us. Despite all our training and reading around attachment and bonding, absolutely nothing could really prepare us for the introductions.

We were an emotional and physical mess for most of that period, as we began to soak in everything new about our children.

The foster-carers are the oracles who hold the key to how to soothe your children, what they like to eat, their favourite toy and all their dislikes. Alongside getting to know the children, we were trying to extract this valuable information from them.

Our children genuinely made the introduction period so easy for us, whilst some elements of this were tell-tale signs of their shared background experiences, they were very happy to be left with us to play, feed and clothe. They wanted to engage with us and as they are very outgoing children, it was second nature to them to want us to be entertaining!

Something that has only grown in strength since they came home!

Slowly but surely, we began to take our children’s belongings home, we were making mental notes of what the foster-carer was advising, all whilst trying to consider – where all the stuff will go, as we had bought them a mountain of items in preparation!

Finally, ‘welcome home’ day arrived, this was when our children stayed the night and never left.

It was a magical moment for us, we had spent all day with them, completed what was probably the most hectic of bedtime routines to date and then slowly crept downstairs to tidy, scowling at each other if a slight noise was made. Finally, the flop on the sofa with a takeaway ordered and a wry smile to each other stating ‘we did it’.