Hope you are all well.
I have just returned from a meeting in Watford with some lovely people. It was about an hour and a half to get there around the nightmare that is the M25, in the rain and wind, but luckily it was only just under an hour to get back. So, sitting here eating my lunch, I thought I would explain about how I am in the situation I am in.
I have obviously mentioned Maria before, but she is not my daughter. Technically she is my foster-daughter. Now to explain how we know her.......... Mike's son Jack is her half-brother (same mum), but Mike is not her dad. He was with her mum whilst she was growing up, so knew her pretty well. To cut a long story short, she was in care in Hertfordshire, and wasn't able to go back to her mum. No one else could have her long term, so Mike and I discussed it, and we really didn't want her and Jack to be that far apart and hardly ever see each other. And she is a lovely girl, who deserved to be with her family, or well as close as.
She has lived with us for 15 months now, and I can't imagine life before her and Jack being with us. She is a lovely girl, just about to turn 11, and acting like she's 21! We all have our moments, and we do not agree all the time, but I see that as a good thing. I am her carer first, then her friend, and I am glad that we have that relationship. She knows the rules and, most of the time, behaves.
Now I have had this discussion with people before, and, I know she isn't my daughter, but I treat her exactly as I would my own children. And I love her just as much.... We have just got the stage of her telling me she loves me now and again, which is a nice feeling. Knowing that she is settled and feels happy with us is nice.
Ever since we started down this road, I've had people telling me how it's such a wonderful thing I am doing, and that she is lucky to have us. Well I feel lucky as she is so kind and understanding, and way beyond her years! I did a parenting course a while ago, and we talked about giving praise, and not just to children, but for ourselves. And, along with another lady on the course, we both found it hard to take when people praise us for taking on these children. But, as the other lady felt, it was natural to want to help someone in need. Funnily enough, she was at the meeting today too, so we got to have a little catch up on how things have been going, which was nice.
Also, my parents are foster carers, and have been since I was 18 months old, so I have been used to living with different children from different backgrounds and different ages. I loved growing up, I was an only child with my parents (I have 3 older siblings who have a different dad to me) so I always loved having other children to play with :) But they are my inspiration, they have loved 100 children, card for them and made sure they got the best start in life they could, or even a new start. They are wonderful and I love them so much.
So, back to the beginning of this post..... I went to a support group for 'Family and Friends Carers' where we can chat amongst ourselves about our lives and how we get on looking after these children. I find it really reassuring knowing that I am not alone it what we do, and that other people have hard times and still get through it. We get to listen to someone talk about a different topic each time, and this month was Special Guardianship Orders. Now this was one of the main reasons I wanted to attend the meeting as that is something Mike and I want to do next year.
Basically, it would just give Mike and I parental responsibility without taking it away from her mum. So we could make the decisions on her getting her ears pierced, to whether she can have an operation, and not have to worry about asking her mum's permission first. It would just make us more responsible for the day to day things.
Anyway, that will be on a few months, once birthdays. Christmas, new year and Mike's is better, and we are more settled. It is something where we will have to go to court to get the order from a judge/magistrate, so it's all legal and proper. I am really looking forward to getting it all sorted. I may even have a party!
So that's me, and how Maria has fitted in to our lives :) She is a wonderful girl, and I am so happy that I can be a parent to her.
Thanks for reading, if you managed to get all the way through it. I am proud of what I do, and can't wait to have my own children, but they would never replace the feelings I have for Maria and Jack.