My daughter is at university and i don’t miss her.

Ok maybe the title of the post was a little inflammatory but it is partly true.

You see my daughter is at university and yes whilst I do miss her I am glad she is gone.

 

Why?

 

Its simple she is living her dream.

The destiny her father and I have wanted for her.

She is studying at the university she wanted to attend.

She is loving the subject of her degree

She has made some amazing friends and is having masses of fun.

 

I am so proud of all she has achieved.

I am super excited for all the future has in store for her.

She is living her life to the full and i am loving watching her grow and change into a beautiful woman.

She is independent and feisty and I love it.

I love her.

 

It’s not about missing her.

It’s part of parenting.

We raise them and hope and pray we have instilled in them wisdom and strength.

Then we let them go.

It’s the bird flying the nest.

The continuance of life.

 

It isn’t easy but its not about me, its not about us her parents.

It’s about my child who is now taking the next step on her life’s journey.

As a mother I wouldn’t want anything more than to see my child fulfil her dreams.

So yes I am missing her,

But I am so proud of her for living her dream.

 

ofcourse i miss her

What can you tell me about…

One of the major issues still arising within foster care, is the lack of information given to carers.

A recent survey published by the Fostering Network, where Foster carers were asked “Are you given all the information you need about a fostered child before they move in, to look after them and others in the household safely?”

 

The survey highlights some concerning issues in the way information sharing is being dealt with, as only 9% actually said they were “always given the information needed” and 6% saying that “information sharing ‘never happened”. In fact 23% of the carers who took part; said “they were rarely given the information they needed.”  32% said “this mostly happened” and 31% were saying “they were sometimes given this information’.

 

As foster carers; we know how important it is that we have the information needed to safely care for the child. Whilst we accept that emergency placements happen with very little warning and information, this should be rectified as soon as possible.

As professionals we must be ensuring that we receive the information needed to keep both the child and ourselves safe. We need to know as much about the child as possible so that we can help and encourage them reach their potential.

 

This is an area where real change is needed. But is this really a piece of a much bigger puzzle? Does the real issue lie with how fosters carers are still viewed within the care system?

 

Clearer understanding must be shown of the key role foster carers have within the ‘Team around the child’, I love this quote from Debbie Booth a foster carer speaking at the Fostering Network’s conference 2007.

 

“If I am not a crucial part of the team who works around the child, then what am I?

 

If I am not paid for the time and skills I dedicate to the child I care for, does that mean that my time, those skills and that child are worthless?

 

I am regulated, monitored, assessed and standardised, reviewed and approved.

 

I write reports, attend meetings, submit forms, keep my paperwork in order, record my days, attend training, as well as wipe noses and bottoms, sing songs and read stories, and act as mother, teacher, taxi driver, counsellor, therapist, nurse, spiritual advisor, confidante, rule giver, cook, nutritionist, careers advisor, pillow, whipping boy, moderator, IT consultant, advocate, bank manager, librarian, encyclopaedia, legal advisor and just be there…

 

If I am not a professional, does that make me an amateur?”

 

The professionalism of foster carers is something that needs to be recognised and respected, not just within the care system, but across society as a whole. Though there is a great deal of room for growth, foster carers must also play our part, it’s essential we continue our development, undertaking relevant training and by treating all members of the care profession with the respect we so desire, and with time we will be recognised and respected for being the front line of care for vulnerable children.

 

 

My third blog post for Progress Care, read this and others over at Foster Care with Progress.

The Adventurer

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The film “The Adventurer” was very interesting.

It was a action packed film with some violence.

I would recommend a parent watched this this DVD first because it has lots of guns, fighting and death in it.

I really enjoyed it though it was very interesting to watch it had some great scenes and lots of contrasting characters.

Some are nice and some are bad mostly because they are after something very important to them.

It’s a film filled with history and suspense.

 

It was a great DVD, it had some fantastic action parts and some really funny parts.

It was a really good and i loved the setting and the era it was staged in.

I recommend this film but would say its definitely a PG one.

My mom especially loved this film but that may have more to do with Ioan Gruffudd being in it.

Brodie Meredith.

 

Here is one of my favourite scenes…….

The Adventurer: The Curse Of The Midas Box

Released on DVD and digital platforms on October 27th

An all-star cast features in the family fantasy epic, THE ADVENTURER: THE CURSE OF THE MIDAS BOX, coming to DVD and digital platforms on October 27th, 2014, courtesy of Signature Entertainment

As the steam age takes hold in Victorian London, Mariah Mundi’s life is turned upside down when his parents vanish and his younger brother is kidnapped. After an encounter with a charismatic stranger, Mundi follows a trail of clues to the majestic Prince Regent Hotel where he discovers a hidden realm of child-stealing monsters, deadly secrets and a long lost artefact with the potential to grant limitless power at a devastating supernatural cost. With the fate of his world and his family at stake, Mundi will risk everything to unravel the Curse of the Midas Box!

*We were given a copy of this film for the purpose of this dvd but all opinions are our own.

The Snow Queen

 

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The snow queen is a family friendly film that makes you laugh and smile throughout the whole film.

It’s filled with cute moments and moments that make you laugh out loud.

The evil snow queen creates a eternal winter in the world.

A young girl named Gurda, her pet ferret Luta and Orm the troll must save her brother Kai and the frozen world.

The film follows the three on their quest.

Gurda, Luta and Orm are faced with obstacles on their journey but despite all the problems the three become closer working together to save the world and bring warmth back to everyone.

New friendships are formed and memories are revealed.

The snow queen is a film suitable for families.

It shows the importance of kindness and loyalty.

I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys heartwarming films that bring a smile to your face.

 

Review by E Meredith

 

THE SNOW QUEEN

At selected cinemas from October 25th

Released on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms on November 3rd

*We received a copy of the film for the purpose of this review but all opinions are our own.

Painting with brighter colours.

I have been avoiding the news for the last few days.

I just cannot take the horror anymore.

Terrorism, diseases, murder, and so much more.

It’s not as if i don’t know its happening of course I do.

I guess i just want to hide away a little.

I watched an episode of Criminal minds the other evening and the investigators were talking about their desire to watch cute videos of little kittens, cute puppies and baby hippos.

Their need to switch the horrific images their jobs brings with cute innocent ones.

I get that.

Not that my job is anything as graphic.

I just understand the need to believe in cute fluffy unicorns for a while.

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I personally don’t subscribe to the sweet animal images.

I prefer messages and videos of hope.

Thats why this week I have been watching videos like this…

 

 

 

Viewing images like these…

 

And

Reading about amazing teenagers like this.

And wrapping myself up in the good in the world.

 

Your attitude is like a box of crayons that colour your world. Constantly colour your picture grey, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colours to the picture by including humour, and your picture begins to lighten up.

Allen Klein.

 

 

So this week I am not actually taking time from the world.

I’m just choosing to paint my life with bright beautiful colours.

 

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Abstract Watercolor Hand Painted Background” by bearvader

Compassion Sunday

Today I want to introduce you to two special members of my family.

Nyiranzayakira and Diana.

I may have never met these beautiful girls but they are my family.

They both have special places in my heart and are always in my prayers.

As a family we sponsor both with the charity Compassion UK

I have mentioned Compassion UK here on my blog before but as today is Compassion Sunday I really wanted to share with you the heart of the charity.

 

The children

 

We first started sponsoring Nyiranzayakira about 5 years ago.

My youngest daughter Brodie just felt she was the one for us from the profiles we got to view.

Nyiranzayakira is now 11 years old and she comes from Rwanda.

 

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She loves to learn and help take care of her family.

 

Diana is 5 and from Tanzania.

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She loves to colour and play.

 

We choose Diana for a very special reason.

Diana was born on the day we lost Livvy.

By sponsoring Diana we hope to give life when one was lost.

 

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Sponsoring these girls has been true gift for us as family.

We love receiving letters and learning about their lives.

Reading about school and how their families are.

 

Compassion UK are a wonderful charity they work through local churches in poor communities around the world to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Programme is the heart of Compassion’s ministry to children living in poverty. It aims to disciple, equip and enable children to develop into fulfilled and responsible adults.

We are so blessed to sponsor these two beautiful girls and having them both in our lives has really enriched them.

Reading and watching these girls flourish has impacted on us as a family.

We value the little things so much more.

I ask you today to consider sponsoring a child with Compassion UK.

For £25 per month you can transform a life of a child.

 

Tell a child today that you are here for them.

 

No slowing down

Last night my dream was so vivid that it felt so very real.

I was curled up on the sofa and under my arm with her head in my lap was Olivia.

Just lying there giving me a sweet cuddle.

I woke with tears rolling down my face.

An emptiness in my heart.

I just wanted to go back to sleep and just hold her one more time.

To stroke her soft cheek.

To play with her sweet curls.

Rett syndrome has robbed me of moments like this.

It took away my child.

While this dream did make me cry it’s also made me more determined.

Determined to really push the #nomoreemptyarms campaign.

To encourage parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters.

Aunties ,uncles, friends

To all give each other a hug whilst taking a photo and uploading with the hashtag #nomoreemptyarms.

To take a moment to make a memory.

To encourage people to learn about Rett syndrome and what it takes from our children.

We may be half way through October the month of awareness for Rett Syndrome.

But there will be no slowing down.

In fact I’m going to drive hard to make these last weeks really make a difference.

Going to push forward so that Rett Syndrome gets the awareness it so needs.

For people to understand, to learn.

To support.

Let’s do this.

Let’s say no to Rett Syndrome.

#nomoreemptyarms

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There is hope.

What a week and its only Wednesday!

I feel as if I have been living a lifetime over these last few days.

I have witnesses some of life’s incredible beauty but also some of life’s devastating darkness.

Wearing my heart on my sleeve often leaves me vulnerable.

My openness to love at all times has also left me exposed for negativity and pain.

 

Still I see life as a gift, a privilege.

So its from this perspective I want to say this.

 

Remember that everyone of us has their own pathway to walk.

Sometimes that path will lead to cross roads,roundabouts and dead-ends.

No one will ever really understand the journey of another.

Shared experiences can and will be different.

Determined by the understanding of the personal heart and mind.

We have to embrace our differences and celebrate each other for who they are.

Live life lifting people up.

Not tearing them down.

 

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As human’s we need to socialise, we need to bond and form relationships.

Its the essence of our humanity.

But sometimes its these very relationships that can lead to the destruction of the human psyche.

 

Having someone in your life is a honour.

The value of a friend is priceless.

The gift of a child.

The love of a partner.

Your heart feels alive with the joy of connection.

 

But honour comes with responsibility.

The commitment should always be about being the light in the life of another.

Be the best friend you can possibly be.

Strive to be the greatest of parents.

The most attentive of partners.

 

Yet lets take this dedication and commitment one step further.

Smile at people on your train.

Thank you barista for their service.

Hold the door for the one behind you.

Accept the point of view of another.

Forgive your enemies.

 

The world is simply falling apart.

The media is full of the horror that is happening in our world today.

War, terrorism, genocide,

Illness, diseases and death.

But we do have hope.

 

That hope is found in our essence of connection.

As I said before its not always easy wearing my heart on my sleeve.

But it gives me freedom.

Freedom to hope

Freedom to have faith.

Faith that compassion and empathy will win the battle of hearts.

That indifference and hate will lose.

 

Because if as human beings we honour and respect each other.

Our spirits our humanity will over come all.

 

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A work of art.

If you have read my blog before you will know that I’m a lover of tattoos.

The whole art form has me truly excited.

Two years ago I travelled to the Tattoo Jam to check out my narrowed down list of tattoo artists who i was consider asking  to tattoo my portrait of Olivia and fell in love with Przemyslaw Malachowski from The Dragons Den Studio  in Blackpool straight away.

The talent of this man is truly beyond words.

My portrait of Livvy is amazing and so many people stop me to admire it.

I just love that it captures her essence.

So of course when I had my next major piece of art planned Przemyslaw was the man I wanted to do it.

For me having a tattoo is a really personal thing you have to trust the artist with your body.

There are no do overs. 

So when you find a tattoo artist you trust you are truly lucky.

So on Sunday I found myself in the car starting my two hour journey to the Tattoo Jam.

What can I say.

I think the art speaks for me.

Mary tattoo

It’s truly stunning.

Again Przemyslaw took my vision and turned it into a piece beyond my wildest dreams.

This piece is so important to me.

It’s my faith.

In my heart on my sleeve.

I love it.

Thank you again Przemyslaw for my amazing art and thank you again for being such a genuine guy.

Until the next time.

xxxxx

Dragons den

Fostering Network Conference

Last week I attended the Fostering Network Conference in London held in the beautiful surroundings of the BMA House in Tavistock Square.

The conference was open to anyone work worked within the field including, foster carers, social workers, senior management and policy makers.

The theme of the conference was the “Future of Foster Care” and each speaker brought their own interpretation of what this means from their own perspectives and fields.

I cannot fit into one post all that I took away from this conference but what I do really want to share firstly is what I felt was at the heart of the day.

“The children.”

Regardless of which field the speakers came from the core overview was that the needs of the child should always be in the forefront of every decision made and every piece of policy written.

No matter how many professionals involved in a child’s life we should always remember we are the “team around the child”.

The need for a child to be listened to and their views taken into consideration at all times was paramount.

This point was reiterated when we heard from three care leavers who bravely and elegantly shared their care experiences with us.

Each one spoke about the loss of control of their own lives being a hard thing to accept. Whilst they accepted that some decisions needed to be taken by professionals the desire to be consulted, informed was extremely important to them.

They just wanted to be heard.

One explained that for him this was especially important regarding contact and information regarding his birth family. He understood that seeing his birth mother was not a positive thing for him but he still wanted to know about her and who she was.

‘By understanding my mom’s journey I was able to move forward with my own’.

As foster carers we are the ones there with the children every day. This conference was a great reminder that we really need listen to the children but also how important it is for us to advocate for the children with other professionals.

We are their voices and their advocates and this is something we need to be extremely pro-active in doing.

 

 

You can find this blog and others written by me over at Foster with Progress Care