A Poem from Ruby, Age 9
05 January 2024
05 January 2024
Both Lauren and Laura emit a sense of experienced calm. They are very easy company. Throughout our conversation, they look at one another and check in: ‘Wouldn’t you say?’ ‘Don’t you think?’ There is a sense that they operate as a team in all things, and they are constantly communicating.
Their fostering superpower is clearly to encourage non-judgemental open communication within their household. Encouraging Ruby to express her emotions and thoughts as they arise has been one of the aspects they credit with enabling Ruby to reach greater self-acceptance.
Below they have given context to Ruby's poem and their foster experience.
Names have been changed to protect privacy.
05 January 2024
Me and My Foster Parents
When I first got here I felt scared, but now we have lots of fun.
Even though I miss my actual mum, I am happy.
Even though we are sometimes busy we still get to try new experiences.
But now I am grateful for getting to do fun things like swimming and picnics.
Before I was worried we couldn’t do my traditions, but now I am excited to share traditions.
Now my family is even bigger.
We get to try new foods together.
I have also learned new skills.
Lauren and Laura always make me laugh but we are an honest family and I feel safe.
Ruby's poem explained...
"It was Ruby’s first time in foster care and she didn’t know what to expect. She was just picked up from school one day and brought to her foster carers, to us. She didn’t know what was going on. At 8 years old, she was terrified.
We did a lot of talking. Ruby can talk about her feelings. If she doesn’t understand something, she will ask. She’s really big on sharing her feelings, and it’s going such a long way to help her."
"She’s really big on sharing her feelings, and it’s going such a long way to help her."
"Last Christmas was Ruby’s first with us, and she was very nervous. She didn’t know what Christmas was going to be like in foster care. We explained to her that when different families come together – not just in foster care, but say, if you get married - you bring traditions from both sides, and we would like to share that with her. Little things like who puts the lights on the Christmas tree.
She said, ‘Well, I always had a present at the end of my bed’, and we said, ‘Well, our tradition is that we always put a stocking outside of our bedroom door’. So we managed and shared expectations ahead of Christmas."
"We explained to her that when different families come together – not just in foster care, but say, if you get married - you bring traditions from both sides, and we would like to share that with her."
"When Ruby came to us she had come from an environment of lying constantly. We think it had been a survival thing.
Initially, there was always that fear that she was going to be told off. We spent a long time trying to explain to her that all feelings are ok – all behaviours are not - but it’s ok to have feelings and to share them, and it’s not going to upset anyone. You have to say how you feel. Even down to little things – like, we all make mistakes. She struggled with that at first. She likes to be perfect."
"Perhaps surprisingly, rather than a writer Ruby is a mathematician. Though she does keep a diary to write her feelings down, which has helped her a lot.
Her handwriting has come on leaps and bounds from when she first wrote her poem. There are so many changes that she’s made even since writing that poem a year ago. She’s come on so well.
We could talk about Ruby all day. She’s just the most amazing child we’ve ever met in our lives. She’s just so fantastic. She is such a fantastic person.
"My New Year’s resolution is not to blame myself for things anymore."
It was New Year’s Eve before bedtime and we went in to say good night, and she said, "My New Year’s resolution is not to blame myself for things anymore." That’s a real thing for her.
Because she has always held so much blame, being in care and from her family situation; but now, she’s just starting to let it go.
Thank you to Lauren and Laura - and Ruby! - for this interview.
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