Well, it’s 02:42 and I am up again, because Kyrlo is having one of those nights again, where he’s had a very bad nightmare and has been really distressed. I have just got him back to sleep and hes fast asleep on the settee in mine and Sam’s Study.
The poor wee lad has been to hell and back but he is slowly getting there. We are teaching him grounding techniques, which help him to deal with flashbacks. Also he has periods where he stares into outer space and will not respond to you speaking him. So we have been shown another technique, where we hold his hand and say in very calm voice, “Kyrlo it’s Kyle, you are safe and you are at home. I am not going anywhere until I know your are OK. If you can hear me, squeeze my hand”. It does work and it helps him to safely come out from a flashback, which usually is terrifying.
The top priority is to make sure Kyrlo is safe and that he knows we are there to support and protect him. The other kids know to look for the signs of Kyrlo having a flashback and to find one of us right away. Recovery for someone who has suffered such severe and prolonged trauma is slow, but with the support Kyrlo gets, I know he will be fine; even if it takes years of therapy until the end of his teenage years!)
I am off back to bed now, so I am gonna carry the wee lad back to bed and hopefully get some shut eye, as I am at work at 7am!
Kyle and I were asked to write an article in the School Newspaper, about the work we do Fostering. Of course, we were glad to write a article, which you can read below.
Fostering isn’t just about giving a child somewhere safe to live, Fostering is looking after their every needs, from healthcare to their mental health to making sure they get good education and get to have the same rights as any other child. This can be a little tricky, especially when a child has been placed under a Child Protection Order (Which can be issued by a court) or a Police Protection Order. (Police Protection Orders can be obtained by the Police and usually last 72 hours, to provide immediate protection of a child. – Life and limb. In an emergency, where there is a immediate risk, [IE: a child being held at knifepoint etc] The Police can use an “enforcer”, [also known as “the big key” ] to break in without a warrant. If there is no risk to life and limb, a court warrant must be issued first.)
We have 2 emergency beds, which are used for kids who come on emergency placement, either due to Child Protection, Respite or other reasons. The other 2 are long term beds. Our emergency Beds are used on a regular basis and are never empty long. The front door to our house never closes, as there is always a child in need, who need to be placed. It does wear me and Kyle at times, as some of the kids are high support needs. Either they have been abused , have mental health problems or other problems. Often emotions run high in the house, but Kyle and I address this quite quickly, before a fight or other inappropriate behaviour starts. (If needed we will restrain if needed. (IE: if one of the kids was about to walk out in front of a car, if one of the kids was about to throw a punch at one of the other kids or if they were about to throw something at one of the other kids or myself \ Kyle and I, then we would use restraint. However, restraint is always the last resort and will only be used in an emergency.
Because of the work we do, our house has to be secure. (Due to the kids we foster) This means that we have have to keep the front door locked, we have cameras outside and we have a walled hedged garden, which is safe for the kids. Our boys know what to do if someone did get into the house and know to run and hide and then use the phone to call the Police, if they cannot find one of us. The boys are really well supported. As well as Kyle and I, we have Jenny, who is our Live In Carer, who is brilliant with the kids. We also have my Mum, (Linda) who works for me and Kyle part time as an extra carer. (Sat and Sun)
The kids have a near to normal life as possible. Some of the boys enjoy supervised activities over at the school, some go to local clubs, (such as scouts and Youth Club) while kyle and I do activities with the kids at home and out and about as well. (For instance, the kids like cooking, bowling, playing pool, swimming, watching films, having BBQ’s,
camping in the garden, playing on the games consoles and much more!) We have pets as well, we have our 11 year old Rough Collie called Mollie and our 8 year old cat called Sox. The boys adore the pets, who are very docile and are well loved by by the boys and by myself, Kyle, Jenny and Linda. We use the pets as a therapy for the kids, as we tell them to open up to the pets, if they feel they have a problem they don’t feel they can talk to us about. (they don’t judge, they won’t tell you what to do and they won’t tell a soul, that I can promise you!)
Kyle and I have 2 kids we adopted as well. (Josh, who’s 13 and Kyrlo who is 6) With the other kids, our 2 sons keep us on our toes and have various problems and issues that we deal with on a daily basis. We often get woken in the night by one of the kids, (adopted or paperfostered) as they are either frightened or are not well. Sometimes this means we get less sleep than we hope for!
Finally the weekend is here, which means I am off work for 2 days as of 7am tomorrow morning. In the meantime, I am at work again. Before work, I went to the weekly disco we do for the kids on a Friday night. We hold it between 7 – 9 in the Gym and Sam does the disco, with Karaoke. It is always a good night, the kids get up and dance, while some get up and sing. Of course, Sam and I get up and sing, along with a couple of the Care Staff and loads of kids! I sang Greenday – Basket Case and I did a duet with one of the kids, singing Bowling For Soup – Girl All The Bad Guys Want, which got the kids singing and dancing along.
Once everyone was in bed, I went about clearing up the Jets Lounge, but was called away; as someone on Sick Bay was poorly, which required an Ambulance. The child in question will be OK, but getting him checked out in A&E is probably for the best. He’s in the best hands and he has a member of staff from Acorns, who has gone with him. Meanwhile, the shredder in the Sluice Room has been fixed. I won’t go into the details, but we had a dead rat in the pipe, (which had climbed up the pipe and got stuck, as the pipe is full of water, with the steel blades of the shredder above.) As the rat could not turn round or swim backwards, it drowned and the mass caused a blockage in the pipe, causing the machine to back up and flood the Sluice Room, (which is in Sick Bay) Because it would not of been noticeable for a while, staff continued to use the shredder and so the metal drum continued to fill, until it flooded over the top. I have since put a sign in place, which reminds staff to look in the drum of the machine, before putting cardboard urinal bottles, cardboard bed pans or other shredded waste in the machine.
In 10 minutes, we will have a middle of the night Fire Drill. We do 2 fire drills for the Boarders every term. One is usually held early evening or during the day on a weekend, while the other drill is always conducted between 11pn – 3am. (These drills are spaced out through the term) Fire Drills are fun because not only do we have to get everyone out, it also allows staff to practice the evacuation of children that are wheelchair bound. We do this, by using an Evac Chair for those kids in wheelchairs, while those who can walk, are walked down the stairs. In a real fire emergency, we’ll try to evacuate as many kids as we can, until the Fire Brigade arrive. Sam will always come to school, if there is a fire emergency, as he will greet the emergency services, so tonight he’ll be mucking in to get people out the building and into the Gym as quick as we can! (We always take evacuated children down to the Lower Ground Floor, along the link corridor to the doors leading to the Swimming Pool and up the stairs into the Gym)
Once I finish work, I will go hope, have a shower and go to bed. (I usually get up again about 3pm) Then I am taking Josh for a haircut and I got to take one of the boys for new shoes. I hope on Sunday, I can have a chilled out day. Sam’s Mum Linda, always comes on a Sunday and has a roast with us, which is always nice and the kids love her and she loves them.
I hope you all have a great start to your weekend. By 7am, I am going to be knackered!!
Morning! Finally, Sam has given me a login for the blog, so I can start posting stuff under my name, instead of using Sam’s account. So I am on the night shift, (10pm – to 7am) so while things are quiet, I decided to go to my office, check my emails and post a quick update.
As I mentioned on my about page, Night shifts are the most fun shifts to work, as you never know what will happen. Tonight has been no exception, as I have had to deal with a backed up shredder in the Sluice, which required Sam to come and clean up. (The smell was rank!) Then I had to go an see a distressed pupil, who had woken up from a really upsetting nightmare. It was a case of taking him into the lounge, making him a hot choc and providing reassurance and a good listening ear. I use it a lot on Josh, when he has nightmares. The hot choc relaxes him and helps him get back to sleep and talking about it get it out his system. Meanwhile, I have been doing laundry for the Jets Unit.
The weather is crap just now, but it doesn’t bother me, as long as at some point, it stops so I can have a cigarette; that’s a bonus. (But I think there is a wee chance of that happening any time soon!)