The foster carer knew then they had a need here and that was to help the siblings through this and support them 100%. After losing mum, dealing with the grief and emptiness, what now?
The early days
Isabelle was the quiet girl, with no confidence or self esteem. Carrying the burden of feeling responsible for her siblings, as she had always done, now feeling she had the role of being mum. The unknown was scary for Isabelle. At one point, there were discussions of splitting up the trio or for them moving in with relatives they hardly knew, who lived quite a distance away. The foster carer made the decision that every weekend and holiday term, the family would all go out on a visit, activity, holiday and keep Isabelle and her siblings minds active as much as possible. Although, of course, it never took the pain away…but it helped
“We watched them laughing, enjoying themselves and having something else to focus on and talk about. We both believe, that's what got them through those early days.”
A turning point
Time went on and numerous meetings were held discussing Isabelle’s future but she knew in her heart that what she wanted was the stability, support and love of being in foster care. Eventually, The three of them gained their wish of long term foster care and stability felt more set in place.
“It was frustrating when trying to keep the three of them together with us. There were so many meetings and loop holes to jump through but, we got there in the end.”
The family made a point of talking about Isabelle’s mum and celebrating her birthday with a candle and even making a birthday cake together. At Christmas time, they lit the candle again and on New Year’s Eve, they would let off a lantern or a firework for mum. A tradition they uphold to this day.
Isabelle no longer had responsibility for looking after siblings, even though this felt strange for her, at first. No more collecting them from school, putting them to bed, cooking and shopping for them, etc.
Isabelle began to become her own person. She began to welcome the comforts of having an ensuite bedroom, being cooked and cared for, taken abroad and also welcomed the distractions from feeling sad at the loss of her mum
Isabelle progressed at school and moved through the tough times with comfort and love. At school, Isabelle knew she had the support and encouragement she needed to thrive, enjoy and achieve.
Moving on UP
Choosing her options, work experience, making the decisions of sixth form at another school of Isabelle’s choosing, where her confidence grew further still. Isabelle also passed her driving test first time and this enhanced her independence. Isabelle decided to study at Southampton University and eventually sharing accommodation with her new friends.
Moving on OUT
Although the move to University was emotional (especially for the for the foster carer and family!), Isabelle felt no guilt leaving her siblings behind, as she knew she could still visit and stay whenever she wanted to and she knew that they were both doing well and were settled within the fostering home.
Chrysalis Care Children’s Services - Isabelle benefitted from -
Weekly mentoring support, from beginning to end of placement, via child-centred, activity-based 1:1 support. Developing her self-confidence and offering emotional support through a difficult period of grief.
Also supported to develop life skills, emotional resilience and confidence to exercise choice and independence over clothing and other personal requisite, budgeting, travel, CV writing and job application, through our Preparation for Independence Programme.
Engaged in several community based activities.
Educational support, via homework club.
Continual participation in YPF and group activities enhanced Isabelle’s social and communication skills.
Foster Carer Support, Learning and development.
Monthly support group
Foster Carer best practice meetings
Alongside Core training and TSDS, Isabelle's foster carer attended
Bereavement and Loss training
Isabelle is so outgoing with lots of friends.
Graduation is coming up.
Is days away from moving into her new home, nearby to her foster home and siblings.
Isabelle will pursue her interests in finding employment in her chosen field.
Is also now very close with one of her aunts, which is fantastic.