A Home for Zoe
My foster daughter Zoe came to live with me almost a year after I made my decision to become a foster carer.
Being single, with no kids of my own, I was worried about how I would cope, but my family and close friends were ready to help so I decided to apply, and threw myself into the training, preparations and parenting courses.
I thought I couldn’t possibly be any more ready, but when I finally met Zoe I felt stunned. Was I really being handed this precious little human to care for? Could I really do it?
She was so tiny – a frightened four-year-old trying to put on a brave face. On her first day in my home, she cleaned her bedroom from top to bottom with a packet of baby wipes to try and please me.
Once she started to trust me a little, I persuaded her that it was my job to clean the house, and her job to play. But even play was not easy for her. Zoe needed to be with me and have my full attention all the time. It was an intense time and I would have struggled without my family and close friends. Their support meant I could have regular breaks and Zoe began to learn that she could trust other adults as well.
It took many months, but gradually she began to understand that I wasn’t going to leave her. I remember vividly the joy I felt the first time she relaxed enough to become caught up in her own imaginary play without needing me by her side.
Now Zoe is ten. She is a bit too comfortable about not cleaning the house and is starting to go on sleepovers at friends’ houses. We still have our challenges, but looking back I am amazed at how far we’ve come. Allowing her into my life is, without doubt, the best thing I have ever done.