It matters 

Today we went to what is know as fostering panel. A board of professionals that reviews your last year as a foster Carer and decided to whether to approve you for another year. I always get so nervous before these panels. Not because I feel we have done anything wrong or are not good enough but because it matters, it really matters. 

It really matters that I get to be a Foster Carer for another year. That I get to be part of a profession that can make such a difference in the life of a child.

It matters because I now get to continue working for a company I am so proud to be part of. 

But mostly It matters that I know that the children I care for, the children I love get to stay safe and secure with our family. 

Being a Foster Carer matters to me, it’s not just a job. I’m proud to say it part of who I am. 

Changing perspectives 

Have you ever looked in a mirror but not liked what you see? Have you ever allowed someone to tell you that you aren’t good enough? Have to ever told this to yourself? 

Sometimes I look in the mirror and I don’t actually physically see what is in front of me. I see the person my mind is allowing me to see. 

Yet over the years I’ve realised that sometimes my mind is far from right, that I let circumstances and emotions cloud my vision. 

If I’m tired, sad or I’m hurting my vision changes.

If I’ve feeling happy or full of energy the person looking back at me can look so different. 

Perspectives have a lot to play in life, they can enhance some wonderful moments. Take for example ask a husband who has just watched his wife give birth, will he remember the sweat, the screaming or how truly awful his wife looked in labour NO he will remember this beautiful woman who just made him a Dad.  

Yet perspectives can also make the ugly seem horrific and the hard seem impossible.

Now I’m not going to try and tell you I have the answers, I wish I did but I am going to share that finally after many many years I am finally learning that some times I have to change my perspective.  

Change how I view things.

Like right now I am sooooo tired a teething baby has left me exhausted. Night after night of being awake when others sleep. Yes I’m tired but by changing my view I can see how wonderful it is that in his pain my little one wants me to cuddle. That he feels safe enough to fall asleep in my arms. My tiredness seems to ease as I remind myself to cherish all these bonding moments.

So to those out there struggling I’m not going to try and convince you that a change in perspective is going to make everything ok it’s not. It would also be incredibly naive of me to say so. But I will say this, hold on to the fact that you choose how to look upon life. Even in the hardest of moments wonder can be found. 

Believe me when I lost Olivia I never imagined I could change this perspective. The pain was so incredible how could losing a child ever be viewed positively. Well it cannot but I can see how the loss of my beautiful girl challenged me to love on others. To reach out and offer my heart and home to children in need. It didn’t stop the pain but it did challenge my view that I would never laugh again, never love again.

So to those out there right now struggling, may it be with illness, marriage problems, heartache or loss. Hold on, hold on to the fact that right now in the midst of the pain your vision may not allow you to see the full picture. Just remember the paint isn’t dry yet, you have the tools to change the image. Never let circumstances dictate who you see in the mirror. 

You are the artist of your own masterpiece. 

A typical Thurday on BBC Question Time.

Growing up I was taught that polite conversation should never include politics and or religion and whilst I agree they both can cause heated debate I do think it’s time both were spoken about a hell of a lot more.

On Thursday I was lucky enough to be chosen to be part of the BBC question time audience. I use the word lucky, as well over four times as many people applied than was accepted. The show was filmed in my home town and I was rather proud to be part of it. 

The whole evening was interesting, from the advice and suggested questions I was given before the actual evening to the after show chats. 

I got to speak to individuals whose views ranged from far far right to far left. 

Personal stories which have formed personal opinions and some which I have no idea where they came from.

The biggest and scariest insight I took from this evening was how much people believe in news headlines. How whatever is printed is took to be truth.

This really scares me, not only because a lot of media publications, programmes are owned by the same man and completely bias to whatever keeps money in his pocket but because I truly believe people should question everything.

A lot of the evening questions were based on the EU and to be fair under the rants and false statistics there were some interesting opinions. I actually really admired the views of writer and broadcaster Paul Mason who stated in principle he wants to leave the European Union but is not sure he could vote exit and leave this country in the hands of the Tory right. Something I completely agree we. 

In fact being truthful I think right now I will vote remain, not because I believe in the EU completely but because I do not trust those that would then have total control. 

There was a lot of heated debate regarding this subject but what really gets me is the fact that immigration is getting the blame for everything. If you did happen to watch the programme you will see me challenge this falsehood and although I found myself a little tongue tied and emotional I do hope I got my main point across. Blaming immigration for everything is a true cop out and a really bigoted view to have. People need to look a lot closer at the real issues in this country starting with the evil known as austerity. 

Poverty is evil and with it breeds hate and fear. My hope is that this anger can be addressed towards those politicians who vote for tax breaks for big business whilst over a million people are using food banks. Also before someone starts letting their mind sway into believing that all food banks users are people on benefits let me tell you that you are wrong a high proportion of users are working families who now thanks to the cuts cannot feed their families.

So thankfully this Thursday I was given the opportunity to remind people of what I believe is the true issue with this country. In fact as I followed Twitter nervously watching the show ( they record an hour or so earlier) I was proud to the be the woman in red who talked a lot of sense”. 
IQuestion time was an experience and one I would love to repeat. In fact it has just stirred up in me more desire to learn more about politics and those running our country. 

I was also lucky enough to briefly chat with Paul Mason, Tim Farron and Yvette Cooper outside the town hall, all three are really lovely people with valid points raised throughout the evening. I even managed to get a selfie with Yvette which rather made my night. I may be an ardent Corbyn supporter but I do admire Yvette a lot. 

So there you have my typical (I wish ) Thursday evening. Politics and religion may never be classed as polite conversation but the way people here in the UK are struggling is far from polite.

We need conversation, we need to challenge those in power. We need to stop the vulnerable people of this country being abused and neglected by cuts to social care, mental health, disability etc. Cuts to NHS and so much more. 

Now isn’t the time for politeness it’s a time for standing together and shouting loud. 

Collectively our voices can and will be heard. 

Radical and Tea

When I come across a site that offers some amazing things I cannot wait to share it with you all. So let me introduce you to The Radical Tea Company. 

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Anyone who knows me, knows how passionate I am about protecting the vulnerable, by being a member of the Labour party I hope I stand up for all not just elite and wealthy. So when I found The Radical Tea Towel Company I was beyong excited. Their amazing products allow me to fight discrimedation and drink tea, two of my favourite things.

 

Beyond really amazing tea towels the company offers more. I have already purchased myself a mug which I love and some of their wonderful cards.

 

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You can advocate whilst you drink or send a card to inspire someone to keep fighting the good fight. They have a great selection of  tea towels, mugs, gifts and loads more. I have my eye on this beautiful William Morris apron, though I am also in love this fun Left wing one. 

 

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I am seriously spolit for choice.

 

Take  a visit over to The Radical Tea Towel Company

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Let’s change the word together.

 

 

 

Is it pretend…?

My daughter was in her sociology class last week when the subject turned to fostering and adoption. She was sitting there listening to the views of others when one boys opinion really annoyed her, it seemed that to him fostering and adoption is “pretend parenting.”

Well I’m certainly not going to argue with the viewpoint of a 15 year old because as we all know at this age they are always right, but I would ask him to think about this.

Is it pretend when I walk the bedroom floor for hours soothing a teething baby?

Is it pretend as I wait patiently and worryingly outside the hospital theatre’s door?

Is it pretend when I hold them tight when they wake from nightmares?

Is it make believe the pride I have in all their achievements?

The worry I feel when they are sick?

The missing I feel when they are not with me?

Is it pretend when my heart fills with love for them?

I don’t really expect most 15 year old’s to understand but so many times I come across adults who just don’t get the love I feel for my fostered children. They see them as a means to an end or just part of my job. In fact the current government seems to view fostering as second class parenting but that’s for another post.

It just drives me mad that people view it this way, as it’s so far from the truth.

You see the moment I open my home up to child I also open my heart to them.

Slowly we both get to learn about each other.

I get to watch them as they come to understand that this is their home too.

I want them to know they are so loved, that they are so cherished and that they are so wanted.

I want them to put their stamp on their bedroom, knowing that it is their’s for as long as they want it.

To sleep without fear of moving on or not being safe.

I want them to know that they are now part of the tribe, that no matter what they do there is no giving up.

We fight for family in this home.

We fight for dreams to be realised.

There is no pretend is this family, just pure real true love.

A families love. 

 

 

Monday is the start of the Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight. This years message is Time to Foster, Time to Care. They  want to spread the message that for many prospective foster carers NOW is the time to care and NOW is the time to foster. Please go take a look over on the Fostering network’s website and if you have ever considered fostering now is the time to do it.

There are so many children out there waiting for families to reach past pretend and to embrace them in real family love. 

 

Becoming a foster carer was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

It’s not always easy but it so worth it. 

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A film that will inspire, challenge and break your heart.

If you want to watch a film that will inspire, challenge and break your heart in one go then I highly recommend the movie “Room”.

Brie Larson is nothing more than outstanding, her performance winning her ‘Best Actress’ Academy Award®, BAFTA and a Golden Globe. Jacob Tramblay delivers a performance well beyond his years.

Room is based on a best selling novel by Emma Donoghue and takes you on a journey, from the depraved into the inspirational. Room tells you the story of a devoted loving mother who wants nothing more than for her son to live a typical life, yet there is nothing typical about their existence.

Be prepared to laugh, cry and experince emotions that you never knew you had when you join this mother and son on their journey of fear, bravery and freedom.

I cannot recommend this film enough, all I can say is you won’t see the world the same way after watching this film.

Released on ON DVD, BLU-RAY & EST ON 9TH MAY 2016

“Room” is a must see.

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Happy 17th Livvy xxx

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Today my daughter celebrates her 17th birthday, a birthday of pending adulthood the beginning of life on the road. Yet there will be no licence applied for or birthday hugs for me. Because my daughter is celebrating in heaven.

My heart is heavy today, the weight of missing drags upon it. 

I’m reminded of what is missed and what never got to be.

I’m trying so hard to focus on what we did and the memories we made, but 9 years will simply never be enough. 

I wonder what celebrations are like in heaven, do they have birthdays or is time and years past an earthly constraint? 

I wonder if someone has made her a cake, chocolate of course and are they singing her happy birthday again and again just to see the smile that lights up her face. Lights up your heart.

I wonder a lot, what does she look like, would her hair still curl around my finger? Does her blue eyes still sparkle with mischief? 

Sometimes I cannot breathe for missing my beautiful girl. My arms ache just to hold her again.

I often get lost in the anger, just so angry that I was robbed of my amazing girl. Bitter at the emptiness. 

But then I remember her, I remember my Livvy and her desire to live life to the max. Sometimes I wonder if she knew that she didn’t have forever because she packed so much in her days.

She loved people wholeheartedly, from her teachers to her sisters to us her parents. She has this way of making you feel like you were the only one in the room, as if you were so special to her. She made sure you knew she loved you. She didn’t need words her eyes were the windows to her soul, she looked deep inside of you, filling you with love. 

I am so grateful I got to be Livvy’s mom, I wouldn’t trade a moment, a minute. Even today in the minute of this extreme pain i know I would do it all again in a heartbeat. 

Yet today I’m allowing myself to be sad, allowing the waves of grief to wash over me. Allowing the missing to be.

But tomorrow I will move on, I will do what she wants me to do. Continuing her legacy of love. I will love on her sisters and the brothers she has sent to us to love. I will plan the Livvy’s smile events, our forthcoming tea party and those yet to be planned. I will continue on, being brave just as she was. Hoping and praying I’m making her proud.

Happy birthday my beautiful girl, how I wish you were here to celebrate with me. How I wish we could eat chocolate cake until we were both sick. How I wish, how I wish….

  
Happy 17th Livvy, may heaven be singing for you today. I love you my precious girl xxxxx