Released On 23rd Apr 2018
Rugby Transformed My Foster Child
This time last year I stood in a field, watching my foster child in a game of rugby.
Feeling a bit cynical that we had driven for an hour, just for him to stand still and do everything he could to avoid being involved in the game, I wrote an email to my partner entitled: ‘Just Why Do We Bother?’ The rest of this blog answers that question.
At that point, we were keen to get him involved in an activity that was social. He was a lad who had minimal contact with other children.
Struggling with his emotions, he didn’t understand how to interact with his peers. His language was limited; he could hold a conversation, but there were many words and youth language that he didn’t understand.
As he went to a small special school, where they did very little sporting activities, we thought rugby would be a good opportunity for him to be around others his age. We hoped his fitness would develop, that he would begin to understand his strength and perhaps develop a hobby he could be proud of. At that point it seemed hopeless and a lost cause, but for some reason, we persevered.
What a difference now. I’m watching him today and see everything falling into place. He’s wearing the team colours and is muddy, he’s chatting to the others and play fighting; using people’s names, laughing and happy. Now he has an understanding of the game and, although not the strongest player, he is trying.
He’s overcome many barriers to become accepted by his peers. It’s helped him move from the special school to a mainstream school, where he’s flourishing. Slowly he’s beginning to understand his emotions and deal with his past.
Many people say how well we (his foster carers) have done with him, today I realise that it’s much more than that. He has achieved this with the help of many others. There are many other people who should feel this pride. His social worker, our supporting social worker, his previous foster carers, his rugby coaches, his school teachers (from both schools) and our families.
We have all changed this boy’s life and he’s come an exceptionally long way in a year. He still has his moments, he still needs a lot of care, attention and support but he is now bearing his own weight.
He’s looking up with determination and heading into life, knowing that others have his back.
This is why we foster!