Foster carer Eve Ford talks about how her and her family make everyone feel part of the family at Christmas

 

It’s so important to make young people feel part of your family, especially at Christmas time.

We make sure we buy them their own initial to go on the tree and all our family include them at Christmas by giving them gifts etc.

 

Activities

We always do Christmas Eve box for them and on Christmas Eve we go out for the day; either Ice Skating or on the Santa Express – this year we are going to the cinema, then out for tea. We get them involved with prepping of the veg and our young person’s job is to decorate the Christmas Cake.

Usually, they have contact with their family is before Christmas and the young person takes gifts for their family which they have bought. On Christmas day, when we sit down for our wonderful Christmas lunch, we always take time beforehand to say something about our loved ones who are not here with us and for the young person to have the opportunity to say something which they usually do.

 

Contact with their Family

 

It’s important for us to speak openly to the young person about them not being with their family at Christmas and we feel that this has helped them through a difficult time. Often our relationship or communication with the birth family can be important too. We were once fostering a young person who was Portuguese. Before Christmas, we invited their family to our home for a Christmas Lunch and they returned the gesture by inviting us to their home for a Portuguese lunch, which consisted of Pork cooked in milk with pineapple upside down cake and Port – very nice!

 

Talking about it

 

We usually Foster teenagers and for them to talk about feelings and emotions around Christmas time makes things more manageable for them: a text message or phone call from their family on Christmas Day means a lot. Teenagers like to be heard and need someone to talk to and help them make sense of their worries. Sometimes the young person may not deal with being away from their family especially if it’s the first Christmas away and you have to give them time to reflect on the situation. You need to be there to support them, cheer them up and let them have quiet time if want it.

 

Merry Christmas all – let’s make it the best possible for all our children.

 

Eve and Matt live in Wellington and have been fostering teenagers for many years now. They wouldn’t have it any other way! 

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