Growing up in small country towns, adventure became a part of almost every day. We often disappeared on weekends at dawn on our push-bikes and returned at sunset. While on these journeys we let our imagination soar and within it encountered many monsters and battled countless foes.
We also understood how lucky we were that after our battles against seemingly impossible odds, we could return safely to our homes. There, our battle wounds of grazed knees and splinters would be tended by our loving parents and siblings. We would find lovely meals waiting for our starving bodies. Then a hot shower, a hug, and off to a warm bed. Resting our bodies for the next day’s adventure and inevitable battle with terrible beasts.
Our adventures with monsters were all happening in our imaginations. However, what we couldn’t imagine was what some other kids were going through. They were confronted with unimaginable trauma every day where just survival would take all their skill and energy. They received deep physical and psychological scars that became impossible to heal. Emotional scars that are reopened daily.
I only realised how these kids had been affected when I became a Foster Carer in 2014. Many children later, I learned to sense the burdens they are carrying that they wouldn’t talk about. Their trauma often surfaced every day. Hopefully, I have shown some of them ways to cope. Ways to override their distress. Provide them with new wonderful memories that they might use to temper some of their distressing pain.
I can tell you, though, that being a Carer is not for everyone. The children’s trauma can seep in and invade your own thoughts. The transfer is worth it if their burden can be lightened.