Last Wednesday we had contact with Robbie’s foster carers, Annie and Peter. We saw Annie last year, but we hadn’t seen Peter for over two years because he’s not been well. On other occasions we’ve met on “neutral ground” or they’ve come over to us, but this time we went over to them. They’ve moved since Robbie lived with them, so there wasn’t an issue with going back to the house where he used to live with them.
Robbie was looking forward to seeing them, but also nervous about it. I think he was worried they wouldn’t like him anymore. He was very quiet on the drive there. He wouldn’t even play on his DS. Whatever worries he had were dispelled as soon as we got to Annie and Peter’s house. Peter came outside when he heard us pull up and Robbie ran to him and gave him a big hug. He also hugged Annie as soon as he saw her. It was lovely that Robbie didn’t feel he had to hide his feelings or play it cool for our benefit.
Annie and Peter are currently fostering four babies. Robbie, who was used to living with babies and helping out with them, soon was interacting with all four. We had lunch and then went for a walk to a nearby play area. Later we went back to the house and looked at our photo albums. We’ve been making an album for each year that Robbie’s been with us, and he was keen to show them to his foster carers. He also insisted on taking his school work with him, which he proudly showed to them too. Annie and Peter made all the right noises, telling him how lucky he was to get to do all the activities that we do together and praising his school work, how neat his writing is and how clever he is. Robbie, who usually shakes his head when people praise him, soaked all these comments in. He also accepted the comments Annie and Peter made about how tall, handsome, polite and helpful he was.
We sat down and reminisced about the time Robbie spent with them. We also looked through some old pictures. This wasn’t done in a sad or melancholic way, but rather reminiscing in a positive way and laughing about funny things that had happened. Both Annie and Peter told Robbie how much they think about him and miss him. Again, this wasn’t done in a sad way or in a way that might make him feel like he “abandoned” them or they might want him back.
We ended up spending five hours there. Robbie had been playing with the babies throughout the visit and by the time we had to leave he wanted to take one of them home! Annie gently reminded Robbie that the judge said he needs to be in a home where all the attention can be given to him and that’s why he and his siblings had been placed separately.
We said our goodbyes and drove home. Robbie was chattier on the way back than he’d been on the way there and seemed happy. There were no outbursts when we got home, which we had expected, although he did become very baby-like. He obviously felt he had to reconnect with us and make it clear that despite the afternoon at his foster carers’ we are the ones who nurture him. It was lovely and such a positive experience for all of us.
During the visit we also discovered something we hadn’t been aware of: while we were in the play area and I kept Robbie entertained on the swings, Glen had a chance to talk to Annie about Robbie’s fears that his birth parents are looking for him and will take him. Annie replied that she wasn’t surprised as during contact both his birth parents used to tell Robbie that they’d “come for him”. That explains that. Maybe we can address it on one of our therapy sessions when they resume after the summer.