Futures For Children
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Nick's Christmas present disaster

Before Nick became the director of Futures Group, he and his partner were foster carers themselves. With 5 children of his own, Christmas was a busy time of year for him and his family. He has kindly shared a story from a previous Christmas when he was a foster carer.

"Christmas is a time that can be both extra hard and extra special for the children who become part of our families. I have looked after children who told us that as they lived in a tower block without any chimneys Father Christmas had never been to them.

For them the whole celebration and ritual was the first time it had ever happened, it was their gift to us that we could see them celebrate Christmas as they had never experienced it before. For us, it was both special and sad to see them watch Christmas unfold, special because of their wide-eyed delight, sad that they could not be with their birth family, but almost beyond our understanding that whatever circumstances they had lived in that Father Christmas had never come around to see them in the past.

Another child enjoyed Christmas so much he thought Father Christmas had come twice. He had some additional needs but quickly grasped what Christmas presents were. As well as Father Christmas, my extended family had come, and all had embraced our additional child as part of the family, Aunties and Uncles to our children and cousins as well as my own children had all brought gifts for him as well as for each other. I think it is one of the real pleasures of fostering if your family includes the additional children without even breaking step as if they were always with you and it is meant to be.

With so many people, and lots of children of different ages it was difficult to keep track of who had bought what, and our boy had never seen so many presents in his life.

It was a busy day with children playing with presents, and games, adults to catch up with, and the ritual of all sitting down for dinner, with each exotic choice of dessert brought by different family members receiving increasingly loud Ooo’s of appreciation from all assembled, as the choice was displayed and attributed. With the biggest Ooo of all being reserved for the traditional Mars Bar Christmas log, that by popular demand has become a tradition that we could never abandon, made of Mars Bar and crushed biscuits and dried apricot, melted and mixed together and fashioned into a log. One slice of log served with cream is a meal in itself, and probably has enough calories for a whole month.

There are those in the extended family who pride themselves on not only eating the Christmas Dinner but also sampling every desert as well and all of us were well fed and relaxed and pleasantly soporific after the meal whilst the children played. It is possible that as foster parents we were not at our most alert.

As hosts we continue to be busy the whole day, family stays over and adults sit up into the evening playing games whilst the children sleep.

As responsible foster parents we checked up on our boy before we retired, he was fast asleep in bed, his presents from all the family strewn all around him. He looked like an Angel, he did not look like an Angel most of the time, but he had had a lovely day and it had been a privilege to have him with us for Christmas.

We were able to pause and review what he had been given overall by family members. Some presents were popular that year and Alison’s sisters both had family with children of a similar age and were coming the next day. Their presents had been put aside, but we noticed with approval that an age-appropriate present that we had selected for a nephew had also been given to our boy. And then we noticed another. We still approved, our own taste in presents had been replicated by the family. As we continued to take in the scene in benign approval it began to dawn on us that he also had a similar present that Alison had bought for her sister. Very slowly the penny began to drop.

At some point in the evening, our boy had accessed the stash of presents set aside for the family the next day, he had opened them as if they were more presents for him and they were all mixed up with his own presents and strewn around the floor with their wrapping shredded and the boxes they were in torn open.

We slowly sorted through and removed them, trying to reassemble the torn packaging and wrapping them up as best we could for the next day.

Our boy was innocent of all fault, he still looked like an Angel, and slept like an Angel, but he was not an Angel. But the look of how peaceful he was is an enduring gift, lying there asleep surrounded by presents, perhaps he believed Father Christmas had left more presents for him, and our slow dawning realisation that this was not the case and having to salvage what we could and wrap them again for the next day has become one of my fondest memories of him, juxtaposed by how peaceful he looked, and this has become one of my most treasured memories of having the privilege of parenting additional children at Christmas."

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All Rights Reserved. Futures For Children Ltd 1999 - | Site by: Tarquin

All Rights Reserved. Futures For Children Ltd 1999 - 2021 | Site by: Tarquin