Next weekend we are going to back to try something that we haven't been able to do in over 18 months.
After repeated requests from oldest we agreed to talk to social services and find out about the status of his older brother and whether they could see each other again. We had to stop contact because of a court review and contact between the older brother (still in foster care, lets call him BB) and their birth mum. Our concern was that this contact was unsupervised and that the children were old enough to know their surnames, school name and address - all details that we didn't want to be shared.
Fast forward to today and the contact team and BB's social worker have been great. They have provided me with as much detail as they can - there is still contact and it is still unsupervised but there is no risk that he will return to her care and will remain with his foster carer - the same lady we met previously and got on really well with. They gave us some advise as to how we could move forward and offer to support us so we felt that we could make a date to see BB again.
Oldest has been told that we have booked this and he can see it is written on the calendar on the kitchen wall. He has started to get excited about it and, from correspondence with the foster carer, BB is also excited. It serves as an excellent reminder that my children have another family out there and that they are naturally curious about that family and have an interest in the people that formed a part of their early years. We have a plan for a short meeting, over food, where the children will not leave our supervising so that we can steer conversations away from topics and information that can't be shared. There is no point saying to a 7 year old 'don't tell him . . . . ' because that would be the first thing out of his mouth. After that we will see how it goes as to when we see him again.
In all this I have not mentioned youngest. I don't even know if she will go and meet him as she has no relationship with him and no interest in seeing him. I think that, if she goes, it will only be for the food.
All this doesn't take away my nerves. My anxiety. My concerns.
All I can do is enter into it with an open mind. an appreciation of how oldest is feeling as well as his needs in terms of identifying himself and the people that are important to him. I will always support him in this, regardless of how I feel about it and hopefully it will help as they years go by.
In other news both smalls are making great progress with their rugby - oldest has started playing proper matches, he is working really hard with the rest of him team and the improvement is amazing, Youngest is also improving and recently enjoyed minor success of being the best tackler when it came to tackling the practise bags, so much so that she had to demonstrate to the boys.