If a foster carer considers one of their main missions or main responsibilities is to really get to know something about the child – about the child in the present moment, but also something about what influences the child. What makes them react the way they do; what makes them more or less able to take in the care at different moments in their day or in their week. That idea about developing curiosity can really help a foster carer to stay in touch with something that’s not just about what’s going on right in front of them but really thinking about what’s going on under the surface.
What is it about that child’s experience that means they’re reacting this way? [What] about their experience earlier in the day when the foster care wasn’t there, earlier in the week? But also, before the child came into their care and right back to when they were developing, when they were a baby. What’s happened to them that means they’re responding the way they are? If a foster carer can really take that curious stance — wondering constantly, trying to make sense of things, piecing things together – that can really help them as an individual, as a foster carer, and help the family to respond in a way that is more sensitive and is more appropriate and gives the child a message that there’s a process of understanding.
This isn’t going to just be an event that happens and then it’s forgotten about. People are trying to make sense of that and create a story about experiences that really puts the pieces together – the pieces of the different parts of their lives. That can be a really healthy kind of emotional environment, social environment, to foster those relationships between foster carers and children.