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Afghan foster sons

(20 Posts)
grannyactivist Sat 28-Jun-14 22:10:02

Well folks my Afghan foster children have now finished school and have moved on. sad It was a very interesting experience to have them live with us and I look forward to keeping in touch and hearing about what happens next in their lives. They're taking an extended visit to Afghanistan to visit relatives there and will be living independently on their return.
So, in their stead we have a delightful French girl who has come to stay for the summer and improve her English and preparations are underway for some friends, a family of five, who are arriving on Wednesday for a couple of weeks. No time to wallow. smile

glassortwo Sat 28-Jun-14 22:14:11

grannya congratulations on your Afghan boys finishing school, but you dont rest do you, and on you go to your next mission... I take my hat off to you. smile

Mishap Sat 28-Jun-14 22:32:23

Sounds as if you have done a good job - well done!

Where will you put 6 guests?!

whenim64 Sat 28-Jun-14 22:50:07

Well, that's gone fast! It seems like just a few weeks since you were awaiting their arrival. I hope this next visit is equally successful smile

grannyactivist Sat 28-Jun-14 23:10:52

Where do I put them? Fortunately we have a big house. grin In addition to our current French guest we also have a permanent lodger who is from South Africa.
I often smile though when people who don't know me well ask what I do with my time, or commiserate on my supposed 'empty nest'! Those who do know me well are more likely to comment on my real life 'soap opera' and are always very interested in the comings and goings from my house.
There is a bus stop opposite my house and I once sat there whilst waiting for the bus into town. A woman came and sat beside me and we chatted a little; she said that she enjoyed waiting at that particular bus stop because she was fascinated by seeing who came and went from the house opposite and enjoyed trying to work out what went on there! I kept quiet......grin

Nelliemoser Sat 28-Jun-14 23:46:41

grannya Am I right in thinking any under 18s now have to be registered under private fostering regulations nowadays? Does that cause a lot of hassle?

janerowena Sun 29-Jun-14 09:40:23

My sister until recently was a social worker who had to travel to check on foster children who had moved away from the original borough in which they were fostered. She was telling me that one family had just taken in an afghan child and the first time he laughed was when he was presented with a pair of pyjamas - he found the concept of wearing clothes, fresh clean ones at that, just for nighttime, hilarious! He brought them out to show my sister and it set him off again! So many cultural differences on top of everything else, you are a brave woman.

grannyactivist Sun 29-Jun-14 11:41:23

Nelliemoser no the regulations apply to under 16's, but as a matter of courtesy it's a good idea to inform Social Services of any private fostering arrangement - it also means that contact has been made if things go pear shaped and help is needed.
Yes, Janerowena we have had many a 'cross cultural' moment with our two lads. They have adapted very well to new information and have altered their opinions on many aspects of British people and our way of life. One thing that they are completely amazed at is that I so often take care of my grandchildren and have done so since they were a very young age. In their village, although grandmothers often live with the family, the child is NEVER cared for by anyone but the mother until it's aged four or five. So that's one of my cultural myths blown away too.
They also believed that British families live completely separate lives from their adult children, but are in awe of the relationship that we have with ours. The oldest lad couldn't imagine being so close to his parents and said that if he unexpectedly saw his father in the street neither would acknowledge the other. sad

janerowena Sun 29-Jun-14 12:28:47

Wow. That does seem weird. Although as a young teen I distinctly remember not wanting to acknowledge my father when I was in the street with my friends! (What, me, know an Old Person?!) I do remember reading many times that in some Arabic cultures and in some classes the children are seen more as an investment than as something to have affection for. In Asia too - it may seem alien now but it was pretty common here too, a few hundred years ago. I think that's why so many people who have lived there compare places like that to us as mediaeval in so many ways. So the children you cared for must have felt as if they were time-travelling on occasion.

grannyactivist Sun 29-Jun-14 13:32:48

The investment thing is certainly true. There is an expectation that the children will keep (or at least subsidise) the father as soon as they start to earn. There is a pecking order where the oldest son contributes almost all of his earnings to the father and younger children, then when the younger brothers start to work they also subsidise the father, but free the older brother of his responsibility to them. Back in Afghanistan the family of my boys was considered to be 'wealthy', but it seems that it's all about ostentation - being 'seen' to be able to afford things. So you may not eat well for a month (unseen) in order to buy the latest TV and impress the people around you with your 'wealth'. So when the boys first arrived they were shocked that we drive an old car (and share even that) and don't have TV's in every room or the latest technology. They constantly asked why we didn't buy particular things and were initially fairly shocked that we considered relationships to be far more important than 'stuff'. They talk about 'family' as being very important, but are grossly ignorant of family matters such as family history, how parents/grandparents are employed or family relationships. They also have little contact with family except for practical matters and the concept of a family discussion was completely alien to them.
In view of their lack of closeness to relatives I had wondered if we would see much of them now that they've moved on, but I've already had a text from the youngest asking if he can call in tomorrow. smile

janerowena Sun 29-Jun-14 17:43:30

That's lovely. You are bound to worry about them, and wonder how they are getting on. How did you end up with them?

grannyactivist Sun 29-Jun-14 19:10:14

There's a whole backstory, but the bottom line is that I was teaching them English and they asked if they could come and live with me as they were about to be made homeless. They had various options, but begged their father to ask if they could come and live with me. He asked and I said yes, but we agreed on a formal fostering agreement so that I could deal with schools and medical matters.

janerowena Sun 29-Jun-14 22:38:09

That is an amazing thing to have done for them.

grannyactivist Tue 08-Jul-14 17:58:37

A final postscript to my Afghan story........
Today I received a phone call from the boys' tutor who wanted to let me know that in twenty years of teaching her experience with my boys was the highlight of her career. She said that she had watched them grow and develop into fine young men and was so delighted with their progress that she wanted to use their story for a piece in the local paper about how well they did on their course. I'm feeling really chuffed. smile smile

Anne58 Tue 08-Jul-14 18:04:04

And so you should be, it's a fantastic gift to have given them! grin

Nonu Tue 08-Jul-14 18:05:45

granny someflowers for you for all the effort you put in.

Lona Tue 08-Jul-14 18:37:25

Good for you grannyactivist, you have every right to be proud flowers

GillT57 Tue 08-Jul-14 20:22:17

Fantastic grannyactivist, we need more people like you, quietly getting on with cultural exchanges, where both sides learn more about each other, and thus become more tolerant. I am sure these two fine young men will be ambassadors for Britain, and spread the word that we are not all monsters. Thank you for what you have done for us all. flowers

janerowena Tue 08-Jul-14 21:43:09

How wonderful, and how lovely that your part was acknowledged.

sparkygran Tue 15-Jul-14 12:41:56

What a woman grannyactivist flowers to you