This morning as I came into the dining room, I saw Carter standing at the buffet table, resting his chin on it and looking at a Polaroid photo of him and Indie. I watched him and then knelt alongside him. He told me Indie was sore, in this picture. We talked about the photo of the two of them and that it was at Bridget’s house. This then led to us sitting down and going through the scrapbooks that Bridget created during his time in her care.
It really hit me. Since late last year, Carter has been home full-time with Oliver. This is an awesome opportunity for Carter to be able to be home with a parent and have access to NZSL.
But it has been a huge adjustment for Carter (and us).
Carter was in Bridget’s care from the age of 4 months!
The activities and experiences the Bridget provided Carter with, were awesome! Weekly trips to Kindy Gym, nature walks, playgroup visits, visits to Aotea lagoon, art and craft, outdoor toys and games, visits to Zone dance academy; to name a few!
With the end of year, Christmas, New year etc it’s all been a blur, but I wanted to take the time to reflect on the time Carter spent in the care of Bridget.
We are so blessed to have a record of the experiences in the daily notes and the scrapbooks that Bridget lovingly put together.
Going back to work was a necessity for us, as much as I love my job, I would loved to have been able to stay home with Carter, but financially that wasn’t possible.
I still remember the day that I bumped into Bridget and Nea at the mall, Carter was just a couple of months old. Bridget mentioned that she was looking at starting up an in-home care service. It was at this time that we were looking at our options for care for Carter as I needed to return to work.
As a parent it is hard to place your child in the care of someone else. Ours was even more complicated because we knew that Carter was Deaf and therefore needed to be in an accessible environment that would enable him to develop a visual language – NZ Sign Language.
As a mum my guilt was intense. I felt guilty for going back to work, so early; particularly as I was returning to work where I manage a service that supports families with Deaf and hard of hearing children to acquire NZSL and use it in their day to day family interactions. Yet I was placing my child into care and not providing him with a fluent language model.
IT WAS MEANT TO BE!
In Bridget’s incredible way she threw her all into Carter’s care. She enrolled in community education classes and made a huge effort to development her NZSL. She opened her home to the professionals working with Carter (Advisor on Deaf children and Deaf Aotearoa First Signs facilitator). Bridget worked hard to observe and support Carter’s language acquisition.
And it worked!
My fears for Carter’s language development were pointless. Carter hit all his milestones and in Bridget’s care he developed new concepts and vocab.
In-home care was the perfect option for us as it provided Carter with a loving, supportive, stimulating environment. It was his second home. He developed friendships, learnt to share, to negotiate, and to play. The connections that Carter formed with Bridget’s family, it was like he’d gained another big sister and big brother, with Zac and Nea. Both of whom took the time to develop NZSL and interact with Carter. I loved the snapchats I’d receive from them, while I was work sharing the games, the giggles that day!
We are forever grateful for the foundations for learning and life that Bridget (and her family) laid down for Carter.
We are now looking at Carter starting pre school this year, another HUGE milestone!