The Miracle Question

A first hand account of a family as told by a Safe Families for Children Family Support Manager.

Yesterday I went to link up a volunteer named Ann with a family we were about to support. The family had been through a very difficult time and have had 6 of their 7 children placed in long-term foster care. Their seventh child was removed at birth in 2014 and returned to them a year later. He is currently subject to a care order with the local authority having parental responsibility for the child. Happily, Mum and Dad are making great progress and the local authority now want to revoke the care order as they feel as though the parents can now cope.

Mum and Dad feel very anxious about the care order being revoked as they like having the safety net around them. Mum has no confidence in her parenting ability and likes the fact the local authority makes all of the decisions around her son. When I asked the family the miracle question (if you woke up tomorrow and everything was exactly as you wanted it to be, what would it look like?) Dad said that he would like all of the children home and Mum said that she would like the confidence to have them all back.

This really stuck out to me as it was clear that she did not just want her children returned, she wanted the best for them and if that meant they stay where they are for now until she could be a better parent then that’s what would happen. 

When we went to the family home, Mum spoke to the volunteer and was very open and honest with her. She explained how she is really anxious about how she looks after her son, even to the point that she still blends his food even though he is 2 years old, in case he chokes.

After Mum had finished telling Ann her story, Ann started telling Mum that she started her career as a nurse and finished it as a health visitor. Mum immediately interrupted her and said that she could not believe that she was a health visitor and she felt that she would be an amazing support to her as all of her anxieties are around doing the best for her son. 

This really touched me as this Mum is genuinely anxious around her parenting and realises that she needs support and as Ann is a health visitor she can offer her the guidance and reassurance that Mum needs to, hopefully, bring the whole family together again.