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Like countless others, my spouse and I have been deeply moved by recent media coverage of the current refugee crisis. We are in the lucky position of having two spare bedrooms in our house, and are considering hosting a refugee family for an extended period of time. However, before we contact our local council to make such an offer, we would like to learn a bit more about what we might be letting ourselves in for. We can afford the increase in our utility and shopping bills that would come with hosting an extra family in our home, so we are not concerned about finance. Instead, it is the emotional and “hand-holding” issues that are of more concern to us.
For example, if we are assigned people with physical and mental health problems resulting from the trauma of war, will the refugees have access to the NHS and counselling services? If the refugees regularly wake up screaming due to nightmares, that might give us sleepless nights, which will impact on our ability to lead normal lives. How might we deal with such a situation? Is there a source of practical advice for helping foreigners with little, if any, knowledge of the English language to adapt to British society? And so on.
If you know somebody who might be able to talk us though such practicalities, we would appreciate you putting them in touch with us. (Either ask them to contact us, or give us their contact details.) In that way, we will be able to make an informed decision about whether we would be a suitable host family. A telephone call would likely be more informative than an email exchange.
Thank you, Bianca
No advice Bianca as this is such a major thing to do but just wanted to say how ccomendable this HUGE act of compassion and kindness is xx
Home Eding Mama of 2 gorgeous boys! Trying to live magically on this wild and crazy earth.
No advice here either, we have discussed doing the same. Our main concern is the impact on the kids ( we have 3 under 10). Mainly as you don’t know who you are taking in. What is their mental health like, mainly can you trust them ie there are all sort of people fleeing, not just kind and thrust worthy , how will they interact with our kids etc. our main worry is our children’s safety, even if it’s a family with children staying with you. also what if they come and stay and it does not work for whatever reason, how quickly will alternative accommodation be found for them? My husbands worry is that you would not be able to get alternative accommodation and how that would impact our kids.
I’m sorry I probably sound very pessimistic, and maybe not of help, but these were our concerns and we feel we really need to think carefully before we start something that we can’t see through or worse will affect our kids negatively. Good luck and please let me know if you have more information as this might help our decision making as well!
It’s obviously a very complicated issue, and we all want to protect our own children, but I’ll never forget what a wise person once said to me: “Always err on the side of compassion.” Of course it is a big risk to take, but personally, I don’t want to worry disproportionately about the effects on *my* own children when the effects on *their* children are so much more obvious and so much greater. I don’t mean this to come across as judgmental! I am by nature a worrier, and I have to make a conscious effort to bury my worries deep. It’s just that I think if one of those parents were to approach any of us and say, face-to-face, Please take my babies, please save them—well, who among us would be able to say no? No matter what the risk, I would do it if I were asked face-to-face, mother-to-mother, and I don’t want to allow the anonymity of the internet, or the anonymity of a large-scale disaster, to obscure the fact that this is something that is happening to *individuals.* Maybe, if you are still worried, you could offer only to take in a family with young children? You could specify what number of children you are comfortable with (no more than 2 or 3?), but then at least you might feel safer, I don’t know. We tend to assume that parents with young children will be more empathetic/sensible/less likely to do terrible things/whatever, and it might be generally true…..
I have no advice, but what a wonderful thing you are doing. If we had any room I would love to do the same, but with 6 of us in a cramped 3-bed there’s just no room.
Crunchy hippy vegan mama to four gorgeous boys. Formerly known as bettywobble
Blogging again at http://lilpidgesblogspot.blogspot.co.uk/
The bosom of the Mother is the natural pillow of her offspring.
About two months ago, my husband and I posted to a few mailing lists
and discussion forms to seek advice for practical issues we should
consider if we decided to host refugees in our home.
Thanks to the people who contacted us with suggestions. We also bought
some books on the topic. We eventually decided not to host refugees or
asylum seekers, but please don’t let that put you off if you are
considering doing so. We wrote up a summary of relevant information
we gathered from various sources. If you are interested, you can find
it at http://www.ciaranmchale.com/download/refugees.pdf