Visit our archive


a journal entry reflecting on welcoming a new child and being a white learner

You came into our family 5 days before Christmas 2017. I am going to be honest I didn’t know how to care for your beautiful hair, but I knew I needed to learn fast.
A schoolmate of one of our other children helped by educating me that you needed to add moisture rather than get rid of it like I do with mine. He told about products I had never heard of and a shop in his nearby town which stocked everything you would need. It was just before Christmas and you needed to be at our home rather than traipsing around shops looking for hair care products.
So, I thought I would head to the supermarket and see what I could find. I stared at the hundreds of products in the hair care aisle. It felt so disorientating. None of them seemed right for your afro hair. I was desperate to return with just what you needed. I felt stupid I didn’t know what to buy. I so wanted to meet your needs and yet I didn’t know how to. 
I came up with a plan. 
I would wait for someone with beautiful hair like yours to come down the aisle. 
I waited and waited and then she walked passed me. My heart beat faster as I knew I had to be brave and ask for her help. 
“Excuse me” I asked. “I wonder if you could help me? Before I ask, I want you to know that nothing I ask is meant to cause offence so please forgive me if it does” I had her attention. 
“I am a foster carer and I have a child who has just come to live with us who has beautiful hair like yours and I don’t know how to care for it. Please can you help me with what I need to buy?” 
Her face softened and a smile came across her face.  A kind one. She literally took me by the hand and walked me up and down the aisle and put into my basket all that I needed for you. She told me that what I had would see us through Christmas and then I needed to go to this really good shop in the nearby town who would have what you really needed. With grateful humble tears in my eyes I thanked her for her help and kindness. 
As she let go of my hand she said “I’m glad you asked me. I grew up in care and I wish my carer had asked someone”. She then turned and walked away.
As I headed to the checkout big hot tears fell down my cheeks. Tears of gratitude. Tears of overwhelmed ness and self-doubt that I would be able to care for you in the way you deserved to be cared for. 
But I had learnt an important lesson that evening. To ask and learn and that is what I vowed I would do if I was ever unsure of how to care for you.