review of NAFP's short film event ‘Be-longing’, by a foster carer

This film screening was hosted by Harvey Gallagher, Chief Executive of the Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers (NAFP).


The film provides an emotive and thought-provoking insight into the experience of a looked after child removed from violent and chaotic birth parents and trying to adjust to his new foster family.


The focus of the film is a 9 year-old boy named Khoji who is seeking to find an understanding of who he is and where he belongs.


Khoji is torn between wanting to accept and trust the love and kindness of his foster family and his loyalty to his birth family.


The film was directed by Mike McKenzie. Following the film, Mike and his wife Carol who have been foster carers for 13 years and Mike’s brother Stephen McKenzie, who was involved in the making of the film, all joined Harvey Gallagher for a Question and Answer session.


The element of the film that spoke most to me was young Khoji looking at photos of his birth mum and of his foster family and by the end of the film his attempt to feature in that family photo.



As a foster carer of two siblings on a short term placement. I have recently been thinking about the best way to handle photos of birth family members.


We want them to know we recognise how important their family ties are, but at the same time recognise the emotional triggers they will get from seeing photos around them.


For now we just give them hugs and let them share their memories of being at home. We try and reassure the children that we understand their sadness and let them know how much they are loved and welcome in our family for as long as they are with us.


However, the film has made me decide to print and display a photo of our extended family in our home so that our lovely foster children can see that they are an important part of our family.