Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Offering a child a home is an amazing thing to be able to do - whether you plan to foster or adopt. This video may be a little cheesy, but I love the sentiment. You have no idea who this child, in your care, will become but what a privilege to help them get there!

So you want to be a foster carer?

If you answered yes then maybe this will help prepare you for your own application process, if you're are already fostering, maybe your experience has been different - your comments would be most welcome and could really benefit other readers. If you're just curious, I hope this doesn't put you off!

So our journey started in summer time, 2012. After making initial contact with a fostering agency, a member of the team came to visit us and go through all the details of what it is to be a foster carer, the process of application and to discuss whether it was right for us. Our visit was in the evening, timed after the kids' bedtime, so that both my husband and I could concentrate and be involved in the conversation. Typically, for the first time in months, none of them wanted to settle, so we were even more distracted by the noises coming over the monitor! In the end they joined us and the social worker got to meet the whole family - even then the kids wanted to make sure they were involved!

After this initial visit came some decision making. For us it was whether we wanted to do this now? For the agency it was whether we were worth taking on? Fortunately we all answered 'yes' and so the application process began!

We met our assigned social worker in September. Her first visit was to quiz us and get an idea of what our motivation to be foster carers was. I had worked with looked after children for years and knew a lot about fostering,  so she wanted to make sure this was a joint venture and not just what I wanted. It was really great to hear my husband explain to a third person his reasons for wanting to foster. I knew it and had hear it all before, but to be reminded again was lovely. It is so important to make sure that such a life changing experience, like fostering, is embraced fully by both of you; fostering can be stressful and is really hard work, you need to fully rely on each other to be able to do it properly, and to keep going. It can put a strain on the strongest of relationships, made only worse if one person is not as happy about doing it in the first place.

After that first visit we were left with a big pile of forms to complete - BAAF application forms, CRB forms, references forms, house/garden risk assessments - and a document listing all the areas that would be covered in the next few meetings. We were to complete as much as possible before seeing her next, where she was going to interview us individually. We had plenty of homework to do, and enough time to get ourselves really nervous about the interrogations!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Why now?

In the last 4 years I have been pretty busy. I have met, dated and married my husband, been promoted and then made redundant, moved house 5 times, had children and applied to become a foster carer! The majority of them being life long desires and on my 'when I get older' list. What an amazing, full on 4 years!

My husband and I both knew we wanted to foster children before we met each other, so it has never been about 'will we?' but 'when will we?' When I was made redundant and was coming to the end of maternity leave  we thought we should start finding out when we could start the process. I have a professional background working with looked after children and so decided to quiz an old colleague about it. We were surprised when we were told we could start straight away! We sat on this news for a couple of months - letting it sink in and making sure when we said go we were certain of our decision, so in  September 2012 we started the application process.

We decided to go with a Fostering agency for the following simple reasons; we know them, we respect their professional integrity and it gives us more flexibility. Fostering is to be something that benefits everyone in the family. The foster child/ren, our biological children and our marriage should be strengthened and enhanced by the experience. We believe we are in the right hands to be able to give fostering our best shot.

So that answers the question 'Why now?' the next question is 'What happens next?'-  cue next blog entry.....