A lot of people are 'thinking' about fostering.
I hear it often from family, friends, people at gatherings, from strangers even. People leave comments on the blog.
I once got talking to a woman on the phone who was taking messages for her brother who was doing some work at our house. He'd told her that we fostered and she told me she was thinking about fostering.
They usually want to know if they would be right for fostering and vice versa.
What to say to people? The truth obviously. But here's an interesting answer I'd give if I didn't think it was a bit sort of...out there.
Last Christmas someone gave us a calendar of wise sayings, one for each day of the year. Some of them are; "Look before you leap." Others are quite good.
One of the best is about the Chinese wise man Confuscious.
One day a woman went up to him and said she was thinking about joining a religion and wanted to know whether Confuscious recommended religion, and if so which religion was the best one. Confuscious looked at the woman and pointed his spindly finger. Then he walked away.
The woman was perplexed. She went away and told her friend. They sat down trying to work it out. Other people joined in and they all started arguing. "Confuscious's meaning is that you must move forward in life" said one "No" said another "He wanted you to go away and decide for yourself" "No" said yet another "His finger meant there is only one true religion, you must find it".
Then someone said "Hang on, maybe he was pointing AT something" So they returned to the spot where the woman had met Confuscious and traced the direction he had pointed. It was towards a pomegranite tree.
"Aha!" said one woman, "Confuscious means that you must plant yourself in life and grow!"
The arguments went on.
The woman who had asked Confuscious the question left them and walked to the tree. She found Confuscious sitting on the other side of it, eating a pomegranate with a contented look on his face.
The woman thought and said "Do you mean that the only way a person can know if they like pomegranates is to eat one?' she asked.
So the answer is to pick up the phone. Somewhere out there is a child, sad and lonely and frightened. What would she say to you if you asked her whether or not you should start fostering?
You've had a look. Now have a leap.
Pick up the phone.