Who would be okay at fostering?
There's no answer to that. If you think it might be you, give someone a phone call. Blue Sky's number is on the homepage. Worth an exploratory chat. It's what I did, turned out alright.
The key skill for me is that you can tune into a young person who is having a bad time, and you have a spare bedroom.
I've always thought that ex-teachers and nurses ought to have the right set of skills. They're trained and qualified in caring.
But one of Blue Sky's totally brilliant carers comes from a different direction.
The more I think about it, the more I think that him and his colleagues (people who often have to find a new career early in mid-life) are perfect for fostering.
I have to apologise immediately if that is no longer the term used to describe soldiers, or members of the armed forces; if 'squaddies' is deemed by anyone in any way derogatory, I don't mean that and I apologise.
To me, a 'squaddie' is a soldier or a former soldier. Someone who is neck-deep in discipline, order and responsibility. These are important things with particular foster children.
One of Blue Sky's stand-out carers, for me, is a former soldier of 13 years. I've never asked him where he served or what he did, but at the first training session I attended which he showed up at, there was a glowering professionalism about him. I don't think he got above sergeant, I don't know. He's a trooper.
And Blue Sky have matched him with exactly the right youngster.
The boy is 14 years old and has issues with a wayward, unreliable wobbly father. The boy tries it on from time to time, and only gets a result when he's right. The foster dad (squaddie) is straight down the line, no nonsense, shape up or shape out. Except, of course, foster children don't get the choice to shape out.
Although.. while I'm there, just for the record, foster children do have the choice to ship out, and I've always found it a supporting thing that you can say (if only to yourself) "If it's not working for you, you are free to move on".
The ex-Army foster dad is using conversation and kindness in resolving those issues, respecting the boy's real father, but acting like the dad the boy wants and needs.
A solid bloke.
Squaddies are solid blokes, every year there are men and women coming out of the army wondering what?
It occurs to me that some retiring soldiers might think fostering is a soft option.
Ha ha ha.
Again ha ha ha.
But they have a set of skills I think can work really really well in fostering.