We talk about our fostering too much, the other half and me.
I suspect most foster parents find themselves pre-occupied, maybe even a bit obsessed by their fostering.
To be absolutely honest I have no idea if this is a good thing or a bad thing.
On the good side, it means we're focussed on a difficult and demanding job. It means we are striving for the best outcome for the child, giving it our all, concentrating.
On the bad side, I worry that the things that used to be biggest in our marriage, namely our marriage and our own kids, wider family and friends, have slipped down the list of priorities.
Foster children can be very demanding. Fostering re-defines your family. If you can make a go of fostering it re-defines you all for the better.
A friend of mine is about to move home, her house is being bought by a couple whose daughter is a foster carer, so I got the latest story.
They'd been looking after a young mother with a very young child, it had gone well, the girl was found a flat and moved out. The first day she was in her flat she was discovered by her social worker at the flat with a man who had convictions, I'm not going into details, you can probably guess, shouldn't have been allowed around children. The child was instantly removed and adopted.
Sharing this sort of information about one's fostering is something I think we should be careful about. You see, I think the young woman in question is the same one who stayed with us a few years ago having had the second of her now three babies taken away. Her most recent foster carer isn't Blue Sky, we're trained in confidentiality, though to be fair, no names or locations came out.
The thing is that my friend was on about how her friend the foster carer has only one topic of conversation. Fostering is a riveting topic. My friend moans about her friend going on about the fostering, but tells me everything she can about the fostering. For the simple reason it's so interesting.
My friend's new friend is currently fostering a boy who only has negative ways of behaving. For example, if you ask him if he'd like a bag of crisps he replies "Obviously, for Christ's sake". My friend says she doesn't know how we foster carers deal with such stuff. I explained that children aren't the finished product, and helping them get on track is the best part of fostering.
Children in care can be hard work,but they can also deliver the kind of joy and rewards that ordinary children don't. They can brighten up every day with their minor triumphs. It happens I have one at the moment who is just on top of gratitude, and it makes me want to do even more for the child just to hear the generous "Please" and "Thank you".
I'm (slightly) fixated with the job, everyone's fixated with it. Quite right. It's one helluva a job, but my point here is we have to hold onto whatever we had in the first place. If we had a good marriage or partnership, we have to nurture that. Our own children are most precious. Our wider family and friends mustn't think we've gone walkabout.
For the record, the adult girl who's had three babies taken away is pregnant again. But she's not coming here, I've no room at the moment.
Listen to me; fostering, fostering, fostering.
I know it's what the blog is all about.
But I'm going to make sure that, while it's a big part of me, it's not what I'm entirely all about.