Thursday, April 14, 2016


I sometimes tell myself off for thinking too much about fostering.

It's a time consuming vocation, there's always something to be done whether it's sort out school clothes or remember not to get cheese and onion crisps or coming up with a trick to get more of the apple eaten than three token bites.

It consumes our minds though, as much as our time. 

It's often the first thought I have on waking, the last thought before I nod off. 

But what am I actually thinking about?

Am I going round congratulating myself for doing a mighty job? No. That only happens when people tell me that's what I'm doing, and even then my mind doesn't dwell.

Am I diligently monitoring the improvements in each foster child's mood and behaviour? Only fleetingly - I haven't time in my head to wallow in indulgences.

No, I'm planning. Assessing where the child has got to, devising new soft targets and making up little strategies to take them one step further towards their goals.

Take the constant need to improve self-esteem.

Low self esteem seems to be one of the most common problems for children in care. I don't know if it's universal, but I've never had a kid who was confident enough, never mind over-confident. Mind, this might apply to all children, with the possible exception of the nation's allegedly top end offspring.  I lie awake trying to find things they are good at, and ways of getting them to see their strengths. 

I had a little boy once, he was very shy and timid, one day he saw me sweeping the patio. When I put the broom down he prowled around it. I was temped to say "Shall I show you how to use a broom?" or "Would you like a go?"

Instead I said "Phew, hard work. And I'm not much good with a broom. I wish I had someone here who could help." And I went inside and put the kettle on. When I came out with a cuppa he was finishing off. Actually, he'd finished, but he wanted me to see his technique. He wasn't just sweeping the dust off the slabs, oh no.

He was sweeping and tapping. He'd go sweep sweep tap tap. Getting any bits that had collected in the bristles out and down into his pile of dust.

He said "My uncle is a roadsweeper, he taught me how to sweep. He says that I could be a professional."

Now, I love this memory because it has a thousand layers of things for me to remember to help me do the job better.

It means that he knew he has it in him to achieve and that he had been well parented somewhere along the line, and it had positive outcomes.

No, you can't over-think your fostering. Just try to make sure you find time for all the other things you need to think about.


  1. I have followed your blogs for months along completing my assessment process. I have enjoyed reading them and learnt so much Last week I was approved at panel and now am eagerly awaiting a placement to appear. I feel like I have wanted to foster for so long and now I am at the brink of something amazing. Maybe I m naive. :) Thank you for giving me something to read that inspires me along the way

  2. Congratulations on becoming a foster carer! and thank you for your kind comments.
    Now the real fun begins.
    Let us know how it goes.