Tuesday, July 05, 2016


You have to take your hat off to single parents.

We often wonder how we manage and there are two of us.

We went to a party thrown by a single mum we know and at the end of the evening we were the last to go. We helped her start to clear up and on the way home I said to Bill;

"Did you see the mountain of glasses and cups and plates and cutlery in the sink and on the draining board?"

If there's two of you one washes the other dries then you both put away. It makes any job easier if you turn round and the other person has done their half.

Then there's the talking. You pass the time when you're doing jobs together by sharing your thoughts, which helps speed the thing along.

It's the same in parenting, you can share all the  jobs such as driving children and sorting out school needs. You also share endless chats about the children, helping each other come up with ideas and plans.

Bringing up a child or children on your own, like I say, hats off to them.

Can a single foster? You'd think it would be nigh impossible...and yet...

Several years ago I attended my First Aid training and found myself sat next to a quiet woman who simply got on with the training and didn't gas and giggle like the rest of us. When it was time for coffee she and I chatted about our kids and their challenges.

I met her a second time about two years later at a Blue Sky Christmas Carers party. She kept herself to herself again but I bumped in to her while we were all milling around and said something like;

"Hello, have you still got the same two? We met at First Aid."

We chatted for a bit then another carer joined us and started offloading, by which I mean she wanted to offload a few problems. Normally I just pin them back and let the carer talk, it's all people need sometimes.

Not the lone lady. Each of the concerns the offloader came up with, the other woman had the answer. No, really, she had the answer; sound advice, insightful suggestions, you name it, she was absolutely spot on.

I've never met her again, but I asked my social worker about her;

"Oh you definitely mean Lauren. Yes she is fantastic. We don't draw up a league table of foster parents but she's be right up there if we did. All the more amazing considering she does it all on her own."

Me: "Single?"

"Single and single minded. She is totally devoted to fostering, more so than most. Her foster family is her primary family you see."

Of course, I'd never thought about it like that. But those wise words prepared me for the next single carer I met; she was the most organised foster parent you could imagine, and she needed to be because her foster brood was a teenager, a ten year old and  a poor dear boy with cerebral palsy who not only used a chair but sadly needed a great many things done for him. We had one of hers stay with us for a while to give her respite, but most of the time she handled it alone, except for her handyman who did whatever she asked him to do (driving, cooking, cleaning) and paid him by the hour out of her fostering allowance, how's that for organised. You didn't notice she was nearer seventy than sixty because it didn't matter; she was another brilliant single foster carer.

So, in answer to the question "Can singles foster?" the answer is yes, and foster damn well.


  1. I am a single carer as are most of my friends. Some of us have very troubled young people and because we are single we are able
    to devote all of our time to our little families.

    Yes it can be difficult at times but that is where we can all help each other and sometimes call on our extended families and other non fostering friends.

    On top of this we also make up the committee for our local foster care association and are on the planning groups for our support groups.

    I have made some fantastic friends through my fostering and would never consider any other career or way of life.

  2. Brilliant Julie, good for you and all your friends. It's great when people do it and even greater when they do it their way.
    Keep up the great work!