Wednesday, July 27, 2016


The Nurse came yesterday to give one of our foster children their annual medical. The local authority sends her.

A lovely woman, we clicked. She did the usual; ten minutes alone with the child to chat about if she was happy, what her eating habits are, sleep patterns and so on. 

Then she checked height and weight and the child was let go to play and the nurse and I sat down for a constructive natter about dentist visits and opticians.

She told me the child is coming on very well, and made me feel appreciated.

We gassed a bit about her family, and how her job works for her.

Then out of the blue she asked;

"What was it made you decide to do fostering?"

And for a full minute I trod water trying to remember how the idea came to us.

"Well," I waffled "I suppose we both like children and young people..." (True)

"And they seem to like us..." (As far as one can tell)

"Er...and we both have worked with young people in different ways.." (Volunteers at the local youth club, running a junior football team).

The nurse just listened and kept nodding.

"Gulp..I suppose it's something we thought we might stand a chance  of being good at...and..."

I didn't want to say the last reason out loud, it would be bound to sound pious.

But it's true, so what the heck. I said:

"We both want the world to be a slightly better place when we leave it than when we found it, if only for our children and their children and everybody's children."

The nurse seized the point and replied;

"Yes! Even by an amount so small you can't imagine it, but it's worth a try."

When she left it occurred to me that she had the same motives for being a nurse.

Then something else occurred to me. 

She was thinking about becoming a foster mum. 

She'd wanted to know how it fitted with my own children and told me she had children of her own. She wanted to know what were the highs and lows of fostering. She told me she saw something of herself in me, and that we shared a number of views and sympathies.

Dammit, I missed a moment, I should have encouraged her.

After she'd gone I found she'd left her tape measure behind.  Right in the middle of the kitchen table where we'd sat for an hour. It's bright orange, you couldn't miss it.

I remember a Blue Sky  training session on child psychology, the lecturer quoted Freud and said "There are no such things as accidents", meaning we do things we don't mean because of unconscious forces.

I have to phone the nurse in the morning to get an address to post her the tape measure.

And in the course of the phone call I'll give her Blue Sky's number. 

See you at the Blue Sky Christmas Dinner nursey!


  1. I feel you might get a lot of YES YES YES comments to this one.

    Similarly we liked kids, kids seemed to like us, we felt we had the right skills to do it well, and more than that - we wanted to help. I often requote "As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person.”

    I also think if not us then who? Someone has to step forward.

    The children need a safe home – we have one. The children need care, stability and opportunities to learn and develop - we can provide all those. The children need love- well we can do that too.

    It would be selfish not to share all we have, and its enriched our lives just as much as it has changed theirs.

  2. Thanks Mooglet. It's just a bit hard to say it out loud, I find. Not that there's the slightest reason to feel embarrassed, quite the opposite. I definitely don't feel smug or anything, in fact I wish I could do more, but haven't time to beat myself up about life's victims at home and abroad. So I get down to my fostering try to be graceful about the occasional compliments.
    ps; love that quotation

  3. I've just found your blog and read through many of your posts and I'd like to say I've found them really helpful - Thank you.
    My husband and I have recently started our assessment process through the LA (after much deliberation about whether we are doing the right thing and will it suit our young family - We have children aged 2 and 4)
    We love children, have worked with children and feel like we are doing quite a good job bringing up our own (so far) and that an extra one could thrive within our family...
    But I do feel that until we actually start fostering,
    we won't know if it's right for us as a family?! Also, if it will continue to be right for us as our children grow up and develop their own views on us fostering.
    How different were your first few placements, to your expectations? Thanks :-)

  4. SiviMama - I'm sure that SFC will be along shortly, but in the meantime I can tell you our placements were all BETTER than we expected. The teens we had on respite we're nice girls, and our current placement have become our family - they fitted in so well with our family and friends like they were born for it.

    I think the main thing is to be realistic about what you want and can handle, say no to any suggestions that don't feel right or sound too much. Don't be afraid to say that one isn't right for our first placement. The heart strings might be pulled, but it would be worse for a placement to fail than to never get started.

    Good luck, keep up posted and welcome to the community xx

  5. Very, very good question SiviMama. I'm going to answer it in a full post, because I think a lot of people wonder the same thing, and a lot of foster carers will have their own thoughts.