Thursday, January 26, 2017


Waiting for the phone to ring when you're up for a new placement is definitely one of the most exciting things in fostering.

We're up for welcoming a new child into our home, in fact we're ready to welcome maybe two; a parent and child might be needing one of our beds - and a cot. Speaking of which we picked up a nice cot from a local charity furniture shop, it's pristine (but we gave it a good scrub anyway) and comes apart easily so it stores flat in the loft.

ho hum ...

Come on phone! de do de dum...

...I know what I was going to say; phones don't ring as often as they used to do they? Not with all the texting we do instead.

When the landline does ring it's more often than not a cold call. I always try to be polite, what I say now is;

"I'm sorry but I'm expecting an important call, I hope you don't mind but I have to hang up."

It helps my performance now that it's true.

Blue Sky's placement team could call any minute of the day or night with the magic question;

"Would you be willing to take a child who..." followed by a sprinkling of details. I have always replied;

"Yes, but I'll double check with my partner". So I ring him at work, he's always said yes, so far, to any request, and I go back to the team with our yes.

After you've agreed they throw your hat into the ring with whichever local authority are taking the child into care, they usually get more than one offer either from different agencies or else their own team of foster carers.

Blue Sky send an email with every scrap of information they can get about the child.

I've found it generally takes about an hour before you get a second call. People are surprised how quick local authorities can be in choosing, but when you think about it they want that child fixed up asap.

Sometimes it's a "Thanks but no thanks". In other words the LA has placed the child with someone else. You get given a reason, usually it's to do with geography. Maybe the child needs to stay at the same school and the distance between your house and the school is a bit much.

I always feel a tiny pang when it's a "No". I'll be honest here, although I'm naturally disappointed having got to know the child slightly from their details and got to looking forward to being able to help them, I also can't help feel a bit hurt. Shouldn't do, I know, it's not a rejection of me at all, but I'm only human.

I'm the same when out driving and a car hoots. I always assume it must be me they're hooting at...

Come on phone...

I never, ever, EVER fail to be moved by the moment when a new child arrives. They get out of the social worker's car looking so frail and vulnerable, I want to sweep them up in my arms and promise that everything will be alright.

But I don't because a) sweeping up other people's children in your arms is not what foster parent do and b) you don't know everything will be alright. So instead you smile, introduce yourself and do little things that are hopefully comforting.

For example I always say; "Slip your shoes off in the hall, we'll sort out some slippers for you later, for the time being you're okay in your socks."

This might make me sound like a stickler, but actually it's a good trick to begin the process of the child feeling that this is a home for them, for however long they need it. Try it. Walk around you own home in your shoes or trainers; it doesn't feel quite so much like home.

I find in fostering you pick up all sorts of little dodges like that...


I'll shut up for the moment.

Oh and BTW everything is cool with the rest of the family. Speaking of whom I must remember to make sure they know they are just as important to me as ever.

But they know when I'm on my toes for a new placement.


  1. How exciting, and frustrating! I hope you get a good call soon.

    We’re only down for respite at the moment as we’ve just taken in a young dog who needs to learn some manners, and DramaQueen has lots going on at school. Still every Friday I hope for a call saying we’ll have a visitor for the weekend, but then again I also don’t as (in our experience) it’s usually a sign a placement is on the rocks. It’s a funny thing to be waiting for, as exciting as it is for us on the other side is a scared child. Like you say I just want to give them all a good cuddle as soon as they walk in, but of course that’s not what the child wants. Hopefully in future they’ll be happy to be greeted by some slobbery doggy kisses!

  2. Well, you're not going to be bored what with everything!
    Thanks for your kind wishes. Curious how we long for that phone call even though we know it won't be plain sailing.
    Dogs are good if you're in fostering, I've always found. And funnily enough fostering is good for dogs.
    Hope DramaQueen gets on top of the school things.

  3. I am in this boat too, but waiting for our first placement. We've been merrily introduced to the cycle of 'get the call, they might be coming tonight, run around like headless chicken, get excited / nervous, then no placement.' It's a funny old job but I'm sure this cycle will be repeated again until it works out and we get the right placement. Like Mooglet says above, I get all excited then think 'oh yes, but imagine how the poor child must be feeling' so in a way, I don't want to have to use my spare beds!

  4. Hello Newfostermum and welcome to the best game in town. It's a much-overused phrase is "Roller Coaster", but fostering is nothing less. Where you are right now is a hard place because the anticipation is at its highest when you're awaiting your first placement. It's the unknown for you. And while every new placement is the unknown, the first is the unknown-est.
    Take time to feel good about what you are doing, and keep us posted on the blog.
    But as I've advised newbies on previous posts, we'll know when you've got you first placement, because you won't have time to read blogs and post comments...
    Good luck, and congratulations on your life choice. And on behalf of all the children you'll help, a big 'Thank You'.

  5. Hi

    Im waiting for my new placement too. Waiting for that phone to ring is very annoying! My last placement left just before Christmas, a little boy we had had with us from 6 months old. We had for two years. He went back to his extended family. We have seen him once, a week after Christmas. I have contacted his new carer/family member on several occasions by text to make arrangements to see him again and I am getting no response. My Social Worker is trying for me and the Guardian of the Court has suggested a few things to do but has said to get a Contact Order as a last resort. Its all quite complicated and lengthy to text but has been so emotional for us at this end. We love that little boy and were in effect the only parents he knew. Im sure he will be missing us dreadfully as he was so attached to my husband and i and had a beautiful relationship with my own child, whom this is also very distressing for. I was just wondering if anyone else has had this problem before and what they did to resolve it? Any help/advice would be appreciated. Im concerned because his new carer doesnt have a good background record with her own goods, they've all been in care at some stage....

  6. Oh Jojo, this is heartbreaking just to think about.
    I'm going to post a piece about your situation. It's about bereavement.

  7. Newfostermum we're in exactly the same situation as you! We're excited and nervous about our first placement and have had a few false starts. We're waiting to hear about one now. This blog is a wonderful place to come ti learn more about / from the fostering community!

    1. Yes we are waiting to hear now too, and this blog is a Godsend! Still trapped in the crazy cycle of waiting - referral - hearing nothing at the moment, but I know that the right one / ones will come at the right time.

  8. Thanks Newfostermum, welcome to the club. Fingers crossed for you, if you get a moment when your first arrives let us know how goes it.