Thursday, August 09, 2018


It's amazing how many people are interested in fostering but can't get past thinking about it.

Literally, our next-door neighbours and the people who live diagonally opposite us have both let us know they are up for finding out more,  but this is the thing;

They've been 'Up for finding out more' for YEARS. 

They keep having inquisitive conversations with us which end in me saying I can put them in touch with someone and they quickly say something like "Well actually now is not a good time because..."
And they cite a reason such as one of their children is moving up a school, or a grandad is going through a rough time. 

In many cases the real reason has to do with their suspecting that they might not be up to scratch. No-one wants to be told thanks but no thanks. 

In my experience, people sometimes put off making that first contact in fostering in the same way as some people who can sing a bit or act a bit never actually try to make something of their talent because they were afraid of being told they weren't good enough. They can keep the dream going in their head and tell themselves they'll do something about it when the sun is shining. 

It's a shame. I once heard someone say there are thousands of Frank Sinatras out there, but he got up and gave it a proper go. And he benefitted.

With fostering, if you get up and give it a go and you help just one child - just one - you're bigger and better than Frank Sinatra.  A child will benefit.

All because you had a go.

You took the risk (not that it's much of a risk) - it doesn't cost a penny to find out if you, your family and your home have the potential. And the fact is the majority of people who take the plunge discover they are five star fostering material. I haven't got the exact figures, but not many applications fail.

Then there's fear of commitment. I once had a boss who, when we started talking about my work arrangement said "Hey nobody wants to get into something they can't get out of", and that's a good way of looking at many things in life. In fostering, if you make the call, a process starts which you can end any time, without giving a reason, no shame or recrimination. And for anyone on a budget, absolutely no bill or fees.

Even if you get on board and foster; it's not a ball and chain for life. You have help coming at you from every direction and if you need a breather - it gets arranged. We ourselves had years away from fostering while our own children were little, and came back when they could grasp what was going on around them. Just for the record I regret the break; I didn't need to do it - I now know our children could have coped fine, it might even have matured them faster.

I could blog on til the cows come home but the point I want to make to people who are thinking about fostering is that the only way to allay any worries or misunderstandings (believe me we had plenty of those ourselves way back - all of which turned out to be docile) is... make the call. 

Speak to a human being, Google for your nearest or friendliest looking point of point of contact and start talking. 

It's what I did and I'll never forget how in the first 2 minutes of talking to someone (her name is Di by the way and the last time I visited Blue Sky she was still there picking up the phone to strangers and engaging them), I felt better.

I also remember how nervous I was making that first call.

A little voice inside me was saying something like..

"Are you really sure you might be able to do this fostering thing?"

Well, turns out I am, and I sometimes even  get told I'm alright at it, which sounds best when it comes from the kids.

It's a huge leap from thinking about doing something to actually doing something, but every day a person puts it off is another day for a child with no roof, no bed, no home, no hope.

Make today the day you stopped thinking and starting doing.


  1. We took 3 years to make the call, but things in life happened that were too big to ignore (you can't foster whilst living in a construction site or travelling a lot for work!) but the idea of fostering kept coming up, I heard "the call". One day at work a foster parent phoned asking for advice on a legal matter, an hour later she had convinced me to phone her agency. 3 months later we had our first child. The process isnt so daunting, neither are the kids. Its just a different side to life we dont usually get to see, and adding value to a child's life is always a bonus. Its hard at times, cruisy at other times, but rewarding all the time.

  2. For me I didn't get in touch with my LA for a while because I knew the house I bought wouldn't meet health and safety checks and money was tight so it could only be done up at a certain pace. There were other niggles but none that actually stopped me applying. For me, I did have an initial phone call but the first contact was actually an online form with some basic details and then LA rang me next day. They already had answers to some qs which made the first phone conversation easier.
    For those who think they can't apply because of their situation, welllllllll most people have an issue or two in their past, but they can be turned into positives.
    I am single, gay, had a mental health diagnosis that involved hospitalization for a while (which included sleep issues, depression and self harm), I work anti social hours at present, when young I was nearly in care myself and came from an abusive household, and I have relatives with criminal records including the worse of crimes... and still no issue. Maybe a bit more qs from my SW than average but that's understadle.
    Instead SW sees it as: you understand lgbt issues, mental health issues, some of the issues that lead to kids coming into care. You can empathise not just sympathise. You can recognise the signs of various issues. You're not shocked by bad things etc.
    And re my shift patterns, SW is like we'll work around days youre free with respite and emergency care until you feel ready to leave work. Just give us a rolling weeks notice of your shifts..
    So if they'll let 'someone like me' foster what is it they're really looking for. Well a spare room, a safe home, time and patience. You're negative experiences can be assets not hindrance.

    1. Today I've had my final social worker visit before panel. Was really good. Its exciting. I've still got to have my final health and safety assessment but everything will pass, so no issue there. SW went through some children they're thinking of placing with me. I've asked for a lot more info on all of them. All teenage boys! I said the spare room isnt quite decorated for older boys and LA said they'll give me a bursary to get some teenage style bedding and toys etc so that's super as well. It is all very exciting.

    2. Great news Dana! You must be absolutely buzzing inside, I remember the feeling like yesterday, there's no one word sums it up, but I've often compared it to that exhilarated trepidation of Christmas Eve (for those who don't do Christmas, read Birthday maybe...)
      Teenage boys eh? Brilliant, I bet you'll be perfect. It has to be an indication of your potential that you SW is already measuring you up.
      Keep us posted.

  3. Teenage boys indeed, 14 to 16yos. For weekend respite. It is exciting, so exciting I've only just finished painting for today and it's gone midnight. SW also recommended some books on teenagers in care to read so I've ordered them too. Eep!

  4. Love it. Love the joy and excitement, long may it last.
    Teenage boys 14-16 eh? What a wonderful respite lies ahead for them. They might even let you know they are having a's hoping (they're not always great at accepting kindness, but that'll maybe be covered in the books, happy reading!)
    Looking forward to your next news