Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Fostering can take over your life, you have to keep it in perspective.

Mind, in my case I find it so absorbing I don't mind it filling my day.

Take last Sunday; the whole house went trampolining. Everyone except me. I was excused on the grounds of having a scratchy throat and the slight snivels. I find that colds don't come to a head in me these days, maybe I'm too busy to be crock. Nevertheless the family drove off and left me with a free afternoon.

I ended up on the sofa reading the bits of the Sunday paper I never usually have time for. 

Something caught my attention and it's stayed with me. It was a book review.

The book was about what we are doing with our lives, here in the West. The thinking in the book doesn't apply to poorer countries where people have to struggle to stay alive. The thinking applies to countries such as ours where almost everyone has a reasonable level of security against plague and pestilence and access to life's basic comforts.

What's happened to many of us, especially the young, is that they've replaced the rush which we humans used to get from catching a rabbit for supper with artificial adrenalin rushes such as bungy jumping and white water rafting. Everywhere you look people are signing up for extreme this and extreme that.

The book, according to the review, is very scathing about these diversions, calling them empty experiences, and you can see the point there. 

The most recent bucket lists are chock-a-block with adventure sports plus a handful of material wishes such as owning a second home in the sun or a Harley Davidson.

The reviewer echoed the sentiments of the author which is that these pursuits are ultimately unsatisfying because they're unfulfilling.

Exhilaration without any spiritual reward.

So what's this got to do with fostering?


Anyone who wants to feel really, really alive - the way you do when you've pushed yourself out of your comfort zone - anyone who wants to take a small but genuine chance and reap bucketfuls of reward ought can see where I'm going here...

It's a crying shame that the country is still way short of the numbers of foster carers we need. Yet every weekend men and women are throwing themselves off skyscrapers in Seoul, jumping off bridges and out of aircraft. There are folk who can't have a curry without it being the hottest vindaloo in town; they must test themselves. 

I'm not knocking these activities like the author of the book seems to be, especially for the young. When we're full of vim and vigour it's fair enough to want some aimless thrills. The young deserve a break from the humdrum, there's a lot to be said for having a buzz.

But I'm afraid I look at the 'pelotons'  of middle-aged men cycling furiously around on a Sunday morning going nowhere in particular and wonder if they'd feel a bigger surge of endorphins if they did something useful instead.

Thousands of men and women hit middle age and get scared about seeming  to be old. Not us foster parents. I'm past my sell-by date in lots of respects but I can name all the Avengers, I dig Deadpool and can recite most Simpsons episodes off by heart.

To the couples - and singles - who suffer from empty nest syndrome when their youngest finally leaves for Uni or whatever I'd say your nest doesn't have to be empty!

Surely if you feel your life is too quiet, too empty, too dull that you need to go looking for artificial kicks and distractions, surely you are in pole position to start thinking about fostering.

Actually, don't bother with too much thinking, pick up the phone and talk to someone, whether it's a fostering agency like the one I work with (Blue Sky on 0845 450 3519) or your local authority or whoever, just do it. Find out about it; get some info, then do the thinking.

I've sat around socially listening to people sharing their experiences of sponsored parachute jumps and half-marathons, listened to the trials and tribulations of one family friend who is forever planning' excitement'; one week it's the Cresta Run (a crazy toboggan ride somewhere in France I think), then the following week he's going to go riding a motorbike across China. But y'know what? Whenever it's my turn and I talk (as far as I can bearing in mind privacy) about the ins and outs of fostering, everyone goes quiet.

Because they know fostering is one of THE ultimate experiences.

Go on; do yourself a favour; not to mention a favour for a kid with no roof...begin a REAL experience -  a hugely fulfilling one; 

Pick up the phone!


  1. We foster and it is never dull. The kids keep us young. Most of our friends think we are crazy doing this at our age as most of their kids are out of the house or soon will be. We really like kids and at least we can keep them safe while they are with us. We still get to see our last placements as we have a good relationship with their family. It melts my heart to see them and them get excited to see us. We take ages 0-10 and so far have fostered ages 8, 3.5, and 4 yr old twins.

  2. Hey there! What an uplifting bunch of sentiments. I feel so proud to have colleagues such as yourselves.

    A bungy jump off the Severn Bridge? You wouldn't turn a hair. What's the point anyway?

    You FOSTER!


  3. We are empty nesters too. The plans to travel abroad has been set aside for now. Who would have thought Id be doing school and preschool pick ups in my late 40's? there is a place for caregivers of all ages and all walks of life.

  4. So true. Thanks for your comment, and thanks for your care.
    Fostering is a kind of abroad...