Monday, December 24, 2018


There are certain times of the year when thoughts about what to do with a spare bedroom are higher in the mind than other times.

The onset of summer for example, when people wonder if signing up for Airbnb will pay towards a holiday. They get to go to Morecambe for a week and people who are fed up with living in Morecambe can get away from it all in a place which the homeowners want to get away from...

Another time is around September when the local college puts flyers through letterboxes asking the homeowner to consider taking in a foreign student.

Then there are the times when you get a nasty letter from the bank or the loan company and you consider turning the 'study' back into bedroom and renting it out to a lodger.

All these thoughts have their merits. A friend tried Airbnb and had one lovely family use the house for a week, followed by an even lovelier family. But they found the hard graft of getting the place right plus the stress of worrying about everything too much in the end.

We used to take foreign students, they were fun and interesting. One lad from Finland never left his bedroom, a girl from Russia would get so drunk at the nightclub the police used to have to bring her home. An Italian student got pregnant and was so scared of her religious dad that we had to arrange everything for her.

Actually it was coping with the children of affluent continentals that reminded us that we might have what it takes to foster.

And how much more rewarding - in every way you can think of - is fostering.

Christmas is a time when fostering comes into its own, especially as our own children are old enough to be a bit cynical about it.

What's Christmas without a child's wonder at the fantastic concept of Santa? What Christmas without helping a child write a letter to him? And then leave a plate with a mince pie next to a glass of milk out on Christmas Eve with a note saying "For Santa"*

What's Christmas without a child outside your bedroom door at 5.45am wondering if Santa's been? What's Christmas without...oh you get my drift.

Actually the Christmas spirit comes through in many other ways, but nothing as brilliant and innocent and gleeful and grateful.

Look I'm obviously not saying people should foster to recapture the Christmas they enjoyed when their kids were little.

I'm just saying it's one of many cherries on the cake of fostering.

Or, if you like, on the Christmas Pudding of fostering.


  1. We had a mixed Xmas with the two teens. Xmas dinner, cooked by one of the teens, was fab, and we had fun playing games and whatnot... until...some roudy not nice teens who one of mine had previous had sour words with decided to harass the house. Cue calls to SS and the police, who were fab I must say. Police followed up Boxing Day, all good...til... girl teen decided actually she liked the boy who'd been harassing us all and literally ran off with him...police returned her 12hrs later, deshevelled, penniless (as he'd spent her Xmas money) and yet, first thing next day she ran off with this boy again, leaping out a window... more police involvement and girl moved to a different carer to protect her from this boy (and herself you could say). A more experienced carer too.
    I've still got the other teen for another week so will focus on making sure he's ok with it all, as it wasnt exactly fun for anyone involved. Girl teen appears to be very susceptable to CSE.
    I'm a bit confused by it all. Well mainly how she can't see this boy is bad (I know of him and knows he's violent and sexually exploits girls) but then she brings her past home life to the table. Once she's settled, with some CSE work hopefully she'll understand the risks around boys and she cant just put out to anyone who gives her a compliment.
    So that's been my Xmas week so far!

  2. Our family has just been approved to foster. I enjoy reading your blog very much. We are starting with respite first see how we go. My 11 year old daughter is excited and nervous as me and my husband are. Just hope we can make a difference. Like reading the other new foster carers stories too. Hope things have settled down after Christmas, hope we can cope in a situation like that. Enjoy your blog, thank you.

    1. We wish you good luck. And welcome to the club.
      From speaking to other carers the incidents over Xmas at mine were unusual. Though I was sad the girl had to be moved on, turns out it worked for the better, as I still had big brother, and then a free bed, so little brother, who was living with another carer and missing big brother, came round for a sleepover.
      My concern is obviously the girl and her risky behaviour and I hope she comes out of it well, but I was also very concerned the older boy had seen a lot of police etc over Christmas. Turns out he'd missed a lot of it through sleeping and his ps3. Big brother has moved on to his permanent carer now, so again I'm without a placement, just waiting for the next one. And enjoying the break.

    2. Hey "Unknown", sorry it's taken a while to respond, I never knew what busy was until Christmas in fostering. Like the redoubtable Dana says, welcome to the club.
      Hey Dana, yeah unusual for sure, but sounds like you stayed ahead, well done, you should be feeling good. Happy New Year to you both.
      os, writing the word 'unusual' reminds me I actually had a cracker joke that made us laugh, but I had to explain it to Ryder.
      "Man goes to doctor and says 'I keep thinking I'm Tom Jones' and the doc replies 'It's not unusual' "