Just about 10 years ago my Husband, Matt, and I decided it was the right time to Foster. We were in our mid thirty’s and our son’s were 4 and 7 years old. We wanted the boys to be old enough to communicate with us before we began.
I loved the whole process of approval, it was like therapy; plus I’m a bit of a nerd and loved writing pieces of work in answer to the questions. Matt however, enjoyed it, but prefers one word answers, so a happy medium had to be found there.
We thought we were ready!
We thought the boys were ready!
We thought we couldn’t wait until our first placement!
Little did we know how terrifying it would be for Matt and I, waiting for our first respite placement to arrive at the door!
Our first child, a beautiful (pre teen) young lady, stayed with us for 3 weeks. The tragedy of her story broke our heart’s into a million pieces. We were so nervous, afraid of saying anything wrong, doing something wrong, being ‘told off’. ‘Are we doing it right? Should I do this, say that, ask the other?’ Constantly questioning ourselves but not revealing any of our doubts about ourselves to our new foster child – it was quite exhausting!!
We somehow managed to spend a fortune on her during those 3 weeks, clothes and days out; we didn’t need to, we realised eventually. All she needed was to be safe. My mum and I took her shopping one day. I didn’t intend to spend quite as much, and I absolutely regretted ‘giving in’ to buying the skirt that was far too short!
We live in a wonderful street and our neighbours are all friends and support us. A couple of doors down their youngest son took a shine to our pre teen, hence my regret of ‘the skirt’! They were the same age but blimey did it bring on a whole new set of worries and questions. Do we let them chill out together, where? In the house, garden, go for a walk? Aaargghh The mine field that is being a new foster carer !!
One less worry was our boys. They were young enough to be excited by the process, but not old enough yet to be told anything other than that these children have mummies and daddies who are poorly and can’t look after them any more. Our eldest did and does ask lots of questions and we talked to them continuously. Of course as the years have gone by what we tell them is more grown up, but at the time they didn’t need to know any more. Their main request was that we foster boys not girls, as girls were ‘urgh’ apparently! We have however only fostered girls, oops!
We knew we weren’t the family that was going to make a life long difference this time, but even for just that short time, she was safe, she was cared for, she wasn’t hungry, she had a glimpse of what a family life can be like. I imagine she was still scared, still unsure, still waiting for something to go wrong and that’s what Matt and I talked about to each other every evening. We knew we were doing to right thing ultimately. This young ladies past has never left us, our hearts will always be a little bit broken knowing what she went through. We knew that this was just the beginning of our journey.
Check if you can apply to be a foster carer and get instant answers and advice here.