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With some of the lockdown restrictions soon to be lifted I thought it would be a good idea to think of some things to do with James (name changed) to get us out and about. Having spent so may months within the same area, it would be good to get out and about and visit somewhere different.

I have always loved being by the sea, so maybe a day out by the coast somewhere. Whitstable is a favourite place of mine but I didn’t know if James would find it very exciting. So in the end I decided we would do Broadstairs and, if we had time, stop at Canterbury on the way home.

I mentioned this to James and he asked if Paige could join us. I had no problem with that and he rushed off to ring Paige and ask her if she’d be interested, which she was. So we arranged a day and that was put in the diary.

I was asked, today, if I would be interested in taking part in another Webinar about men in Fostering. I agreed, as long as the participants of the Webinar reflected the subject and that it was mainly men. I was sent a list and, to be fair, it was two thirds men.

I also received an email from a male gay couple who had been given my email address by the guy I spoke to at the last Webinar. They wanted to know about Fostering and how would they be viewed. Now my experience of gay men in Fostering is very limited and I have only ever spoken to one guy who hadn’t had a very positive experience. So I just told them my experience, as a man, in Fostering and told them how positive it was, in general.

I had an email back, almost immediately, asking if they could talk on the phone, which I accepted. A guy called within five minutes and introduced himself as Tom (name changed). Tom had been in care himself and had a very positive experience with some very nice Foster Carers. He had stayed with them for many years and they had really treated him well and he was still in regular contact with them many years after he had left.

Based on his experience he wanted to give something back and become a Foster Carer. Although he didn’t have any issues with being a man in Fostering he was worried about how his sexuality would be affect his application.

He told me that he was in a long term relationship and his partner was fully supportive. I told him to be upfront and honest about his situation and he should be treated like any other prospective Foster Carer.

I asked him to keep in touch and let me know how it went and he promised he would.

The rest of my day involved all the normal stuff, housework, meal preparation, answering email and letters and buying a shiny new TV. Well the other one was ok but I wanted a new Smart TV and decided that I deserved it. James got home and sat and did the little bit of homework that he had.

We had dinner and James loaded the dishwasher. We then sat and watched football, just for a change!

Fosterman Blog – A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.

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After a week of James (name changed) being back at school it seemed weird having him at home over the weekend. For him it was great, lie in and no lessons. We stuck to our exercise routine and, obviously gorged ourselves on football and (healthy) snacks.

We did our normal chores of tidying and washing and we also had a food delivery which had to be put away. But it was good having James about and he always provides entertainment. One of my sons came over on Sunday which meant him and James spent a couple of hours playing games on the PlayStation.

So with the weekend finished James went off to school and I continued with my weekly routine. On the Monday I was invited to join in a Webinar regarding men in Fostering. The Webinar consisted of me, the Chairman and, strangely, a number of women.

I gave my opinion on a number of issues and it felt strange hearing the women talking about the benefits of men in Fostering. Most of their points were valid but it was slightly ironic. The highlight of the meeting was one of the women being attacked by her Budgie. I think she thought nobody had noticed but the fact that most of us were laughing gave the game away.

After the main discussion had finished I spoke to the Chairman and asked him, frankly, why there were no other men involved. He replied that it had been recommended that it shouldn’t be an all male discussion as it gave the ‘wrong message’.

I despair. We promised that we would keep in touch as our discussion had been lively and enjoyable and that we both felt strongly about men being more involved in Fostering.

James came home full of the joys as he had got a really good score in a test for a subject he really struggled with. It was good to see him enjoying school and really moving forward with his education, something that I thought very strongly about.

One thing I do like to discuss and impart on young people is the kind of information that they will need in future when they leave school and enter into work or further education. I have had a number of discussions with James with regards to budgeting his income, saving and paying his bills. We have also discussed subjects such as opening a bank account and property matters such as renting or buying a house.

A lot of these discussions were general and not too in depth but helped plant a seed with regards to future conversations.

Our evening was spent watching football and relaxing. James had all his ‘stuff’ ready for the next day and he went to bed after the match had finished.

I reflected on the day’s events, updated my diary and checked for emails. I got into bed and fell asleep pretty quickly. The next day was pretty much the same as James went off to school and I attempted to do a YouTube yoga class and fell over bruising my knee and my dignity.

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I have to say that it’s quite strange being home alone again. With James (name changed) back at school it was down to me to find things to do.

I had to carry on walking and trying to stay active and eat sensibly. Once James left, in the morning, it was ok what do I do now? James was full of being back at school with his friends and girlfriend but I still couldn’t socialise with my friends.

The days of meeting for a pint or two seemed like a long time ago. So I went out for a walk and picked up a few bits in the local shop and then headed home. It was still only lunchtime so I sat and watched the news while eating lunch.

I found a few chores to do in the afternoon and then double checked that all my Fostering paperwork was up to date. James got home about half four and was telling me about his day. He had some homework so settled down to do that while I prepared dinner. He asked about my day ad I laughed to myself as we sounded like a married couple. The evening revolved around football, of course, and James headed off to be about ten o’clock.

The next day was weirdly similar. However I had no chores to carry out so I found myself at a bit of a loss. I binged watched a crime series and had lunch. The weather was awful so I passed on the walk today. I found a Pilates video on YouTube so did that for forty five minutes. It felt good actually and I stretched out some muscles that I forgot I had. The Social Worker called later to find out how had James had got on going back to school. We had a chat about how the placement was going and also about Mum and her input. The Local Authority seemed happy about James’ treatment and how settled he was with me.

James texted me, during lunchtime, to say he was going to walk Paige home as he didn’t have any homework so he’d be a little later than usual, which was fine by me. He eventually got in at about half five and went and sorted his clothes out. We sat down to dinner and I told him about my day and the conversation with his Social Worker.

I had noticed that James had got less interested in talking about the whole Care situation. I had experienced this with previous teenage placements where all they wanted to do was get on with their lives and not get bogged down with being in Care.

They wanted to be treated like any other young person, which I could understand. James washed up and we settled down to another evening of football.

James had a call from Paige and he disappeared into his room for some privacy. He came back in to ask if he could go to Paige’s for dinner, the following night, which I agreed to.

He came back in, after we finished his call, and watched the rest of the football. James went off to bed and I cleared away and went to my room where I listened to music. Another day gone.

Fosterman – A Blogging Simply Foster Carer.