Helen’s Fostering Blog
Shall we foster?
My Stepdaughter needed to be a big part of our discussions and ultimately our decision as to whether we fostered.
One of the things myself and my husband were very conscious about was that it was one thing for us to want to foster but how did George’s daughter feel about it. So for her to be able to make an informed decision, first we had to ensure she understood what being part of a foster family really might feel like. It was so important to us that she was part of our decision as a family to consider if fostering was right for us as it was undoubtably going to have an impact on her and her life with us.
Libby was only 5 years old when I first meet her, she lives with her Mum and visits us every other weekend and during school holidays. I had been in a relationship with her Dad for around a year by the time we first met. Over time it became clear that there were many things that me and Libby didn’t know about each other, so I came up with a game which we now call ‘Guess How Well you Know Me’. This became a fun way for us to get to know each other and many years on Libby has never bored of this game and interestingly its now also a game that our 2 foster children also like to play.
The great thing about this game is you are not expected to know the answer, the aim of the game is about finding out about each other. The rules are simple, everyone takes a turn to ask a question for the others to guess, such as “what is my middle name”, “was it my favourite colour, animal, what was my least favourite subject at school” etc.
We have always included Libby (George’s daughter) in any decisions we make as a family, so fostering was going to be no different. When we first mentioned fostering to Libby she was about 10 years old and she had just turned 12 by the time we started fostering 2 children, so it gave us plenty of time to see how Libby really felt about the prospect of being part of a fostering family.
During the assessment process for fostering we decided to use this game to see how much Libby had understood about our conversations around fostering, so we would ask her questions such as
“can you give me 2 reason why a child might need to be fostered”,
“ can you give me 3 emotions a child might feel when they first come to live with us”,
“can you give me 2 things that we could do that might help them feel better about living with us”,
“can you give me 3 feelings you have about other children coming to live with me and your Dad” etc.
It was really pleasing to hear her responses to these questions, her insight felt beyond her years, and it was because of her answers that we felt sure that not only did Libby fully understand everything she needed to know about fostering but that she would also be an amazing foster sister.
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