fostering blogs

Starting To Foster

Fostering Blog.

When I first started fostering it really was a step into the unknown. My wife and I had decided it was something that we would try as an alternative to our 9-5 existence.

I was commuting into Central London and she was working locally. I had worked 9-5 since I was 16, mostly in London, and it was beginning to lose its enjoyment.

We both had children from children from previous relationships so childcare was nothing new. The plan would be that we both underwent the training but, initially, I would carry on working in my job at a Law Firm in Holborn, Central London, so the majority of childcare responsibilities would fall on my wife. The training was with a North London Local Authority (LA).

My wife would attend all of the courses and I would attend courses, mainly in the evening, with her. I actually found the training really enjoyable as the training officer was fun and brought lots of laughter into the courses. After the training was completed we had a very short wait for our first placement.

The placement was a new born little girl and she introduced us to the world of Fostering. It was the perfect first placement, no family involvement and very little Social Worker involvement. It was a case of looking after her until adoptive parents could be found. It also introduced us to the heartbreak than can happen when the time comes for the child to move on.

You cannot show that upset as that would be deemed unprofessional but you can share it as a couple. It was hard, that first time, really hard. It helped that we got on with her adoptive parents but I can still remember now the emotions of the Saturday morning when she was collected to start her new life.

James (name changed) was quite settled in his life now. The concerns of the LA were enough to stop any chance of him moving to these ‘family members’ who had appeared out of nowhere. So now we had to start looking at slightly longer term plans. It was time to find James a school.

I sat down with my Supervising Social Worker (SSW) to discuss the best options for him. I had a good insight to the local schools from previous placements and the schools that the children of friends attended. We identified one very local school and we sat with James and looked at their website. James seemed quite impressed so we decided on that one with another school as back up.

The SSW decided to contact the school direct so it was left to them to carry the organisation. James was still really interested in a Catering career although I know, from experience, that this can change in a flash.

I had sent off for a prospectus for a local college that did courses in Catering so James could have a read and see what was involved.

James was really relaxed about the whole situation although I knew that nearer the time that may change. I’m sure we all remember was starting at a new school was like, even with parental support.

A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.

fostering blogs

Reminiscing | Football | Diary

Fostering Blog.

I was going through some old photographs the other day, just reminiscing about previous children I’ve had the pleasure of looking after in the past and wondering how they are getting on in life.

It’s difficult to know whether to keep in contact with previous placements. For some it’s part of their life that, maybe, they don’t want to remember for various reasons. Maybe Mum or Dad were going through a bad time or they themselves were. For others, maybe they were too young to remember the trauma or have boxed it away in their head.

Those that I have spoken to seem to be, in the main, pretty resolute about their past and you hope that, maybe, they’ve had the chance to talk the past through with a professional of some description.

James (name changed) has been asked back by the football team he went to, with a friend, the week before last. So he has to register and pay a fee and a weekly sub which I was happy to agree to. They have a game next weekend and he would be in the squad.

I took him to the Wednesday night training session and met the Coach. I explained James’ situation and filled in the forms and paid his money.

The Club seems very well organised and very inclusive and has the benefit that there are 3 boys from James’ school there. I stood and watched for a while and was impressed with how well James was fitting in with the other boys.

On the way home afterwards he told me that nobody had ever watched him train or play before and would I come to the game to cheer him on. I said that the Coach had told me that they were unsure if parents would be allowed to watch, due to the Covid situation, but if we were I’d be delighted to watch him.

We got home and James showered and hit the hay as he was tired after his exertions. I updated my diary and sorted some financial stuff out before watching a bit of TV. James had left his phone on the chair and it was ‘dinging’ away like mad. I left it on the side but didn’t look as it seemed a bit rude to do that.

So the next morning, at breakfast, I mentioned that his phone had been ‘dinging’ and was everything ok. James said that it had been his Mum asking him if he had any money she could ‘borrow’. Also she said that could he get some money from me, under some kind of pretence, and get it to her.

I asked James how he felt about it and he replied that he knew the money would be for buying drugs and not for anything else.

James then told me of some of the situations in the past where Mum had taken money from him to buy drugs.

One such incident was where a relation had given him some money for his birthday and his Mum had taken it and he never saw it again.

Again, I logged all of this, in my diary, after James had left for school.

A Simply Fostering Blogging Foster Carer.

fostering blogs

Happy Zooming

Fostering Blog

We had a great weekend. James (name changed) and a friend had football practice, so I dropped him off and went and did my weekly shop, with mask of course.

After battling my way around Sainsburys I went back and collected a rather tired James and took him home for a shower. I unloaded the shopping while he sorted himself out and then we had lunch. So we spent the afternoon watching football and then got a Chinese for dinner. James has settled in so well and it’s great to see him doing his chores etc. without being asked and treating the place like his home.

Sunday wasn’t great, weather wise, so James decided to do his homework and we decided to book ourselves in for a Toby Carvery for Sunday dinner. After we ate our body weights in roast lamb we returned home for an afternoon of football on the TV and snacks.

I had some paperwork to sort out and then we found a film to watch until bed time. James took himself off at 10 and I had a couple of hours of TV until calling it a day around midnight.

James took himself off to school and I took a call from his Social Worker regarding a meeting that was due to take place, but Mum had cancelled without any reason. Mum has been allocated a place in a rehab unit to deal with her addictions but had not turned up. This had really annoyed the Social Worker as Mum had given her assurances that she would definitely attend.

Places in this unit were like gold dust and the Social Worker had worked hard to get her in. The Social Worker had tried to see her to discuss things but Mum had not answered the door. This was concerning. Mum hadn’t tried to call James either. The Social Worker asked if she could chat to James, on Zoom, that evening and I agreed.

James got home, normal time, and I told him that his Social Worker was calling. He was quite excited about this as he had a good relationship with her.

The Zoom call came through and I left them to it so James could discuss whatever he wanted without me poking my nose in. They chatted for about 45 minutes and James then called me. I went in while James went into his room and the Social Worker said that she was delighted about how happy James was and that any concerns about Mums complaints were completely dispelled.

We made small talk for 10 minutes then said our goodbyes. James seemed ok with whatever conversation he had with his Social Worker and he did his homework while I wrote up the content of the chat in my diary.

We sat down for dinner and then watched football, for a change, until it was time for James to go to bed. Before he went he told me that he was really happy and he had told the Social Worker that.

It was nice to hear him say that and I have to say that he was one of the nicest kids I had the pleasure to care for in my fostering career.

A Blogging Foster Carer.