Would I be able to foster?

(9 Posts)
jessjessjess Tue 21-Jan-14 14:14:15

I would like to foster in the future but I'm not sure if my reasons for wanting to do so will actually count against me. I hope it's okay to ask here.

My parents were abusive. They are seemingly nice people with respectable jobs but I experienced pretty much every type of abuse. I missed a lot of school, left home at 17 to live with my drug dealer boyfriend and then spent a long time in an abusive relationship.

I am now in my 30s and happily married to a kind and gentle man. I have a master's degree and a decent career, though I'm not sure I want to stay in it forever and would seriously consider giving up work to foster somewhere down the line.

I have undergone a lot of personal therapy and my therapist has essentially done what a good foster parent would do: sticking around while I repeatedly tried to sabotage the relationship and refused to accept his kindness.

I feel I have some personal understanding of what it is to be a traumatised child. I've dipped into threads on here and the behaviour of people's FCs makes so much sense to me. I would really like to foster teenagers and I think I could learn to do a decent job of it - I'm not naive enough to think I know it all already!

But I wonder if the very reasons I think I would make a good foster carer would count against me - the fact I have my own history of trauma and I lack my own functional family background (I am not in contact with my birth family and to cut a long story in short the police have taken measures to stop them contacting me).

I would really appreciate any input as to whether I could be accepted as a foster carer as I would like to look into it in the not so distant future. Thanks in advance for any advice you may have.

jessjessjess Tue 21-Jan-14 14:15:23

I should probably have mentioned that I never had a problem with drugs myself and have no criminal record whatsoever.

wonderpants Tue 21-Jan-14 16:49:23

I think it is a conversation worth having with the fostering service. I guess they might want to know how you will cope working with the parents. I don't think it automatically excludes you, but it is a long conversation you will have with them!

jessjessjess Tue 21-Jan-14 19:08:23

That's a really good point, thank you.

MrsBobHale Tue 21-Jan-14 22:06:21

You sound like you'd have loads to offer and I know in our LA there's always more need for FC who are willing to work with teens.

I don't think your history of trauma would count against you at all, in fact they seem to really like to show evidence that you have empathy with troubled kids.

The lack of contact with family would I'm sure be discussed. Apart from the point made by wonderpants, they also like to see that you've got a good support network around you, so if you've got no family, you'd need to show that you had good support from friends / neighbours etc.

Also I think they do need a family reference although it doesn't have to be a parent. I might be wrong about this though, and I'm sure others will be better placed to advise you.

I've just been through the assessment process. I go to panel tomorrow (eek!) and it really wasn't as bad as I had been led to believe. In fact it was at times quite positive to go over things that I hadn't ever really properly vocalised as an adult. It's a bit like free therapy!

My experience was that if you have had problems / negative events in the past, as long as you can show how you solved them or removed yourself from the situation, then it actually counts in your favour. The main thing they seem to want is to see that you can cope under stress and not give in to it.

Good luck.

fasparent Wed 22-Jan-14 00:30:14

Children are in care for many reason's, its more about the care and strategy too assure a better future and outcome's for the child. , also being none judgemental towards their kin folks too many extents despite
how you personally feel of most situations which often are far beyond of your control. You have life experience children will have the same some more extreme but strange as it may seem may still have strong loyalty's and bond too their parents. You can foster the child but not change the genetics as many Adoptive parent's learn. Good luck

jessjessjess Wed 22-Jan-14 12:16:17

Thanks so much for your responses. I think therapy has really helped me to understand how and why people can end up not being good-enough parents - I would like to think I could work with parents without demonising them.

We have a very good support network where we live and my in-laws are lovely, so those things wouldn't be a problem.

fasparent, it doesn't seem remotely strange to me that children in care have strong loyalties and bonds to their parents. It makes perfect sense - the bonds of attachment run very deeply, even when the attachment is insecure.

NanaNina Thu 23-Jan-14 17:41:46

I think you would be very suitable to be a foster carer, particularly of teenagers. I started a Teenage Placement Scheme in the LA where I worked for many years, back in the mid 80s and I was actively trying to recruit people who had had some knocks in life but had managed to overcome them, as I thought they would be most likely to understand troubled teenagers. The scheme was really successful and I did have to take a few risks (as I was recruiting people who were different from the run-of-the-mill foster carer) but my intuition was right.

Given that you were ill treated as a child I think it is a positive thing that you are no longer in touch with your birth parents, as if you were, there would be a concern that the fostered child/young person could be ill treated too. I remember a case similar to yours, but worse as the female applicant had been sexually abused by her father, but she had forgiven him, and rationalised it away somehow, and was still in contact with her parents. We did not feel able to take the risk that any foster children could be abused by this man, as the paedophiles are predatory and the outlook for change is very poor.

So glad that you have found someone with whom you can be happy and hope that you will be able to help troubled teenagers.

jessjessjess Thu 23-Jan-14 18:31:17

Thanks, NanaNina, I appreciate all you have said.

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