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Fostering and mental health?

(8 Posts)
WanderlustQueen Thu 21-Jul-16 16:59:40

Bear with me, this is my first post. I was wondering if anyone might be able to give me some advice...

I would like to start looking in to fostering - I can't have children of my own and now the clock is against me. The problem that I have is that while my husband and I are both on the face of it two mid-thirties professionals who are doing quite well and have a lot to offer, we've both in the past been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and are both on long-term medication for this. Each of us has been on the tablets for varying lengths of time but we may well be on them for life.

So my question is - and please be brutally honest because I think I already know what the answer will be - does this mean we'll never be able to foster?

It breaks my heart but I'd presume MH issues meant an automatic no? Any advice you can give would be much appreciated.

elfish Thu 21-Jul-16 19:52:54

not an automatic 'no' no, but fostering is extremely stressful so you would need to think really hard if your mental health would suffer if your were under a lot of stress

HappyHeart87 Thu 21-Jul-16 21:04:11

Yeah, it's not an automatic no, but in my professional and personal experience of family placement services, professionals in the field tend to take a particularly cautious approach to mental health problems.

As PP said, fostering is stressful and the assessing SW will be looking for evidence that you can cope with stress and maintain good MH through difficult situations. Evidence that you've engaged with professional / medical support for your MH is a positive. They'll want to see that you've considered any potential impact of the role on your health, and your plans to mitigate any negative impact.

Can I ask why fostering and not adoption (if this is about not being able to have kids of your "own")?

EnglishIrishRose Fri 22-Jul-16 12:51:50

I also have had mental health problems in the past, for some agencies it was a complete no but for others (we are in the assessment process with one now) it will just be a case of careful assessment and making sure you can cope, have appropriate support and know how to manage your illness effectively.

They will ask you about your mental health at your fostering medical and may want to do an early medical before they accept you for assessment.

It is so worth applying and these issues can be raised at your first meeting or home visit. You shouldn't be afraid to ask questions and be honest. You may be told to wait a while rather than a straight refusal, or they may see that you are coping just fine and assess you.

I worry about the stress side of things too, but my SW seems positive so far, she knows better than me!

motherchuckinhen16 Fri 22-Jul-16 20:48:53

I think as well as mental health they will want to know why fostering rather than adoption, have you come to terms with not having your own bio kids, what childcare experience have you got.
We have no bio kids also in our 30's and now have a permanent foster child. It can be very stressful and its really important that you have a good support network of family and friends. It's also very rewarding and fulfilling and definitely pushes you out of your comfort zone.

WanderlustQueen Mon 25-Jul-16 13:17:25

Thank you all - I think there is some hope there! I wouldn't be against adoption at all, I'm not sure why I said fostering! I guess I'm just in the early stages of deciding what to do having accepted this year bio children are almost certainly out. Its a long story but it's essentially due to multiple issues so its veerrrrrrrrryyyyy unlikely.

I'm going to do more research into whether its a path we want to start down. I'm not afraid of a challenge but it requires a lot of thought smile

motherchuckinhen16 Mon 25-Jul-16 20:50:33

Both fostering and adopting can be described as 'parenting plus' as you are essentially raising children who often have attachment disorder and often suffering due to traumatic early life experiences, abuse, neglect or both. We have found permanent fostering works well for us as there's on going support of professionals accessed through social services and financial support so that I can be there for our foster child rather than going out to work as its me he needs, not a childminder. Our foster child calls us mummy and daddy (his choice) as he is still young and this is lovely for us too.
If you have experienced stress and difficult times in your life and got through it and stayed strong and your relationship and support network is strong then this will be seen as a positive. Seeking help when you need it is a strength. Not having your own birth kids can also be a strength as you have 100% of you for parenting plus and its a different kind of parenting needed anyway.
If you are drawn to fostering go for it and good luck xx

leopardgecko Tue 16-Aug-16 09:44:42

Just came acrosss your post OP and am belatedly answering.

Both my husband and I have suffered anxiety and depression at various times in our lives and had both counselling and medication for it.

20 plus years ago we adopted four children with it it being an issue, and more recently approved to foster children, again with it being no issue. Last week we went to panal to have two foster children placed with us permenantly. Our mental health has never actua

I wish you well.

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