Becoming a Fosterer when you have a child

(85 Posts)
Boomerwang Sat 19-Jan-13 02:01:54

I'm interested in becoming a foster carer. I have one child of my own. She is 10 months old at the moment. I am able to have more children, but I feel an urge to love a child who is already in this world and perhaps isn't experiencing the love that I so readily give to my daughter.

Before I delve deeper into this world, I'd like to know a few basic expectations. I would appreciate any links or advice you guys could give me.

Thank you very much in advance.

lovesmileandlaugh Sat 19-Jan-13 19:49:37

Hi Boomerwang,

I can only talk as someone going through the application process with the LA, rather than someone with experience.

The thing that struck me about your post was that maybe you might be thinking more of adoption? It has been drummed into us that fostering is looking after somebody else's child and that although you care for them as part of the family, you shouldn't love them like your own children. After all, decisions will be made about them you have no control over, they don't stay forever, and you have to care for them in a different way to how you look after your own child.

However I have always wanted to foster, even when my children were babies. I want to be able to provide a stable happy, albeit temporary home for a child who needs it. But my advice would be to explore what your urge to love actually means. Others may disagree with me, but I think that it would be very hard to love (in the same way), a child who can leave you at any time. You would have your heart broken!

Good luck with whatever you decide. It is always worth ringing for an information pack from your local authority for more information on both fostering and adoption.

Best wishes, LSL x

bonnieslilsister Sun 20-Jan-13 00:51:57

I look on it slightly differently in that I feel able to love the children in my care as if they were my own but just without the promise of a shared future. I couldn't foster, personally, without doing this. Most of all, this is what the children need and when they are old enough this is what they notice is missing. I appreciate not everyone wants to work this way but I actually feel sad lovesmileandlaugh you have this advice drummed into you.

Op there are so many children needing your love thanks

lovesmileandlaugh Sun 20-Jan-13 08:21:13

It is really interesting to read the reality from foster carers rather than social workers Bonnie. As I said, we are still in the assessment process so soaking up the messages we are getting from the social workers.
I might have worded my post badly, I think love can mean a lot of different things. I suppose it is hard to define and means different things to different people. Our LA is quite risk-adverse, to protect against allegations to the carer, and also to protect the child.
How do you cope when a child goes or they are in a situation, for example, where they are having to go to contact and it is going badly? I don't know how I could cope if my birth children were going and I had no right to know them for the rest of their lives. I suppose to me, that is what defines the love that would be different!
Fostering has been sold to us as looking after, caring for someone else's child, rather than loving a child like your own. That isn't to say that they wouldn't be looked after, cared for or even loved (in some manner) within a family for that period of time.
Sorry to hijack your post OP!

Boomerwang Sun 20-Jan-13 09:17:29

It's not hijacking, it's offering perspective, which I sorely need.

I'll admit I'm probably just softened by advertising and reading too many books, and the reality might be a nightmare.

I'm worried about the effect introducing a new person might have on my child, but won't that be just the same as a new blood brother or sister?

Also, I have no idea of the costs involved in fostering, whereas I've read many stories of people spending thousands on adopting. I can't afford nor am willing to pay that kind of money to adopt a child when I can still bear my own children (and I'm thankful that I have that choice as I know many don't)

I think I can offer a decent upbringing. Perhaps not financially but certainly with support, affection and a structured and consistent lifestyle.

Do you have to have a certain level of income to foster? Do you have to be a SAHM? I would like to go back to work part time.

What are the major pitfalls, if any? Apart from the heartbreak when they leave. How much of an intrusion into your life are the authorities?

MoelFammau Sun 20-Jan-13 20:25:20

I'm watching this with interest. My own DD is 20mo and I'm very interested in fostering for the same reasons as the OP.

I've put my name down to attend the next introduction days by Barnardos and the LA (Glasgow) - is there anything like that coming up in your area?

As far as I know, Barnardos pays better than the LA (about £70 more per week here) but apparently the LA might be a better choice despite that because the LA has less gaps between placements. You only get paid if you have a child placed. Also, the LA here seems more likely to be flexible - they weren't fazed when I said I only had 2 bedrooms, they simply said 'well, beggars can't be choosers! It's the stability and the care that count'.

Just things to bear in mind. I'm happy for you to PM me if you like? I'm still in early, wobbly mode myself and it could be nice to bounce worries and info around. Up to you!

Boomerwang Mon 21-Jan-13 08:34:24

Thank you loads for that offer. When I give it some more thought I might pm you :D

lurcherlover Mon 21-Jan-13 09:03:28

Hi OP, I'm not a foster carer but I'm a teacher in a school with a lot of looked-after children so can offer a bit of perspective as I work daily with the kids. Fostering is fantastic, but be prepared for the effect it will have on your family and your child in particular - it definitely won't be the same as having another birth child. For one, unless you foster a newborn, a foster child would probably be older than your own child as she's still a baby. And foster children often come with a lot of issues - depending on why they're in foster care they may have been exposed to abuse, neglect, domestic violence, abandonment, drugs, foetal alcohol syndrome etc. Not all do, of course, but these are issues to be aware of. They may be very angry at being removed from their birth parents, even if it's temporary, and take that anger out on you. They are likely to be very sad and insecure.

I don't want to put you off, just to be realistic about some of the issues you may encounter. Fostering can be a fantastic experience and we have some children in school who are in long-term foster care with the same family and regard themselves as being part of that family.

Also, don't think adoption has to be expensive - if you wanted to adopt from overseas there would be costs involved, but that's not necessarily the case if you adopt in the UK.

Boomerwang Mon 21-Jan-13 09:38:50

Thank you for that smile I'll look into adoption as well now.

amillionyears Mon 21-Jan-13 09:46:26

I do know a little about this.
I would tread a little carefully.
I think the main thing that strikes me is that your little one is 10 months old.
I dont want to pry, but is there a chance you would be having any more children in the near future?

Boomerwang Mon 21-Jan-13 12:50:31

Adoption in Sweden is mostly done with families already living together, and extremely rare to adopt a baby. It looks like a lot of hoop jumping so I think I'll spend less time on that route.

I may have to ponder on all this a fair bit longer. I should wait for my daughter to grow a bit more first so that I can judge how much support she's going to need as she gets older.

Thank you so much for your help smile

plainjayne123 Mon 21-Jan-13 21:34:51

Hi, our LA will only allow you to have a child at least 2 years younger than your youngest birth child, so we waited until our youngest(of 2) was 2 then we had a newborn baby placed with us. He is still with us 2 years later and he will probably stay with us forever (long term fostering). You can choose just to have newborns if you want to move on to adoption which prevents behavioural issues impacting too much upon your family. I agree that you have to try to love them as you would birth children. I think the fostering allowance is a welcome addition to our family budget and of course you won't get that with adoption, and you will hopefully have the chance to help so many children who need a good home.

plainjayne123 Mon 21-Jan-13 21:37:22

You don't have to be a SAHM to foster but you would with a newborn of course

Boomerwang Tue 22-Jan-13 00:40:20

Is it a bad thing that I thought of fostering as being paid to love someone, and for adoption as having to pay out to love someone? I only care about money as far as making sure any child living with me has what he or she needs to live comfortably. If I had another child myself I'd think of the same thing, but there'd be no extra money for helping out.

Oh god I just realised how that sounded... like I don't want any more children of my own because I can have someone else's kid and be paid for it... that's not what I meant at all! But I am being honest about the money issue. Even if I wasn't thinking of fostering, I couldn't afford another child of my own. Well, I could, but it wouldn't be as comfortable to live as it is now.

I'm babbling. I'll shush.

MoelFammau Tue 22-Jan-13 02:38:30

Plainjayne123, can I ask how you manage holidays with a fostered baby? Are you expected to stay in the area...?

plainjayne123 Tue 22-Jan-13 13:14:01

Boomerwang - of course you would consider the financial aspects of fostering. I see myself as a professional, doing an extrememly rewarding job, and something I think is the most worthwhile thing I could do. I didn't want to return to my career after having 2 children and saw fostering as something that would allow me to be a SAHM but bringing in income and keeping me busy.
MoelFammau - I am not sure what you mean about holidays, why would you need to stay in the area? Foster carers are increasingly being encouraged to take foster children on holiday, but some get respite care to cover summer holiday.

MoelFammau Tue 22-Jan-13 13:27:19

PlainJayne - your reasons are exactly my reasons.

I was wondering about holidays because I assumed (obviously wrongly!) that the baby's birth mother would want to keep daily contact or something? Just wondered how it worked in practise, whether you could go away for a week or two on holiday once in a while. My DD is half German with family in Germany and the US, and I'd not want to prevent her from seeing them once a year.

Good to know this might not be the big issue I was making it into.

plainjayne123 Tue 22-Jan-13 13:53:36

Our foster child never had contact with family. You would be able to go on holiday with contact. Baby has relief foster carer whilst you are away if contact cannot be interrupted for some reason.

amillionyears Tue 22-Jan-13 15:44:09

op, it is natural to think about the money applications.
I do think you also need to bear in mind that adoptions are hopefully for life, but fostering is often much more short term.
The child or children that are fostered often still have lots of contact with their birth familes plus relatives.

THERhubarb Tue 22-Jan-13 15:57:52

I had to contribute to this. My mother was a fosterer and still is. Please do think about it carefully. Don't be offended by what I am about to write, it is my experience and I am aware that you may well have very noble reasons to foster but fwiw here's my tuppence:

Do not foster if you only care about money or want the attention of people congratulating you on fostering. Do it for the right reasons and tell only those you have to so that you don't slide into a pit of self-congratulation.

Do take your child's feelings into account. As she gets older she may not want to share her room with other children who steal her toys, break her things and make a mess. It's one thing putting up with a sibling but quite another to put up with a child who is troubled and who takes some of that angst out on you and your belongings.

Do not make excuses for your foster child's behaviour, treat them as you would a child of your own.

Do not force your child to make friends with every foster child who comes through the door. This is not always doable.

Put your own child first. These children may have problems but if you are not careful, your own child may grow up with problems from feeling second best and thinking she will only gain attention if she suffers some kind of crisis.

Remember that fostering does not just impact on you but the whole family and so involve them all in your decision and should your child tell you in the future that she is not happy with your decision to foster then take her feelings into consideration and listen to her concerns. Never make her feel guilty for wanting her own space or her parents all to herself from time to time.

amillionyears Tue 22-Jan-13 16:44:52

Very good points THERhubarb.

You also have to bear in mind that you may see very little of the foster child after they leave you,for various reasons, which can be hard on you and your own children.

THERhubarb Tue 22-Jan-13 17:08:43

And you may have various relatives showing up to visit, not always at scheduled times.
The child may well be distressed/highly strung after such a visit.
Yes they can go on holiday with the family and you can also get another foster carer to have them for a week or two if you need time with just your own family.
Some kids get adopted, others go back to their families.
You might be told you will have a child for 3 months and then still have that child 3 years later.
You might bring up a child from the age of 3 until the age of 16 and never see them again.

Whatever you decide, remember that your own child must always come first.

MoelFammau Tue 22-Jan-13 20:43:27

All really good points. Thank you for posting.

No, I'm not in it for money or self-congratulation. I'm interested because I had a lousy childhood and now work in a high pressured job where I miss my daughter too much. I've always been interested in working with children in care (and have enjoyed it immensely on the occasions that I have) and I see fostering as a way of working one-to-one with a child and doing something worthwhile (my career is horribly shallow) while also staying home and giving my daughter a better life than being stuck in nursery 5 days a week.

The money does matter because it has to support my daughter and I. But not in a way that I want to run a baby farm! I'm very happy to take a huge decrease in wages to do this, I only need enough to get by, not to make any profit.

I really appreciate all the points of view I'm getting on this board.

sillymillyb Tue 22-Jan-13 21:44:26

I have had to post on this thread, I hope I don't upset anyone - I really don't mean any offence to current foster carers.

I am the natural born child of a foster carer, and I have to second a lot of what therhubarb says.

Put your own child first - no matter what. You are exposing them (especially when they are older) to all sorts of outside elements that you would normally shield children from (neglect, abuse, violence, paedophilia) and you have to expect that to have an effect on them to some degree.

I was sexually abused by one foster brother, have been beaten up by others, had my toys as a young child broken / stolen / taken from me for fun. Fostering has literally torn my family apart - my eldest brother no longer speaks to my mum, and it has taken years of therapy for me to have a relationship with her.

Fostering is amazing when it goes right, but not at the sacrifice to your own children - and I think when you are in that situation its hard to keep them at the fore front of your decisions as you have other peoples needs to consider too.

Also, having a sibling is completley different - they are there to stay, so no constant change in your house of people coming and going, getting attached and having to say goodbye etc.

Again, I hope I haven't upset anyone, but I couldn't not post.

amillionyears Tue 22-Jan-13 21:53:29

I for one am very glad you have posted.
I have to say, that when my DH and I did the training, as yes, we were foster parents for a time, with children of our own at home too, that that is the worst critism that we had. And we didnt have very many.

It was, that apart from one meeting that the sw had with our children alone, that is virtually all the information and trainging any of us had on that particular aspect.
It should and ought to have been far more.
I dont know if that particular issue has changed in the few years since, or not.

amillionyears Tue 22-Jan-13 22:40:19

Moel. It used to be that the local authority paid a lot less than charities or agencies, as regards fostering. Partly because, it was the agencies who had more difficult children to place. Dont know if it is still the case.

MoelFammau Tue 22-Jan-13 22:53:51

Bit aware that I'm hijacking... sorry.

My own daughter is 20 months old and would be 2.5ish if I get approved. My LA has a 2 years younger rule so that would mean I could only take babies under 6 months... Also because I only have a 2 bed flat. I do appreciate the difficulties and upset suffered by biological children living with older children who have no doubt suffered a huge amount of abuse and neglect, but would a baby affect my DD in the same way...?

Just a question. Just trying to build up a picture of the realities...

bonnieslilsister Tue 22-Jan-13 23:21:43

I think a hard thing for a child so young as your dd will be, if you start in a couple of years, she will be exposed to comings and goings and not know that it is normal to live with one family forever iyswim. What I am trying to say is I have a 4 yr old fc who has been with us 3 yrs, who has recently had to say goodbye to a baby we had from birth for just over a year. He has never mentioned this baby again unless we have as he is so used to people not staying sad and yet they were so close when together. I don't want to put you off though as I love fostering and we need good caring people as fc's.

A couple of points to make are contact is never in your own home nowadays so you shouldn't have relatives turning up although I have had threats to say someone was going to and also your bc would never share a room with the fc for the reasons mentioned up thread. It is so sad to hear of your family being torn apart sillymilly thanks

amillionyears Wed 23-Jan-13 07:56:34

I used to think that it was a shame that more people couldnt foster because they didnt have a spare room.
And this is getting, or going to be, more and more of a problem in the future.

But having read some of the things on here, I can now see more clearly, that the rule is there for very good reasons.

THERhubarb Wed 23-Jan-13 11:00:25

Moel, yes it will affect your dd. She will have to get used to forming a relationship with these babies that - no matter what you say and how much you think she understands - she will see as her siblings only to have them taken away again.

And as she get older, so will the children you will be fostering.

Many of them are disturbed so you have to take into account how your dd will be affected by them crying all night and suffering sleep problems/night terrors.

My advice: I know you have your heart set on this and you see it as a chance to be with your child and help other children at the same time but I think you have to wait until you have a spare room. It is NOT fair on other children who have to share their room, their private and personal space with a highly troubled child. If your dd wants to have some time to herself, just to get away/read quietly/do some thinking then she can't.
She will also not be able to have friends round for sleepovers as she gets older.

Yes this is all an issue with other siblings who share rooms too but more so with a child who is not a sibling and who is troubled and disturbed.

Work hard, save up and try to get a 3bed flat. Then you can consider fostering. I really wouldn't recommended you do it now. Your dd is too young to have a say in this decision and that's not fair because it's a decision that affects her life more than yours even.

lovesmileandlaugh Wed 23-Jan-13 11:19:32

Rhubarb and Silly Milly, thank you so much for your perspectives. It really helps me consider the impact that becoming a foster family could have on our family.
What advice would you give me (or my daughters aged 7 and 8) about becoming a foster family?

THERhubarb Wed 23-Jan-13 12:05:41

Talk, talk and talk.
See if there are any books suitable for their age group for them to read about having a foster brother or sister.
Make sure you listen to their concerns and don't give them a rose-tinted view of fostering children, give them the reality. They need to weigh up the pros and cons.

Have a family meeting once a week whilst you are fostering (without your foster child) to deal with any issues that come up, listen to concerns and just to give your children the message that you are interested in their views. They are much more likely then to approach you if things go wrong.

You need the support of your family on board too. Remember that if you take in a foster child, you can't just ask the girl down the road to babysit. Anyone who has any dealings with that child has to have a CRB check. It's bloody tough going at times and you may to deal with some really tricky behaviour and awkward moments. This will put a strain on you and your children so it's vital that family and friends are there for you.

To be perfectly honest with you, I would not advise anyone who has pre-teen children to become a foster carer. It's just too disruptive to family life and whilst you might be able to cope with these children who are there sometimes just for a few weeks, sometimes a few years, very young children cannot. Not only will you be dealing with behavioural issues from your foster child but your own children who may be jealous of the attention they are getting, who are being influenced by your foster child, who have been exposed to information they can't handle, who are distressed and disturbed by the behaviour they have witnessed, etc.

Older children may be able to handle it and can prove to be invaluable helpers but young children can become disturbed and traumatised. I know they are crying out for foster carers but I really do think that families with young children should not be considered. I'm sorry, but I've grown up with it and I've seen it happen with other families too. I think you need to be a very strong family unit to make it work. You need to have a strong marriage, strong ties with extended family, a good support network and confident children.

bonnieslilsister Wed 23-Jan-13 16:53:29

But Rhubarb, people with young families might not have all those issues if they foster a younger child/baby and also fostering older ones is not always a negative experience. I have fostered some really lovely older children. I really don't want genuinely nice people put off from fostering. It has worked for my family and I know I am not the only one. So long as the family does talk and assess how it is going all the time and you are right in that you have to prioritise your bc just like the sw will prioritise the fc.

MoelFammau Wed 23-Jan-13 17:26:01

I would only be fostering babies under 1. They would share my room, not my DD's. I appreciate the baby might have a whole host of disabilities, medical issues etc but it wouldn't be the same as an older child with those issues sharing a room with my DD....

Frankly, if it was the right match, I'd be very much up for long-term fostering anyway (or even adoption), meaning DD and FC would grow up together.... Not saying this is the goal, but I would definitely keep an open mind.

However, I DO hugely appreciate the points of view of those growing up alongside foster children. It's the side you don't hear much about and is very very helpful.

sillymillyb Wed 23-Jan-13 18:21:13

I am sorry but Im with rhubarb again. You cannot assume that because you are having under 1's that your DD will be untouched by your fostering. She still has to deal with the comings-and goings, the shared attention (because disabilities / medical issues are even more time consuming than an average baby - which lets face it is pretty all consuming!) and the fact that some one she will hopefully develop a bond with will then be removed with potentially little notice, and no future contact.

The children we short term fostered often tried to assert their place in the pecking order by knocking the children who had been there longer down. I have had my hair cut in my sleep, my brother had his food spat in consistently at meal times, my other brother had stolen goods placed in his things to try and get him into trouble. These are one off examples, but there are others if I wanted to go on.

Long term fostering, brings a different set of problems. Your child needs to feel loved and that she is your priority. I was actually okish until my parents had long term placements, but then the goal posts moved and I felt replaced, and pushed out by those who by virtue of their backgrounds and needs, shouted louder than me.

I knew things at an early age that you cannot unknow I knew about sexual abuse (because children often disclose to other children) I experienced violent parents / relatives, I knew the bed wetting / night terrors / acting out that come before and after visitation. I knew that not all children were nice either - your home is meant to be your safe place, but you cannot control the outside factors once you invite other damaged/ traumatised people into that space.

I know that these experiences are just what happened in my household and therefore there may be some very well adjusted natural born children who have grown up exposed to the care system, but in my experience, they are very few. I can't understand why parents play russian roulette with their child's upbringing and are prepared to take the risk. Please wait till your children are older.

Sorry again if this is not what you want to hear, I genuinely mean no disrespect to people currently fostering, but it is a subject that is really close to my heart.

plainjayne123 Wed 23-Jan-13 21:23:03

We have only been fostering for 2 years but so far my birth children have loved it. They adore our foster child. They were always very well prepared for what was happening, they know we look after children because their own family is 'poorly' and they were ready for our foster child to move on, but it didn't happen. They love being part of our fostering family. As to behavioural issues etc affecting your own family you always have a choice of the children you take, and there are no behavioural issues with most babies and a lot of other foster children, they are children. Things have changed an awful lot with fostering over the years and they are very careful about protecting the birth children, for example with the age rule.

bonnieslilsister Wed 23-Jan-13 23:57:20

Sillymilly obviously you are coming at it from a different angle. Sounds like you had a really hard time. Also sounds as though your foster siblings (for want of a better word) were not adequately supervised and not shown the best way to behave. How many fc did you have at a time?

You might think this is completely different but I grew up in a large family and many of the things you mentioned were things that did or easily could have happened in our house or in any of the other big families living nearby. I could have decided not to have any children but I didn't because I knew it didn't have to be like that. The same is with fostering. It doesn't need to be how you described it.

Nowadays a child is carefully placed and you always have the opportunity to say no. I have heard about sw not being completely honest about a child before they arrive etc but it definitely has not been my experience. At every review, and these happen quite frequently, I have been asked if I am able/would like to continue with the placement and they rely on you being honest and if the child you have is too disruptive to your own children you just have to say so.

I agree a disturbed older child is not going to a great placement for fc's with young bc.

I just don't want potential fc's being put off because they are reading about the worse case scenario with foster carers who are inadequately supervising and who seem to have almost washed their hands of their own birth children.

I really don't want to cause any offence to you though and I hope you will read this message without being angry

MoelFammau Thu 24-Jan-13 01:45:31

I'm glad that there are a lot of viewpoints on the this thread and I really do value the discussion.

I might come across as a naive do-gooder type but I do have some knowledge of abused children. I myself was an abused child. My own mother beat me up, locked me out in the cold, pushed me downstairs and screamed abuse at me daily from age 0-24. I've also worked with abused children (age 4-7) in a professional capacity and have some awareness of their behaviours. I genuinely do feel I have an connection with children from sad backgrounds.

I do have a young birth child and of course I want to protect her. But I do also think that it's a good thing to teach a child to care for others less fortunate. I feel a baby is a 'safe' way to start, as it's unlikely for a baby to trash the flat, break my daughter's toys, set fire to the dog etc. A baby also wouldn't stay in her room and the hierarchy would remain pretty stable - she wouldn't be usurped by an older child. If my daughter gets upset with how things go, of course she would be my number 1 priority and I would take that very seriously.

I have taken a lot from the posts from biological children in foster situations but it hasn't put me off. As Bonnie says, broken toys and fighting happen in any family - I know a 'naice middle-class' family where their two sons are at constant war, trashing the bedroom, destroying each others treasures etc. It's a little inaccurate to imply that foster kids do 'bad' things and biological kids are angels. I've definitely had experiences to the contrary.

THERhubarb Thu 24-Jan-13 10:03:04

We are not putting people off fostering, we are removing the rose tinted glasses. If someone can read all of this and still want to foster then they are the right person and in the right place to do so.

Here's a rather crap analogy. Everyone told me that breastfeeding was easy, that it didn't hurt, that it was a wonderful experience so when I actually found it all rather painful, messy, time consuming and an experience I came to dread I thought I was a failure. I was angry at those people who had raised my expectations so much. I actually even persuaded the NCT to let me write an article in their mag about the downsides of breastfeeding. The thing was, they were so desperate to get new mothers to breastfeed that they didn't want to put them off by telling them the realities. This just made new mums feel resentful and like a failure.

I see this happening now. There is such a shortage of foster carers that the harsh realities are often left out for fear of putting people off. Well I'm sorry but if people are put off by the realities then just imagine the chaos that would be caused if they discovered these realities all too late. Imagine the people who would suffer.

My experiences are very similiar to sillymilly. I came from a big family. There were 6 of us. My mother had already adopted 2 boys. I was the second youngest. My younger brother has learning difficulties. She fostered from when I was around 9 and still fosters teenage children now although she is in her mid 70s. Only the social workers can answer why she is able to foster teenage kids at her age or why, until my brother was able to move out 4 years ago, they allowed teenage children to share a room with a man who had learning difficulties. He constantly had his money stolen and his room trashed.

Their needs would be put before ours and they were constantly vying for more attention so they would try and get us into trouble, they were violent, some of them were sexually very open and I became frightened by the things they did, by what they said and by the disruption they caused. My mother had a foul temper and if they rubbed her up the wrong way we would all be in for it.

I did not have a good childhood. I don't blame that all on the fostering, a large part of that was down to shit parenting, but not one person asked us how we thought it was all going.

If you are thinking of fostering you need to hear this, you need to take this on board. If I can prevent one other child from suffering because of inappropriate foster parents or inadequate support then I will.

plainjayne123 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:17:11

I would also like to say that children from difficult backgrounds have behavioural problems due to what the have been through, but with the correct training and support foster carers can greatly improve things for them and help them to change their lives. Of course their will be difficult times for foster families but the rewards in my opinion more than make up for this. And again, things have changed a lot from how they used to be and things are a lot more professional now.

bonnieslilsister Thu 24-Jan-13 13:42:10

My children are talked to every couple of months by my ssw and their views are taken on board. They also have support groups for the children of fc's where they just spend time usually doing art and craft and chatting informally to sw's. I think in our LA they have spent time talking to grown up children of people who fostered to get their opinions and hear their experiences and are definitely trying to improve things for the present day children.

Do sillymilly and THERhubarb think their families fostered too many children at a time? And would greater supervision and being listened to by parents and sw have made all the difference to their lives growing up? I am sorry you both had such a rotten time. I would hate to do this to my children.

sillymillyb Thu 24-Jan-13 14:04:16

plainjayne I agree that with the correct training and support foster carers can indeed make positive changes to their placements, and that that is a very worthy reward to both that child and the carer themselves.... but to a natural born child? No, I would still say its not worth it.

bonnie to be fair, my parents had had 20 years fostering experience before I was even born, so they were placed with the more difficult and challenging children as they were more experienced. We had between 2 and 6 children at any time, both through the local FA and then later long term through a private charity. My parents were always around. But, if a child wants to steal / hit / rape (as happened in our house) then they will find a way. For example, we lived in a large 3 story house. We had a girls floor and a boys floor, and we weren't allowed on the opposite sex's floor unless for a reason, and def not at bedtimes etc. So the abuse took place a lot of the time on the stairs. You cannot watch everybody, all of the time.

Moel I def don't want to imply that "foster kids do 'bad' things and biological kids are angels" What I'm trying to say is that by virtue of the fact a child needs fostering, means they have suffered at best a trauma (mum being ill, no back up for eg) and at worst serious abuse over many years. Those issues take time and attention to resolve, there may be acting out - which is a natural expression of hurt / frustration / confusion, and your child will be exposed, or bearing the brunt of that. There is no right or wrong behaviour, just damaged children who need help and are exploring that in a space which sadly over laps with other children.

Sadly, I don't think mine or rhubarbs experience are rare. I am vocal in the fact that I truly don't believe you should be able to foster if you have young children yourself.

You may foster 20 children, and 19 of those placements will be a success, but that one time it goes wrong, the consequences can be catastrophic, and if you are happy to take those odds, that is fine - but the more you foster, the more exposure your children have to the outside elements myself and rhubarb have illustrated above. It's a game of diminishing odds.

sillymillyb Thu 24-Jan-13 14:12:21

bonnie x posted sorry - Im a slow typer.... hang on and I'll reply!

sillymillyb Thu 24-Jan-13 14:25:40

I don't think we necessarily had too many children, just perhaps the more challenging ones. I think, in retrospect, my family - because it had young children of its own, should have been given placements without a known violent / sexual abuse history. The problem is, is that so much is disclosed over time when that child is in a safe place - so a lot emerges once the placement has started.

My parents didn't listen to me. I have started a thread recently where I have mentioned how messed up I still am at the grand old age of 32, because I was being abused and when I asked my parents for that placement to end (never having asked this before about any other child) I was told that they had never had a placement fail, and they certainly weren't about to start now.

I understand that that is not "fosterings" fault, but very much my mum in particulars failing. However, we did not have ss involvement for ourselves, no one in authority ever asked how we felt, or if we had any problems. We were placed with known sexual abusers - how is that safe guarding anyone?

I was used to waking up and new children having appeared over night in my home, I was also used to being told that my new best friend who I had lived with for x amount of time was leaving that day / tomorrow/ next week and the reality was that I wouldn't see them again. My home was a hive of comings and goings, and therefore lacked stability.

I honestly don't want to upset anyone, I really don't, I think you are all trying to come at this from an angle of doing good, which is admirable. You need to listen to your child, empower them to tell you anything, and believe them when they say what someone else has done to them - even if its as small as taking a toy off them - those injustices matter when your little!

THERhubarb Thu 24-Jan-13 14:43:38

I agree with much of what sillymilly has said. I certainly didn't feel listened to either and my mother would never have sent a child back.

I also agree that the extend of the child's problems might not be known until well into the placement. Only after investigation do social services find out what has been going on with that child, so you might get a child who you are told is quiet and withdrawn and has suffered neglect and only after time do you discover that the child has also been beaten, abused and has a deep hatred and distrust of women.

Our house was known locally as "The Children's Home" because of all the comings and goings. I agree that there was no stability.

My mother would only foster 2 children at any one time. Their ages ranged from babies to teens. She was also seen as an experienced foster mother who never said no and so yes, we would get children at very short notice.

Not all of the foster children were bad, but I would say that all of them were disturbed. You've just taken a child from its parents and placed it with strangers, so they were bound to be disturbed! This can be very upsetting for all concerned and visits were just as bad. I remember one boy who screamed and cried as he was dragged out of the car by social workers to come and stay with us. His mother was allowed to visit and if she didn't (which often happened) he was distraught and would self harm, break things and hit out before sobbing in a corner. When she did turn up he would scream and cry and cling to her, begging her to take him back, promising not to be naughty.

That kind of thing never leaves you.

I think what might have helped was being able to talk to a social worker in confidence and perhaps having meetings with the rest of my brothers and sisters to discuss problems and issues.

Although really, I wish my mother had waited until my brother and I were in our teens at least. My brother certainly should never have been exposed to all of that. He was very vulnerable and some of the kids really took advantage of that. He would cry when they stole or broke his things. He couldn't understand it. Thinking about that still makes me cry now. sad

THERhubarb Thu 24-Jan-13 14:48:33

And I know that details of what has happened to the children are supposed to be kept in confidence, but it would have helped had we been given more information. If we knew that a child had been beaten and was prone to being violent and had triggers, then we might have understood more, we would have avoided those triggers, we would have known what we were dealing with. But as kids we were told nothing so we were totally unprepared.

MoelFammau Thu 24-Jan-13 17:54:18

Wow, you both had tough childhoods and it sounds appalling. I really can understand the passion and feeling you're giving out, and I agree you had horrible experiences that have tainted your lives right through to now.

I do still want to emphasise though that I would only take one FC at a time and that the FC would be a baby. I couldn't do more even if I wanted, as I only have a 2 bed flat and these are the LAs rules. And I would absolutely listen to my DD and her point of view. She would dictate the terms and if she said she didn't want to do it any more, I would accept that.

It's really not a comparable situation to a house crammed with 6 older, seriously tormented foster children and parents who refused to listen to you.

I do feel that DD would actually benefit. At present she spends 8 hours a day in nursery, with extra care from friends on weekends. She sees hardly anything of me, and I do believe that she would see the trade off of sharing me with one other baby as one worth taking...

sillymillyb Thu 24-Jan-13 19:05:40

I think therhubarb and I are singing from the same hymn sheet. We have had a crappy time of it, and the issues we have mentioned may sound extreme but that is real life, and we are sadly not a rarity I don't think.

EVERY child growing up with their parents fostering will have similar exposure to those issues. You cannot avoid that as its the nature of the beast.

If you decide to go ahead, at least you are fore warned and know what to look out for, feel free to pm me at any point if you would like.

Moel forgive me, but have you considered child minding? I know how appealing it must look to foster in those circumstances (I am on my own with ds) but the benefit of that over fostering would be that the children are generally from happy, loving homes and have their own parents to go back to each day. If you wanted to help disadvantaged children still, I think the LA use childminder placements for respite and for carers who still work outside the home. Don't worry if not appropriate, it was just a thought.

As a last point, I have found this really emotional and hard to write about here. I have been in tears at points, especially reading therhubarbs posts, as so much of it strikes true with what I experienced too. I really feel that fostering when your children is young is not in their best interests, but I understand and respect some of you may not feel the same. I hope we have at least made you think about things from a different slant, please stay aware and watch out for changes in your child and re-evaluate at regular points if fostering is still working out for your family. I hope like hell that things really have changed, and that SS are much more on the ball nowadays.

THERhubarb Thu 24-Jan-13 19:41:09

I can only re-emphasise what sillymillyb has said. I have been in tears on this thread too.

Moel, you may request babies only but they have enough foster carers who are willing to take on babies. What they need are carers who can take on older kids and the pressure for you to do that will come. You get phone calls in the middle of the night, urgent cases, a child just removed, has nowhere else to go, how do you say no?

I urge you to do more research. Talk to more foster carers and in particular talk to the children of foster carers. Do not assume that everything will be hunky dory and your little family will thrive like some fictional scene from a book. Expect the worst and prepare for it. If it doesn't happen then great but if the worst does happen, at least you will have some idea of what to expect and what to do.

sickofthissnow Thu 24-Jan-13 21:16:57

I am a foster carer - been doing it for 2 years now - I don't have my own children - and there is NO WAY would I foster if I had my own birth children.

There are the obvious risks - the constant meetings, contact, running around - it will impact on your own children - I currently foster a baby and wouldn't want to have to get someone else to look after my own child so that I could facilitate contact - you are expected to do the transportation - depending on distance it isn't worth coming home so you hang around until finish time - that's if the parents turn up. Babies very often have daily contact.

Children only have 1 childhood - whilst I applaud you wanting to do 'something worthwhile' - it is extremely hard, emotional, time consuming and not at all like having another 'sibling' in the house...

I fully agree with everything TheRhubarb and Sillymillyb have said. So many people say 'oh I couldn't do your job'... you have to dedicate your time to the foster child (regardless of age) and for me, I couldn't do that to my own child.

As someone else says, most LA's have a shedful of people only willing to do babies - so you may well find your services are not required anyway..

Assuming a baby stayed with you longer (frequently happens) what would you do when the child turned 2 and had to be in its own room? It can't share with your own child.

This is obviously my personal view, and I in no way criticise those of you who do foster with your own children - credit to you - but I just couldn't or wouldn't.

TheRhubarb and Sillymillyb - thank you so much for taking the time to share your stories... I hope life is treating you well x

plainjayne123 Thu 24-Jan-13 21:57:19

Make your own mind up, don't be put off by scare stories and exaggerated truths. Foster carers are required for teenagers and babies most, and there will be newborn babies for placement, and if they are a good LA they won't put foster children older than your birth children.

sillymillyb Thu 24-Jan-13 22:04:53

Scare stories and exaggerated truths??

MoelFammau Thu 24-Jan-13 22:36:29

I feel I should point out here that I had a lousy childhood full of abuse, fear and pain. Crap childhoods aren't limited to those who grew up with foster siblings, it's across the board. I'm very very aware how important childhood is. I never had one. I was my mother's personal slave and punchbag.

I also know two friends who grew up with foster siblings and both have told me that it was tough but definitely they wouldn't have changed it. And it seems to have made them both into warm, kind-hearted women.... One of them is now applying to be a foster carer too - her daughter is 2.

My LA has specifically stated that they're short of carers for newborns and teens. There is a depressingly high number of babies being born to drug users and it's getting to crisis point with my LA. I appreciate it'll be different elsewhere but this is absolutely the case up here.

Thank you for the suggestion but no, I'm not into childminding. I'm not really interested in average kids from nice backgrounds. I find it very hard to relate to them, if I'm honest. On the other hand I hugely enjoyed every opportunity I've had so far in working with kids in the care system. I think there's an understanding there. It just works better.

I'm definitely taking on the points raised and thinking things through. I've not even applied yet, but I'm planning on attending an Intro Day next month to find out more. It still is something I'm very interested in.

bonnieslilsister Thu 24-Jan-13 23:19:56

sickofthesnow with respect just because you wouldn't foster with your own children doesn't mean other people shouldn't. Like plainjayne said people have to make their own mind up. Many foster carers on this forum have their own young children and it works well.

It is different sillymilly and rhubarb offering their experiences because they have lived as a child of foster carers. But even then I think you have to get things in perspective. You both had horrible childhoods and see this as due to the foster children but I would see it much more as due to your mother/parents who took in very troubled children and didnt monitor what was going on enough. Fgs sillymilly your mum took upto 6 foster children with little ones of her own shock and rhubarb your house was known as a childrens home and your mum allowed your vulnerable brother to share his bedroom with children who took advantage of him. It is ourageous and I am not surprised you feel as you do but it really doesnt have to be this way and absolutely shouldnt be this way. Your mums were proud they never sent a child away but really they should have been ashamed for all they allowed to happen to you by taking on more than they could possibly handle and not showing their love for you and making you their priority and stopping fostering because of what it was doing to you.

I'm sorry if anything I said upset you thanks wine or brew

THERhubarb Fri 25-Jan-13 10:28:05

plainjayne123 I found your last post deeply upsetting.

It seems to me that whilst many of you say you have taken these points on board, you have made up your minds, you think it will never happen to you, that you have it all covered and that you are going to do it anyway regardless.

You have heard from 2 people who grew up with foster children and 1 person who fosters children now. Yet these experiences are irrelevant?

I feel as though I have wasted my breath, my time and my emotions. I feel I am being called an exaggerator, someone who tells scare stories and someone who was just unlucky.

It has not been easy to post on this thread and reading such dismissive comments has been very hard.

bonnie, with all due respect the social workers knew that the foster children were sharing rooms not just with us but with my brother. They knew that my brother had severe learning difficulties. Not one of them spoke to us about my mother fostering. She wasn't just to blame, they were.

There is an attitude amongst some fosterers and that is one of needing to be needed. They want to feel special, that they are needed, that they are doing something for the greater good. Once that attitude sets in then nothing will stop them from fostering. No amount of warnings or pleas from their own children would stop them.

I think fostering is a great thing to do, it's of enormous benefit to the foster child and it's a worthy thing. But I would always question the motives of those who choose to do so whilst they have young children of their own.

I too am sorry if what I have said has upset or offended anyone. I just hope that some, just a tiny bit, of what we have said has sunk in.

That's all I can take from this thread.

THERhubarb Fri 25-Jan-13 10:38:23

Oh and Moel this rang alarm bells: "I'm not really interested in average kids from nice backgrounds. I find it very hard to relate to them, if I'm honest."

Be careful that you don't push your own child who is from a nice background away whilst you focus on the kid from a rough background who you can relate to more.

bonnieslilsister Fri 25-Jan-13 10:52:00

I would say the sw wouldn't know the effect it was having on you all if she wasn't told. Did the sw know your brother was having his room trashed and money stolen? Did your mum say at reviews the effect it was having on her own family? You were your mums responsibility first and foremost and she should have thought and realised the effect on you.

Its a big difference having a family of 6 and fostering 2 troubled children and bringing a fc into a family of one or two children. I honestly feel your mum had too much on and should not have been fostering from what you said. How could she know what was going on half the time?

Going back to your breast feeding analogy should women not breast feed because some find it hard?

Honestly I am really really sorry you have had a horrible childhood and also sorry this thread has upset you thanks

THERhubarb Fri 25-Jan-13 10:58:58

I haven't said women shouldn't breastfeed and people shouldn't foster. I have said that they need to know the harsh realities. This is no story book or Tracy Beaker programme. You set people up to fail if you don't tell them the truth.

And some of the posts on here make me think that no matter what impact fostering might have on their own very young children, they aren't prepared to listen to criticism and are just going to do it anyway. Not the right attitude I don't think. But what the hell do I know?

MoelFammau Fri 25-Jan-13 11:20:29

I found your comment about me potentially pushing away my own daughter pretty offensive, if I'm honest.

You had an appalling experience, anyone can see that. BUT it was several years ago (guessing over 10?) and practise has changed, as it has for adoption. The checks, the communication etc is all much much higher than it was then.

Also, I feel I'm repeating myself endlessly here but I'd only be able to take 1 very young baby. Nothing comparable to the 6 older kids your mother took.

FWIW, I heard all the scare stories about breast-feeding and was dreading the experience. I was told it'd hurt, that the baby wouldn't thrive, that I'd be ill... It was an absolute doddle for me. It never hurt beyond day 2, baby never dropped weight and I'm still doing it 20 months on (DD won't stop). My point being not everyone finds the same things tough.

I would say that no, you're not putting me off but you are giving me a lot of questions to ask during the Intro Day. So yes, your comments are very valuable to me.

I genuinely am sorry for your childhood experiences. But I do agree with others that your mother should bear the brunt of the blame. Never saying no to a child shouldn't be a point of pride.

amillionyears Fri 25-Jan-13 11:27:20

THERhubarb and sillymillyb, to me you have said extremely important stuff.
You have so not wasted your breath.

I wish I could have read both your posts before we fostered.
We probably would have still gone on to foster, but would have taken all your points on board regarding our own children.
They were older in our case. But they ended up with mixed feelings about it so we stopped fostering because of our children.

We sometimes think about fostering again, now none of them are here full time. DH wants to resume, I am not so sure. I feel older for one thing!

I would like plainjayne123 to explain her post further. Being charitable, perhaps she didnt mean her post to sound quite like, or as bad as it does?

amillionyears Fri 25-Jan-13 11:37:57

I am personally talking form 5 years ago experience, so I can see that things have changed somewhat involving keeping children more involved in the whole thing.

But I cant see it will have changed, regarding knowing what experiences the child will have seen ,witnessed and experienced. And how those experiences will manifest themselves, as regards the foster child's behaviour.
When a sw gets involved with a child, and the child is placed in care, with or without the parent's consent, a sw is often somewhat blind about that child.
And it is actually the foster mother who finds out things, and is then obligated to tell the social worker, not the other way round.

amillionyears Fri 25-Jan-13 11:40:07

I too dont want to put off anyone fostering.
I loved doing it.
And it can mean that you work from home.
But I also think that it should not be entered into lightly.

Fosterangel Fri 25-Jan-13 12:08:43

I am posting through tears. Your posts moved me more than words can say THERhubarb and SillymillyB. You are brave beyond words to have come through your experiences that were not of your choice or making with much understanding of your parents and their "need" to foster, and the often hidden risk to birth children that the SW's dismiss in order to place a foster child and put their needs first.

We fostered two little boys (age 2yrs and 3yrs) over 13yrs ago to adoption and then gave up for a number of years to let our own two bc's grow up. My own children were aged 10yrs and 14yrs at the time.

Our reason for giving up and waiting around 10yrs to reapply to foster? Many actually. But one reason was that we were asked to have the young foster babes Grandad in our home for contact on more than one occasion. We then found out from a previous foster carer to the foster children we had that their birth mother had disclosed to her that grandad had sexually abused her and she feared he had done the same with the foster babes. I had him in my home with my own children and I was not told. I know nothing happened as I am very vigilant and my own birth children were at school. Even so the risk was far too high and the fact that it was known by social services but not told to us was appaling.

Take from that what you will but these were our first and last foster children until 10yrs had passed and we felt our own birth children (now in their 20's) were old enough for us to do it again.

bonnieslilsister Fri 25-Jan-13 12:34:38

And for the sake of those considering fostering contact these days is in a contact centre so people like this man fosterangel is talking about wont be near your family.

amillionyears Fri 25-Jan-13 12:38:37

Do the parents still come round to a foster carer's own home, bonnie?

titchy Fri 25-Jan-13 12:44:22

But presumably your own bc would spend their days hanging round contact centres waiting for fc's parents who may or may not show up. Which might be worse than spending their days in nursery!

bonnieslilsister Fri 25-Jan-13 12:58:49

In our LA if a parent doesn't come to contact, they only get one chance. After that the parent has to turn up before the foster carer is due to leave her house and report in to the contact centre and the staff check they are sober etc. If they don't turn up or are drunk etc then we are phoned to say don't come. It works well.

You are never asked to have the family in your own home either. I do know someone who offered to have the teenage mum each morning to teach her how to parent but that came from the foster carer.

I have had a mum who was aggressive and argumentative and sw put on most of the transport so I didn't have to see her at all except at meetings. Also if I needed to do transport I didn't go into sw offices as I had a small child in the car and sw came out to meet me at the door. We usually went for a supermarket shop or lunch or soft play etc

Most things can be sorted if people are able to suggest an alternative. They really do nowadays want the foster family to be as happy as possible and stress free.

plainjayne123 Fri 25-Jan-13 13:03:24

What I meant was that to post repetitively terrible things that happened a long time ago in situations which would never exist now is not giving a true reflection of how things are now and what people may come across.
Just because I choose to do something I think is worthwhile doesn't make me needy, I really don't care what other people think about my motives for fostering, I do it because I see the happiness and experiences my birth children have and how they flourish and it kills me that some kids aren't given any chance to thrive or to be happy, and if I can do anything to make that a little bit better I will. My birth children know not everyone is as lucky as they are and I think that is valuable.

amillionyears Fri 25-Jan-13 13:17:10

I did have family in our home. I didnt mind. One of the parents wanted him in care. Perhaps each LA is different.

Fosterangel Fri 25-Jan-13 13:23:19

You will probably see from other threads I have joined that I do have concerns over how safe a fostering families' own birth children are. There is very little in place to ensure their safety other than their own birth parents being watchful and making sure that they do not feel pushed out in favour of a needy and damaged foster child.

I cannot see how healing can take place for the fostered child unless your own birth children are safe and loved and the centre of your universe so that the foster child can see fiercely protective, good quality parenting in action. An abused or neglected child needs to see and experience what they have probably never had. Instead foster carers find they are running around like the personal secretaries of the foster child! We do learn more from what we see than the words we hear. Our experience of fostering very young children (pre-school) was that their needs over-rode those of our own birth children. Not acceptable at that time. We could not see the sense in that as surely, we felt, the fostered child needs to mould themselves to fit with us not the other way round.

Close to my heart. Love to you both SillyMillyB and THERhubarb.

sillymillyb Fri 25-Jan-13 13:53:52

I must admit, I am done with this thread now I think.

plainjayne the "scare stories and exaggerated truths" are my life. MY LIFE. How dare you question that, or minimise it. If I had been raped in the street and came here to share my experience to try and help other people have insight, would you dare to say its a scare story?? I find your comment utterly insulting and hurtful and I hope you have more tact and sensitivity with your dealings with the children in your care.

Moel your comments worried me:
"I'm not really interested in average kids from nice backgrounds"
"I find it very hard to relate to them"
"I hugely enjoyed every opportunity I've had so far in working with kids in the care system"

What sticks out is the "I" part. I have huge respect for what you have been through, and that you want to help people - but you are not an "I", you have a small child - what does SHE want? What does SHE need? What is best for HER??

I had a shitty time with certain experiences. Those sort of things still happen, my mum still fosters, and we still hear what happens in her friends households. However, I do agree they are the extreme end of the scale.

My point, and also what rhubarb has said, is that the other aspects of living in a foster home have an effect too. There will always be comings and goings, sudden goodbyes, traumatic visitations, difficult behaviour. If you choose to expose your child to those risks then that is fine, and your decision, but you have here from many people a view and an insight that is trying to make your decision INFORMED.

I am now hiding this thread because I cannot bear some of the attitudes being bandied around. Life is too short, I truly wish those of you doing it / thinking about it luck. Fostering can be brilliant in the right situations, for the right families, with the right placements and support. That doesn't mean it is for everyone though no matter how much they would like it to be.

Fosterangel Fri 25-Jan-13 13:58:08

Just wanted to give a balanced view before I rush off to work!

Both my birth children are compassionate and well-rounded and I do believe that this is due to their experience of fostering two little ones to adoption. It was life changing for them as they learned to share and care for others more vulnerable than themselves.

You just need to weigh up the pro's & con's and take a balanced view!

MoelFammau Fri 25-Jan-13 14:44:47

With all due respect, sillymilly, I can't realistically say 'WE want to work with kids in care' when I don't know what my DD wants. I have to say 'I' to be fair.

Here is my background. I was home-educated. Which meant I was isolated on a mountain in the middle of nowhere with a mentally ill, abusive mother for 20 years. I received no education and was punished for seeking one. I was kept off-system and was refused all medical care including twice for serious concussion (aged 4 and 9) and for chronic rheumatism from age 9. My eyesight has been forever ruined by lack of intervention, same for teeth. My mother drove myself, my sisters and my father to the point of seriously contemplating suicide. Yet my mother was congratulated weekly by strangers saying 'oh how WONDERFUL, you must be such a great mother'. I will never home-educate my DD because my own experience was too traumatic. I just don't have a balanced view on it. HOWEVER, I know that home-education truly is a fantastic thing for many families. It just wasn't for me. I have written posts on home-ed threads that echo the ones you've generously (and with a huge amount of strength) written here, so I genuinely do understand some of your past and how it affects you now.

This is why I have an affinity with children in care. It's not some idealised Oliver Twist Disney fantasy. By all rights I should've been in care myself.

I'm not going to post any more here because I don't think it's helpful to keep raking through other people's pain. I appreciate all the comments both pro and against and will take ALL of them on board.

Thank you very much.

amillionyears Fri 25-Jan-13 18:12:15

I have looked up the collins definition of scare story. Nope, the accounts are not scare stories. Exaggerated truths? That is not on either.

And, with respect, I should imagine the same sort of thing is going on in at least a few foster homes.

THERhubarb Mon 28-Jan-13 12:55:36

This thread tells you what fostering is like TODAY. The carer has 2 birth children and is fostering 3 other children I think, one of whom is older than her birth children.

This is happening right now, not 5 or 10 years ago but now. So if you still think that fostering won't affect your birth children or that Social Workers don't give you children older than your own or that they will only let you have one or two children then read that thread.

MoelFammau Mon 28-Jan-13 14:06:21

Thank you Rhubarb. Again though, I have to point out that in my case I can only offer my own room for a foster child so I am forced to have one child (or 2 siblings) under 12 months whether I want this or not. This is what the LA has told me is acceptable for them.

I feel all your examples of 'bad experiences' involve much older, multiple children. Which is what I won't be getting due to my living situation.

sillymillyb Mon 28-Jan-13 20:00:16

You are correct Moel if you only have babies up to 12 months then you will not face the issues we have outlined above.

However, it is a slippery slope and I cannot see either a) there being enough under 1year olds to keep you in a steady stream of them nor b) social services not encouraging you to find a way to have older children.

That aside, the issues facing your daughter should you only have under 1's are that she will have to share her mum - babies are time consuming, she will have to come second best to their needs because at times, babies cannot wait where as older children can.

Visitations - she will be exposed to potentially unsavoury relatives (either at your home or in a contact centre) She will have to wait around while contact takes place - in young children this can be very regular.

The constant influx of babies she has grown to love coming and going as they either grow too old for your 12 month age restriction, return home or are adopted.

As I have said above, if you only have under ones, you are right, the issues we have outlined in earlier posts are unlikely to be relevant to yourself - that still doesn't mean that your dd will be untouched by the situation though, just that there are different consequences.

plainjayne123 Mon 28-Jan-13 21:21:34

sillymillyb you are beginning to sound desperate!! Your arguments are now getting silly and have already been covered many times in this thread.
It can be great to foster with birth children, mine love it and lots of others do as well.

amillionyears Mon 28-Jan-13 21:30:51

I feel you are lacking some compassion.
And understanding.

Your use of the words scare stories is wrong.

And accusing people of exagerated truths, when you dont know the posters,
isnt right either.

I think it may be time for MNHQ.

sillymillyb Mon 28-Jan-13 21:47:51

moel said our earlier examples did not apply to her, I agreed and pointed out the factors that did. what is desperate about that?

a million, I considered reporting plainjayne to mnhq too, however her comments speak volumes about herself, and perhaps it's best that everyone can see what she truly thinks. I'd love her to take a look at the we believe you campaign mind, not that I have any hope she would take it on board.

Boomerwang Mon 28-Jan-13 21:54:18

Sorry I haven't checked this thread for a while. The responses on here have been brilliant (apart from PlainJayne hmm

I have decided based on this thread that I would not be cut out for fostering. I'm not the sort who can solve problems easily by myself. I call out for my boyfriend's help if my own child is sick on me!

THERhubarb Tue 29-Jan-13 09:43:15

I'm pleased you came to the right decision Boomerang. I also think that with your first child under 1 you really don't have perhaps enough experience of parenting just yet. I advise that you make the most of your child, that you surround her with love and perhaps take up childminding so that you build up your experience of children (not all children who live with their parents come from 'normal' backgrounds so you will have to deal with challenging behaviour in some form).

Once your child gets older, if you still want to foster then perhaps include your dd in your decision and get her views on it.

You are obviously a very caring and loving person with a lot to give and your dd is very lucky to have you as her mum smile

My next door neighbour is now a foster carer. Her own children have grown up and left home. She signed up for short term fostering, has a 4yr old with her at the moment and has agreed to care for her until she turns 16. She also fosters a baby. The baby has regular visits, in my neighbour's home, by his birth mum.

Every local authority is different and whilst some may advocate meetings in a staffed centre, others don't have the facilities and will encourage visits to take place at the carer's home. Likewise some authorities may have a few children under 1 on their books whilst others may be desperate for placements for older children. It pays to do the research with regards to your OWN local authority and also talk to other foster carers in your area to discover what their experiences are.

It is a worthwhile thing to do and it gives children the chance to experience a caring home environment but that should not be at the expense of your own children. If it works for some then that is brilliant but it's not a situation that would work for everyone and certainly is not something that you should go into thinking that all will be rosy and bright. You have to consider the worst case scenarios too.

I think that plainjayne's dismissive and offensive attitude is worrying and I wonder plainjayne how open you would be if your children did ask you to stop fostering. Would you be as equally dismissive of them and their concerns as you are with ours?

MoelFammau Tue 29-Jan-13 21:53:56

That's a great post, Rhubarb.

Bumble86 Wed 24-Apr-13 14:02:19

Firstly, I hope no-one minds that I am commenting, it is not intended to open up wounds. I did however go looking for a topic/thread such as this and I decided to read all of the posts.

Our family includes our bd who is 18 months old, she has had me as her main carer since birth.

I am definitely considering a lot of what has been posted, some may not think this right or balanced, but we don't wish to wait another 10,15 or 20 years. If we didn't take great risk then would anyone ever foster? There is a real shortage.

We are not applying to foster because I can't have more children, we want to make this our life, my career and believe we have chosen the right IFA for us.

Our bd won't be able to immediately tell us how she feels, but we will respond to her and definitely allow the opportunity for expression as she grows.

Everyone is individual and I respect the fact that others are entitled to disagree.

ColG Thu 25-Apr-13 15:21:12

I've found this very useful to read, especially the real life experiences of TheRhubarb and SillyMilly - thank you so much for sharing.
Over the years I have thought on and off about fostering, and now that my youngest is almost 14 I'm looking into it again.
My biggest fear has always been about the effect it will have on my kids, so I really believe that I will always put them first.

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