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Should we foster again?(8 Posts)
It has been many years and Backinthe60's has made me think about returning to fostering and give a loving home to a fostered child. I felt so sad that he was not loved or felt wanted.
One of the reasons we left fostering was because our own children suffered so much. They never said anything at the time and always loved and included the fostered children as part of our family, a testament to how lovely they were and are. Our birth children have since told us how difficult it was for them as the fostered children needed so much of us. There were so many times we had to be at the fostered child's school or at appointments and our own children would come home to an empty house and a note saying "sorry, be back soon, needed at the school/dentist/gp/hospital/social services meeting/contact.", due to a sudden change of plans/appointment made by the SW. The social workers ensured the focus of the family was all around the fostered child (as it needed to be as the fostered children had no one else at the time) and we would be checked on weekly and monthly to ensure we took the fostered children out to buy them clothes, take them out to eat, shop, entertain them with their chosen hobbies and it was not expected that our own children would be included as this was the fostered children's time.
I absolutely loved it. I want to return to this loving life now that our own children are grown up and I have grandchildren.
I am hovering around and lurking as it would break my heart if my grandchildren said the same.
We are still young enough to foster, but fear things have not changed much or the impact on the foster carer's family is not recognised. It does not make it a "family" either if there is more focus on the fostered child, even when there is never any doubt that your own children have you forever and know they are unconditionally loved.
Could you investigate short term/emergency respite fostering? We have now retired from years of fostering but I have to say our experience and that of our birth children was a lot like yours. We had to fight for any time with our birth children, especially since we were allowed no respite at all from our foster children over the last couple of years. Our last placement was lovely, and very much part of the family, but I do know friends with very difficult children whose families have struggled with never having time off or being able to regroup with their own birth children.
I am torn, and I am thinking about respite. It may work as it is not the same as short term/long term fostering which we did for approx. 10yrs. I love the closeness of caring over a longer period, but respite may be best for us now.
I ended up feeling at the end that the emphasis was about the SW's ticking boxes re fc hobbies, meetings, shopping trips, eating out, cinema, ss youth club meetings as well as school, medical and SW stuff. That was "good care" as it ticked the boxes. There were no "boxes" into which my own children fitted for a tick so they were not welcome at meetings and often asked to leave the room, even in our own home. They never complained but it must have hurt as they wanted to care too. Soc Serv celebratory things like tickets to the Panto or a sports event were exclusively for the foster children. I could have personally bought tickets for my bc's but we may not have been sitting together! It was around this time that we said enough was enough. We loved the fc's but we were run ragged and never saw our own bc's enough and were starting to miss what was going on in their lives as more and more they were excluded from a major part of ours.
I think we pulled out at the right time. I wish I did not feel the pull quite so much to return to fostering.
how long have you been out of it?
we have been fostering 25 years and i would give up tomorrow if we didn't have long term placements
the box ticking and leaving birth children out is even worse, and the rules are stricter with the new standards and don't get me started on the paperwork
imo fostering is less than 10% 'caring' for the child now, the rest is like an admin job.
my advice would be don't do it, it will affect every family get together and your adult kids and grandkids would need to be on board 100% which it sounds like they would not be.
An alternative would be an independent visitor who visits a looked after child and becomes a special friend/advocate , it is a really crucial role to many lac.
I foster short term and don't feel it affects my children in the ways you say, meetings etc are when my children are at school, in school holidays we go away and so not overly affected by contact/meetings, activities are during school hours and after school it is all about my children - football, beavers, cubs, gymnastics, swimming etc. My children love going on the training courses etc
So far I feel it has been a positive thing for them, but I do regularly sit down with them to discuss how they feel, the only thing we have so far is - the crying can be a bit annoying! But to be fair I share that opinion
I like the idea of becoming an Independent visitor Sumum.
We have been out of fostering for almost as long as we did it, around 10yrs.
I think working on the periphery may be the way to go.
I fostered for 7 years with a BC never had this issue and it was my bs who actually got us thinking about adoption as he was unset the children couldn't stay
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