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Adjusting to fostering(9 Posts)
please forgive me if this has been discussed already, I did do a search and couldn't find anything related. I am new to the forum, literally just joined. The reason I sought out a forum relating to my issue is because I'm looking for guidance or advice.
I supported my partner to be a foster carer, all be it a little reluctantly, but I wanted her to be happy and I wanted her to pursue her new adventure, and to be there to help and support her as she felt passionately about foster caring. Anyway, we got assessed and approved. We had our first (and only) placement some weeks after. Our foster child is a teenager, with all the emotions and attitude you would expect from one, not to mention in the care system. My issue is that i'm really struggling with the way things are turning out. I feel as though it's coming between me and my partners relationship, in more ways than one.
We disagree on how to handle the behaviour.
We disagree on the amount of gifts and privileges.
I feel as though the foster child is prioritised higher than I or our own relationship needs.
Has anyone been in, or in a similar position? do you just adjust and get on with it so to speak? Obviously we would still have our relationship issues regardless of our foster child or if we weren't foster carers, but it's certainly not helping matters and to some degree fuelling the fire.
How would one go about seeking further help if needed? As I do think it will just pass as time goes by as you make do and adjust to a stranger in your house who you have welcomed into your life and family with no thanks, appreciation or gratitude. What's the alternative? leave my partner and kids, stop fostering all together. It would be unfair for me to say it's the route of our problems because it's not and our foster child is a good kid at heart, but it's 100% making life a lot more difficult and contributing to issues/problems.
thanks for any input
oh dear that does sound difficult for you.
can i ask if you have birth children? if you have you will have had to make adjustments in your relationship to accommodate their needs and so fostering would also require similar adjustments.
however fostering is very intensive and all consuming and you really need both of you to be on the same page and signing from the same hymn sheet.
i think you need a serious talk with your partner
Fostering is really hard, it's just giving, you can't expect anything in return. So if you're not up for that then you need to let your partner know. It's too much to ask of you if you don't have the vision for it. The kids don't go into it by choice so you can't really put expectations on them. Often they will display terrible behaviour to try and force you to reject them as they fear you will anyway. But you are doing a wonderful thing giving this teenager a home and family life. Is there a time limit on this placement? Can you ride out this one and then stop? It's always going to mean having strangers in your home, challenging behaviour and uncertainty. I'm sure you will be able to sort out limits you are happy with etc with practice ....but if you don't want this level of disruption in your life you need to let your partner know because you need to have the right attitude, you can't fake it. Good luck.
We have a really good local support group where we can talk about problems, have a moan etc - it's run by our agency, not sure if you have something similar to that?
It does take quite some time to adjust to this new lifestyle - do you have approved babysitters etc who could step in while you and your wife go out for a meal or anything? We have two people who have been assessed briefly, DBA etc and they are able to babysit when we need.
Contact your supervising social worker and ask about support groups?
Wow, I wasn't expecting such replies so soon. To answer some of the replies.
Yes I have one birth child with my partner and my partner has a child from a previous relationship, so 2 kids in total. I took on her child from around 18months old and class him as my own. We also have our teenage foster child, who's with us for the foreseeable future, probably 4-5 years as we are long term carers.
I'm not expecting any thanks or anything in return from our foster child at all, but I do expect some gratitude from my partner for all I do.
I also run my own business and i'm in the mist of building our new home.
I agree on the fact that I need to talk to my partner about things but I'm scared she will not give up fostering until she wants to or has to. I don't even want to give it up myself nor her, as I like the fact we are giving someone a chance they otherwise wouldn't have, and he's a good kid you can see it in him, just your typical teenage with extra baggage.
We have our own relationship woes, as does everyone. No-one is perfect. We need to work on the issues but the added stress and stain of not only running a business and building a house but obligations and duties to our foster child all add up.
I think the first few months of fostering can hit you like a sledge hammer. I know it did us. Can you speak to your supervising social worker about it? It does need discussing if you are to long term foster.
I would agree with everyone else. Communication is the key! Have an honest talk with your partner, seek support from your social worker, don't let things fester and get worse. Support groups are wonderful things but any listening ear who won't judge sounds like it would help you. Can you see a counsellor? If you have underlying relationship issues then I can't recommend Relate highly enough, they are very good at helping couples to communicate and understand each other.
Sorry this has all been so hard for you, like you say you don't want to give it up so just try to get all the support you can to make it work, and then at least you can say you really tried and gave it your best.
Thanks for the support i've sought out help.
Your wife is probably exhausted as well. I am a foster carer if five years and issues with foster children has caused issues with myself and my partner but then so has parenting our birth children.
Firstly book a nights respite at least once a month so you can remember what it feels like to be married to that person
When you come home from work make sure you both have a five minute download so that you both can discuss your days. When we first started fostering my hubby would come home and be all joyful when I'd had a shit day and to be honest it pissed me off so at least now I download to him first.
Fostering is both rewarding a privilege and the most challenging thing I've ever done. Remember it's ok to feel this way as because as much as I love what I do there's days when I wobder why I'm doing it but I'm still smiling and wouldn't change it ever
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