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I grew up in Foster care - ask me anything(77 Posts)
I was removed from my birth family as a pre-teen. I spent the next 8 years bouncing round the care system. I had lots of different families, placements and experiences. Some good and some not great. I'm now an adult in my 20s. Ask me anything and I'll try and answer it (as long as its not too personal or likely to out me). I'm doing this in the hope that it might allow some of you to see your foster children in a different light and perhaps explain a few things that might not otherwise make sense.
Hello! Thank you for opening this up. I’m interested in adopting one day maybe (so that is my angle) but feel free to ignore these questions if they don’t sit right with you.
What characteristics do you think would make a good adopter and/or foster carer for a pre teen?
Did you hope to be adopted or did you feel you knew who your family were and weren’t interested?
Would you consider being a foster carer knowing what you know?
I am a foster carer but our two girls have been with us since they were babies, I can't imagine what your life must have been like being bounced around like that. I would like to ask if you made any lasting connections with any of the families you lived with and if so are you still in contact with them?
A) Patience (bucketloads), resilience and commitment. Most of the kids have nobody else on their side but you. If you can't give then 100% then jog on and find something else to do.
B) I was too old to be adopted by the time I came into the system. Its very rare then any adoptions take place after the age of 8
C) Yes I would like too. But only if the system for LA carers changes. With more money and being recognised as an official employee with the same rights such as holidays (respite). I wouldn't foster with an independent fostering agency after a very bad experience with a set of carers that were managed by an IFA
Good luck on your adoption/fostering journey if you choose to persue it
@Deadringer - Too many people to talk about tonight but I'll talk about two of the families I lived with and where we are now 10+ years on
So I see the first family that I lived with a few times a year and we talk occasionally on the phone. But I wouldn't say we have a close connection. Though that might be because it was only a short placement (less than 3 months).
I lived with a different family for nearly 2 years. They were older and had been Fostering for a very long time. I look back and because they'd been doing it for so long I think that they got away with an awful lot of things that other newer carers might not have done. Ie: We (the Foster kids) were left alone in the house for long periods of time. I was bullied by another foster child and they told social workers I was lying about this. The social workers believed them over me! I have very mixed feelings about that placement. I had some good times but I wasn't sorry to hear they'd given it up. We don't really keep in touch. If I saw them in the street then I'd say hello but otherwise we don't talk anymore
Thanks for proposing this topic, OP.
Why was it you had so many different placements — was a longterm foster placement not possible? Moving around so much must have been very difficult for you, and caused problems with schooling, apart from anything else. Did you continue to have contact in some form with your birth family?
Do you resent the fact that you were taken from your (birth)family, or do you agree that it was necessary? And do you have a relationship with them?
Once it became clear that I wasn't going back to my birth family then I asked to stay with my second set of FC's long term. They refused. I was told it was because of X reason (I don't want to go into detail incase I get outed but it was to do with them, not me) but looking back, I think it was just an excuse. They didn't want me and it was as simple as that
I had another 3 long term placements after that. None of them worked out for various reasons (one carer had too many commitments herself, I didn't get on with another foster child in a second and I shouldn't have been placed with the next set of people but that's another story)
I was really lucky to be able to stay at the same school and (later) college throughout. So I did have some stability despite everything else.
I still some of my birth family. Not very often but we try to keep in touch
No I don't resent being removed at all. By the time it finally happened, I wanted to go because I'd had enough of being let down by them and the false promises! I'm glad it happened because I wouldn't be the person I am today if it hadn't
Answered in previous post - but yes I do still keep in touch with some members of my birth family.
We are thinking of fostering when our younger dd has become independent ( she's 14 now). We are both used to working with children in care. DH as SEN teacher in pupil referral and me in further Ed. We actually would prefer teens but at what age does fostering stop? We also wondered about just providing night stop so that they had somewhere to come in an emergency.
I have always wondered what happens when children in foster care turn 18.
I have late teens myself and neither would really be ready to be completely independent at 18... Are there good support services in place? Or are you pretty much expected to fend for yourself?
Officially Fostering ends when the child turns 18, but in some circumstances they can stay with you until they are 21 or finish education. Usually under a different scheme (Staying Put etc)
How did your transition from being into foster care to living independently go? Were you supported properly?
How do you think being in foster care has shaped your worldview?
It very much depends on individual FC and the situation. Some go off to university, some are set up in supported accommodation (such as YMCA's or similar hostels) and others are offered social housing flats and set up into independent living.
Once I turned 18 I ended up in a scheme where I lived with a carer but it wasn't a Fostering arrangement. I won't go into too much detail in case I get outed but the basics were that the carer taught me cooking and other skills I'd need for independent living. Unfortunately it broke down after a year and I fell through the cracks of the system. I wasn't ready to go into independence but was too old to go back into foster care. I ended up spending 18 months officially homeless. So I was living in temporary accommodation and hostels and YMCA's for this time. I don't know (but I hope) that things have changed in the intervening years and there's a system in place now for young people in this situation. But sadly I doubt their is
Have you read Lemn Sissays book
I've answered some of your first question in my previous post. But no it wasn't an easy transition. I had some good support but those people were limited by what they could offer me once I left foster care at 18 years old. Luckily I eventually got the right support in place and was able to transition into independent living
It's taught me not to trust anyone. Sad but true, I don't form attachments easily (even now) because as soon as I trusted someone I'd find myself moved on or those people would go away.
My Name is Why? I'm trying to get it from the library but there's a waiting list and I'm near the bottom of it unfortunately. I'm going to see his tour later in the year and I'm hoping to read it before then. I'd never heard of him (somehow) until I saw his Channel 4 programme last year (Superkids) but I think he's a amazing and an inspiration to everyone who is and has been through the British care system
Did any of your foster carers have birth children? How did you you feel about them?
What are the best and worst parts of foster care? Hope that isn't too personal. Don't answer if it is.
Hi I also spent 8 years in care fouter and children's home in my 30s now and it sounds like you have gone though the same as me
Would you be happy to answer the previous questions too mrschainsawuk?
All of my foster families had kids my first one they were adults and had kids my age we got on well,
The second also grown up kids I never liked
3rd also grown up but never met short placement
The 4th had young children of there own I was 14 so ended up helping with them I loved them but it was also a short placement.
And the last I lived in a children's home and half the staff had there owe kids.
My first foster placement I was 11 and never wanted to leave but I had to pick a family member to live with, i was placed back into care at 13 and was placed in a emergency foster carer a was there for a few weeks they were great. I had one breakdown with carers we did not get along and the best was the children's home I was close to the staff they attended my wedding
What questions would you like to ask wI'll answer anything
Yes some of them did. One of the families I lived with had a pre-school aged birth child. I had no younger siblings or babies/toddlers within my birth family and I found it really hard to adapt to living with a young child. It was part of the reason that the placement broke down after a short time.
I lived with a different family who had two birth daughters who were similar in age to me. They hadn't been a foster family for very long. I think the daughters struggled to relate to us (the Foster children) and understand why we sometimes said or did things that they necessarily wouldn't (eg: have a tantrum in a shopping centre or refuse to go to school). They'd always been very lucky. Nothing bad had ever really happened to them and they'd never had to go without food or other essentials.
Worst parts of foster care - moving on (particularly with little or not notice) and not knowing if you'll see someone again
Best parts - feeling safe and not having to worry about if you'll get food tonight, tomorrow or next week.
Moving all my stuff in black bags too I hated that
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