When we viewed this house, in September last year, we didn’t think we’d have a spare room. There were three bedrooms, and four of us plus another on the way. So the math worked out at two big people in the biggest room, two small people in the next biggest room, and then a tiny person in the tiny room.
By the time we moved in, there wasn’t going to be a tiny person anymore. And for a long time I couldn’t go in what became the ‘spare room’ because, it felt wrong. As my due date crept nearer I was acutely aware that “we’d be hanging the curtains and putting the cot up round about now” and I just hated that we weren’t.
I decided I needed to take action, and turn the room into something else. Not a ‘spare’ room, not a nursery for a baby that wasn’t, but an actual room with an actual purpose. We threw some ideas around but settled on a writing room. I imagined a massive Louis XV style dressing table with a padded chair, and inspiration boards covering the walls.
There were a few problems though. Namely, the fact that what had started out as a ‘spare’ room had quickly become a ‘junk’ room…
So before it could become anything else it needed some serious attention. And then there was the tiny, almost insignificant fact of not having the funds to acquire a massive Louis XV style dressing table and padded chair…along with the realisation that even if I miraculously came across such funds, such an extravagant piece of furniture would be unlikely to fit…
So for a long time nothing got done, and the junk room got worse, until the junk started to actually escape out of the door, spilling forth onto the landing.
By which time I had come to realise something else, quite essential to the whole thing: I don’t need a writing room. Seriously. I love the idea of one. But I don’t actually need a designated space to write. In fact I seem to write best* when curled up on my bed with a notepad on my lap and my ipod on, or scribbling away on the sofa whilst Chris plays Second Son on the PS4, or very very occasionally here at the desk.
(*best here describing how easily the words flow and how satisfied I am reading them back afterwards, no external validation has actually verified the quality of the writing!)
After having this epiphany it seemed kind of silly to go ahead regardless, but on the other hand having an entire room dedicated to junk seemed pretty wasteful as well.
Around the same time a little cog whirred into action in my brain, causing me to act on something I’d been thinking about on and off for years, and so it was that I found myself requesting a “Fostering Information Pack” from our local council.
I wasn’t really expecting what happened next, which was a follow up phone call the next working day to ask if I wanted to go ahead and apply. Apparently our local authority (and presumably it’s the same story all over the country) has such a high demand for, and lack of available foster carers that they are pretty errr…how would you put it?!…proactive at recruiting, once you take that initial half-step of an enquiry. So on that note a social worker will be visiting us next week to discuss it all some more (and presumably ask us about a million follow up questions to the thousand and one screening questions we were already asked during the phone call!)
I’m not sure yet what will happen or where this will take us (if anywhere) but it feels good to have at least started it. As someone who has been in and through the care system in this country I am all too aware of the difference a ‘good’ placement can make to a child’s life, and if we, and our ‘spare room’ can be that difference…well, how awesome would that be?