A while back I mentioned that we were about to embark on our journey applying to be foster carers so I thought perhaps I’d better give a little update on how that’s going…
That’s how it’s going. V-e-r-y-s-l-o-w-l-y-!
Seriously though, we went into the process under no illusions about how thorough and time-consuming it would be, but the sheer number of steps and volume of paperwork has still managed to surprise us.
So far our journey has been:
- Download information pack and register interest online
- Follow-up phone call from the fostering team to ask if we’d like to proceed
- Telephone interview covering our personal information and circumstances (all basic stuff like our ages, occupations, number of bedrooms etc)
- Initial home visit from a social worker to see how suitable we are
Then three weeks ago we did two days of “Skills To Foster” training, which was basically a whistle-stop tour of the realities of foster training, and let me tell you it was INTENSE. Brutally intense. There was so much information, and although we have both had personal and professional experience with a lot of what was being discussed, in a way that made it even more intense. When they were telling us about “the situations that lead to some children coming to the care system” it was hard for me to listen to someone describing parts of my life to me. I was shocked just how emotionally draining I found it to be honest, as I didn’t think I still had feelings about that time of my life, but apparently I do.
I wouldn’t say the two days of training put us off. The trainer said it wasn’t her job to put us off, but that she had to be honest, and at times negative, in order to realistically prepare us for the journey ahead. I’d say she certainly did that, possibly too well. Haha.
In all seriousness though, none of it was new information to either of us. Yes there were specifics and intricacies that we weren’t aware of, but on the whole we knew what it involved before we even looked into it, so it wasn’t like we went in with rose tinted glasses and had them ripped off our faces. The sheer intensity of the two days did have an effect, though. For a few days afterwards we didn’t even talk about it between ourselves. Chris was working anyway and when he was home, it was like we both just needed to NOT think about it all, and let it settle. About a week later we did sit down and have an honest discussion, and neither of us had been put off, but we both had new concerns that we needed to talk about with each other before moving forward. Mine is about the psychological/emotional impact of the assessment process. If two days of skills training can bring my emotions to the surface like that and leave me feeling a bit icky and odd for a few days then what will I be like when we’re actually being assessed, and regularly having to bring up and talk about EVERY SINGLE THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED IN OUR LIVES EVER (Which is basically what the assessment process entails!)
The honest answer to that is, I don’t know. Chris thinks it could be cathartic and end up being a positive thing, but the fact that it all goes before a panel in the end, whereby I’m judged “good enough” or “not” to be a foster carer is pretty full-on. We’re kind of offering ourselves up, and what if we’re found lacking in someway? It’s a scary thought.
I am more than the things that have happened to me, though. I just need to remember that, and be able to demonstrate it during our assessment. Maybe I will get it printed on a t-shirt
I AM MORE THAN THE THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED TO ME.
It’s got a nice ring to it, actually.
So that’s where we’re up to. Still very early on in the whole thing- awaiting medicals and DBS checks (the new CRB) and the like. It’s going to be a long road, and I’m prepared for that. I just hope it’s not too bumpy or windy, because I get severely travel sick.