In my last fostering update I remarked that the whole process had been quite a slow one up to that point. Apparently that was some kind of incantation, because since then it’s been a whirlwind of activity.
It’s fantastic that things are moving steadily now- DBS checks are underway, our medicals have been completed, and we’re a few sessions in to the assessment process with our social worker who is visiting us weekly to quiz us on EVERY SINGLE THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO US. Which, as I’m sure I’ve said before, is basically what the Form F1 (which goes to the fostering panel at the end of all this) is made up of. It’s like a very in-depth life history. And when I say very in-depth, I really mean it.
Last week our social worker’s visit lasted four hours, and that was exclusively about my childhood/family. Chris was in bed after a night shift, Toby was in school, and Rudy was playing with stickle bricks/lego/playdoh (well, it was four hours long).
And it’s not just the Form F1 that is thorough- each of our medicals took over an hour, and covered pretty much every single ailment we’d ever had. Plus waist and hip measurements (no really), a breast examination (that’s me, not Chris) and an eye test (during which it became apparent that I’m pretty much blind, and should really wear my glasses more often, or, you know ALWAYS).
Of course, it makes perfect sense that the assessment process is so invasive, as you’re going to be dealing with and caring for extremely vulnerable children and you’ll be in a position of incredible trust and responsibility, so I’m not for one minute suggesting that it’s over-zealous for them to want to know every little thing. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel weird though. To discuss every little detail of your life with someone you only met a few weeks ago, and who is going to be presenting all those details in a report to a panel of strangers. To have your personal measurements and medical history scribbled down and sent away to some uber-doc who then signs you off as either fit to foster or not. That last bit is especially weird, as I already have two children. So if I’m healthy enough to care for them, you’d assume that would apply to foster children also, no?
In any case that’s where we’re at right now- disclosing everything and then when there’s nothing left to disclose, we will go to panel.