Thinking of Fostering

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I am new to this website. I have long been thinking of fostering with a view to adoption. I have a birth son now aged 7 and two teenage step daughters - we have been together as a blended family for 3 years. The eldest leaves home for uni in sept.

Reading the threads here I am disheartened to see how stressful it all is - it doesn't sound like a good outcome is likely due to the trauma these children have to cope with.

Is it such a thankless task or is their some good bits? I feel I have so much to give as a mum but don't want to jeopardise what I have already.

Many thanks for any advice



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fostering and adoption are two very different things. fostering with a view to adopt is again a third thing different but similar to both fostering and adoption (in terms of the way you are approved and children are placed).

fostering is very much not a thankless task in itself, though the beurocracy, the system, agencies and the people you work with may make it feel like that at times! I have thoroughly enjoyed fostering for the last 8 1/2 years and on and off for the previous 20 as well but have had some very difficult stuff to deal with during that time. fostering can, and does, make a huge difference in the lives of the children we care for but there will always be loss involved for both them and you. short term placements particularly carry the inevitability of loss as the children always move one, either to adoption, back to birth parents or to other foster carers or relatives. the behaviour of some children can be very challenging butit is not a given that all children in care are difficult to care for. the sytem is imperfect and that can cause huge frustration to both foster carers and birth families. it can be a very hard job to do and does need a certain ability to compartmentalise in order to deal with the challenges, it also needs a lot of resilience, patience. but there is training and support available. I would suggest you go along to a fostering information event to get some more information to help you to make an informed decision about whether or not you want to proceed. bear in mind that it is a family affair, everyone needs to be on board with the idea and both adults will need to be approved and do the training.

11 users have supported this.

We fostered for 2 years. We don't have birth children and for us personally we don't think we could have done it along side having birth children. You are expected to treat them the same as your children- yet your not supposed to do things like read bedtime stories in their bedroom, you need SW permission for simple things like haircuts and sleepovers. We were told once a child could go on a sleepover but could only be out of our house and our care for a certain number of hours. You have to give them pocket money and you have to save each week for them. You are not supposed to withhold pocket money and you can't expect them to do chores for it (any age). You are expected to spend a particular amount of money each week on clothing- for a teenage girl we had it was something like £30 per week. You wouldn't do that for your birth child every week so I think it could make things difficult if you are juggling birth children and foster children. We were also told you are expected to take them on at least one holiday a year. In our opinion they should be included in your holidays anyway as they are part of your family.

Don't get me wrong- it was rewarding. Seeing the difference you make to their lives and improvements in behaviour etc is amazing. But you have to work really hard and it can sometimes feel like a constant battle. We've been physically assaulted, our house vandalised, our pets kicked/ mistreated. You need to be a very strong united family unit who can work together to deal with different behaviours and support each other.

We had some great times, and we had some really hard times.

Another thing to think about is allegations- you'll think it won't happen to you, like we thought. But it happened to us months after we decided to give up fostering- it came to nothing and was very quickly quashed. But if we would have had birth children and they felt they needed to investigate the allegation more then we could have had birth children removed whilst investigations were done.

We fostered through an agency so we got the hard to place older children. If you went through an LA you would be more likely to get the younger children and may not have as many issues with behaviour.

If you want to adopt then look into foster to adopt. You could go down the permanent fostering route, however you never have parental responsibility and 3 of our placements were supposed to be permanent but never were due to lack of information or no SW contact.

As already been suggested go to an information event and make your mind up based on how you and family could work with fostering.

We wouldn't change anything looking back as the experience we gained and parenting techniques we gained are invaluable.

I know this post sounds negative- it's not intended to be I just want you to know about the little things you might not think/ know about before making a decision.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

19 users have supported this.

It's certainly a life with some challenges but we have 3 great kids via a fostering route. We're lucky as despite their being trauma and a variety of issues and multiple sets of parents and SW to deal with, we have a good relationship with the parents and arranged with them at an early stage that it was impractical with the delays in contact / messages etc, to request each and everytime they need a haircut, play date etc. Our SWs and the parents have each agreed that we can deal with this and make decisions, and each child lives a very normal life. They have a saving account, they only receive pocket money if an age appropriate chore is completed ( and each SW has very much agreed this is an important lesson to learn), they come on holidays, receive suitable punishments for unacceptable behaviour, in short, they receive a very normal lifestyle. Each child has made huge improvements since coming to live with us, and have been vocal about the difference between us and previous carers. My argument is that they cannot receive more than a birth child would or how will they learn any real values. Being in care isn't a ticket to the easy life for them. ( and it would be if they received lots of additional allowances). We are fortunate that it has worked out so well. It can make us pull our hair out day after day as 1 in particular is very difficult, but on the whole,we adore it and will always continue to do it. We are applying to adopt too and have been told the SWs had no issue with this due to the level of care and affection my kids get, and they are very much a part of our family.

Whilst it is a difficult road, it is also very evident the progress each has made and they are so happy. My little boy recently went to school on a super hero day wearing his own clothes, and when I asked why he hadnt put on one of his dressing up costumes, he said he had decided to go as his Dad. (my husband). When I asked why he said it was because he was his hero and so was I as we had given him a family.... if that wasn't worth the stress then I don't know what is!!

Don't get me wrong, attachment disorder and FASD isn't easy on a day to day basis, but I would never be without any of my kids. Wish you the best of luck with either route you go on.. xx

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