The first year – a carer’s perspective.

It has taken me a few days to get this up!
This is something I hope you take a moment to sit and read. I think it hits the heart of so many I speak with.

How people come to join the foster care community is so vast. Some are almost ‘forced’ into it through the need within their biological family, others know from an early age that an eclectic family is a part of their future. I love that for my friend it was important that their children were a part of the decision. For us, we wanted our kids to know no different. Neither is better then the other. One isn’t wrong and the other right. The timing isn’t ours it is God’s.

Thank you my beautiful friend for joining the journey and for being a part of our community.

You are a relatively new foster carer. Yes, just coming up 6 months since approval. 

How long had you been thinking of becoming a carer for?

Ever since I did my first shifts back after having our first child (now 11yrs) in the neonates at KEMH.  I was looking after 4 babies that night, 3 of which were detoxing and needing placements post hospital.  It was all I could think about all night.  In the next week or so afterwards, a lady came to talk to the MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group I attended….about fostering!!!  That night, I clearly remember chatting with my husband about it for sometime in our future…expecting him to be resistant…but he was completely open.  

What was it that made you say, “Now is the time.”?

I think for us, we waited until our children were old enough to have a say and really understand what we were choosing to do as a family…that was a main factor.  Also, I had gotten to a stage in my nursing career where I had left the hospital setting and was bringing home less infection…and also really missing my baby cuddles!

What was the process like of becoming a foster carer? How long did it take?

It was about an 8 month process, which thankfully we were pre-prepared for.  We have been referees for carers in the past and so knew a little of the journey and what was involved. I’m not going to lie, it is intense and intrusive and requires time, but I think that is so essential in ensuring that foster carers are really committed to joining the journey and are going to be safe and caring environments for these children to come to. 

What surprised you the most in your training?

I actually think it was great for our marriage relationship!  Possibly because it forces you to sit down and chat about your histories individually and also as a couple and really communicate your reasons and motivations behind fostering.  I loved hearing Andrew’s humour and his responses to some of the questions…made me love him more. Do you feel that the training has prepared you well for fostering? I really enjoyed doing the 2 day intensive training with the department.  I thought that was really good.  I think we have both felt prepared in some ways because of both working with children, however I have found the foster network of other parents amazing and quite necessary.  I don’t think you can feel fully prepared for fostering really…each child and each situation is so very different.

What has been the hardest thing you have experienced as a foster carer (so far)? Seeing/hearing/feeling the distress of the babies who have come on an emergency basis…fresh into the system and newly removed from the homes they have known.  Seeing the impact that trauma can have on the bonding/interactions of such young children.  Saying goodbye!

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What has brought you the most joy in your journey (so far!)?

Being part of, and watching the change…sometimes gradual and sometimes very fast…from fearful and scared to settled and more secure.  I love when you begin to see their little personalities as they give you little peeks of them.  Have absolutely loved watching my husband and children with these babies.  My love and admiration for them all has grown so much. 

How have your biological children coped with the change of having foster babies in your home?

Overall, they have really loved our placements so far…even the tough ones.  We are taking respite and emergency placements for 0-2yrs at the moment and I think some keys for us have been that they are so much younger than our 2 (now 8 and 11), that ours have loved the extra responsibility, the change of routine, the cuddles.  They have felt sad when a few have left and often mention them and wonder how they are doing (as do I), but they both can’t wait for the next bub to arrive which is lovely (although we do remind them that if we don’t get a call it’s actually a good thing because it means no babies need us that night).

 

Do you see yourselves continuing to do this in the foreseeable future?

Yes, I see us doing this until we are unable to do it anymore (nursing home time maybe????).  I think with my night shift and Andrew’s work hours we will be doing respite and emergency for little ones as an ongoing thing for now, but I remind my self that every little bit helps…every secure and loving home, even if only for a night or two, is so very important and can build a little block of security in a babies subconscious…something that they will look for again, knowing it is safe.

Thank you for stepping into this crazy world!!!

I am so glad that we are on the journey with you, and so many others of you who are reading this.
If you have the heart, feel that nudging, or have those whispers of a calling – would love to help you understand what your next step is.
Get in contact; send me a message or leave me a comment.

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