Views on Fostering

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boboff
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Views on Fostering

Post: #264339 boboff
Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:19 am

I am looking for some advice.

With the youngest son being a year from going to Senior School, wife and I have been discussing roles etc.

With me stopping working 5 years ago so wife could train to be a Nurse, I am out of the work rat race, but I am happy at home, and enjoying the little success in the garden (11 acres of weeds, is now 10.5 acres of weeds and some fruit bushes)

I am 41 and have as I see it a whole other life to lead before I retire. My wife has a whole career in nursing ahead of her.

So we thought that fostering would be a great rewarding and home based career that me and her could share and enjoy. Given our own kids are pretty awesome, and we are a pretty tight family with a nice house etc, anyway it seemed like a great idea.

So I have contacted a few Agencies, as the thought of dealing with council social workers filled me with dread!

Now some things were possitive, but one guy in particular painted this picture very negatively, of having to lock everything away, stories of whole houses being emptied, damage, theft, Police, major family upset etc etc, and this you can expect as the norm. It changed our view from being a job that requires care love and support, time, patience and consistency, to one that expects you to be a half way house for a deliquent in a parole officer type capacity.

I don't now know if I am being naive in envisioning a time in 30 years time when we would have 20 or so adults in our lives we had helped, or one in which Crime Watch was like going through the family Album.

I appreciate that the reality must lie somewhere in between the two extremes, and that painting a more negative picture is used to ensure only the most commited proceed, but does anyone have any real life experience they would be happy to share?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264341 oldjerry
Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:51 am

Although I've not done this myself,a close friend and neighbour has.They were of a similar age to you,with their children practically adults.He and I have talked long and hard of their experiences(as you do when you work outside with someone).

They ended up with 3 children from the same family(I think this is unusual)they'd had an unspeakably bad start to their lives,and carry the sort of scars that affect their behaviour for ever.The impression that I gget is that by and large they had quite a lot of support from the usual agencies etc.but above all they have always laid down really strictly kept boundaries.It's clearly far more difficult than bringing up your own kids where you can 'go ballistic' from time to time,and they are secure enough to realise that the old git's having a bad day,and he'll soon snap out of it..etc.etc.
It's clearly really rewarding if you can get it right,they've adopted the youngest 2 and they are thriving,happy kids,but I think you need masses of self discipline,inner confidence and patience,so I'd be bloody hopeless.

If you can do it,it's got to be about the best thing anyone can do,best of luck if you decide to do it.

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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264348 Green Aura
Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:50 am

Best of luck ,whatever you decide. I wouldn't dismiss Social Services though. You're likely to get much better support from them, especially if the children are from very difficult backgrounds.
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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264353 chickenchargrill
Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:18 am

Not fostered anyone, but have worked with lots of kids with behavioural problems, some were fostered. In that time I have ended up working with kids who have kicked, punched, head-butted, stole... I still intend to foster when the kids are older though ;-)

I find the behaviour side easier to deal with than my own, even in the extreme cases, because I have an understanding why they're behaving like that. Where as my own start being little beggars, they should know better.

It sounds like they are just trying to prepare you for the worst cases. Though a lock on the kitchen door wouldn't be a bad idea, not just for those who might steal from you or head for the knives, but if you are asked to look after someone with a syndrome who has an eating compulsion. You might never have to lock it, but it's there in case of any emergencies.

Working with kids in those situations is brilliant and very rewarding, even if you do have some low points along the way.

I wouldn't discount social services either, they can offer a bit more support than an agency will.

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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264384 boboff
Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:48 am

Thank you so much guys for you words, it's always good to get some different views.

As I have approached 5 agencies, to approach local social services, does seem like a sensible thing to do, and as we won't be starting any assessment till the Autumn, we have the time too.

The kitchen is a real difficulty here, but worth thinking about.

The thing I am going to find hard is we live right next to a River, and the Health and Safety Aspect is a concern, with our own kids we said when they were little not to go near it, and they were told every time we went by to be carefull. However as it.s a foot path I cant fence it either. But surely there are dangers in all houses, a road for instance outside a front garden, may be just as dangerous?

Anyway, thanks again.
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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264410 MKG
Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:58 pm

You have my admiration, boboff.

Just remember you'll need two extra freezers - one for food and another for the bodies.

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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264421 fifi folle
Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:51 pm

You would've thought they'd have been more positive. Certainly in Scotland they are crying out for foster carers. I have a friend who is a social worker and she has had to send children back to situations she'd rather not as there was nowhere else for the child to go!
I've worked with several children who have been in foster care (or cared for by grandparents and suchlike) and it makes such a difference to these children's lives. Yes the initial period can be very stressful for everyone concerned but you should have support and be given training beforehand. Don't let this negative person put you off what will be a very rewarding experience.

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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264423 trinder
Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:41 pm

I do have a lot to say on this issue. But not tonight. Listen to all that has been said before. Do not expect gratitude from the youngsters whom you are offering a home to, often they will have been happier to have stayed with their "family".
Use your understanding and knowledge of the economic environment to gauge the politics behind decisions the government make.
A few years ago some really solid good people made a life and a living. They felt valued and were rewarded financially.
They gave their home, their help and support and in return saw the results of their solid foundations, youngsters turning out confident and loved. Many foster parents still kept contact throughout the adult life of those they had cared for.
Q- who spends money on social services v who closes doors and points the finger at failures in society?

It is a big life changing decision. Not one that you should go into with a dreamy ideal (not that you are hence your post) There are ways in which you can minimse the bad things and maximise the good things.
Would you set an age limit (how set can a baby be in it's ways)?
Would you consider respite only? Harder / intensive work but shorter periods.

There are many more variables it is up to you to find what you could and would do.
Good luck and thank you so much for considering it :hugish:
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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264429 demi
Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:41 am

My mum's friends have adopted a few kids.
Karin was a baby when they adopted her, she's the same age as me and she's never had any problems related to being adopted. They allwasy told her she was adopted but she's never tried to contact her 'real' family or anything as her adoptive parents are her family, they are the only family she's known.
Then they got Kirsty when she was about 6 or 7 I think. She was more difficult. She was having lots of tantrums and she woould do things like make herself sick at the dinner table when they were eating out at places. And she would shout out things like ' your not my mum!' in public, causeing other people to stare and question her mum. But as she grew up she calmed down and shes fine now.
Then they were fostering this older girl while she was in collage. I think she started living with them when she was about 16 or somthing. She was fine i think. She stayed with them until she was in uni. i think she's moved in with her frends now.
Then this older girls' brother, who has learning difficulties, not sure what possibly autism or somthing, he was still living with their mum who was an alcoholic. The mother fell down the stairs drunk and died and the wee boy , who was about 6 or 7 i think, was alone with her for a few days before anyone found them. So he was traumatised by the whole thing. And as my mums friend already knew the wee boy and had his sister they applied to adopt him too. Now they have him but it was a long hard struggle to get him because just before they finalised everything some distant relative came forward who didnt even know the boy and demanded to take him. But the boy had never met these people, and he knew my mum's friends and was happy there so they got him in the end but they had to put up a big fight for him.

Thats my second hand experiance of it.

But apart from the boy who still stays with them, the other 3 girls have all gone to uni and are doing very well, especially now they've grown up and matured. They have definetly given them a better life than they would of had if they'd stayed with their biological family. And thats the main point, isnt it.
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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264449 patR
Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:08 pm

I was a foster mum for just over nine years, I did short term fostering and cared for 147 kids in nine years. I only have contact with one or two nowadays...
Its a mixed bag, yes it can be bloody hard, frustrating, absolute hell at times... but also, when it goes right, its a joy. Sadly the joy is not a regular thing. The children you will be dealing with will be damaged, mentally and physically and often know no other way to behave than pushing bounderies. Its a very tough life, and can be especially difficult for the foster carers own family, plus, sadly the NIMBYs that live around you will hate it... oh they all say how wonderful and courageous you are... till its their garage getting broken into, their belongings damaged, their children hassled....
Sounds negative? Sadly it can be just that, but thats my honest opinion...
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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264450 patR
Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:11 pm

If your children are still at school, it could cause them endless problems... they will feel duty bound to stand up for the new member of the family, and that new member is often a massive trouble maker ... not due to their own fault but just development issues and behaviour problems... OTHER CHILDREN IN THE SCHOOL MAY NOT BE AS WELCOMING FORGIVING OR TOLERANT AS YOU HAVE BROUGHT YOURS UP TO BE...
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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264453 prison break fan
Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:39 pm

I haven't done official fostering, but when my son was at comprehensive school they had a section for boarding of young teenagers in the care of the local authority. My son became friends with one lad and used to bring him home for the weekend quite regularly. At first he was fine but then we started noticing things going missing. We tried to ignore it but when my purse disappeared and the lad was flashing money about at school, we had to admit defeat, but I always felt that I failed him in a way. pbf.

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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264475 boboff
Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:33 am

Wow, it was going so well, thanks though Pat and Pbf, it's something which the guy from the Agencies made points of, and is why we need to seriously think it through, plan for the worst etc. I am hoping that quiet soon the schools will be different, and neighbours are fairly few and far here, but I take your point.

Thanks again.
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
No I won't use a smiley because I've decided to turn into Boboff, as he's turned all nice all of a sudden. Grumble grumble.

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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264483 trinder
Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:04 am

All is not lost. There are plenty of variables. If you stipulated under school age or even baby, (that too will be torturous for you) but will not necessarily affect your own family. Often the baby is born addicted to heroin so the baby has "real pain" withdrawal and is crying and sleepless but they still need care, also there are children with learning difficulties ( maybe even adults) that need respite care. If you have the ground and the facilities Social services will try to match you with someone who likes the outdoors.

Finally not all hard. Some genuinely do settle well, I just wanted you to prepare for the worst then if you get a good experience , so much the better.
good luck in whatever you decide
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Re: Views on Fostering

Post: #264490 JuzaMum
Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:38 pm

Hi boboff

This is my experience of fostering.
Five years ago my husband received a phone call asking if we could look after a little girl, the daughter of a couple we both knew. We knew the couple had been having problems with addiction. That night I found myself collecting a 5 year who I didn't know and a carrier bag of belongings. I took her to her school the next day and they contacted social services who in turn contacted me. Social services told me that if her parents tried to take her back to call the police who were 'aware' and would initiate child protection procedures. Social services were happy for her to remain in my care until such time as her parents were able to look after her properly.
It wasn't easy to help her settle in our family but she was (and still is) a lovely girl and she needed love and stability. Due to lack of space she shared a bedroom with my middle son, then 11, not ideal but he was very good with her. It was demanding having her but rewarding too. She stayed with us for 5 months and is now with her father. We still see her and she knows we are there if she ever needs us.
Social services were rubbish in terms of no support - financial or otherwise - but we had to be checked and registered as private foster carers.
If I found myself in a similar situation again I would do the same.
Like trinder says you can chose age groups.
Some agencies specialise in 'difficult' youngsters, don't be put off by one persons negativity. There are too many kids labelled 'difficult' who just need love, care and boundaries.

best wishes

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