From making the initial phone call to the fostering team in November 2010 we had a year of fairly intensive preparation and information before having a little boy placed just before Christmas 2011.
The first step after getting the information pack was a home visit from a social worker for an initial chat. My friends told me not to worry about tidying the house but I’m glad I did because she did have a quick look around. We were then invited to attend a two-week training and preparation course.
Around eight potential carers were on the course with us, some couples, some singles, some young like us with young children and older people whose kids had left home. I met one lady who specifically wanted to foster teenagers and another who wanted to foster disabled children.
They really threw every possible scenario at you through the preparation to help you reaffirm that you had made the right decision in considering fostering children. Current carers met us with their funny and scary stories so we would really understand how difficult some days might be. We were even asked to do some written work – not for assessment – but just to help us understand our motives for fostering.
For Oli and I this part of the preparation just helped us confirm that this was something we really wanted to do.
Then came the home visits – seven in all over a number of months with our assessing social worker, Beverly. She took her time to really understand us before writing the final report that would go to the fostering panel. We needed to explain where our social support would come from – who could we turn to when times might be tough?
We were interviewed together and separately and Bev also followed up with our references and spoke briefly to our young children to get their thoughts on the matter!
Finally, panel day arrived. Much quicker and straightforward than I thought it would be. We saw five people in our panel at the Avonvale Road offices and I think they only had a few questions for us as Bev had prepared such a comprehensive report. Very soon we were approved to provide a home for a single child aged six or younger. Just one month later we welcomed a young boy into our home.
This weekend he enjoyed a lovely family day with us in the sunshine. We watched some dragon boat racing at Conham followed by Besse’s Tea Rooms. Back to reality now with the school run and a couple of medical check-ups.
Read part one of Hannah’s blog here. Check back on Bristol24-7 for the rest of her story next week…