Last night Luke and I had a 1 hour call with a foster care agency. At this point we (and by “we” I mean, “I” of course…) had made the initial enquiry with the relevant government department, followed up with them, and then had a quick conversation with this foster care agency and read their follow up email which included a link to book this 1 hour call. We started this about 3 weeks ago, and now we’re here. I think the call went well. She has moved us on to the next stage of the process at least, so I think that means we passed this section!
The next stage is a local person from this agency contacting us and arranging a home visit. This is what I’m most nervous about, and I guess this will be the “yes or no” of the situation – if our house is suitable. I’m certainly confident that as people and as a family we’re suitable people (this is what the phone interview was for), it’s just that where we live is a little unconventional in some aspects (rural property, a second dwelling for my parents on the property, etc. so we need to see if what we have works. I also have a little list of things I need to make sure we had working and in place for our house to be suitable.
On the phone we spoke to the lady about if there was much of a need for foster families at the moment, and she said the need was through the roof. She is in Sydney, and I think things are worse there because everyone is in lockdown for going on 7 weeks now, and not many foster parents signed up to homeschool foster kids during a pandemic! So it’s pretty hectic for them. I imagine it’s a little less strained up in QLD, but from what I’ve heard there is still way more foster kids than there are foster families able to take them in.
I’ve had to answer the question of “why are you looking to become a foster carer” a million times now (well, not quite a million…), and I think I’ve finally worked it out. The truth is that one day it just hit me that this is something I “had” to do. You know that flutter in your heart, feeling of sure-ness that even though you know this thing will be hard and stretch you and be uncomfortable that it’s what you’re called to do. Of course I hope that there will be lots of love and happiness and joy in the process of fostering and that we can make a real difference to these kids lives and the lives of their parents. But I’m not so naive as to think that it won’t be a hard slog to get there.
And so other than this somewhat spiritual and esoteric reason for wanting to foster, the more down to earth response is that it breaks my heart to think and hear of children who are unsafe or unloved. I believe that I have a lot of safety and love to give to more children than just the ones I’ve given birth to, and because I see myself as having the ability and desire to love and care for children, I think I should. It’s as simple as that. I can, and so I should.
To be honest, after our call I was a little scared. There was a lot of talk about trauma and disabilities and things like this, and while I know all of these things are possible and perhaps even likely (children aren’t being taken away from their parents because they’re well adjusted and well cared for…), to hear it said so plainly was a reality check.
The next step for us is to talk to my parents about it (they will need to get blue cards when they live on the same property as us), and get an house things in order (we still have to register our pool that got finished a few months ago. Whoops!), and then await the call from the local agency rep. I’m excited, and a little scared, but so grateful to feel like we’re on the right path.