Thursday 4 February 2016


I might have been the worst foster carer that ever lived.

We were deferred at panel, they said we would probably want to keep any little children that we were given to look after. We argued at our second panel that in no way did we want to adopt more children and the very thought of it was utter tosh.
Well, we were approved and we did adopt the first two children we fostered.

That proved two things, Panels can be pretty astute and I'm deluded.

This week there have been Twitter threads on adopters relationships with foster carers post placement all precipitated by an article in Community Care on children remaining, or not, in contact with foster carers after they leave.

It seems to me that for foster carers the work to reward ratio is probably one of the poorest that is possible in any profession. The highs are high though brief but the lows can be relentless. Added to the pain is the uncertainty of outcomes for children when they leave your care, often these questions remain unanswered.

Though we were only foster carers for two girls, Flossy and Lotty,  for a couple of years the impact stretched beyond just having two children to care for in our home. The tensions of carrying the burden of care but with limited control over most of the influences in their life seemed to be the worst possible combination and calling a Local Authority duty phone in an emergency is probably one of the most isolating and unreassuring experiences of my life.

Perhaps the worst feeling was that we were complicit in some of the trauma they experienced. We buckled them in the car seats that took them to contact that they didn't want to go to. Screaming and kicking they sobbed and hid from the transport worker but we dutifully ensured that they were ready. We pleaded with the Social Workers detailing the daily trauma and distress that they experienced but were given the usual answer:

'It's the court's decision there's nothing I can do'

But the court or Social Worker didn't wipe the tears or cradle the distressed and terrified children, we did. The arms that soothed were the arms that would hand them back the next evening. I assure you those days haunt Mrs C and me.

That journey to adoption was not short so I won't bore with the details.

These days I reflect on my own casual indifference to the big three's Foster Carers. We were young, inexperienced and perhaps to wrapped up in our own moment to realise the difficulties that they faced as they handed three wonderful children into our arms. I confess to being a little insecure too.
We walked away and didn't look back. We were guided by dogmatic advice built on ideas that grew in the 50's and 60's. We were sure that the children were fine and they didn't say other wise. Now I'm ashamed of my attitude.

When Peanut came into our lives we gained two new friends in her foster parents, they'd loved her and kept her safe through difficult months of contact. Within 10 days of her moving in they came to see us and we've seen each other regularly and are in regular contact. Like Godparents to Peanut.

One positive story does not constitute a rationale to make it that way for everyone. Of course there are good reasons to stop contact with foster carers for adopted children but my feeling is that there are also many good reasons to continue it as well.

For a myriad of reasons Foster Carers keep a low profile on twitter, blogs etc. It's a loss to us all they have a unique perspective that we need to hear. Like adopters there are good and bad ones but on the whole they care for ragamuffins and tikes, the lost and the lonely my children and yours.
They are unsung heroes of many adopted children's lives.


  1. Well. I was feeling a bit tearful today due to not being able to find an attachment I need for the safety gate (or maybe not really that at all, but it all blends in eventually!). Now I am properly crying!

    1. It warms my heart to think of you crying. Oh, that sounds wrong. You know what I mean ;-)

    2. Read it again. Blubbing again!

    3. You're as soft as clarts! But I like you and will consider it as a compliment.

  2. How beautifully said. I too agree that foster carers are the unsung heroes, who do an incredible job that I could never imagine doing, and I say that as a CAMHS nurse who comes into contact with many damaged children, so I wholeheartedly applaud your sentiment.

    1. Thank you for commenting. I can't say how impressed I am with the work that Foster carer do. Knocks my socks off.

  3. Beautifully said and so true. The foster carers are the unsung heroes with a sometimes impossible job, with very little reward.

    1. Yes, then you read headlines where children are described as 'languishing in care' it somewhat riles.
      Thank you for commenting.

  4. I'm an adoption SW and have seen some wonderful foster carers moving children, very lovingly and compassionately, on to adoption. It astounds me how they are able to let go with love.

    1. It's a really interesting point and I often think that those with more love are able to let the children go. They forsake their own feelings for the welfare of the children. Of course not all carers are in that category but many willingly allow themselves to be hurt time and time again. An amazing profession.

  5. This has just melted me, we are foster carers to children with disabilities and now starting the process of adoption. We are being made to feel extremely vulnerable and it's far from easy. I just keep reminding myself how worth it all my boys are.

    1. It's such a tough old road to walk, wishing you, and your boys, well on the journey.

  6. Can I ask for your help please?

    I wonder if you could email/write/telephone your MP (Scotland and England) asking them to support foster carers and have them protected under the "Whistleblowing" Act (Public Interest Disclosure Act) PIDA

    Find your MP details here;

    Sample email/ letter text;

    Dear (MP)

    I am writing to ask if you could support the Early Day motion detailed in the link below and add your signature to the motion to ensure Foster Carers are included and protected by the Whistleblowing (PIDA) Act.

    The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) does not currently cover foster carers; such carers are therefore in a vulnerable position if they choose to speak out about alleged wrongdoing or poor practice; this may act as a disincentive to foster carers exposing wrongdoing or poor practice, thereby potentially putting vulnerable children at continued risk.

    The Whistleblowing Commission chaired by the right hon. Sir Anthony Hooper recommended that the Government uses the powers set out in section 20 of the Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act 2013 to extend PIDA to cover foster carers; and therefore we call on the Government to bring forward proposals to extend the scope of that Act accordingly

    Click here to view details of the Early day motion

    Yours faithfully

    Hope you can help, thanks.

    Please can I also ask if you could copy and share this entire post and share it on your own timeline, asking your family and friends in England and Scotland to copy and share too. That way we can raise enough support to have this motion passed. (Just press and hold the message and select copy to copy the message, go to your own timeline and paste into your timeline)

    REMEMBER to email/write/telephone your MP asking them to vote for the motion.

    Many Thanks