For years we’ve been thinking about fostering but for a long time my wife and I felt that our circumstances just weren’t right. We had a baby, I went to Uni, we had a second baby, I stayed on at Uni, my wife started Uni. Mostly the money side of things has been a scary prospect as not having a ‘job’ – in the traditional sense of going to a place of work – has always felt so daunting.
Finally, though, we have decided to take the plunge and just go for it. We’ve done our research, we know a lot about what we’re getting ourselves into and we’ve organised to go to a mandatory information evening where I know I’ll take a notebook full of questions.
So here are my 5 Reasons Why 2019 is the year we start fostering.
1. There is a huge need for foster carers in our area
For years, everywhere I go I seem to notice signs pleading for foster carers. Recently on our metro service there were a number of giant advertisements across a number of platforms around Tyne and Wear. According to The Fostering Network, there is a massive shortfall of fostering families across the UK as there is a new child needing a home every 20 minutes.
With conditions under this government only set to get worse (or even if they manage to uphold the grim conditions of today), more and more children are being thrust into such appalling conditions that only this “fuck the poor” government can bring.
2. We both know a lot more about caring for children
Raising two tiny demons has taught us a lot. We also have to contend with raising a child with autism which brings a lot of additional challenges. But you know what? We are really fucking good parents. It’s such a shame we live in a society that would call this cocky or boastful but there is something satisfying about seeing the small humans you have raised absolutely thriving due to the decisions you have made.
My wife and I have also done a lot of safeguarding training due to our professions (I’m a qualified teacher, she’s a children’s nurse). Anyone who has done something similar knows how harrowing this training can be but at least we are going into this with our eyes wide open.
3. I got into teaching to make a difference…but it’s impossible
When I started my teacher training it was with a wide-eyed naivety that I went into the profession with ambitions of changing the world. For years I wanted to be making a positive difference to other people’s lives as a career and teaching was the seemingly perfect answer.
The reality is, however, that our education system is fucked. I can write many blogs on why (and trust me, I will) but going into the teaching profession taught me a lot about what children need and a career as a teacher was not going to even come close to meeting those needs.
4. It is a career I can have at home
I’m not going to lie, I’ve wanted to work from home for many years, even before I had kids. When we first thought about going down the fostering route, we decided it was never going to be about money. I could be making a lot more money (comparatively – teacher’s pay is fucking shit) being a full time teacher but at the cost of never seeing my kids and destroying my mental health.
As I am home educating my children, once my oldest turns 5 she hits compulsory school age and that means our home education is going to be turned up a notch. There are rumblings about a new registration system which undoubtedly will include some kind of assessment framework of home educated children in the future. What this means is that I am most needed at home, as my children’s main educator.
Fostering can allow me to have a career that means I am doing what I do best – looking after and educating children – but not having to worry about fitting in the 9 – 5. Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to be bloody hard but I believe it will be so, so worthwhile.
5. Our youngest child is finally old enough
We always said that if we went through with it, we would foster babies and toddlers. Many local authority guidelines require you to only take children younger than your own as it supposedly reduces the impact on the family dynamic. There will definitely be some impact and we’ve made sure to get our children’s thoughts on this too; explaining to them what is involved and what it means for us has been an important part of this process.
But as Luna has been growing at a ridiculous rate – she is now 2 and a half (how the hell did that happen?!?) – we would now be able to take in under 2s for the first time. Gulp!
Have you had any experience with being a foster carer? If you have I would be very interested in hearing from you! Drop me a DM on Instagram (links below) and share your views and experiences or comment on this article.
Liam is a working class dad from a large town a bit to the east of Newcastle. He is a father to two beautiful girls called Olive (4) and Luna (2), who are simultaneously the loves and banes of his life. As a home educator, Liam is essentially the main care-giver to his children as his wife is studying to become a Children’s Nurse. This means that a lot of his time is spent in the great outdoors looking for adventures with his kids, or otherwise sitting at home watching with distraught horror as said kids smash the place up.
He is a qualified primary teacher and has a Masters in Education. Liam works part-time assisting students with additional needs in a college and (very) occasionally teaches English and Maths. His hobbies include camping, watching and analysing WWE and finding things to gross his kids out with (like bugs and slime and stuff). He is a raging lefty feminist.