I always thought that fostering was a hard job. Rewarding, sure, but hard none-the-less. It was for those who had endless patience and wanted to reduce world suck, as members of the Nerdfighteria community would say.
I had been exposed to friends and family who had taken the challenging step and welcomed children into their homes. There were horror stories and there were triumphs. It was nice to be surrounded by people who actively worked at helping to shape the future of the next generation.
I’m not exactly sure when I decided that fostering might be a good fit for me. I’ll be honest and say, this was not one of those dreams burning away in my gut. I didn’t feel drawn to a life filled with other peoples’ children and their extremely sad tales of despair. I knew that I would feel their pain too acutely. I’d want to cry for them, fix things for them, avenge them.
I certainly possessed a desire to help others. I’d spent much of my life volunteering and trying to help anyone who needed it if I could, but there was always a limit. I was aware of the cost to my sanity and heart, so would keep a healthy distance. I was happy to get up at 1am for a night shift answering the phones at Samaritans, excited about providing for the homeless, eager to inspire the young people in the local Pathfinder club, but fostering was an undertaking that I attributed to the goodness of others – not myself.
In March of this year, that changed. I started to seriously imagine a life where my spare room was filled with a little person’s clothes and where there were tiny mouths to feed. I started to consider my capacity to care for someone that needed more than a roof or a cuddle, who required a plethora of things that were alluding them. I started to really imagine how much more I could be doing.
It’s November 2016 and I can now tick the ‘foster carer’ box on forms. There are little clothes in my spare room and there’s a tiny mouth to feed. I am testing my capacity for endless patience and stretching the limits of my OCD.
I’m new to this process but I’m not scared. It’s positively overwhelming but for right now, I know that I am meant to be here, doing this. My journey as a foster carer has begun!