So you’ve been through all your training and the ‘dreaded’ panel and the phone rings from your Foster Care agency to ask if you would take your first placement. I can remember clearly the first placement I had, as a Foster Carer. My wife and I were asked if we would take a new born baby which was situated in a maternity hospital nearby. The Mum had told Social Services that she wasn’t interested in having any involvement with the baby, due to cultural issues, and that included no contact, whatsoever, after she had given birth. So we were very excited and my wife set off, with our Supervising Social Worker, to collect the baby. It was so strange for us both, as parents, to suddenly have the responsibility of looking after a baby. In a way it was the ideal first placement. There was no contact, no parents, no school and we were both experienced in looking after little babies as we both had children of our own. The first few days were a bit of a rude awakening due to sleep deprivation but we soon got into a routine of sharing the night time feeds and changes. Obviously a baby naps during the day so we could catch up on any sleep we had lost.
We had the pleasure of this little cherub for 14 months until we received a call one day to say that the Local Authority were actively prospective adoptive parents and there had been some positive response. Our emotions were strange, a feeling of almost dread as we had obviously formed quite a bond. We were then told that one particular couple ticked all the boxes regarding ethnicity and availability and wanted to commence with visiting and spending time with the baby. The initial visit was a quick 2 hour session in our home. The couple were lovely, very friendly and caring. The lady spent some time having cuddles with the baby and it was obvious they were smitten. The following week they visited again and this time we left them alone to have some time, with baby, whilst we pottered around in the kitchen. Again, the visit was a great success. The following week the couple went out, for a couple of hours, with the baby and returned a few hours later.
The following weekend they took baby away from Saturday and returned on Sunday. I can remember us sitting, on Saturday night, and both saying that it was now becoming real that baby was going to leave our care and, I have to say, it became very emotional for us both. We had a visit from our Supervising Social Worker in the week and she informed us that the couple would be returning in two weeks and that they would be taking baby permanently. My wife and I sat and discussed how we wanted the collection to go and we decided that the best way would be quick and without any pleasantries. The day came around and we had carefully packed two proper holdalls with clothes and baby equipment that we had been provided. Baby was dressed and fed and was placed in the baby seat ready to go.
The Social Worker and adoptive parents arrived dead on time and respected our wishes. There was a brief cuddle and that was it. They disappeared off and that was it, 18 months. We went out somewhere for lunch but I have to say we were both quiet and, when we got home, there was a bit of out pouring of emotions, especially when we found some of her belongings.