We had now completed our first 2 placements for our Local Authority and were feeling like proper Foster carers. We had been told, during training, to expect gaps between placements but we had not had any so far. Two days after the twins went home we had a call from a Social Worker asking if would take a Mother and Child placement. We said yes and were told that the Mother, who was 15, and the child who was 12 months old were currently in a placement but that the Mother was very disruptive and the current Foster Carers had given notice. So a date was agreed and we made preparations for the two of them to arrive. However two days before the agreed date we were informed that the placement would now only be for the baby and not the Mother who had decided her ‘freedom’ was more important than her baby. So the baby arrived, as organised, and we helped her settle in to her new surroundings. She was a pretty baby of mixed heritage and was very popular with family, friends and neighbours. We were unsure how long the placement was going to last as nobody knew what Mum’s plans were and, therefore, we just got on with our work caring and making sure the baby had the best care we could provide. Eventually, after about 6 months, it was decided that adoptive parents would be found for the baby as Mum had decided that she wanted no part of her daughter’s future. Prior to the decision various prospective fathers were had been approached but nobody had been definitely identified so the process of identifying adoptive parents began. It was a process that we had experienced before, with our first placement, and we knew how things would progress. However, this placement was different.
First of all we experienced a situation that would recur in later placements, when both Carers are white and the young person is of mixed heritage or black. We noticed it after a week or two. We would be walking around our local shopping centre and people would look at the baby, look at me then look at my wife. There would be an occasional scowl, a smile or a look of disbelief. We became used to this and laughed it off but I did find it annoying on occasions. We received calls, out of the blue, several weeks later, and saying that a couple had been identified who were a perfect match. We were delighted at the news but this was followed by a very unusual phone call from the Social Work Manager, someone we had never spoken to or met before. She told us that it had been decided that the little girl would be moved to a different Foster Carer prior to being adopted. We were shocked and bitterly disappointed that this decision was made without us being involved and, even to this day, don’t understand why the decision was made. So, we packed up her belongings and she went on her way. However several months later we got a phone call from an overseas number at 2am and we spoke to a lady who wanted to know who we were and what connection we had with the little girl as they had found our details in her red book. So we had this rather bizarre conversation with us both being confused by what had happened and discussing how she was getting on. She kept in touch and would send photos, which was night.