So, what to do with no placements? It was nice to have some peace and quiet and some space. No heads popping around the door asking can I have? There was a normal amount of washing to do and only four to cook for. Mornings were easy as the two boys were able to get ready for school without any prompting and also make their own breakfast. So we enjoyed lie in’s and more time for both us and our family. Also we had no diaries to fill and no actual Social Workers to visit us. Did we miss the girls? Yeah maybe a bit but as a Foster Carer you eventually turn off after each placement finishes. You literally switch off. To be honest you have to. If you get too emotionally involved, with each placement, you’ll end up being worn out and mentally drained. Yes, of course, we have feelings for some of our old placed children and, in fact, stay in contact. Have there been children we wanted to adopt? Yes. Two in particular, but we didn’t. We had six children between us so we really don’t need any more. We have been very upset when some children have moved on, especially babies, and those were difficult times. With babies you are a lot more hands on, feeding, changing, cuddling etc. etc. and it becomes very hard to let go. We had two new born babies both collected from maternity hospitals. Both of those babies meant a lot to us and there were various discussions around adoptions and SGOs but we decided not too as it was better for those babies to be moved on to a proper adoptive household with parents young enough to bring them up.

There are placements where we couldn’t wait for them to move on. They would get fantastically looked after but you are having issues with their behaviour or their family or other issues around education. As a Foster carer you get used to this, you can’t like all the children you care for but you always do your best and work hard. I enjoy being a Foster Carer but I also enjoy the rest periods when we are empty. Physically and mentally it’s good to have a break which is no different than any other job that you do. You need to enjoy free time and spending time with other adults in a non child environment. We received a call from duty after two days asking if we wanted a respite placement but we said no as we didn’t need to have a placement. We are lucky that we are financially robust and we don’t rely on Fostering money to live. We both did work that had nothing to do with Fostering or even kids. That meant that we could have our much needed rest without worrying about paying the bills. Now I really understand that we were lucky and that some carers do rely on Fostering allowances for household bills but that’s not a situation you want to be in. Try to find a small job that you can slot back into when you have no placement. Social Care is a good idea. You have skills which can be utilised when looking after older people. Also a lot of agencies will take you on earning a zero hour’s contract.

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