It had been quite a full on couple of months with one thing and another so we got our nominated respite carer to look after the babies for the evening so we could go out for a meal and the cinema. I cannot express strongly enough how important having an occasional bit of down time can be. We have an evening where we do not mention fostering in any way shape or form. We talk about us, family and plans for the future. Having a plan for life after fostering is always important. Let’s be honest and say that being a Foster Carer is stressful. You are dealing with young people going through a stressful time, parents going through a stressful time and that stress comes back on the Foster Carers a lot of the time. Whilst we always work to the ‘best interests of the child’ mantra you also have to consider your own mental health as well. Sadly, I know several excellent Foster Carers who gave up being Foster Carers because of the effect it had on their mental health. If you need a break after a placement then have a break, go away, do something fun, it’s amazing how a break will refresh you and boost your energy levels. But you must make your Supervising Social Worker (SSW) aware if you are struggling in any way. They will be a lot happier providing you with some extra support rather than trying to deal with a placement breakdown. So we had a lovely evening out, a nice meal, a great film and felt refreshed when we got home. Both babies were asleep and we enjoyed a small glass of wine before hitting the hay. The following day we had a visit from our SSW for a catch up and a chat about training. There were some new courses coming on board and we were both keen to do them. I am a bit old school in that I like doing the courses in a classroom with other people around, but times are different now and all courses are done online. One thing I don’t miss, being in a classroom is that one person who always turns up late. Being on time is always a big thing for me and I’d rather be 10 minutes early than 10 minutes late. Most training venues were always pretty local as well so there wasn’t really an excuse for lateness. I also really enjoyed having Foster Carer meet ups where you can sit with other Foster Carers and share experiences. Again, these seem to have gone online now but they aren’t as much fun when you are just talking to a Laptop screen. We got ourselves booked on some courses and our SSW spent some time playing with the babies before she had to be dragged away. We got on with our day and enjoyed the day. The following day we had an appointment at the hospital for the youngest one, just for the consultant to check her over due to how premature she was. My wife said that she was happy to take her so off she went whilst I spent a couple of hours with the eldest trying to get him to do things that he should be doing at his age. We got the hang of rolling over and we worked on him propping himself up on his elbows which he nearly did. I think he enjoyed the one to one attention which I don’t believe he had before.

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