Fruit and Flowers

Another year down! We’ve made it through 4 years of marriage…wahoo😀

Reading my post from a year ago, it’s strange to think about what’s changed. As a couple, what’s different? Is anything different? Probably, not sure I can articulate it though. You can see the practical changes much more easily: we’ve moved house twice in the last year, bought a house, we’re applying to become foster carers, my hubby got a permanent job, and life is looking a lot more…predictable than it did last year. Not that we can envisage how life will look when we have kids in our home, but this time last year, there was little that was certain about our future. We had plans and ideas, but nothing was concrete.

Yet here we are, 12 months later, with a mortgage, one job for life, and me having clarity on what I want to do, for the next few years at least. Whaaat.

Marriage is as fun as ever, and I’m (still) learning every day to appreciate the wonderful man that God has blessed me with. We have a long way to go in this wisdom-in-marriage malarky, and I’m sure the Five Year Post will see much more noticeable change in us as a couple (I hear that kids do that to you…). Year Four has been fab though, let’s see what the next one brings!

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A Fostering Update

June, where on earth did you come from?! Phew. That post way back in November feels like an awfully long time ago…! And yet here we are, potentially 3 short months away from facing a panel of people deciding whether or not we’ll be approved as foster carers.

Everything has gone quiet on the blog front, which means I’ve not really tracked this fostering journey as I could have been doing. Part of the reason for that is I just wasn’t sure what I’m allowed to say about it, partly because life has just got extremely busy (and that’s before the kids have arrived…!). Having looked back at the few times where I have talked about fostering, I’ve realised that I’d forgotten those things. How much other stuff has slipped my mind since then?! Time to Catch Up.

So back in January, we’d been in touch with a local council about fostering and things were moving. A social worker came to visit us at our house, she chatted few a through things and did an initial assessment. We talked about training dates, got those in the diary. Didn’t do anything fostering related for a month, then to the training we went. We were very lucky to be part of a great group – very chatty and engaged with lots to contribute. Me and my hubby were by far the youngest there; we had to a ‘combined age of your household’ ice breaker with a random partner and ours was 52…the only one below 100! Of course, everyone else counted children, but spot the babies of the group..!

The training covered various things…What is foster care? Who comes into care? Safeguarding, abuse, attachment, working with others, transition…I think I’ll do a separate post on the training and what struck me – we have to be reflective about it, so it’ll get my brain in gear to remember things – it was back in March and I need to fill in my ‘log’ from it #betterlatethannever.

After training, we heard from our (new) social worker and we got some meetings set up. She comes round and we chat through things – family background, our relationship, our faith. We’re starting to move onto fostering itself – kids, safety, dealing with parents, that sort of thing. That started..must have been back in April, and has continued every week or so since then, up until 2 weeks ago when we took a break for her to sort out references and she’s on leave for a bit.

That’s sort of where we’re up to practically…oh and in amongst it we bought a house and have since moved house. FUN TIMES. So yes, that’s where we are on a purely logistical level. On an emotional what-on-earth-are-we-doing level? Hard to say..!

I suppose with moving and doing lots of house stuff, it almost feels like fostering has taken a back seat. Except that it really hasn’t at the same time – I handed my notice in last week at work, I’m reading books about attachment, I’m researching buggies, and even collecting free stuff from friends/Freecycle that we might need (bedding, clothes, toys, etc.). But again, this feels fairly practical.

In a way, it’s hard to mentally prepare yourself. You can read all the books and talk to all the foster carers in the world, but nothing will prepare us for when that first placement comes through our door. What situation will they have come from? What challenging behaviours are they going to present with? How will they respond to us? How can we best love, help and nurture them whilst they’re with us? How long will they be with us? All of these are unanswered now – we can speculate and assume, but each child that comes into our home will be different and will need something different. At the end of the day, it’s not about us – it’s about the kids and what they need from us. Lord, give us strength!

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Our Bedroom

The second room in the house to get some serious attention was the master bedroom. It had some rather fetching textured wallpaper that needed to disappear, as well as an old carpet and some random box bits on the wall.

It began in much the same way, but we soon ran into difficulty. Not only was the wallpaper textured, it had been painted over. Twice. This room took us two days to complete. Two whole days! My hubby had fun bashing the random boxes either side of the chimney breast apart, which showed to be there purely for decorative purposes thankfully. All that was needed now was filling in of all the (many) holes and a spot of plastering around the chimney breast.

We then got started on some base coats of white emulsion. The plaster is pretty old, but rather than blow a few hundred pounds per room, we’ve gone for the skim filler and many layers of paint approach…😉 more friends popped in to help – I am so grateful to them for giving the ceiling (more textured wallpaper that we’ve decided not to rip off..!) a coat of white – I tried and being such a shortie, it really hurt my back!

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The inevitable colour debate ensued. 50 Shades of Green. I think I only made my mind up 2 days before carpets arrived (and we had to be finished), but it looks fab now…

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Again, a little patchy around the edges, and we’ll probably never touch them up or do the skirting boards, but it’s so good to look back and see the transformation. I’m hoping to be a bit more on top of things blog-wise so that we don’t forget how much time and effort we put into the end result. Ooh and did you spot the carpet? Lounge and bedroom were carpeted yesterday which is SO exciting…we’ve been sleeping in the loft since we moved in nearly 2 weeks ago, which has been fine, but it was so nice to build the bed yesterday (my Mr did most of it…) and we look forward to sleeping there tonight. Ikea arrives tomorrow, so by the weekend, the whole room should be done..apart from boxing round some pipes…and sorting door. But you know, nearly done😀