Monthly Archives: June 2016

A Fostering Update

June, where on earth didΒ youΒ come from?! Phew. That post way back in NovemberΒ 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… πŸ˜‰ 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,Β nearly done πŸ˜€

 

 

…and we’re in!

It has been All Systems Go for the last month. We had to pack up the old house alongside prepping the new place for us to move into. I did NOT enjoy that period…! Wallpaper stripping, floor removing, packing, bathroom destroying, more packing… We had hoped to move in with the lounge and bedroom ready to go. That didn’tΒ quiteΒ happen, but progress was (and is being) made.

The rooms we’ve been concentrating on are the lounge and the bedroom though. No matter how much I banged on about the bathroom, my hubby was right to focus on those two. Having a liveable space that you can escape to at the end of the day is essential, and the bathroom was all working so we left that alone (notice the past tense…). In my last post, we’d completely stripped the lounge. Here’s how it’s getting on now, largely thanks to my Mr having a week off and a good friend spending a day painting it white…!

Wahey! It felt soo good to have clean walls, it felt more like we were making progress. Re-plastering would have made it much smoother with less little nooks and holes, but it seemed like a bit of a pointless expenditure, so we just painted 5 coats of white emulsion and then colour went on top.

And on it went! The peach door is looking more and more out of place, but the walls are looking fab πŸ˜€ What I love is how much it is like the sky on a clear day. Bringing the outside in and all that. I decided to do the other walls with a lovely ‘Goose Down’ grey. They go really well together, and it is a bit patchy as we did it all ourselves, but we can touch it up if it bugs us πŸ˜‰

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It is now all finished, with 2 coats of grey everywhere except for the chimney breast. The skirting boards could do with sanding down and repainting, as could the coving, and we need to replace the dodo rail, but it’s more and more like a room…

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Oh and did I mention the chimney breast?! We took out the slightly blergh gas fire, and as my hubby knocked back plaster work, he realised that there doesn’t seem to be a supporting arch for it, so that’s the first job of the builder next week…! As you can see, the TV mount has been ready to go – priorities πŸ˜‰