First Assessment 

Every time that I’ve met the team for Fostering I have been very nervous. Today was different, which allowed me to feel more comfortable and I was more myself. 

I’ve been looking forward to this process starting. The agency I am applying through are very consistent in their messages; I think this helps me to trust the process. 

The session went for close to four hours. It was the first assessment stage. There are a minimum of five. Kudos to the agency for the thoroughness in which they conduct the session. 

Basically, we touched on my fertility journey, childhood experiences, work, lifestyle choices, management of stress, past experiences in parenting, my motivation to become a foster carer, demarcation between parenting and fostering, different types of foster care, whether the timing is right now, ability to travel whilst being a carer, and other things. I have given myself the homework of looking further into respite care as well as really exploring my psyche to ensure that for me the timing is right. 

It wasn’t as emotionally draining as I anticipated but it was thought provoking. I like that at every stage I am encouraged to consider for myself how ready I am and how viable becoming a foster carer is for me at this time. 

I had a couple of epiphanies during the session. The first connected to the impact of seasons on how well I handle stress (winter impacts so I need to ensure that I leave work in daylight) and the other was the extent that my IVF journey still impacts by way of triggers. 

IVF seems to be a journey that extends well beyond the treatment cycle. I commented, in the interests of full disclosure and honesty, that I am still dealing with the grief of IVF failure. Triggers come now from unlikely sources at unpredictable moments. In terms of timing, this is important to consider. 

The agency really does impress the significance of the process in ensuring success in the fostering relationship further down the track. Again, I was informed that I can pause the process at any time, and that it is really important that I consider my readiness at every point in time. What I like about this repeated message is that it really forces me to consider whether this is what I want. 

I came out of the session feeling determined that I am still on the right path, which was reassuring. Some homework to do before our next session in February. 

A Fostering Update 

I am still processing … 

On Monday afternoon I hosted the assessor, a prac student and lovely Vessna from The Benevolent Society for my first at home visit in the fostering application process. I was nervous. I can control 600 teenagers easily but not a three year old dog that I have raised. Doesn’t look good lol 😳. 

It was intensive. We discussed why I want to foster and went into detail. Still processing and I really am struggling to recall and/or find the words. I am making it an overwhelming process hehe, but in fairness to me, only because I hate failing and I struggle that I failed at becoming a birth mum. Even though I truly believe this is my path. 

The appointment lasted for two and a half hours. The girls are all lovely and I am very grateful for that. 

We discussed components of my Life Story and my current work as a teacher, and all the way through I tried to provide examples from my life and my practice to support my responses. I think I am taking it all a bit too seriously. 

I think I am at peace … finally … at accepting that even if I only have a foster child for a short period of time, I will have made a positive impact. And that lasts forever. I can live with that. 

It is unlikely I will, if successful, foster a 0-4 year old. Changes in Australian adoption legislation ensure that this age range is more available for adoption rather than long term foster care, and I also think I am alright with that. I am really maturing into this as time passes. And I am grateful for the slow pace because I am able to process and question thoroughly. 

The girls informed me on Monday that whilst they interview me and take extensive notes, they needed to meet with the main assessor for approval to take me to the next phase. They try to ensure that everything is covered comprehensively to ensure success at Panel – where the ultimate decision is made regarding my suitability to become a foster carer. 

Today I found out that I have been approved to go through to the next phase. Sam, my assessor, will contact me to organise the next appointment. 

Maybe I am going to get the opportunity to be a ‘mum’.