There’s no typical day for me and my wife Debbie. But one thing is sure, like other foster carers we’re always ready for the unexpected. Like Thursday last week. That day began the evening before about eight when Debbie took a call from the office. Asking us if we could take a 14 year old lad. He’d fallen out with his own carers and needed somewhere in an emergency. We already have our 12 year old who’s been with us now since he was four. But our own kids have grown up so we’ve got room, and we will take someone else if we can.

The next couple of hours were spent getting ready for the lad to arrive. Getting a bed ready, then waiting....you never know how someone’s going to be when they come like that. They don’t know you, you don’t know them. Guaranteed they’ll be tired, hungry. Will need something to eat and drink and they might want to talk. But likely too that they really don’t want to come to you. Would rather be with their family or their mates if they could. You just never know what kind of mood they’ll be in. Anyway, in the end we got both lads to bed by ten. But you don’t get straight off to sleep on nights like that. There’s a new person in your home and it’s hard to switch off. You’ll just be drifting off and you’ll hear a sound. And you think it might be him. Looking for the toilet, having a bad dream. Or even trying to get out the window. That happens!

Next day I was up just after seven to get everyone off to school. And then me and Debbie drove down to the our agency centre. We look forward to Thursdays because we have carers’ lunches every other week. You usually get about 20 of us with the manager. There’s things like chicken and salad or a nice curry, and it’s a chance to get together, talk together. About fostering, or anything really. And if you are having a problem it’s a chance to get a lot further than if you were just left with it on your own. Anyway, for the last few weeks we’ve been doing yoga together on Thursdays too. Before we eat of course! I was a bit doubtful before we started, but I had a heart attack last year and I know I’ve got to get exercising so I gave it a try. And it’s really been something. Time when you are there, together. Doing something together that’s not fostering. You’re in your own little space. Can go into your own little world and do your bit. Even Debbie’s noticed how I’m much calmer, how I can take a step back when our boy presses all the buttons!

So I was in a good mood when I got back home just after three. Which was just as well. Because I took a call from the school. Our new lad had missed his transport and had last been seen walking towards the train station.......”

As told to Andrea Warman, NAFP Consultant, and lead for the Looking After Yourself (Yoga) project. With thanks to:
ISP
Liz Lark
Scott Wishart (photography)