Foster parent training has begun. Thank you for your overwhelmingly kind response to my husband Gerard and my decision to foster kids in need. I was truly surprised by the love, luck and advice we received. So much so that it felt like I had announced I was pregnant. One of my mates even offered to throw me a baby shower! Being the kind of girl who celebrates breakfast I understood the lovely gesture, but I had to decline. It might be a bit inappropriate to celebrate receiving a child who, despite their poor treatment, would probably have preferred to stay with their real parents. Such is a child’s forgiving love for their parent no matter what they have done.
A few people mentioned in their letters and messages that they would love for me to continue to share my fostering experience. Being the over sharer that I am, I’m happy to oblige. The interest to most being that fostering is a world they hear about and often think about doing but are too scared to take the next step, unsure of how it will effect their lives. Honestly, I’m deadest frightened too, I have a very comfortable, predictable and organized life. But the longer I put off doing it, the more I felt like the meme that goes, ‘I love you so much I’d take a bullet for you, but, like, not one in the face or anything, maybe in the leg’. I was putting my leg forward for the shot but it was time for my whole life to be put on the line to show another little human true love.
So the assessment on Gerard, my home and myself has begun and I’m not afraid to tell you that I am a bunch of nerves. I’m not worried about caring for a child, I’m nervous about not passing the foster parent test to get a child in the first place. I feel like I am on a reality show, ‘So you think you can be a Foster Parent’. The steps and procedures Gerard and I have to pass in order to be approved make me worried the judges won’t turn their chairs.
The first step for any foster parent is ensuring the home is safe. Pool fence and fire alarms need to be up to scratch, dangerous chemicals out of reach and the bedroom and home you provide has to be adequate. No tucking them away under the stairs a-la Harry Potter type stuff. It has happened.
The judges, I mean care agency insisted in a phone call the day before they arrived to not go to any trouble for the visit, but I wasn’t falling for that trap! I scrubbed my house from top to bottom and back to the top again. You would have thought the Queen was coming for tea. All the best linen was on the beds, the toys neatly put away, and my fridge was so sparkly it was blinding, I nearly wore sunglasses just to get the milk out.
The irony was that by polishing the toddler height finger marks from the fridge, hiding all the toys, and sending Millie to Kindy for the day so it was nice and quiet I hid all proof that a child already lived here happily and never hungry. Despite the lack of parental evidence my home passed the pressure test. The judges deemed that my house is ok to house children, which is convenient because there is already one actual child who already lives there, ours. Next comes the battle rounds. Parent Training. Wish us luck.
Emily Jade is half of the Flan & Emily Jade Breakfast Show which can be heard week days from 5am-9am on 1029 Hot Tomato.
This piece originally ran in Bmag here: