Diary of foster carers Anthony and Declan

September 2020 - The email

A smiling boy sitting on the sofa looking at his mobile phone.
"When we got a reply stating that they would set up a meeting with the children's social worker it started to feel so real"

We opened the email from our supervising social worker. We were shaking in anticipation!

The email contained details about a potential placement. It gave us some details about their current situation and a brief history about them. It asked us to think carefully about it and consider it as it would be our first placement and would be challenging, but ultimately really rewarding.

'This is what we had wanted from the start. It was a no brainer for us. It felt like it was too good to be true'

We both sat there that night and discussed it. For us it was exactly what we wanted. 2 children, a boy and a girl and siblings. This is what we had wanted from the start. It was a no brainer for us. It felt like it was too good to be true. I do not think we could really take it in at first. I think we both thought it was happening fast and we felt a little overwhelmed with it all. We gave our heads a wobble and the reality of it was that this is what we both wanted more than anything. There was not really anything else to think about. Send the email Anthony, come on lad!!

I sent an email back and advised we would be interested in the placement. When we got a reply stating that they would set up a meeting with the children's social worker it started to feel so real. I think we were pinching ourselves that this was happening. After some emailing and chats on the phone, an introduction meeting was being set up. The children's social worker had been given a copy of our introduction pack and she was taking it on her next visit to the children. She asked if there was a message that we wanted to give to them. Err… We do not really know. What should we say? My head went into overdrive thinking of what we could say. Overcomplicating it in our heads we decided to keep it simple; after all, we did not want to scare them off. Pull yourselves together you lunatics!! We emailed back and told her to tell them we were really looking forward to meeting them. Understatement!!

The date was set for a Monday teatime. We were sent a list of what they liked to eat and told to expect them around 4pm. It was 5 days away but it felt like an eternity. We were bubbling with excitement all weekend, kind of like the feeling you get when you are waiting to go on holiday, only this was like so much bigger.

I think we went through so many emotions anticipating their visit. What if they do not like us? What if there are loads of awkward silences? What if we say the wrong thing? What if? What if? What if?

Sunday night came and not much sleep.

Finally, Monday was here!

Bonding over monkeys

We got up and went to work on Monday morning. Not that we could concentrate. The day dragged on. Workmates were so annoying. Well, they were not really but I think we were that excited everything was magnified tenfold. I remember thinking I do not think I have been this excited since Charlene married Scott in Neighbours!! That was an event!! But this was so much better.

Home after work. Quick spruce up. We had made the bedrooms as kid-friendly as we could. Blue for the boy, pink for the girl. Declan arrived home and we sat, butterflies in our stomachs and clinging on to each other's hands, waiting for 4pm.

There was a knock at the door. Oh, my days they are here!!

'I had to stop myself from hugging her – bit soon Anthony, she has been here like 36 seconds!!'

We went to the door and the social worker was across the road at her car helping the little girl out of the car. As soon as we saw her our hearts melted. Oh, she was so cute. We looked at the boy and he looked nervous and apprehensive. They came to the door and we let them in. The little girl was full of boundless energy and she had the loveliest smile. The boy nodded and said hello. Then the little girl, Hermione said "I've brought my monkey to show you." Aww, how sweet!!

She must have read our pack and seen how much I liked monkeys. There are monkeys and monkey pictures literally all over our house!! I had to stop myself from hugging her – bit soon Anthony, she has been here like 36 seconds!!

The social worker had a quick chat and then showed the children the bedrooms which Hermione loved and then told us she would be back in a couple of hours. We all sat in the living room and it was slightly awkward at first. I am not usually one who struggles with conversation, but I had to admit it was a bit stilted at first. And then the boy, Ron, said "She told me you 2 are a couple." By 'she' we assumed he meant the social worker. "Yes, Ron we are" I replied. "Does that bother you at all?" Ron said: "Well, no, as long as you're happy that's all that matters." That kind of broke the ice a bit and Ron seemed to relax a bit more.

Inside my heart was glowing, to be honest, and I could tell by Declan's big smiling face he was happy. We had tea and they both asked questions and then Ron started asking about what would happen if they came to live with us and what the rules are and would he still see his nanna. We answered as best we could, and he seemed satisfied. We played some games after tea and before we knew it the 2 hours were up. Wow, it had certainly flown.

They both said they had enjoyed it and wanted to come again. That was just the best news ever.

'Life was going to change in a big way but for the better'

When they had gone we both just sat there like it had not just happened and we were dreaming. We were both in agreement that they were lovely children and we now really, really wanted them to come and live with us. After this more discussions were had and more introductions were made, then a placement planning meeting was arranged ready for the children to move in. It was all such a whirlwind really. We had a lot of emotions going on. We were about to become responsible for 2 human beings. No more early nights during the week with takeaway and Netflix, no more swanning off here there and everywhere at the drop of a hat. It was very real. Life was going to change in a big way but for the better.

We were ready and prepared, and we could not wait. We talked about Ron and Hermione and how they must be feeling. It was going to be difficult for them and it was going to take them time to process and adapt to a new home with 2 men who technically were strangers to them. We were not fazed though. We were going into this with our eyes wide open and we knew that it was not going to be easy all the time, but we were so passionate about this that we knew it was ultimately going to be amazing. The date for move-in was set. When the day arrived, we knew that we had finally arrived at our goal we set out to do at the start of the year and the dream we had both had for many years had come true.

I am sure as we continue this blog there will be many ups and downs that we write about.

Let the adventures begin!