21 Jul 2014

Shadows on wall holding hands

This week's blog comes from foster carer, Gill, who reflects on the meaning of true hospitality in relation to her experiences of fostering...

This made sound very obvious, but I have recently read a book where the author very helpfully pointed out that the word “hospitality” has the word “hospital” in it.

Hospitality is different to “entertaining” or “having people over”. Entertaining is when my parents come over, I clean the house from top to bottom (or more realistically just the bits I think my mum will notice), and I put a lot of effort into cooking a really nice meal.

Nothing wrong with this, but it’s not hospitality. Genuine hospitality focuses on the needs of your guests, and can happen in a messy home where the washing still needs doing, you haven’t hoovered for weeks, and the kid’s toys are all over the floor. It requires you...

14 Jul 2014

Male in hoodie standing on hill

This is Kieran’s final blog for us where he brings us up-to-date. We would like to thank Kieran for sharing his life story with us and we hope you have found it as  insightful and inspiring as we have…

So, there you go, that’s my life to date. I suppose the only thing that is left for me to do is to voice my hopes and dreams for the future. Of course, I don’t have a clue how life will work out, who does? Having said that, I’m a firm believer that, if you want something badly enough, and keep on trying to get it – no matter what life throws at you, no matter how much you may sometimes want to give up - one day, you will succeed.  

Where am I now? I’m back in touch with my family plus additions in the form of new partners – something that, given what happened all of those years ago, I never thought would happen. My greatest wish is to build...

07 Jul 2014

Flower being held in hands

We came to adoption after six years of marriage and hoping to conceive naturally. We had one round of IVF & ICSI on NHS before I was 40. The following years led onto health issues and having had 3 lots of surgery we decided we had had enough.

We didn’t want fertility treatment ever again. My darling husband also had fertility issues, so with our combined fertility history and me creeping towards 42 we decided to end the hoping, suffering and feelings of being stuck and began to think about adoption.

We are now in stage two of the adoption process and are going to panel soon.

We have found the process life changing, a strange gift in many ways as we have had the opportunity to reflect on our life journeys up to this point. Sometimes surprising, sometimes painful sometimes stressful but ultimately an extraordinary life experience, eye opening and...

01 Jul 2014

Boy sat on canal bridgeDanny, aged 14, tells his adoption story...

My life had not started off well, but as I am writing this story, events over the past seven years have changed my life forever.

Nine years ago I was put into foster care because my previous mum had been drinking alcohol and had been in trouble with the police. She had her chances to keep my brother Grant and me, but she let us down time and time again. I never knew how long I would be there for. The two years I was there seemed really long, I was always wondering when I would get my mum back again, but that never happened.

One day my social worker came to the house and informed us that they would be looking for a “forever” mum and dad for me and my brother. I spent most of my days intrigued about what they would be like and whether they would turn out to be like my old mum. We had settled into our foster home and...

23 Jun 2014

Teenage boy in hoodieKieran has now left his foster carers and re-connects with his birth parents…

Having left my foster carers, I didn’t have much to live with and, as I wasn’t that sure what to do with my belongings, I asked my social worker to take what I did have  - all my  property was taken to Social Services - who promptly threw it all away. It was a bit galling to find out that everything I had gathered around me was dumped in a bin with no thought as to whether I would want it keeping.  When I found out, it felt that part of my life had been erased like unnecessary data being deleted from a computer disk.

To start off with, life was alright – nothing to write home about, but nothing to complain about at the same time. I stayed with my friend for a while and then moved on to stay with other friends. It was at that time that I also fell into spiral of drugs. I’m...

16 Jun 2014

Brother and Sister

Today on the BAAF blog, we hear from Nick King, a father of two, who shares with us his experiences of adoption...

When we began to think about adopting a second child we involved our then six year old son in our decision from the very beginning.

The early conversations followed the lines that you would expect from a child of that age.

"Does this mean I don't get so many presents at Christmas?" Was his first question when we raised the issue.

"No, of course not, it just means that you will have a brother or sister who will be there too.  Santa will bring you both presents and we'll be buying you both the same number of presents too."

He wasn't convinced. "What about birthdays?" His eyes narrowing, "and Easter eggs."

"All the same, but you will have someone to share those events with," was our very calm reply.

"Hmmm, we'll see...

09 Jun 2014

Mother and child

Today, we hear from a Special Guardian. Special Guardianship is where a child lives with carers who have parental responsibility for them until they are grown up. The carer could be a grandparent, close relative or even a family friend.  You can find out more about Special Guardianship here.

I have a little girl who was two when I got involved, she is now nine and has been living with me for the past six years.

She is my ex partner’s niece. She had been in care three times up to the age of two and also been handed to other family and friends on occasions. She has three half siblings - none of them living with their mother.

I was trying to help out when her uncle and I were asked if we would be willing to care full time for her. We agreed, but he changed his mind after...

02 Jun 2014

Boy standing on hillIn this latest instalment of ‘Any Port in a Storm’ Kieran has now left his foster carers and re-connects with his birth parents…

Life moved on. Contact with my birth parents dried up completely. It didn’t come as a surprise really, Dad was in prison and could hardly just pop out and visit me and Mum had started a new life hundreds of miles away. 

My oldest sister stayed in her care home for a while then moved into a family who lived in the Midlands before moving again, this time to Scotland. It must have been strange for her, being so used to the care home; then moving in with a family in a city she wasn’t used to; then moving to an entirely different country. It’s funny, when I see her now, all traces of her accent have disappeared and she now speaks in a strong Scottish tongue. I’ve been up to Scotland a couple of times to see her and am...

27 May 2014

Teenager looking out of window

Neil, aged 14, has been living with his foster carers Stephanie and Jenny since he was eight years old. They are now in the process of applying for a special guardianship order. Here, Neil describes his life in care...

I have been in care for eight years and it’s not always been easy. When my sister and I first went into care, we were excited because we liked change and we wanted to know where we were going to live. It was not long before we were moved from our first placement and that felt sad for us. We were then placed in different homes, separately.

I don’t like telling people I am in care. It can be hard if you are with a carer for a long time and then you are moved, it’s sad to say goodbye.

I am very happy with Steph and Jenny. I love them. It was not always going to be long-term as it...

19 May 2014

Foster parents portraitI suppose you could say when my husband and I were approaching our fifties we had something of a 'joint' mid-life crisis – if that's possible. 

Our eldest son was living independently and our youngest son was planning a career teaching in China.  We had always had a very busy, active family life and when we thought about our life in the near future it did seem that it would be a bit empty and without purpose.  My husband described it as feeling as though we were a 'spent force' and we heading towards retirement and old age.  We were both used to being busy, active people and neither of us felt ready for that yet. 

It was my husband who suggested we consider fostering.  I was concerned we might be a bit too old.  We made enquiries and were accepted on the 'Skills to Foster' training. 

My fears about being too old were compounded, as we were the...