‘Our First Year with Capstone’ A story from Capstone Devon carers –

We are 7 weeks from being approved at panel. I am beginning to wonder if we will ever ‘start’ our fostering journey. And then on the way back from a weekend away we pick up a message on the phone. We have been out of signal. There is an emergency need. We discuss and ring back. We offer our spare bed. For us this feels easier than reading a profile. There are no complications to interpret, worry about and plan for. There is just a need, and space in our house.

After early morning phone calls, and discussions between us all to iron out the finer details of timings and a welcome, I arrive back home from work to a 9 year-old boy, eating Walker’s crisps, on our settee. Chit chat and bandana (never worn since).

So fast forward. Our 4 day emergency respite has turned into a year – less 6 weeks, a final court decision reached and a very big possibility that we are going to house and home a boy- who will become a teenager and into independence, and as there was no matching process – due to the original requirement being respite – in place this ‘match’ seems too good to be true.

In so many ways this is right. In so many ways we are faced with the unexpected (we thought short term and emergency would suit us best!) and in so many ways we have been sent a gift – in terms of school attendance, a curiosity for life, a desire for learning, an open-ness to try activities that are offered and a ‘fit’ with so many of our friends and life that we were already living.

In a few weeks’ time we will be going on a short break in a caravan – with the same family that we were away with when we received that first message, and so life goes on, the wheels keep turning and the loops of coincidence and meaning keep being drawn and closed, whilst many others are opened and new adventures await.

So here we are – 6 school holidays later after saying yes to the request for a 4 night break. The reasons why, the delays, the waiting game are all another story. The new places, professionals and challenges that you meet on the way as foster carers are too many to list. The people, the words and the paperwork are sometimes from ‘another dimension’. But it is this rich and varied tapestry of life that we wanted to become more

deeply involved with, as we have the luxury of time and positive intention to offer.

The only thing we can say to others waiting – at whatever stage, assessment, placement, legal decision, matching, and for panel reviews and the dreaded TSD work book – however long that wait is……. Do it!

Looking back; it feels like no time at all, the blink of an eye. It is worth the wait. As one friend of mine commented recently.” having signed up to support many young people for a short time, you now have the chance to really make a difference with one, for a very long time”.

Can you stay open hearted and open minded to that sort of change? Do you want to support a child right now; with whatever they bring to you?

You are reading this. Something has already sparked in you. Fan the flames.

Give it a go.

Foster with Capstone.

I did ….and I was decades waiting for the chance.

In all you do I wish you well.