Our first meeting with the social worker was lovely, we talked about why we wanted to foster, the process of approval and application. We laughed, joked and drank tea - it was very relaxed. I didn't find the idea of our second meeting as nice! She wanted to meet us both individually so that she could talk through our childhood, our previous relationships and our friends/support network - obviously easier to go through those sort of details on your own, less chance of confusion. But she also wanted to discuss our marriage dynamics, how we met, what our strengths/weaknesses were, basically every little thing about our relationship. This did worry me, not because I am in any way concerned about things (in fact I think our marriage is brilliant) but because I had in my head that she was going to impose some sort of Mr and Mrs quiz which must be passed in order to be approved (and nothing as lighthearted as the one my friends organised for my hen do either.)
What made it even more nerve wracking was that my husband went first! I took the children out for 2 hours while they completed the interview and the only feedback I got from him afterwards was that it went OK The thing is, my husband is a very calm and laid back person. He faces problems as they appear and always eases his way to a solution with minimal stress or frustration. I prefer to be prepared for any eventuality or outcome, so that whatever problems arise I have a solution to hand and then don't need to panic. It means I am always planning and over thinking things - but this is fine for me as it gives me more confidence and keeps me calm - my husband thinks that that's just making work for yourself! So if it had been me that had gone first I would have probably fed back to my husband every minute detail of our conversations- giving him the complete heads up, and probably giving him a headache!
My gut instinct was to then to interrogate my husband to gain as much information and detail as I could, but I decided to not go down that route and instead to trust that 'it went OK' for him also meant it would be OK for me. That was the best decision I could make because actually it did go OK and it wasn't very stressful at all. There were no bright lights or cross examinations, in fact she was just interested in seeing things from my point of you; which also ended up being very similar to my husbands (we're not so different after all!)
After that we had a few more visits from the Social worker, but these were either the two of us together, or with the kids as well. It was important for her to see how we were with our children and whether we put our words into practice. This all went smoothly enough and our toddler even started to refer to her as his friend!
On a practical side, we had to have medical examinations made by our GP. These were surprisingly thorough and went through our whole medical history. The GP then made a recommendation whether we were fit and healthy enough to complete the role as foster carer. We both passed, phew!
The next hurdle: CRBs and References.