We are still waiting for a placement and it seems quite a while since we were approved now. I can remember telling an older, wiser friend (who is a retired social worker) that we'd been successful at panel and her response was “a placement by the summer then”. At the time I almost scoffed at the suggestion that we'd be waiting that long - but here we are!
We've had a couple of near misses over the last couple of months though. Our agency receives referrals from local authorities, they screen them then pass on the 'suitable' ones to us (taking into account our family dynamics, location etc) then we can decide whether to put ourselves forward as prospective foster carers. At this point the danger is to start imagining them living with us; sleeping in Edward's room, playing with our children, making friends in the community and being a part of the family BUT the process hasn't yet finished. The agency then sends our profile to the placing local authority and they make the final call on whether we are the right home for the child. On a couple of occasions we have been the contingency plan, just in case a family member couldn't take the child. That is not so disappointing as it is a much better solution for them. Another time it was a child who was going to be split from their other siblings, I never felt comfortable about this. Fortunately they found a placement that could take them all, what a relief. Unfortunately we have had others where there seemed no reason why the children wouldn’t have suited living with us and yet we were still turned down. Of course they don’t have to give an explanation for why, but it is quite hard to swallow the rejection not knowing.
However, it is also fair to say that I have had to turn down a referral too. I find this harder to do than being rejected. I have to think about not only what is best for the foster child but what is best for us too. If there is anything that I feel may make family life too difficult or unsettled I have to say no, but that doesn't stop me praying fervently that they go to a wonderful, perfectly matched home instead.
I have noticed that a pattern has emerged with the new referrals. All the phone calls from our social worker tend to happen on a Thursday or Friday! Maybe more children come into care nearer the weekend than any other time of the week? Who knows? So having sussed out this pattern I have started keeping my phone close to me on these two days, just in case that’s the day we all say YES!
So it wasn't this week, but it might be next week - I just have 5 days to wait and see.