* Author Topic: Catch 22: can't foster if depressed, depressed because I can't have a family  (Read 4204 times)

0 Members

Offline Lulu40

  • Jr. Member
  • **
It's a bit more complicated than that.  Earlier this year I saw a social worker from the local authority.  I have quite a complicated family history, was in care as a teenager and stuff.  SW explained that they'd need to contact and interview all my exes but I've lived and worked abroad and was engaged in China, so I thought that might add further complications.  Plus a couple of years ago I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and I had a history of depression.

SW seemed quite positive and said that she'd recommend me for fostering 6-8 year olds.  But then I heard back saying that the team leader didn't want to take my application any further.  I know my case wouldn't be straight forward, so it would probably cost more to investigate, contacting my ex abroad, psychologist about Asperger's diagnosis, old local authority where I was in care...

And I'd split up from the chap I was seeing at the time.  So it all went on the back burner.

But then I saw an ad for foster carers through a private agency, and I filled in the online forms... didn't hear anything for about three months, but then I got a phone call.  It was the worst timing.  On the Friday before, I'd been to my GP, who had prescribed antidepressants.  On the Monday, I received the phone call from the private agency, asking if I was still interested in fostering.

She spent about 20 minutes on the phone with me, asking why I wanted to foster, and I explained about fertility problems and I'd been in care as a teenager, so it was something I'd always wanted to, she asked about my family, and I explained about my complicated background, and she said it wouldn't rule me out, but obviously they'd have to investigate and get reports, and when I explained that I've been unemployed since my last contract ran out, but I've been looking for work (thinking that they'd frown on me being unemployed and not being able to financially support a child, thinking they'd tell me to come back when I'd got a job), instead that seemed a good thing, because they prefer it if people don't have other jobs, so that they're available for the children... so the conversation was going fairly well, until she asked about my health and mentioned medical assessments, and I explained I have an Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis, and she didn't know anything about it because she asked if I was having any treatment for it, so I briefly explained that it's not an illness or anything, and in fact, if they have any Aspie or ADHD or other spectrum kids I might be able to better understand them... and she wasn't put off by that...

But then I mentioned that I'd just been prescribed antidepressants by my GP.  And that was it.  Pretty much conversation closed.  She told me that they wouldn't consider me as I'd just started taking medication and they needed to see how things worked out (in fact, I hadn't even collected the prescription, hadn't started taking them, and I told her I hadn't really wanted them but just accepted the prescription the GP had given me, I'm kicking myself now).  She said she'd phone me back in about six months, but she didn't say that very convincingly and I don't reckon I'll ever hear from them again.

So it seems as though I'm in a Catch 22 situation.  I'm depressed because I have fertility problems and can't have a family, and also I've been out of work and that's causing me financial problems (threatened with prison for non-payment of council tax).  But if I got a job to pay my bills, I wouldn't be eligible for fostering.  And I'm depressed because infertility problems mean I can't start a family, and because I'm depressed, I'm not eligible for fostering.

If I was eligible for fostering and could be a part of a family, then maybe I wouldn't be so bloody depressed! But they don't see it like that.  It seems really crazy, when I keep reading loads of articles about a shortage of foster parents and seeing adverts for local authority and private fostering agencies, and I have two spare bedrooms... but I can't foster. :(

And to top it all off. The chap who was living with me this time last year, when I found out about my really low AMH levels, but he told me it didn't matter, he didn't have to have more children, I've just heard that he's now seeing someone else and trying to start a family.  Ouch! 

Bop

  • Guest
Big ((hugs))

It sounds as though you're having a really tough time of it atm and I can see why this stumbling block seems so big. 

However, putting my SW hat on, I can also see why they are saying wait - depression isn't a barrier to fostering but they do need to know its under control and having sought help will be seen as a positive in the long run.  Fostering is very demanding so you need to be in a good place when you start for it to be successful - after all the kids are likely to be very damaged and need an extra special sort of parenting. 

If I were in your shoes, I'd keep looking for a job - after all once you are approved to foster you can always give it up at that stage and hopefully by then you'll be back on your feet. 

One day you will make an excellent foster carer as your life experiences are in valuable, but for now, concenrtate on getting yourself sorted, so you can do a fab job sooner. 

Bop

Offline Lulu40

  • Jr. Member
  • **
Thanks for replying Bop.  I know you're only commenting about the generalities, but that seems insane!

I've been unemployed now for 15 months.  I'm 41 and work in an industry that's notoriously youth-obsessed, so I feel like I'm on the scrapheap. 

It might take me another year or two to find a job, or I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to fear I perhaps won't ever work again, because I've lost count of the number of jobs I've applied for where I've met pretty much all the selection criteria but never heard back.

But basically what you're saying is that as soon as I find a job, as a 'professional' person with a career rather an an unemployed 'doley', then I'll somehow become a more suitable candidate for fostering...?

But then having spent maybe two or three years getting myself off the dole and back into work, then I'll be expected to give up that job?  That's crazy!

I'm not working now.  I could care for and give a home to a child now.  I own my own home, and I have two spare bedrooms.  But that's not good enough?  Because I'm not working.  So I have to get a job, become a 'professional' again, then apply to foster, then if/when I get approved and get allocated a child, then give up my job...  the system is f***ed.  It's just as f***ed as when I was in care a couple of decades ago. 

And in the meantime, loads of kids are being increasingly and irreversibly institutionalised in care homes.  It makes me really sad to think of what's happening to kids in care who I could give a home to, especially because I know what's happening, and I know what they're going through.  I know that many of the older children in care homes will be being exposed to a life of drugs and solvent abuse, crime, prostitution, absconding, youth offender institutes...  for social workers to collude in a system whereby they'd rather keep a child institutionalised in those kind of circumstances, when there's an alternative, well, that's practically tantamount to child abuse in my eyes.

Bop

  • Guest
Big ((hugs)) as you sound very bitter about your experiences and angry with the whole situation. 

Whether or not you have job will make no difference to your ability to be a good foster carer, but your depression might.  The only reason I suggested the job, is because you said it was contributing to your depression and you hadn't previosuly mentioned how hard finding another job has been?  You do need to have the depression under control before applying to foster and having just gone on to anti-depressants, the social workers need to see their effect, before you can progress.  The whole approval process for fostering or adoption is full of frustrations and waiting, so I'd try and have something else to focus on whilst you wait, as they are bound to be plenty more! 

I am sorry my first reply upset you further - I was trying to help, as I am with this. 

Bop

Offline Old Timer

  • Gold Member
  • *****
Hi

Sorry to hear you are having a rough time.  I'm sure you could offer a great home to some children that need it but I do think you need to get the depression under control first.  Have you started taking the pills?  Would natural remedies be worth trying?

Yes, it is depressing going through many years of wanting a family and not being able to have one - think we all know how that feels to some degree or other - but having a family when you are not in the right mind set, especially fostering or adopting, wouldn't be good for you or any children.  Children in Care do come with a lot of issues and they need the adults to be 110% there for them, able to deal with or access help for any problem, you just cannot do that if you are depressed, in fact you would be likely to suffer worse depression as a result.

It sounds as though you have a lot to offer and could make a good foster carer but it also sounds as though you have a number of issues you need to sort out first so you have the strength to help.  Unfortunately the care system is not perfect by a long shot and all anyone can do is the best for the children involved but until then it is full of highs and lows and frustrations.  The waiting can be frustrating, delays are part of the process, SS work at their speed and nothing will ever speed that up.

I hope I don't upset you further with my post, its not meant to.  If fostering is something you are determined to do, you will get there but YOU need to be well first.
OT x

Offline Lulu40

  • Jr. Member
  • **
Bop, I'm not bitter about my experiences.  What happened to me happened.  What's history is history.  That cannot be changed.

What I am bitter about is the thought that nothing has changed since I left care, that there are still children who are being further institutionalised when there are people like me who are willing and able to give them a home.  Well, actually, not bitter.  Angry.  Infuriated, in fact.  It infuriates me to think that there are children languishing in children's homes, thinking that 'society' has failed and is failing them and no one gives a poop about them.  But some people do give a poop.  People like me.  But they don't know that, so they're going off the rails and further reducing their life chances.

I'm angry because I know exactly what's happening in children's homes on any given night of the week.  Teenage girls will be being preyed upon and abused by predatory males.  Children will be absconding and staying with dodgy characters in drug dens.  Children will be going out and committing burglary and they'll be TWOC'ing (Taking WithOut Consent) and 'joyriding' and possibly dying amid car crashes or drug overdoses.  Because that's the reality for many children in care.  I know, because I've been there, done that (well, not done that really, more like seen it done, I hasten to add).

No, I haven't started taking the pills, because I know pills are not the solution.  Pills will not create the family environment I crave to be a part of and sustain.

No, Old Timer, I think you're wrong.  I don't think that I will get there, because it doesn't matter how much you want to be a foster parent or how determined you are.  I think that the fact I've been in care and my family background is therefore complicated is precisely the reason why any application I make to be a foster parent will not be approved, because I will be deemed unsuitable, even though I believe I have a lot to offer, because I have experienced what they're going through.

And in the meantime, local authorities and private foster care agencies will continue advertising for foster parents, articles will continue to be written about a nationwide shortage of foster parents, and in the meantime my two spare bedrooms will remain empty.  As will I.  I'll continue to have that empty feeling, continue to be live every moment conscious of the void in my life where a family ought to be.

Offline Old Timer

  • Gold Member
  • *****
WOW!!!!!

Wish I'd never bothered to reply to you now but I wanted to offer some support and encouragement.  You are definately angry, not saying you don't have a right to be, but you need to sort that out as that would be no good to any children let alone one that has been in care.

You've obviously had some pretty bad experiences in your time in care and I am sorry that you have had to go through that but those experiences would help with fostering or adoption IF you have resolved and healed from them which I don't think you have and if half of what you have said here came across the same to a SW then I can see why they wouldn't take you forward.

I hope you find some peace with your situation.
Ot

Bop

  • Guest
I'm sorry you feel like that LuLu.

I don't think there is anymore I can say, but I hope you find your peace. 

Bop

 

Free Butterfly PIN

Butterfly Pin

Everyone who donates gets a free discreet butterfly pin.
Many of our members are using these to help spot each other at clinics and group meetups!

* Search



Recent Topics


Suggested Reads!

SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal