Growing up it was never just our family for dinner. Often on Sunday nights we would have all sorts of guests over for what was usually a traditional roast. I remember there being teachers, my parents work colleagues, extended family and friends. I termed the nights Random Sundays. This was owing to the fact when we rocked up for dinner we were never sure who was going to be there sharing the meal and conversation with us.
It was wonderful talking and sharing with all these interesting, inspiring people, some were down on their luck seeking companionship and relief from life’s pressures, others were full of vitality needing an opportunity to impart their energies further. Whatever the case, we always had something to talk about.
Recently, Joe and I have been having discussions about the mark we are leaving in our world, and what we wanted to achieve. Mum and dad’s influence obviously left a huge impression on me and I was at a point in my life where I felt i needed to give back, and do unto others. My obvious choice was re-creating Random Sundays.
But re-creating it wasn’t enough for me, but I chose that to explore further. Thinking about the role modelling i wanted to show our children, as well as the big life lessons I wanted to teach them, it soon led me down the path of investigating foster care.
My initial discussions with Joe weren’t all that positive. He didn’t think it was necessary for us to go “this far” and was concerned about the negative possibilities that could result. All I could so was that this would help us in providing our children with a real experience of helping one another, and of appreciating their life and understanding how others aren’t as fortunate.
We signed up for some information nights and Joe still wasn’t too keen. He was happy to proceed with looking into it as long as he felt he could back out at any point through the registration process. With this in mind, we signed him up to complete the training first.
In the ACT to be a foster carer you need to undergo and complete a Certificate IV in protective and out of home care. Its a pretty intense course that aims to highlight the complexity, the reality and benefits and possible consequences of foster care. You go to this and no way you can say you didn’t know what you were signing up for!
So we attended the course. Joe finished the course a few weeks ago and my final day was today. I think its fair to say it motivated both of us to continue on this journey. While Joe still has his hesitations, he understands that there are vunerable children out there that need stability, consistency and love that we are in a position to provide.
We are looking at respite care. This is for when families or foster families require a bit of a break for whatever reason. We would receive child into our care for a weekend a month and perhaps a week during the school holidays more or less. Its a negotiation between the families (us and them) and allows us a some flexibility as well as a glimpse into the bigger world of foster caring and if we are indeed cut out for longer term stuff.
Its a bit daunting, a bit exciting, and quite overwhelming, but every one of those feelings feels right, like we are making the right move. This decision has brought Joe and I closer together, forcing us to understand and agree upon our short and long term goals. Its forced us to evaluate our own parenting styles and behaviours.
So while we may not carry on the tradition of random sundays, we will have the experience of sharing meals with “extras” and hopefully we will be able to bring to them as much joy as the opportunity they will be bringing to us.