We met Ben’s foster carers, John and Diana, during the Introduction period.

The first time we stepped inside John and Diana’s home we were catapulted into their chaotic family life, a house full of toys, and noise of children shouting from room to room. It looked very new and strange to us.

One thing I noticed was that in their bathroom there were at least 10 toothbrushes. By then I hadn’t met all the children, and the ones I did meet were all so busy getting ready for school that barely had the time to say hello; and that added to the slight feeling of being out of place.

We got to know John and Diana a little better during Introduction, and more after the adoption completed. Even today we often keep in touch, and arrange to meet at every chance we get.

I find there is something humble and noble about them. You can clearly see how proud they are, not for their own merits, but for the merits of the children they have fostered in their life. Their eyes light up at every name, at every memory, at every picture. They always have loving and kind words for each child who walked through their door, never hiding how difficult it has been to look after them at times.

They also still love each other. I noticed how in synch they are in their frantic routine, how they understand one another, and how they sweetly smile to each other almost to say “doesn’t matter how bad this morning is, we’ll get through it together“.

They are the warmest people you’ll be likely to meet, but their world was so very different from ours that initially it was difficult to carry on a simple conversation. What do people talk about in these cases? Well, once the weather has been fully assessed, they talk about work, and so did we.

John had spent the afternoon at some public event, trying to convince new families to consider fostering. Back then we knew very little about adoption, and virtually nothing about fostering. We knew what fostering was, more or less, and we could imagine how difficult it had to be. I think that’s what Diego was trying to say when he commented:

It must be difficult to convince people to leave their job to start fostering. It’s hard to sell that as a career move

It was an innocent comment, I think he was making an effort to be empathetic towards John, but there was nothing right about that comment, as John immediately pointed out to us:

Fostering is not a job. If you consider it a ‘career move’ your shouldn’t be doing it.

I don’t think I’m paraphrasing here; I remember his answer being so telegraphical, spoken in such a stern voice it was almost intimidating. The conversation moved away from the topic, and we carried on talking about the weather.

After two years from that nervous conversation, we finally understand what John meant and how far off the mark we were. There were other things we picked up immediately though: the passion for what John and Diana do and their dedication is impossible to miss, and it’s difficult not to be impress by someone who dedicate so much of their life to help and support others.

They were the biggest inspiration for what now Diego and I call “Project Scotland”. The idea was simple as much as naive. Sell the house, buy something bigger in some rural Scottish village, and dedicate our lives to something meaningful to us: fostering.

In the last two weeks, the plan has changed somewhat. For a start, we decided not to move to Scotland*. We don’t really know anyone there, and we will need all the help we can get at first. Another thing that has changed is that Diego won’t be leaving his job just yet; he will try to negotiate a 4 days work-week with his employer, for a little while at least.

So here we are. Yeah, the original plan has changed, but not what’s important about it: follow John and Diana’s footsteps, spend more time with our family, and become foster carers ourselves.

Wish us Guid Luck!

* Scotland, we’re so sorry. We loved you, but we are not ready yet.

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2 Comments

  1. Blogfox14 17th April 2016 Reply
    • Laura Boccaleone 17th April 2016 Reply

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