We've been waiting over a week since panel for an independent decision maker to ratify the decision. We were told it would take 1-2 weeks so hopefully we'll hear on Monday or Tuesday, and then our first placement should follow as soon as possible after that, provided they agree with the recommendation.
The waiting at each stage of the process has been hard, especially the unknown element. We've been trying to explain it to people who ask how we're doing by saying that it feels like we're pregnant without a due date, but of course we don't know what age our first placement will be either, so it's not like we can really fully prepare. There's now a cot in our room and bunk beds in the spare room (our preference is 0-8 years), we've bought bits and pieces of equipment, toys and emergency clothes for various ages, and we have a high chair and a buggy downstairs. I'll mention at this point that although we will get a payment back from social services toward the larger items we need to purchase (like furniture, a steriliser, a baby monitor, car seat etc.) they don't go anywhere near covering the cost of one that you would actually buy, so you always need to supplement the cost as well as making the initial outlay. Fostering is definitely not something you go into if you're in it for the money!