Sorry for the deluge of posts after the silence! I had been very mysterious about a couple of things before going away but the summary is I'd applied for a job, had a telephone interview while I was away, but didn't get it. I should hear this week whether my work is going to give me a sabbatical but if they don't, although I will be complaining vociferously (there are equal opps issues) that should mean we are staying put and not just doing the training and approval process for foster care, but actually going ahead with some placements, in 2008. If we did go away on sabbatical we'd probably get the training and approval out of the way before we went, but no placements.
I think you need to reconfirm your approval annually, so we'd then need to be reconfirmed when we returned. But that wouldn't be a big deal. And by that time we would probably have decided whether that is our long-term future or whether we want to switch to adoption - but I'd be happy to do the respite foster caring while we went through adoption approval.