MY FIRST EXPERIENCES OF FOSTERING

I became an approved foster carer when my son had just started reception class.  I still remember the first child that stayed with us in our home. She was a bubbly four-month-old baby. Initially, I was full of excitement but also a little nervous. I had spent that entire week getting the room ready and making sure everything was perfect for her when she arrived. She stayed with us for around four months before returning back to live with her birth family.

The next child we welcomed into the family ended up staying with us for a year and a half, her brother joining us when he was just six days old.

Fostering has allowed me to build meaningful connections with people in my local community. I have made life-long friends with other foster carers through annual trips, support groups, and just being there for one another.

My son has told me how much he loves having children in the home because he likes to ‘cuddle’ and ‘take care of them’.  He has had a unique opportunity to be around children from a rich variety of backgrounds which has moulded him into a cultured, emotionally intelligent and appreciative young lad.

Recently, I was part of the education champions program with The Fostering Network. This program was developed to help support new foster carers to engage with their foster child’s education through reading at home schemes. In addition, I have attended Islington’s trauma training which has made me more self-aware about how to work with children and young people from diverse backgrounds.

Fostering is a life-transforming and rewarding experience. The Skills to Foster course equips potential carers with the knowledge and skills to face the challenges and commitments that fostering requires. I have been fortunate to have great support from my own mother and son’s dad. My supervising social worker has given me ongoing support and recently sent some useful resources to help children cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Writing this today, I have asked myself again ‘why do I want to become a foster parent?’  Having looked after six beautiful babies from different cultures and backgrounds, it makes me smile when I am sent a video and pictures of the sibling group I cared for. It brings me immense joy knowing that I was part of their life and now realise fostering is the best decision I could have ever made.