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Published on: 2018-06-01 10:00:00
I have been fostering for 17 years, with 11 of these years with Nexus Fostering.
Fostering is very rewarding lets you be at home with the children. It gives the foster child a stable and safe family environment where they are free to grow, relax, thrive, and gain life skills to move on with their lives.
There are challenges, like depression self-harming in teenagers especially. Special needs children require 24/7 hard work and constant intervention and appointments.
You can’t deny these challenges, but when someone gives you a hug, or draws you a picture, or just smiles at you it is amazing. You can see such differences I the children too, and it is always great to achieve something new.
Thinking back, I remember a time when I was called to collect a new-born abandoned baby boy. He was beautiful; love at first sight!
After about 10 days he had sticky eye I took him doctors and got drops. 13 days on, and with his eye swelling up I took him straight to the hospital where I was put in a STD room (which I thought meant standard! 17 years of fostering have taught me a lot since then!)
The Doctor thought he had chlamydia and took swabs and sent me home to Essex. We got home and were called to urgently come back to hospital as the swabs identified it was gonorrhoea! He could go blind and brain damaged.
The baby stayed in hospital for a week then home and for 3 months weekly visits to hospital. At 11 months, 2 days before Christmas he was adopted by an amazing couple and is now a 15-year-old with big blue eyes. I feel very proud to have saved his sight!
Nexus are always at the end of the phone 24/7 if I’m worried or upset about anything my SSW (Supervising Social Worker) will come round and talk through options or just listen and we work out things together. You are never alone or unsupported.
Go into fostering with your eyes open, not just to help a child! All the children have complex problems which aren’t always known at first. You need to be organised and supported. It’s hard work, a lot of training meetings appointments etc.
You treat the child as part of your family and include them in everything, but always have to bear in mind they are not your child and you will need permission for countless things that, with your own child, you take for granted. Teach them life skills how to cope and love, love them while you have them then let them go, hopefully to a full and well balanced life.