Our first fostering placement
The change was rapid, and we were worried. One weekend shift Ben decided to investigate and turned up at her house to find her in a very difficult and upsetting situation which I cannot go into. Things went from bad to worse for Samantha and at 2am one night we received a call from the police station asking us to come down. Samantha had named us as her guardians.
We didn’t contradict her, and after a brief explanation she was released into our care. Our life quickly transformed and all of a sudden included parenting and social workers.
We were now responsible for her education and her well-being.
To say we had a dramatic and drastic learning curve is quite an understatement. The following years with Samantha were both wonderful and also difficult. Being thrown in the deep end without any training.
Dealing with a traumatised and neglected teenager meant we made many mistakes but actually when I look back, we muddled through.
Samantha left us on her 16th birthday and we didn’t see her again for years. We got snippets of information from mutual acquaintances, and when she finally surfaced years later on social media we became cautious friends.
Samantha is married now and has two children of her own. She is working and qualified in the field we trained her in and sends regular updates on her two little girls.
She doesn’t quite know how to refer to us when we meet; sometimes I’m an auntie, and sometimes I’m a long-lost friend, but I am never her foster carer.
Our baptism into the field of fostering was a scary, intimidating but a very rewarding one. A few years later Ben and I decided we wanted to be foster carers but this time we wanted to do it properly. We knew we needed training and support which is something we didn’t get in our earlier experience. So, as we would with anything else, we shopped around.
How we chose who to foster with
We chose an agency over an LA because the level of training can be higher, and we chose Nexus fostering from other agencies because of their outstanding OFSTED report, the relevant and regular training offered as standard and their exceptional support package.
My very first phone call to Nexus was positive and clarified some of the uncertainties I had carried around the idea of fostering.
I was concerned that I had been married and divorced: Was that a mark against me?
At the time I didn’t own my own home: Would that matter?
I had a very large dog: Would that be a problem?
But my biggest concern was I didn’t have my own children at the time, and I assumed they would only want foster carers who were parents.
My initial concerns were immediately put to rest. Of course, there would be a more in-depth introduction meeting followed by a Skills to Foster course, and if that was successful then we would move on to the official Form F assessment which all foster carers in the UK have to undertake.
Since then we’ve had some amazing children in our lives (and still do) and been able witness to some inspiring and life changing events for us and the children.
Would I do it all over again, given the choice? In a heartbeat.
If you think you could become a foster carer, or would like some more information call us today on 0800 289 0143.