10 years of long term fostering
09 March 2023
09 March 2023
AJ and Jayne's Story
Disclaimer: child names have been changed to protect identities.
AJ and his partner Jayne, have been foster carers with Nexus for 10 years. In there time with us, they have had the same foster child, Sarah from when she was 5 years old. Sarah arrived in 2012 with her older brother Simon, who stayed with AJ until he was 16 where he then moved on back to his birth mother.
AJ’s fostering journey has been a huge success with some challenges along the way, but a long, happy and stable placement for Sarah.
AJ and Jayne decided to foster back in 2012 when they found out they couldn’t have children of their own. They considered adoption but were told they were too old to take in a younger child! Jayne wanted to foster because she wanted to care and nurture a child, and because of their age adoption wasn’t the best fit for them. Before becoming a foster carer full time, AJ was a pig farmer, but lost his livelihood when a fire burnt down part of his farm and livestock. Both of them were looking for a new purpose in their lives in different ways, which led them to fostering.
Despite AJ and Jayne’s placement having lasted 10 years, fostering still had its challenges. All children that come into care have experienced some trauma and this can sometimes present itself in hard to manage situations and behaviours. However, with the support and training from Nexus and camaraderie of other carers, AJ has felt equipped and capable to handle these challenges. Sarah was still having contact with her birth family, and as she matured and had more of an understanding of her situation, this started to become challenging for her and she wanted to cease contact with her birth family as she was feeling it was causing her and her birth family distress. AJ had always championed Sarah being in touch with her birth family but could see how she didn’t want to anymore and he listened and contacted relevant professionals.
AJ also struggled with understanding the unpredictability of fostering. Despite Sarah living with them for 10 years, changes were still possible and situations could change. AJ and Jayne love Sarah as if she were part of their family and although unlikely, during difficult times in the placement it was hard to accept Sarah could move back to mum or another foster carer if she chose to. Sarah had some trust issues when she came to live with AJ and Jayne, but now they feel they have a great connection and understanding with each other.
They love and care about Sarah , and love the rapport they have built over the 10 years. She has just become part of their family. Another big positive about fostering was the support AJ received from Nexus. Our team of social workers were always at the end of the phone, to provide reassurance and support when needed. This support has been there from the very beginning of his fostering journey.
When AJ first went to panel to approve them as foster carers, AJ was turned down due to some historic mental health issues. When this happened, Grace our founder and head of the agency stepped in, as Agency decision maker and overturned the decision after further fact finding. From every aspect of our agency AJ was supported and encouraged by Nexus as we could see what a valuable and incredible foster carer he was going to be alongside Jayne. The social workers, managers, admin staff and other foster carers have made his fostering experience the best he could ask for.
When thinking about any skills or advice he would give to anyone thinking about fostering, AJ talked of the importance of patience, and being able to take a step back and be able to remain objective, especially when emotions are running high. He also said support groups, formal and informal training, are so important on your fostering journey.
If you think you could offer a great life for a child who comes into care, with yourself and your family, enquire with Nexus Fostering today.
09 March 2023