Fostering: A birth child's story
19 June 2023
19 June 2023
Fostering: A birth child’s story:
Aminah’s parents have been fostering for 4 years now and in total have had 15 children and two mothers in their care so far. Aminah speaks about when her parents spoke to her about the idea of them fostering.
‘We were gathered in the living room and my parents asked everyone if we would be okay with people living in our house and us helping them. I was more than happy for children to come as I knew I would be able to have someone to play with and do art as well as have fun outside at the park or garden.’
The birth children of foster carers play a big part in foster care; welcoming children into their home, supporting and caring for them, and being a friend when they need it the most. A common question from people thinking about becoming foster carers is, ‘What effect fostering could have on my own children?’. Birth children can also have questions and worries prior to a new placement. Will my parents be more strict? Will we do fewer things now as a family? Will the family dynamic change? Will I have to be more responsible?...
Aminah was 8 years old when her parents, Jehan and Ansar, had their first placement. Prior to fostering, Ansar was an electrical engineer and Jehan had been a teacher for much of her career.
The family’s first placement was a refugee who couldn’t speak any English, so they used Google Translate and pictures of food, drinks, and clothes to communicate. Aminah has remained supportive and positive throughout her family’s fostering journey, as no two children are ever the same. Aminah currently has 3 siblings placed in her home, aged 5,7 & 10 years old, and have been with the family for nearly 1 year. ‘I have a positive and healthy relationship with the current children as we can get along by sharing and playing. On a day-to-day basis, I help with keeping them busy by playing with them in the garden and watching TV together’.
Birth children can experience challenges when a new child is bought into their home from sharing their parent’s affection and time, to the inconsistency of placements and adjusting to different cultures and behaviours. Birth children can experience grief and loss when foster children leave their families. However, many fostering families say it has helped their birth children become more accepting of others and embrace differences rather than be fearful of it. From race and religion to sexuality and identity, meeting people with different views and outlooks is a great impact of fostering on birth children. Aminah speaks highly of her experience and relationship with the siblings.
‘I have learned more skills such as better management, sharing, and helping and I am more confident. The positive benefits of living in a foster family are that I always have someone to play with. I get help learning to make new dishes as all children have many different tastes and preferences and I’m never bored.’
Birth children are recognised for their crucial role within the family unit at Nexus Fostering. We ensure they are supported and involved throughout the process and can join in on many activities and days out Nexus Fostering holds. Aminah feels supported by Nexus Fostering, ‘they hold fun activities to do during the holidays and add in competitions’. At Nexus Fostering we understand the crucial role birth children have on the looked after children and can often prevent placement breakdown as well as aiding in the recruitment process in the future. Birth children have continuous support from our Nexus One Family, to feedback contributions during the annual review.
Jo, Aminah’s’ Family’s supervising social worker explains how Aminah has taken so well to the role of her foster siblings ‘Aminah is the youngest of three siblings, her brother is 6 years older and her sister is 9 years older, being the youngest sibling Aminah’s initial motivation to foster was to have younger children in the home so she had someone to play with and wasn’t the youngest in the family! As Aminah has grown and developed, she has taken on a much more mature role of the older sister. Aminah now enjoys supporting her younger foster siblings with their homework, helping them to grow in their independence and she is an excellent advocate for her foster siblings. It has been lovely to watch Aminah’s journey through fostering, the positive impact this has had on not only her own confidence and self-esteem, but also as an excellent role model in supporting her foster siblings in building on their confidence and self-esteem.’
We asked Aminah what advice she would give a birth child struggling within a foster family?
‘I would reassure them by saying that of course it won’t be easy at first, and things will seem scary, but they should know that they are known in a household of love and care. I would remind them that they are surrounded by people that won’t judge or make fun of them in anything they do. I’d encourage them to think that they should be free to ask for any necessities or fun activities they want to do since they live in an open and respectful household. Most importantly, I would tell them to have fun!’
It’s important to recognise that the birth children of foster carers’ wellbeing will always be paramount, and at Nexus Fostering, we’ll work closely with you to ensure we facilitate an appropriate match between a foster child and your own family.
Are you thinking of fostering but worried about the impact on your birth children? As with any major life change, a period of transition is to be expected. Nonetheless, when you build, a loving environment that supports foster children and birth children alike, it can be rewarding for all the family. For more information on fostering or supporting your birth children, call us today.
19 June 2023