From care worker to foster carer
24 February 2023
24 February 2023
What made you want to foster? Tell me a bit about yourself and what you did before?
I am 60 this year. I have two sons, 34 & 30, & 5 grandchildren. I had thought about fostering since 2009 after my husband separated, I went into caring for others, and palliative care was a privilege, which gave me the patience to cope with most things, so I decided to foster. I can do this on my own.
What has been the biggest surprise about fostering?
The priceless moment money cannot buy is not what you give the children. It's more about what they give you. A new purpose to your life, the reward of the love they show you for the smallest things that money can't buy. From when they show you that love as they go out the front door or when you put them to bed. You forget the moment that has been a trigger to them by a previous memory, that might have caused them to be upset while you hold them tight in your arms, feeling them relax into them, making them feel safe.
Do you have a support network around you? If yes, who supports you?
I have lifelong friends and family. Jan, my social worker, is always at the end of the phone. The support groups and training also can give more insight when talking to other foster carers. Building a good relationship with the school is worth its weight in gold. But I take time out for me to recharge my batteries as well.
How did you adapt to becoming foster carers? Do you remember when you were matched with your first foster child, how did you feel, did you feel prepared?
I had many referrals, and you want to say yes to everyone single one of them. You might only sometimes hear something straight after the referral comes to you because they have been matched with another foster carer. Getting the right match is so important, and I wanted siblings from the beginning, aged 4 to 11. I don’t think anything prepares you for that call. I got the call at 3pm, and the siblings arrived at 7pm with no history and two bags of their belongings. I made sure I had done lots of reading and training to prepare myself as much as possible so that you could think, great, I can put it all into practice. You cannot compare fostering to the parenting of your biological children, I found it much harder but more rewarding in so many ways. It put a spring in my step, taking me to places I had shared with my sons when they were small, but this time I took my time to enjoy the moment. I am older and wiser now, so I took the chance to enjoy every moment and cherished the time I had with the children.
It is not the material things that you can give a child. It is your time to understand a child, have patience with them, and allow them to feel a sense of belonging
What top tips would you give to someone considering fostering?
Go for it. You might surprise yourself! I chose Nexus because of their Ofsted outstanding rating and the support they offer their foster carers. Stick to routines and boundaries and adapt to whatever situation they throw at you. Also, be able to laugh, have fun and have a good sense of humour.
Anything else you would like to add?
Make sure you ask questions. There is never a silly one. Nothing will prepare you for some situations, and you ask yourself what do I do now? Sometimes it is difficult if the child rejects you at first and finds it hard to settle into the home. It can be scary, but I would not change that moment for the world. I took my time to get my second placement, as getting the right match was very important. I said I would never have a teenager, but I cared for a 15-year-old when he came to live with me, and now we all fit in perfectly. Again, I would want to keep everything the same about my fostering journey, and you always continue learning.
24 February 2023