Growing up in a fostering household as a birth child - My experiences
06 July 2023
06 July 2023
Amy grew up in a fostering household from a young age. Due to her experiences this sparked her interest in wanting to help others. Since then Amy has gone onto become a Social Worker with Nexus Fostering and runs the birth child participation events for the Three Counties team.
Do you remember how you felt when your parents told you they were going to foster?
As I was growing up, our neighbours were foster carers, so I have been around foster children for as long as I can remember. I am an only child, and I remember asking my Mum and Dad to foster so that I could have someone to play with! My parents made the decision to foster when I was about 13. They chose to foster mostly babies, often caring for those withdrawing from drugs. I remember feeling very excited at the idea of a little baby coming into our home for us to care for and love, but also feeling a little bit nervous.
How did you adapt to becoming a fostering family?
For the first few weeks, it did feel strange having another little one in the home. However, after a few weeks, this settled down. Having younger ones in the house again was a great excuse to go on family days out that I was probably a bit too old for by that point which was great!
It was a bit more challenging as I got older and reached my GCSE and A-level years, as little ones can be noisy. However, I spoke with my parents about how I felt, and they raised my feelings with their supervising social worker to ensure things were put in place to support me through my exams. This included things like slightly changing a child’s nursery hours, so I had a bit of time after school to revise in a quiet home.
Things did change in the home, but I feel these were all positive changes.
How long did you live in the household when your parents were fostering?
For around ten years, although I went to university during this time.
Tell us a bit about some great memories of living in a fostering household?
I have so many fond memories of fostering, and there is no doubt my experiences have shaped who I am today. One of my favourite memories is of a child we cared for from a baby for a couple of years who then moved on to their forever family.
Approximately ten years after they moved on, they were looking through the memory box and photo album we made for them. They then asked to meet us again, which we did!
Meeting with them ten years after they moved to their forever family and seeing how much they had flourished in that time was incredible.
Did you ever struggle with any part of the process, or any challenges that come with living in a fostering household?
When a foster child moved on, it was always difficult, but we always made it very clear that it was never goodbye; it was a “see you later!”. On the day a child moved on, we would always make sure we planned something as a family, and that always included going out for a yummy breakfast at a specific café. We would spend the day together and share our favourite stories and memories of our time caring for the child.
You’re now a social worker, would you mind letting us know why you chose to go down this route?
Growing up in a fostering household definitely encouraged me to follow this career path. I loved being a part of a fostering family and seeing the difference we were able to make to a baby or young child. I wanted to be able to use my experience to support other foster carers in their fostering journey.
What advice would you give to birth children living in a fostering household who might be new to it?
I would always encourage a child to speak to their parents and their supervising social worker about how they are feeling, both the good and the bad! It does feel a bit scary at first, but that is completely normal!
What advice would you give to someone considering becoming a social worker?
I would always encourage someone wanting to be a social worker to get some experience first. Explore employment or volunteer opportunities that will allow you to gain experience and understanding before starting university. I also encourage anyone starting their degree to get a good head start on reading social work books, as you will be grateful when it comes to writing assignments!
Anything else you wish to tell us?
Over at the Three Counties office, we have recently started organising events every couple of months just for birth children. We would love to see as many birth children attend these events as possible, so we would encourage birth children to share any ideas of what we could do with us! As I was growing up, one of my friend’s parents was also a foster carer. Having a friend who understood how it felt when a foster child arrived or when a child moved on was a great support to me and is something I’d love our birth children to have.
Get in touch if you want to start making a positive difference like Amy and her family did - Why Choose Us? | Nexus Fostering
06 July 2023