Our 10 years of fostering
31 May 2023
31 May 2023
Mel and Colin's Story
Myself and Colin have been fostering for ten years with Nexus, and have seen them grow as an agency. We have cared for 27 placements since we started and are still in touch with many young people we have looked after.
What made you want to foster?
I always wanted to foster – I remember seeing something on TV when I was little about a group of siblings who were taken into care and separated. I remember how this stayed with me, and I have thought about how I can help children like this. I came from a big family when I was growing up, and my mum always had an open-door policy for other children in the community and remembered how lovely it was to have a busy home and a great sense of community.
What challenges and positives have you found from fostering?
I found it challenging when some of the young people lashed out. That has been tough for me. I have struggled with this, but with support from my Nexus social workers and training on how to avoid/deal with these situations, we feel equipped for those rare occasions. Another challenge I found in our time as foster carers are getting the children to see themselves the way we, as carers, see them. I have seen so much light and how amazing our foster children are, but I find it challenging to make the young people see that in themselves and help them improve their self-esteem and give them confidence.
The biggest positive to fostering is the relationships we have formed with the children, which have maintained into adulthood with many of the children we have looked after. For example, one young person we cared for on a respite basis has since been to university and now has a successful sporting career which we sometimes attend games and watch them.
Myself and Colin and our two children have loved having foster children in our home. It has opened our eyes to new experiences, people from all walks of life, and the fun of having young people within the family home. Fostering has taught us patience and how we wish she could help everyone.
How have your birth children adapted to becoming a fostering family?
We have two birth children who love having foster children in the home. Our son has always been involved with our foster children, and we believe it has been a great growing experience. He was four when we started fostering, and growing up with the whole process has been a big positive for him.
What advice would you give to people thinking about fostering?
It's essential to know and respect your boundaries, as fostering has its challenges, and it's okay to know where your limits are, as this makes you a better, more self-aware carer. Also, don't sweat the small stuff, and pick your battles! We think foster carers should be patient and resilient, and having a good sense of humour is a must! Everyone brings something different to fostering. If someone thinks they have something to offer, they should go for it.
How have you found being apart of the Nexus Fostering team?
Nexus has been like a family to us for the last ten years – we have loved getting to know other carers, social workers, and family support workers. The agency's growth has been wonderful, with training and resources improving, but we do not feel like small fish in a big pond which can sometimes happen in larger organisations. The support we have received from Nexus is outstanding.
31 May 2023