Sam and Steve - Teachers to Foster Carers
08 January 2024
08 January 2024
Sam and Steve had considered fostering for over a decade, and after both having worked with children, they decided to begin fostering to support children more 1-1 and haven't looked back since.
My partner and I were very keen on fostering as we both have a passion for helping others. My partner, Steve, is a teacher, and I, at the time, was working as a Teaching Assistant in a first school. I also have a best friend who fosters, and I just loved hearing about his journey. We have two children of our own. We also have two cats and two dogs and love spending time with friends and family. During our holidays, we love nothing more than to go camping to enjoy the outdoors and participate in fun activities with the kids.
We began exploring the idea of fostering roughly 12 years ago, but in the end, what consolidated our decision to foster was when I was asked to work with a child who needed a 1-to-1 TA. I was asked to take this position because this particular child struggled to remain in a mainstream school and displayed extremely challenging behaviour due to his home life.
I found my job far more rewarding working 1-to-1 with the child than with a whole class of children. Each day that this child achieved one small thing was a huge success.
However, this was not always smooth sailing as he did often hit out at me, run off, throw things, bit me and often had to be helped to keep himself and others in school safe. Regardless, I did not let this behaviour stop us from building a relationship. Over time, trust built, and I was able to educate him for small periods and help him experience new interests. This was around the year of 2016. Still, to this day, that child (now young person) smiles and says hello to me.
It is important when fostering to make sure that everyone in the household and your support network is fully aware of the process and the journey you will all go on. It is also important for everyone to be mindful that your life will be a little different when fostering.
It is essential that everyone in the household is happy to foster because it is not just going to affect the adults. Fostering must be done as a team.
There may be times when meetings, contact with foster children’s birth family, events etc may prevent your family from making other plans during that time. Therefore, compromises may need to be made. Aside from that, it is also important for foster carers to have a good support network around them. There will be times when you need someone to look after the children/young people for you to have a break. Time for yourself is key.
Once approved, we completed seven days of respite for a 15-year-old girl. A few months later, we had our first foster child, which was five and a half years ago now, and he is still here as a part of our family. This past year, we have also moved house and opened our home to more foster children by offering more respite. We have so far had a five-year-old, non-verbal autistic little boy who has come for respite on several occasions now. Recently, we did 12 nights of respite for a 15-year-old young person whilst his carers were away. We are currently doing bridging for the same 15-year-old while he finds somewhere more permanent to stay.
Our biggest enjoyment is seeing our foster children achieve, develop, and build relationships.
For many people, these are all basics in life, but for our foster children, these things can be challenging. This is why, as a family, we celebrate any successes and achievements. More than anything, we love to make a difference. Even if we only help a few children & young people, it all makes a difference.
Find out more about the challenges, rewards and the love we have for fostering - Sam and Steve - 'Fostering is the most rewarding job I have ever and will ever do' | Nexus Fostering
08 January 2024