The Modern Day Foster Carer- Part 1- The Process to Become Foster Carers
29 July 2023
29 July 2023
Just the beginning...
Halima, 32 and Adam, 37 are the pinnacle of a ‘modern-day foster carer’, fostering a 16-year-old boy alongside their birth children, a nearly 2-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son. They speak about growing together as a family and how wonderfully successful their fostering journey has been, but how it’s also a very peculiar journey, maybe not necessarily your typical story. Their passion for a therapeutic approach to parenting is evident with a positive desire for this to translate across the board for all fostering. Just like any fostering journey, they have had highs and lows, but their reflection on their personal and family journey is an inspiring one.
Halima and Adam were approved as foster carers nearly 5 years ago, offering respite care for the first few years.
‘Respite worked very well originally because I guess we saw ourselves providing this intense, fun, almost holiday experiences, being able to build significant memories for these children. We would have a weekend or week and, it would be a holiday and that was what we felt comfortable with’.
They also described their first year as ‘a traumatic and tricky year’, speaking about the struggle with how the referrals were coming in and trying to balance the logistics of work the next day. ‘You are exposed to reading these heavy referrals and you have to really consider whether you think that you are suitable or not, weighing up what you can offer that child and if you are the right home for them’. Nerves played a huge part, fostering was so new to them, with their birth son only young at the time and differing work circumstances. ‘We hadn’t done it before; it was almost like we don’t want to try out on them because that’s not fair, so we really had to think if we could commit’.
Can we commit to this?
‘I think having done the respite, we had other carers along the way, done more training, and felt part of the community a bit more. It opened our eyes to the realities of it, obviously, it’s different to doing it, but until you do it, you don’t know what it’s going to be like’. ‘We had the chance to think realistically, what could we do day to day, the routine of that child, is the school far away?’.
With the support of Nexus Fostering, they had the opportunity to really consider what was possible for them and where they were in their life.
‘The reality is you can read it on a piece of paper, but until you are trying it, it’s different what can you stretch to’. A year passed after numerous respite placements; they welcomed their first long-term placement.
‘You don’t want to let the child down, it’s such a big process but look at what you get at the end of it’. ‘You get another family member essentially is what it comes down to’.
They both felt ready to move into something ‘which was much more day to day’, learning and adjusting throughout the process, ‘the nature of what we were going to offer or how we saw ourselves as carers had to adjust as well’. Halima & Adam spoke highly about the support of Nexus Fostering throughout the process.
‘The support of Nexus was great because often you have to make decisions very quickly. There’s a lot thrown onto your plate to decide about, and you have the best intentions, but there’s a lot of stuff that can be very overwhelming. You sometimes have to be careful what you say yes to’.
Halima and Adam spoke about the nerves they had prior to taking on a placement and the life-changing decisions they had to make, ‘Nexus and our supporting social worker, guided us through, making us feel empowered about making decisions, we had no experience, but we were empowered by Nexus in terms of seeing what we could offer. I guess Nexus saw what we had that we didn’t recognise we had, and it kind of pushed us a little in a positive way. It felt safe and just beyond our comfort zone in the right kind of way’. ‘Having an agency, was a big part of that because we felt protected at all points, we felt we had a team that could support us’.
29 July 2023