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'We don't feel like fostering is our job, fostering is something we love doing and our passion'

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Norfolk couple Elaine and Brian reached a fantastic milestone of an incredible 15 years of fostering, and we caught up with them to hear all about their journey.


From early on, Elaine had always been interested in fostering. At first, she and Brian had their own family and raised four children together, who are now adults themselves. Before fostering, the couple helped house foreign students and also helped with the YMCA by providing supported lodgings for people. After gaining experience from this and with Elaine still thinking about fostering, the couple decided to apply after hearing information about fostering on the radio.

Brain still works as a caretaker, but when at home, he helps the young people and supports the household. Elaine used to work with older adults but gave this up to foster as her full-time role, as at least one of you must be around to look after the children and young people. Elaine described looking after people 'as my passion and something I always loved to do' with Brain sharing ‘Fostering has been brilliant, as it comes naturally to us. We try to educate them and show them the different side of life that can be enjoyable and doesn’t have to be negative.’

Now, after 15 years of fostering, the couple shared their experiences and knowledge with us and they cannot believe how quickly the last 15 years have flown by. Since being approved as foster carers, they haven't looked back as Elaine told us, 'Fostering works for us both, and we love it', and with the couple having several spare rooms, they have taken care of many children over the years.

Elaine shared, 'you have to remember when you foster, the whole family is included, including the wider family, as they are involved with the children. We treat them like our own children, and we feel that is how it should be. It is vital to have a strong support network.' The couple recalled that since they have been fostering, their daughter saw the remarkable impact her parents had on young people's lives and has since become an approved foster carer herself. Elaine and Brian are thrilled as fostering means a lot to them, and they are proud of their daughter for taking the steps to help children herself.


Supporting siblings

Fostering siblings has always had a special place in Elaine and Brain's hearts, and at one point, they were taking care of a sibling group of three children, twins and their little brother, so they were kept busy, to say the least. Sometimes, siblings might be separated for a variety of reasons, so it is vital that sibling contact is kept consistent and positive. Elaine and Brian have done their fair share of supporting sibling contact over the years and understand the importance of helping build strong sibling bonds. The couple ensured they safeguarded the children and protected them by doing right by the sibling group.

A big part of the couple’s fostering journey was supporting twins from the age of 5 all the way up until 17 and 18 years of age. Elaine and Brian helped prepare the young people for independence and enjoyed every moment of this. Elaine shared, 'We helped prepare them for independent living by helping them learn how to do their washing, learning to cook, helping with finance, and we still help them now and keep in contact with them, which we love'. When young people head into independence and move out, it is vital they are taught all the skills possible that any young adult would need to know. Elaine and Brian miss having the twins around but share 'we still have visits from them both and love spending time with them.'


A therapeutic approach 

A significant memory of the couple's fostering journey was when their therapeutic fostering skills were put into practice.

One of the young people they took care of had additional needs, and the couple was supported with therapeutic fostering techniques that they had learnt. This is training that all foster carers can receive, but not all young people may need a therapeutic approach.

Elaine shared 'we found the therapeutic approach way of communication to be a very interesting way of learning and understanding different techniques to help. We were more hands-on with supporting and built a close bond; we loved him so much'. The couple supported this young boy for two years and considerably helped with his speech as he couldn't talk much when he arrived with them, along with having sensory needs, so both Elaine and Brain changed their communication style to help as much as they could.

 The young boy would open draws and cupboards, and once they had the therapeutic involvement, it helped amazingly with his sensory needs, helping with communicating with him therapeutically, which helped. The couple shared that 'we would ask the child to show us what he wanted rather than telling us as he struggled with this'. Elaine recalls one morning they had a fantastic breakthrough with the young boy when he first called out Elaine's name in the morning. Elaine jumped out in a flash, raced to his bedroom, and was overjoyed with this amazing achievement, which the couple called ‘a miracle, and there was no stopping him now'. It is vital that everyone celebrates children's accomplishments, no matter how big or small.


Elaine and Brain are dedicated and passionate foster carers, which shines through and through; from having their children, they transitioned into being foster carers, which has come easily to them and has been like second nature. The couple told us 'we don't feel like fostering is our job, fostering is something we love doing and our passion'. The couple told us fostering would be a huge thing to replace in their lives, and they couldn't imagine doing anything else. Elaine shared, 'Fostering is so rewarding but also heartbreaking, and we wouldn't do anything other than fostering.’


Find out more about therapeutic fostering - Therapeutic Fostering | Nexus Fostering 


Fostering stories


  • Foster Carer
  • Therapeutic
  • Advice
  • Siblings
  • Adoption
  • Support
  • Long-term fostering

Date published

04 April 2024

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