People always have a lot of praise for foster carers, saying what amazing work we do and how we make such a difference to young people but there are huge benefits to being a foster carer too. There’s nothing better than having a bigger family and, for us, it’s a chosen family.
We’ve been fostering for almost 10 years now and it’s really enriched our lives. We’ve grown as people and we see things from a very different perspective. For example, before fostering, if we saw a naughty child in the supermarket, we’d think they were just acting up. Now we understand that there’s often a much deeper reason for difficult behaviour.
With some of the kids we’ve looked after, we’ve seen that difficult behaviour when they first come to our home. Often it’s triggered by asking them to do something simple, like lay the table, and they can get upset. We’ve learnt, over time, that this is often because the child has simply never been taught to do these things. When you work with the kids to show them how it’s done, it can feel like a real breakthrough!
Lots of foster carers come from having worked with kids in some way. Not us! We had sold our business and wanted to do something to benefit the community. Then we saw a billboard in Slough about fostering and we’ve never looked back! We’ve had more than 30 children placed with us from between one week and eight years and currently look after three teenagers.
Not everyone realises there is an urgent need for local foster carers – there are many vulnerable children who desperately need the support of a loving home not too far from everything they know and, believe us, we’ve seen how that environment can make a child. The alternative is that they may end up staying with a carer who lives hours away.
And as a foster carer with the Trust, there’s lots of support. We receive great training that’s been so valuable for some of the situations we come across.
For us fostering has become a real vocation, it’s our life, it’s made us who we are and we wouldn’t change a thing!