We have fostered for National Fostering Group for nine years, having fostered for our Local Authority then another agency for 24 years. At the time we started fostering we had just our own three sons, and we thought we could make a difference to someone else’s life by maybe doing some respite fostering, ideally to try and keep a child with their birth parent.
When our previous agency became unable to offer suitable placements (we didn’t want to foster teenagers at the time as we then had three of our own), we had a good look around and felt National Fostering Group were offering the most supportive package and were likely to be able to find younger children in our area.
We find National Fostering Group to have friendly, caring staff who are supportive of their carers but for whom the ‘welfare of the child is paramount’ (Children’s Act 1989).
Our first ever placement with National Fostering Group is leaving us in the next couple of months. She arrived straight after our approval in 2009 and has grown up within our family and will be leaving us to go on to college. She will only be a few miles away and will be keeping in touch with us.
It will be sad to see her go, but she is now all grown up and well prepared for the next step of her journey through life. We have also been able to offer respite care on many occasions for several children. We have even been able to take respite children on holiday with us, which is great fun.
We’ve been fostering for so long that it’s hard to remember what life was like before. We are convinced that we are better people for having fostered and, although our birth children have had to make a few sacrifices along the way, we feel that they have benefited too. One of our sons is now a foster parent, and one of our daughters is planning on becoming a children’s social worker.
The main change to our lives that fostering has made is that the second two placements with National Fostering Group made such an impact on our entire family that we decided to adopt them, not something that we had planned to do with five birth children of our own. National Fostering Group were supportive throughout the adoption process and we now have another two amazing daughters who are now excellent ‘children who foster’.
We have said that the last few placements would be ‘our last’, our friends remind us of this when we tell them that another child is moving in. We have a new little girl moving in next week, and we are all looking forward to it.
This experienced couple are a great example of how fostering is flexible, as they have taken on many different kinds of placement – and even adopted. If you would like to talk to us about becoming a foster parent, enquire now.