Tuesday 27 November 2018
Our “Every Day Heroes” share their fostering journey
Julia and Steve are winners of the “everyday hero award” for Fostering Solutions Oundle. Rose our carer engagement officer, went out to meet them and find out more about their journey into fostering.
Julia and Steve have been married for 32 years and have two adult children. Julia had been thinking about fostering but it was her daughter who spurred both Julia and Steve on by bringing home some information on Fostering Solutions, she told them to ‘go for it’. As it is with all of our carers it is a big decision to foster, and Julia thinks that it was a five year journey before they went ahead and made an enquiry.
Motivations for fostering
Julia and Steve’s eldest son left the home at a very young age to start a career in the marines. As parents they weren’t ready to stop ‘being parents’ and described the feeling as an “empty nest” and wanted to fill the home with more children.
The assessment process
Julia and Steve started their assessment process in 2012 and were later approved in 2013. It took around 8 months to complete the assessment, they are both very honest and admit it was a long process with lots of paperwork and writing to do! As a couple they used their own strengths to ensure that the paperwork and information was ready for their social worker.
What happened next?
Two months after approval they had their first placement which was a sibling group of 3 on a short term fostering placement. This gave them a real insight into what the role of a foster carer involves.
After this the couple had some respite placements but Julia had made the decision that she would like to do fostering as a vocation and spoke to her social worker about permanence placements.
In 2014 they were approached about a sibling group of 4 children – Julia and Steve had previously spoke about future placements and thought that this would be for two children. However after a lot of discussions they agreed that this sibling group placement would be the right thing for them and the children.
Four and a half years later, an extension to the living areas, birth children moved out; Julia and Steve could not imagine their lives without fostering! They have supported the siblings through some very difficult times which is a key role of a foster carer. Julia frequently attends professionals meetings, social work visits, has health professionals coming in to the home and receives extensive educational support. All of this has made the placement a success for the children and this is evident in the predicted future of the children. This includes living independently, university and part time jobs. Both Julia and Steve have shown all children that with hard work and great role models they can achieve their own potential.
As foster carers it is a key role to understand the individual needs and potential of each child and to best support this.
During discussions both Julia and Steve shared family holidays and experiences that the children have all been a part of. As a family they prefer to involve the children in all family experiences and not use the respite care that is available from the agency.
Julia and Steve’s birth children still remain heavily involved in the family and their daughter is a nominated carer so is able to support her parents with offering childcare support so that they can have the occasional meal out together as a couple.
What does the future hold?
Julia and Steve shared that they don’t ever see themselves not fostering as it is now such a big part of their lives. For the children in placement Julia and Steve will continue to support post 18 and help them to become independent.