Ann and I have been fostering with National Fostering Group for about two years. I have to say it feels longer, but that’s probably because the process to become a foster carer can take a while to complete.
From parenting to fostering?
We had brought up three children of our own, who we felt turned out to be good people and who all now have families of their own. Our eldest son, a police officer, kept badgering us to look at fostering. I had my own business and was thinking of closing it down to semi retire, and to be honest, we both adore children and thought we would like to have a go at fostering.
We didn’t know how good we would be at it so decided to start with a short-term placement. We now feel confident in our abilities and have a child placed with us on a long-term basis which we are very happy with. Our foster child has integrated well into our household and we consider him to be part of the family, as do our children and grandchildren.
I was an importer/exporter (my wife calls me an International Arthur Daley). Essentially, I supplied goods to customers in Africa from the UK, Europe and USA. Ann is a nurse and works in a boarding school as a Practice/A and E nurse. She looks after 13-18-year olds and specialises in asthma. She has also been a childminder and we have always looked after our grandchildren to help our children out. We have five and a bit grandchildren (number six is due in December).
Not too old to foster!
We chose to foster with National Fostering Group as when we googled “How to become a foster carer” up popped National Fostering Group. When I rang I spoke to someone who was very encouraging; we thought we might be too old but were very quickly reassured that we weren’t.
Having been with National Fostering Group for some time now we can honestly say that they are a very good agency to work for. We have always been well supported; our supervising social worker has changed now three times but they all seem very nice and visit regularly. The other foster carers that we have met are great people and it’s enjoyable meeting up for the practice meetings, socials and training session National Fostering Group provide.
We have now had three placements and have tried a little of everything. Our first placement was a respite placement and having just been to panel we were a little nervous of what to expect. The young person that we had was a delight and we immediately took to him. We have had him back on respite since, so he obviously thought we were ok too.
Support through difficult placements
The next child placed with us was a very troubled young lady. It was a difficult placement, but we were so well supported by National Fostering Group. The role of supporting us was allocated to Sharon, who works usually spends most of her time placing new children with foster carers and running children’s social groups. Sharon was superb, but we, nonetheless, did breathe a sigh of relief when J moved on, although we had grown very fond of her despite everything.
Happily, our current child is less challenging and our young charge has settled in well. He gets on so well with the family and considers himself to be part of it! He has a difficult background as do most of the children in care, but we have been able to help and support him in so many ways. He had an anger issue when he came to us, but this seems to have resolved and we can now tell if he is firing up and can diffuse the situation. He has regular contact with his family and it is our responsibility to take him to his contact sessions.
Fostering has changed our life in many ways. We feel valued by both National Fostering Group and our young man. We love having youthfulness in the house again, we are proud of the achievements he has made since he’s been with us. He has been with us just over a year and when he came he could hardly swim; he now regularly swims more than a mile at his swimming lessons and has become quite a little fish.
Have Steve and Ann inspired you?
People of all ages can become foster parents – from age 21 and up. There are strict criteria for fostering, but we care more about your abilities and experience looking after children and young people than we do about the candles on your birthday cake. Please enquire today to find out more about your eligibility and opportunities to foster.