Sandra, a singleton who is foster parent to two children, has shared her insights. Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
Why did you get into fostering?
“For me, fostering makes me feel like I’m doing something good and worthwhile as an individual. I love kids and it’s all worthwhile when you see a frightened, vulnerable child transform into happy child.”
What do you wish you had known before becoming a foster carer?
“I always assumed that you had to have experience or training of some kind and it wasn’t until I started the conversation about becoming a carer did I realise that I did have adequate training – I was a single mum!
Has your experience of fostering turned out to be how you had expected it?
“My experience of fostering hasn’t been how I initially expected, from the outset I was shocked at the number of children needing foster families. I’m currently looking after an 18-year-old and a 5-year-old and would never have expected to have two children. I also never thought I’d take on a teenager because of the stories you hear about their behaviour! To my surprise, it has been the most positive experience I’ve had in fostering. The young person has worked through all her anxieties and has been accepted to a University in Glasgow with the aim of becoming a social worker.”
What have been the highlights and lowlights of fostering so far?
“The highlights are watching the kids you look after grow in confidence, become happy individuals and achieve so much in such a short space of time. That it is the most rewarding part of fostering.”The worst part of fostering is when you must let a child move on. I had a child in care that had to move on because it was having a negative effect on my family. It was such a hard thing to go through – I felt guilty because they had to leave and it was tough on the family because we’d all become so attached.”
What advice would you give to a new foster carer or someone considering it?
“Always be open and truthful and try to expect the unexpected! Fostering will be the most rewarding thing you do.”
As a foster carer what is the support like you receive from your social worker and agency?
“I have always had a great social worker who’s been willing to listen and support me throughout. Whether it’s a small chat or for help handing a more difficult situation, they have always been there to support me and my foster children.”
Would you recommend fostering with Fostering Relations (now part of NFA Fostering Group)?
“Yes. From the first day I called the Fostering Relations office I have always felt like it is a big family that cares and shows respect to the carers that become part of it. It is very supportive and even if you cannot reach your own social worker all the others will try to help as much as possible and always go the extra mile.
“The reason I’d choose Fostering Relations over another fostering agency is because they’re very child focused. They try their best to match the needs of the child to the appropriate foster family and although this doesn’t always please some people it’s absolutely the way it must be – the child should always come first and the Fostering Relations team knows that.”
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