“Fostering is far more than just a job” Teona shares her experience of fostering.
When Teona first saw an advert for foster carers she didn’t completely understand what it meant. Teona is originally from Tiblisi in Georgia and was unfamiliar with the idea of fostering. With a young son of three, she was looking for work that she could do from home and the ad for an independent fostering agency caught her eye.
“At first I thought it was just about looking after children but as I looked into it more, I understood what fostering meant. I began to read about what some children go through – the trauma and neglect – and it was painful to realise that this was happening around me. I thought ‘I’ve got something to give, I’m caring and compassionate, I can do this’. I wanted to give to other children the sort of love and care I was giving to my son.”
At first, Teona fostered full time but in 2016 Teona stopped fostering for a while due to a change in personal circumstances. In 2019, she decided to pick it up again and applied to Fostering Solutions, part of National Fostering Group. She explained:
Teona’s first foster child was a boy of 14. When he arrived, he was experiencing behavioural challenges and had been in trouble with the police but after two years with her, the boy was more stable and is still in touch nearly 10 years later. Later she also cared for a teenage girl for two years and a three-year-old boy who went on to be adopted.
Teona believes, first and foremost, in helping children to feel comfortable and cared for. As a respite carer, she tries to make the children feel as though they are on holiday. She said:
“I don’t have too many rules, I want them to enjoy coming here. We meet beforehand and get to know each other a little. I have a boy with learning difficulties who comes to me twice a month for day care. We always plan his next visit whenever he is here and I ask him what he’d like to do and what he’d like me to cook. There is also a girl who comes regularly. She enjoys craft so I buy crafting sets. She won a competition recently with a drawing of an internet safety superhero that she did when she was here. It’s all about getting to know them and doing the sorts of things they enjoy.”
Teona has done many different training courses which help her to support the foster children – from how to spot the signs of grooming through to therapeutic parenting. She appreciates the support provided by Fostering Solutions which is “always on the end of the phone” if she needs it. Networking with other foster carers is also helpful, both as someone to unload to and as an informal source of help and advice.
Teona has already recruited a friend who loves children to become a foster carer. She said:
“If you are empathetic, if you love children, give it a go. It feels so good to do something good to help people who’ve had a difficult start in life.”
Ready to start your fostering adventure? Enquire today!