Gemma and Kate have been Capstone foster carers for over a year now and are loving making a difference to young children's lives.
The assessment process when we first applied was super quick. We contacted Capstone by filling out an enquiry form on the website and after half an hour, Sam in the North office contacted us, she was nice and friendly which put us at ease. We had a visit from a team member who explained the full application process and what the next steps were, we decided this was the right path for us, so we decided to continue with the process.
The assessment felt like it went by so quickly, a couple of visits every month soon flies by, and before we knew it we were at our panel meeting. Helen who is an independent assessor who was also our Form F assessor, was fantastic, and we felt like we learned loads throughout the process. We did feel nervous, but we just prepared for it like a job interview, there were six people on the panel, but they were all friendly. It was daunting but it went so well, we were approved as foster carers at the end of that meeting!
We had thought about starting to foster for a while, we had previously looked after Gemma’s nephew for over five years and realised we had a passion for caring for children. Once he had moved out, we knew it was the right time to start our fostering journey. Our family and friends were so supportive when they found out we were going to foster, a lot of them had recommended, in the past, that we go for it as they could see how good we were with children. We are so lucky to have our friends and family; they help us when we need the extra support which means a lot.
When we got the call to say we were getting our first placement, there was excitement mixed with nerves. We were not sure what time the children were arriving, but we knew we were expecting two girls, one was two years old and the other six years old. We rushed out to get the right supplies, including clothes, nappies, and toys! Whilst waiting for them to arrive, we felt nervous, but we imagined how they must be feeling and knew they would be feeling even more scared than us. That first night they slept like logs, whilst me and Kate were up every 30 minutes checking in on them.
We have always looked after sibling placements; we are now on our second placement and are so happy we decided to start out fostering journey. We had a holiday in between to give ourselves a little time to recuperate. Our new placement, two little girls, arrived within the first two weeks in February, it was a nice little Valentine’s present for us both. We felt more prepared the second time around, with more excitement than nerves! They are doing brilliantly and have really flourished with good routines in place. Throughout lockdown, we decided to continue as normal as possible with the children to allow them to continue to develop and progress and provide stability in their lives. We have been doing loads of activities outside to keep them busy all summer.
The best thing about fostering is seeing the change in the children, seeing how they thrive on the normal things and routine such as at bath time and supper. It is amazing how quickly they change even within the first couple weeks with a good diet and more sleep. It helps to improve everything, and you can see the confidence grow in them, and knowing that we have been a part of that process is what makes this all worth it.
We have always wanted to foster siblings as we wanted to keep them together and we had the two bedrooms available to do this, it is great to see they support each other. Our current placement, the little one always cuddles the older one, and goes to her first when she feels unsure. Now they are happy within their own space but like to know where each other is. The little one will always ask when the older one is coming back from school; it is nice that they can grow up together alongside one another. There are five siblings altogether, the three older ones are with another Capstone carer and it is great to see that they can all still regularly meet.
When we applied to become foster carers, our main motivation was so we could make a difference to children’s lives, which we are doing. We are so happy we decided to start fostering and seeing the changes in the children makes this the best job in the world! The only hard part is when we have difficult contact meetings with placement families, although with all the training provided by Capstone, we are prepared for any hurdles that may come our way.
Our social worker, Vicky is excellent, we could not fault her at all! She goes above and beyond, if she misses our call, she always calls us back and has even kept her phone on out of hours if she knows we are having a difficult time. In fact, everyone at Capstone has been great every time we call.
We would highly recommend Capstone to any of our friends and family who are considering fostering, the support we have received has been second to none.